The colour scheme of the north coast on the weather map is currently looking like a pre-schooler’s art work. Nothing but a mess of dark green, splotches of yellow, indicating heavy rain.
I can look out the window, actually, I don’t even need to get up, I can hear that the rain is heavy, so fixated are we on the weather apps – we seem to no longer rely on our own senses we need the confirmation in colour from our mobile device.
My Dad has rung us three times today to tell us that it is raining. Very perceptive my Dad. In his defence he is calling from Kingscliff to inform us that it is raining there, although he tells me
“It’s not even raining here its bloody cyclonic!”
He asks me “is it raining there?” twice I had to get him to repeat himself because I was struggling to hear him over the rain, pounding down on our roof.
I know, that he knows, that it is raining here in Lismore because he told me that he has rung his sisters and brother-in-law. I also know for a fact that he has the local radio on for regular updates, he will also flicking back to the sky weather channel every 15 minutes like an obsessive compulsive.
My Dad is a worrier he will tell you that he isn’t, but he is. He isn’t just your Jo Average type worrier, he is at the elite level, at the top of his game. I have always excused his excessive worry due to his love for me, an only child etcetera, etcetera etcetera.
We had been home living in Australia for a full three years when Dad comments on our salad servers
“Where did you get these from?”
“Zimbabwe” I answered.
“You didn’t tell me that you went to Zimbabwe “
“Well Dad, I didn’t want you to worry”
“When exactly were you there?” he asks sounding very put out.
“Dad, what does it matter now? It was over three years ago- I am back home now safe and sound.”
Nup he ain’t happy, almost disappointed perhaps a little upset at not having the opportunity to have worried about me, out and about in Zimbabwe. I certainly won’t be telling him that I was there for 2 days without Shane (my now husband) while he continued on through Africa and I headed home for my best friend’s wedding.
My Dad is inclusive with his worry, he has plenty of concern to go round. Once you are in his circle of knowing he will always be keeping a tab on what’s happening in your town, via the news in all its forms, print, television, radio and the World Wide Web.
Germany a country with a population of 80,219,695 give or take a few, is flooding. Dad rings me asking me where do the Schmidts live? Two things happen, firstly I am laughing on the inside – that would be like asking where do the Smiths live?, Or in Ireland asking where do the Kelly’s live. EVERYWHERE!!!!
The second thing is the awareness that my Dad’s worry, knows no bounds, that his worry has international capabilities. My Dad has such capacity for worry that he can take on the fear of a flooding country until he knows, that the 9 people that I know, are safe, and then he can happily move on to the next worry. (His work here is done type super hero).
There has been one time when his level of worry matched mine. Well who am I kidding, my Dad is a champion at what he does he will always be the master of worry. The day that my level of worry was mirroring his, is a day that will go down in modern history as having a similar effect on all people, the world over.
It was September the 11th 2001. I was living in London at the time on a two year work visa. Working at Moorfield’s Eye hospital, basing myself in London traveling the world as all good Australians do. It was 1:45 pm London time, when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Centre. I was working an afternoon shift. It is around 2pm when the second plane crashes. By 3pm the first building collapses, half an hour later the second building is falling to the ground.
I just wanted to call home and talk to my Mum and Dad. It is late at night, they may not even know what has happened with the time difference. I try and call Shane I don’t know why. All of us antipodeans are in the tea room thinking of home.
It was hard to peel yourself away from the television, I am not sure what work we managed, particularly when the buildings fell, it just was so unbelievable- more Hollywood than reality. I didn’t want to watch but in some way I was making myself witness the horror of the modern day battle field.
No trenches here, the actual death toll we later found out was nothing compared to some of the major battles in the world wars but the cunning tactics and the symbolism of these attacks were too much.
My immediate thought was that London would be next it made sense that the terrorists would go for the London Underground. The trip home on the Northern line was surreal. There are strict unwritten rules on the famous London Underground, no eye contact, and absolutely no small talk with strangers, no niceties exchanged related to weather or to any other random topic. This largely was the same except in my carriage there was a Buddhist monk whom I felt all the passengers were watching. We were trying to take comfort from his calmness, at least I was. There was a look of serenity on his face that just didn’t seem to match the BBC afternoon news reports.
Dad wanted me to fly home. The last thing that I wanted to do was to be on a plane heading home. It was uncertain times. This time Dad’s worry made sense and had some foundation, but you can’t live your life in fear.
I kept thinking of this Buddhist monk in the days that followed. What was he thinking? Even in the darkest of times the real strength must come from within. I like to think that he was meditating for all of us traveling on his carriage he could no doubt feel the energy.
My dad has just interrupted my blogging with another phone call to ask about our current rain fall to date… and to also tell me that he is stressed out….St George, his football team of 62 years is not on track to win the premiership he doesn’t know what to do. It is a good day when we can go back to worrying about St George, I think it is the equivalent of a quite news day for him.