Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
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12 of 12, November 2015

Two months ago the 12th saw me in Melbourne; that’s where I ended up again today. The in-flight magazine had only one sudoku, and that had been half-completed by some previous passenger, so I abandoned my pre-take-off ritual and settled down to get some assignments marked, working my way through three before I drifted off as we neared Melbourne.

The last time I flew over Melbourne I had this rather strange sensation as I identified various landmarks from my high-altitude vantage point. It was as if the place below me was haunted, and it took me a moment or two to recognise the nature of the ghosts. They were me … well, past mes, to be more accurate. They were the echoes of my own self, from past events and places that I had been: me hiking with Scouts along the coast near Kilcunda and Wonthaggi, me driving along the Eastern Freeway, me working among the low towers of the University of Melbourne, me living in my old abodes, me hunting caches in various locations, me cycling down Royal Parade, me unlocking the gate to the carpark at the Scout hall, me driving a Scout-laden car down to and up out of the gorge at Bulla on the way out to Rowallan Scout camp, and even me flying into or out of the very airport at which I was about to land. On today’s flight, low hazy cloud made it difficult to spot the sites of these fading recollections, but there was still a hint of the haunting on my approach.

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Since I last flew with them, Jetstar have opened a new terminal and I have to say that it is not an improvement on the old, for multiple reasons. The distance from the gate to the baggage carousel felt nearly long enough to get me into the CBD and thus should have provided enough time for my bag to be waiting when I arrived (it wasn’t, but I’ll admit I probably walk quite a bit faster than the average passenger), and then, having walked a similar distance to find a taxi rank, it was to find that it was singularly devoid of taxis. Perhaps I should have walked to the CBD!

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Eventually a cab came and took me to my old workplace, where I got a warm chocolate (it wasn’t hot), and did some more marking prior to the meeting which was the purpose of my visit. bIMG_5841

It was kind of weird being back in the old workspace, nearly four years after I left, and although I miss my friends/colleagues from here (a few of whom I caught up with today), I don’t really miss this particular workspace as it lacks soul. I did a bit more marking there once the meeting was over, and the place just felt dead, even when I was catching up with folk.

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Late in the day one of my colleagues/friends and I headed into town, by tram and on foot along city streetscapes, to find my hotel and to have dinner together.

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I failed the find-the-hotel test. I knew where to go, but on arriving at the door, there was no signage I could see to let me know I was in the right spot … well, no signage, that is, apart from the logo on the footpath beneath my feet! (There was also a sign above the portico but this wasn’t visible from beneath or even from the side of the street as we approached.)

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After skipping some crowded/noisy/smoky/boozy venues, we found a completely deserted Indian restaurant. Despite a vague concern about what such emptiness might imply about its reputation, we had a good meal and were able to have a really good chat without much in the way of background noise.

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After leaving my friend to catch her train, I had a bit of a stroll along the western part of the Yarra/Docklands area, and took a few photos in the evening light. Despite the gondola, Melbourne is definitely not Venice.

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And it’s finally happened. I’ve had the sort of semester in which I’ve ended up feeling very run down, and I had expected to start coming down with a lurgy before now. Up until today, I had escaped … but unfortunately there is a tell-tale hint of trouble lurking in my throat. I am generally sceptical of herbal remedies, but echinacea has, on occasion, appeared to head off some afflictions for me if I hit them with it soon enough, and so I found myself a supply and can only hope that it helps.

The medicinal properties of the Kit Kat supplement, on the other hand, are highly debatable. My justification is that I’ve had the sort of semester that needs chocolate. (In my defence, and with a certain amount of self-righteousness, I will assert that I haven’t had very much chocolate at all in recent weeks. Perhaps that is why I am coming down with something!)

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(The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month. This provides the opportunity to get snapshots of different aspects of your life. I have been doing this since 2009.)

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