27 September 2005

Wise Words

It starts out like any other morning. The mad dash to get ready, the cursing, the desire for more sleep and the daily resolve to go to bed earlier.

For some reason, I have two mailboxes, one attached to my front door, the other at the foot of the precariously steep, narrow stairway that needs to be navigated with care, especially after typhoon rains sweep through the city. Every morning I eagerly check the mailboxes and this is generally rewarded by bills and lots of junk mail, all covered in the hieroglyphic script that defies my previously lauded intellect (see earlier blog entry) .

However, this morning changes my life. In the downstairs letterbox a parcel awaits me from my dear friends in Australia, Matt and Susi. I had received emails that hinted of a gift and I am agog with curiosity as to what it is.

Rushing down the street to catch the tram, I feverishly rip at the wrapping with my teeth, regressing to the behaviour of an over-zealous, present-obsessed child. The simplicity speaks volumes. No note or letter, just a single book. The front cover displays a photo of the lower half of a girl lying on her stomach on grass. Her upper torso is hidden by a similarly green structure. I think cubby-house. She is wearing red shorts like those I wore to school sports-days in the late 1970’s, has long white socks with red stripes around the top and, most fabulously, is wearing white, boot roller skates; the very kind that never left my feet from 1980 – 1985.

I slow in my tracks. The photo is quite disturbing and images of violence and perversion leap unbidden into my mind’s eye. What have they sent me? The title catches my eye…”The Secret of Success is a Secret”. Have they sent me another quit smoking book? Or is it something new-agey, something that reeks of the stupid life-coaching course I started in a previous life? Then my eyes continue their natural course and read further “…and Other Wise Words from SEAN CONDON”.

I stop dead in my tracks. Feelings of glee and euphoria momentarily overwhelm me. I had read somewhere that Sean had published recently but I was unsure what it was about. Hehe. Fun times ahead. I gingerly open the book, looking for a synopsis, bio, the usual thing I check out before delving in.

Two pages in and there’s a photo of the cutest little munchkin, Matt and Susi’s daughter, with a lovely note from Matt on the back. Then I notice the script on the book’s page. My heart stops beating for a moment, which is OK as I’m not breathing anyway. SEAN HAS INSCRIBED THE BOOK! I’m not going to say what he wrote, I like to think that’s between the two of us (tragic, I know).

I am completely overwhelmed. A million questions race through my mind. How did Matt get this? Why is Matt lucky enough to meet him? How tall is Sean? Is he as funny in person as he is on the page? Is he a nice guy? Does he really have an attractive speckling of gray through his hair? Is he really as self-deprecating as he makes out? For a moment, for the first time since I landed in this crazy country, I think about how cool it would be to be back home. To have been able to go to the Writer’s Festival and see Sean for myself, and listen to him talk about travel writing. God, I love a futile crush.

If you’re interested, check out his other books:
Sean and David’s Long Drive
Drive Thru America
My ‘Dam Life: Three Years in Holland

I really miss my books, I am nothing without them. Naturally, I had to leave them all in Australia but I am more than happy to start my Tokyo book collection so all donations will be gratefully received. I often think of my books, lovingly packed away and very kindly stored by the Australian Beckhams.

Matt and Susi, you rock!

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