Thursday, December 31, 2009

On ordinariness

Christmas is just around the corner. I’m sitting in a café in Caloundra at 6am on a Wednesday morning, ostensibly on holidays. It’s absolute beachfront and the surf is rolling in, peppered with swimmers, as the sun peeps through the early morning clouds. Waves break on some distant rocks and the peeping sun shimmers, transforming magically to bold strokes across the ocean. The esplanade is bustling with ordinary people out for their early morning exercise. Ordinary people, in all shapes and sizes, some walking with purpose, some sauntering, the soles of their shoes barely kicking up the sand before them, and some committed individuals jogging. Ipods crank motivational music into unsuspecting eardrums. Children strain to escape from strollers, enticed by the beach and sand.

Nearby a pair of young women play with a new born baby, stroking the as yet unshed downy hair on his back. He attracts the gaze of passers-by of all persuasions, all of whom pass by in my direction with just the hint of a smile on their faces as if just seeing a baby brings a touch of something else special to the day. A tiny puppy is tied to the pram – brave people taking on two babies at once- and he struggles to contain his enthusiasm for the myriad of people walking past, straining on his leash with all his 500 grams, hoping to get a pat on his golden, tousled head.

An old local - Nev, former advertising person now retired - is in the corner, under the shade of a spiky ubiquitous beach tree whose genus escapes me, having his daily coffee and reading the paper, chirping hello to his friends the café staff and to the other locals the conglomerate here.

Ordinary things, everyday life, typical occurrences replicated in any number of places around the world at this very moment. And it strikes me as bizarre that I sit here thinking about my PhD. A book sits next to me - Space Warfare and Defense – in absolute contrast to my surroundings. I imagine that none of the people passing by me through the day give this matter a thought despite the number of satellites whizzing by overhead at any given moment, and despite that they will go home to their satellite tv service and mobile phones. No one else is thinking about parasite satellites, laser weapons and Rods from God.

I alternate between feeling like a caped crusader, single handedly (in this environment at least) trying to save the world from the evils of space weapons, and wondering what I think that I, a suburban Australian housewife think I am playing at in a world inhabited by career soldiers, diplomats, and technology and space nuts.

I am none of those. Yet I have something to say…now I should get on and say it.

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