Imagine if you will, sometime in the early 1980s, summer school holidays spent in a remote part of Western Australia. Days would be hazy, hot with a red dust coating skin like fine powder. Relief only found at the local swimming pool that was sizzling as much as your skin in the days before we knew that sunscreen was essential.
The real cooling treat was to be had in the air-conditioned home of my father, who moved to Karratha in the 70s as part of the heavy construction teams in the Burrup. After a day in the sun, chlorine rinsed off I would settle down with a cola Freeza ice pyramid and the only TV channel (the ABC) available in the Pilbara. Life would never be the same again, when lime green words scrolled across the screen: DESTRUCTION OF EARTH DUE: 11:46:00
Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, introduced to me more than just sci-fi and English humour. His work introduced me to philosophy, and more to the point an absurd world-view I had yet to discover in when I entered my adult years.
In his radio, tv and books he observed the intricate complexities of the sometimes pointless politeness we get ourselves caught up in like Babel Fish in a net, the superior snobbery of our significance in this Universe, and the oft-curiously doomed view some people possess;
"Arthur: All my life I've had this strange feeling that there's something big and sinister going on in the world.
Slartibartfast: No, that's perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe gets that.
Ford: Don't panic... don't panic...
Arthur: So this is it. We're gonna die.
Ford: Yeah. We're gonna die."
"So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means.” Deep Thought
One thing that stuck with me from the TV series was the number 42 as being the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything. This was revealed by the super computer Deep Thought, morbidly obese in today's technology, after 7.5 million years of thinking.
How curious. Of course no-one knew the question, we were left only with the answer.
Today, after 20 years of being immersed in the English way of life, I now know the question. It is not one that queries, for me anyway, it is a quest to get to the answer.
In 42 years of being on this planet this very day, my quest had entailed a discovery of all that I need to know to satisfy my interests, philosophies and outlook. A discovery that will ease me through the next 42 years (or more hopefully!)
10 years ago I became a mother, 10 years before that, I left Australia, and, well 10 years before that I went to Sydney.
You don't want to really know what I got up to at 2 do you?
Okay, it usually involved chocolate being smeared everywhere thanks to my dear Aunty Noreen when she babysat me!
My quest probably, is really like everyone else's. We are searching our purpose in life and how we fit in.
In western culture we are often conditioned to achieve in a career or education, have financial security, go travelling on a wing and prayer, indulge in life's little luxuries, all in a fragile little bubble which we get carried away in.
Sometimes, though, we don't find the room to just exist. To be. To taste freedom from conformity, society, requirement and expectation.
I've been scratching my head for years now at the many possibilities I could achieve, the hopes in being a great female drummer, a respected graphic designer, the dreams of fulfilling those wild ideas I have in art and mixed media, the current striving for a workable photographic career that fits around my family life.
Some people just get on with it. Me, I just hold on to it.
I've accepted that I create when the mood strikes me, when the 'atmosphere' is right (I'm winking at you Mum).
When it is right, I find I have run out of time to attend to my family!
Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money.
Johnny Cash b: 26th February 1932
But I can safely claim now, at 42, I have reached the answer - even if in age only. But the quest or question is: How many years does it take before a human can truly understand love, laughter and life?
Even if that's not the right question, it's right for me today.
Okay so the world won't blow up/change on this discovery, I'm not sitting in a cafe in Rickmansworth, but in my world things have changed. and it didn't take seven and half million years to get there.
Just 22 million minutes!
Happy Candles to me.