Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today we celebrated Thanksgiving. There was no turkey or pumpkin pie this year, no decorations even, and we had all left the table to follow other pursuits (tiggy/gin and tonic/naps) before Mum could get everyone to say what we're thankful for this year. I thought mine might be Oscar; during the week I dreamt that he had killed someone (on waking I couldn't remember if it was a person or a cat) and was going to have to go to jail, and I woke up very upset. That seems a bit too easy though; I know all the time how much he brightens my life, and how lucky we were to adopt a dog so perfect for us. So here are some other, slightly less obvious things for which I am thankful.

1. Tampons. I have long thought these are one of the best inventions in history (only recently equalled by the internet). Even light, crampless periods are a pain in the arse, and just another disadvantage to the sisterhood. Tampons take a significant inch off the unevenness of the playing field, and when I'm inserting one on one of those uncomfortable occasions when you don't actually need it at that particular moment, I sometimes think of the Bennett sisters, or Natalia in The Poetry Girl, or Janet Frame, and I think I Am A Fortunate Woman. I bought a mooncup several months ago, and would like to be thankful for it except that I haven't mustered enough bravery to try it yet. So today, I am thankful for the humble tampon, and Dr. Judith Esser-Mittag, the gynecologist who developed it.

2. The absence of War/Freedom obsession in this country. The fact that we take (and can take) most of our freedoms for granted, and that we don't pretend to be protecting our freedom when we do shitty things to other countries; our mercenary/please-be-our-friend-and-buy-our-milk motivations don't make me proud, but at least they are openly wrong and pitiful, and not insidious lies. And I am thankful that national pride isn't expressed in ways that make me want to throw up, or hide.

3. Literacy. Reading has always been one of greatest pleasures (although I have been doing a little too much watching of things, which has made it rarer a pleasure than I would like), and the ability and propensity to read are things I don't take for granted. Reading is fun, it makes you clever, it helps develop empathy, and it means you nearly always have something to do... and there are so many people who don't know the joy of a great book, because they were never taught to read. I am thankful that someone taught me, and that I grew up in a house where books were valued, and library visits were frequent.

This makes me realise I owe people who can't read yet, or who don't know if they love reading because they don't have books. I don't know if I would be good at teaching, but there is an awesome organisation set up by Alan Duff called Duffy Books In Homes, which enables kids across the country to own their own books. When I was little, we were poor, so all of our books were from fairs or borrowed from the library, and I remember how I felt when I was allowed to get a Lucky book; a brand new book, where mine was the first and only name poorly written on the first page. If you love books, or even if you don't, you can donate to Duffy books here. Do it, do it!!!

(PS I hope it's kosher to be thankful for this. I read Samantha's list which includes living in a first world country, and I thought that was both legit and hilarious.) 

To end, there are two very, very obvious ones that I have to add, or this list wouldn't be complete. They might be a bit vomit-inducing, so feel free to skip to the video.

4. My family. Who are always happy to see me. Who drive me crazy with their crazy politics. Who salt my food for me, even if I don't want it salted. Who want to be part of everything. Who send me texts all in capitals. Who all come to the airport when someone is going somewhere. Who pee in the yard even when the toilet is free. Who want to be sprayed with the hose while they jump on the trampoline. Who overeat, so we can all complain to each other about how we overate, and then all go back to the kitchen half an hour later to eat a bit more. Who make me feel ensconced, like a child, when I am around them, even though I am twenty-nine and married. I wouldn't swap my big, motley family for anyone's.

5. Vincent. With whom I feel that I can do anything, and that the future is a huge, open adventure, and that there is nothing and no-one to be afraid of, and that the world really can be changed, and that I'm not crazy, and that my life is the greatest. I don't know what could be better than feeling like this, or being married to the person who makes you feel like this, so that without your signature, or a very complicated fake death, or murder, they can't get away. I am thankful for Aphrodite, and pheromones, and Father Time, and maybe even being poor but going to rich schools.

I hope you didn't lose your breakfast; I toned those down a lot, and they really weren't supposed to be on this list but I wouldn't have been real if I hadn't added them. I'm sorry.

Here is a song that came on the radio on our way home, to which I did a lot of sitting-down twisting, a bit of mashed potato, and a bit of Danger Danger Will Robinson. I know it was a few days ago now, but Happy Thanksgiving, Comrades! And... One Month Till Christmas!!!

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