Back in Dubbo for a week now – a city of endless straight lines and unforgiving heat – these first 10 days of re-entry spent in a seesawing fever/fugue state brought on by the lightning fast onslaught of influenza picked up on Day 1 in Christchurch. No, it wasn’t Coronavirus just a vicious flu and in any case completely my own stupid fault for hitting the Riccarton Mall that first day back – the milling unclean mallrats of Christchurch infecting me with their various plagues.
Day 1 in Christchurch had brought a mild uneasy unwell feeling as the virus first took hold.
Day 2 was awful – dizziness and disorientation, cold sweats and constant shivering. I spent as much time as I could horizontal, and my heart was thrashing itself to death – my Apple watch ‘binging’ me constantly to abnormal resting heart rates of over 102 BPM. (That cant be good – should I go to the Dr??? Naaaaah.)
I struggled to make the gear return to Antarctica New Zealand and say bye to my coworkers without delivering a deadly plague upon their house.
Day 3 was return to Australia. How the Hell is this ever going to happen with me looking like the shuffling dead?
Fully expecting to get pulled up and quarantined coming into Sydney International Airport, then Sydney Domestic, and finally Dubbo – all the while dizzy and discombobulated; pale, sweating and just not with the program, but all this never even raised an eyebrow as I asymptomatically zombie shuffled my way through Officaldom.
Irresponsible? Perhaps. Did I wear a facemask? No. Was I amazed at how easily Australia’s biosecurity barrier was compromised? Totally.
This was a few days before the worldwide Pandemic status was declared, just before the Iran travel bans or the first Italian or American fatalities.
So feeling somewhat shattered, the best course of action seemed to be a self-imposed quarantine at my sisters house while they were away for the weekend. It seemed to be the responsible thing to do (even after Patient Zeroing myself through two international and domestic airports). These 2 days at my sisters house flopping lifelessly in bed were an investment well spent as the worst of the energy flatline, fever sweats and shivering passed relatively quickly, fast replaced by a mucky productive cough and moderate upper respiratory tract infection that moved up and took painful and snotty residence behind my eyes after Day 4.
Day 5 brought on restlessness, discomfort and a craving for KFC as my immune system kicked ass and metabolism kicked into gear again – I could taste food , and more importantly, decent coffee.
Anyway, slowly coming good after almost 6 days flat out on the couch and/or bed the cough still niggles, but I can hold a conversation now without bursting into a coughing fit.
Ive been dreaming again which is odd – livid lucid dreams of Jen for the past few nights…travels and conversations we never had in places we’d never been. Very weird and I dont know what the Hell that’s about. Washington is on my mind again I guess: a friend of mine there just lost her husband to suicide so I guess thats sitting in the back of my mind festering away as well. All the unpacking and processing I’m about to do includes a fair amount of psycholigical as well as physical I guess.
Yesterday, I felt enough spare energy to start sorting and disposing of the last of my personal possessions in storage, and thats what this garbled post is really about I guess – severing those last tenuous ties to a life in this country.
It just looks like junk, after several years in a storage shed. Covered in a thick payer of red dust and looking terribly unloved. This is whats left my of life here, and analgous to where I am at the moment I guess.
Boxes of carefully packed mementos of past lives lived and memories filed away, some best forgotten. Not just my stuff, but my parents stuff as well – an additional and unexpectedly painful responsibility to go through their 50 years of marriage together and just…sort then throw it away.
Today its my turn : a set of car keys from my first car, old bills from my first flat in Canberra, slips of paper and receipts from 30 years ago that I can remember filing away as if it was yesterday. Divorces, marriages, deaths; ex friends and ex girlfriends, photos of ghouls, ghosts and goblins from years ago.
This is the last cut though – everything in storage has to go now, and I need to process everything left down into two suitcases worth of personal items that are the purest essential distillation of a life lived.
It means going through absolutely everything with a critical eye.
Its not a pleasant exercise going through these boxes – not all of the memories are good, not all the experiences positive and worth reliving, but every box that is opened – its contents displayed out in the cold light of day- reveal their contents overall worth.
It really is just all worthless junk bound together with chains of sentimentality. Once rationalised as junk I can discard it as easily as I’ve discarded past lives and the people in them. The sentimentality always gives me pause though (and quite often the overpowering memories reduce me to awkward tears) but luckily I’ve learnt to think around it over time and those chains are able to be broken with a little effort and pain.
That cant be a good thing I think – being able to do that. Dissassociate in a way. It shouldnt be this easy, should it? How many times can/should someone reinvent themselves and recreate history? How much of your soul is lost each time you do it.
I used to joke about ‘Jamie 2.0’, and then that became 3.0…what am I up to now? 5.0? How long will this go on I wonder before I finally have a version thats worth keeping.
Im not sure if any of the actual ‘me’ that is left is.