Y’all, thanks so much for all the lovely and supportive and friendly comments and emails since I wrote that last sad entry. I am currently sitting with a cup of tea in the beautiful Melanie’s house in my boob tube since all my other clothes are in the wash, and getting ready for a bath and some DVDs before going to bed early. What a difference twenty-four hours makes.
When I was booted off the Rockhampton: Beef Capital Of Australia library computer yesterday I still had about twelve hours before my train, which I spent walking dazedly around Target and the supermarket and getting lost in a slightly sketchy area trying to find some botanical gardens. I ended up calling a cab and getting dropped off at the movie theater, where I proceeded to sneak in a bag full of snacks and watch Knocked Up (good) and License To Wed (horridly, expansively not good but I had four hours to kill and I sure as hell wasn’t going to watch that Transformers movie). I made it back to the station with about two hours to spare and just kind of wandered around, packing up my day pack and watching some sort of horrible reality dating show on the waiting room TV where, like, the guy is dating six women at a time and they all live together, and three of the women are in their forties, and three are in their twenties and OMG which will the dude pick?
The train finally arrived and I ended up having a berth to myself, which was the thing I wanted most in the world at that point. I slept in clean sheets on the funny fold-out shelf bed (if there had been two other people in there? Claustrophic.) and slept in until 7:15 this morning. I spent today reading, eating snacks, wondering why my camera is suddenly broken, attempting to wash what seems to be a permanent layer of dirt off my feet, and taking naps whenever I wanted. It was so good to be both by myself and alone, if that makes sense: solitary in the good sense, not in the bad sense where you’re surrounded by people but still feel horribly isolated.
Melanie was right there at the station to pick me up and…people, there is such good in the world…basically just gave me her beautiful house for the evening, with its awesome books and DVDs and its washer and dryer and bathtub and internet, while she and her husband and her sister and her baby go off to Kuranda to see a concert. She has never met me before but she has “Chiara!” written on today’s date on her kitchen calendar and she has all this homemade soup and her sister wrote me a little primer to the various remote controls. I’m taking her and the baby out for lunch tomorrow and to check out this part of Queensland and I feel very lucky to be here, as you can imagine. I’ve come to a good place, with good people. I am feeling a little more confident that the rest of the trip will be full of them–and if it’s not, well, I guess I’ve just had a little practice in leaving bad situations to find better ones.
I am still so tired that I’m basically cross-eyes at the moment, but I just have to tell you that in terms of the project, it’s really Calin’s email that I keep thinking about. “You’re not willing to put up with other peoples’ shit anymore,” she said. It’s true, I think. I might be fine dealing with wallaby poo, but the kind coming from human beings…not so much. It’s taken me such a long to decide not to just take it, you know, not to just bow my head and decide that it must be me that’s the problem. That’s how I’ve dealt with this sort of thing for most of my life. Part of me still can’t believe I’m not there right now, miserable, wondering what I’ve done wrong and why everyone hates me, instead of being here, safe and warm with good gracious generous people who seem to like me even though they don’t know me, feeling glad to be in the place I’ve arrived.