There’s something symbolic and, indeed, deeply personal about the image illustrating this week’s Weekly Wrap, my five-year old photograph titled To boldly go….
A small boat heads out into the fog of San Francisco Bay on 10 December 2010. Even though it’s probably just crossing the bay to Marin County, or stopping near Alcatraz Island for a spot of fishing, it looks like there’s a vast and dangerous journey ahead.
It continues to be one of my personal favourites.
I’ve used this photo before, to illustrate Weekly Wrap 267: Chaos, then embracing the change, on 19 July 2015.
But I also used it four years earlier, on 24 January 2011, to illustrate Accommodation: into the unknown. I’d had to leave Enmore with no clear plan. I was worried. The image reflected my mood.
Less than a fortnight after that post, three strong men and a truck took away all my household possessions and office furniture, and put it into storage.
I took just two suitcases of clothing and my most important tools and documents, and headed to the Blue Mountains to stay at Bunjaree Cottages for “a few weeks”. I had a month of work-related travel coming up, I said, and I’d sort out my accommodation when I got back.
Five years later, I’m still at Bunjaree Cottages.
And it’s still temporary.
That forced house move was bad enough. NSW law allows property owners to fuck off the tenant, slap a bit of paint around, and up the rent 40 percent, because real estate is more important than Jesus. Sixty days notice, no reason required, piss off.
Many other countries understand that a rental house or apartment isn’t just an income stream for the owner, it’s someone’s home. The very idea of being able to evict people from their homes purely to make more money is seen as obscene. But not in Australia, where both major political parties, spineless as they are, pander to the fears of middle-class voters who’ve become used to their lazy, risk-free investments and… but no, I digress.
A shame, that, because I was going to say “sucking up to them like so many saveloys at a seventies swingers party”. I’ll guess I’ll have to save that line for another time.
But it wasn’t just cutlery and office chairs that were put into storage five years ago. All manner of irritating, inconvenient and challenging things were packed up into their own little boxes and locked away.
Sorting out my income tax and GST, for example, which is why the Australian Taxation Office has been sending me increasingly enthusiastic invitations to file tax returns and, should it perhaps fit into my busy schedule one day, pay some tax.
Perhaps putting some real effort into replacing revenue lost through the usual attrition of clients might have been an idea too, rather than pouring so many hours into poorly-managed and poorly-promoted podcasts, fun that they are — although as I said on the Media Report, I think that crowdfunding is a sustainable model for small-scale media such as mine.
And into the tightest-locked boxes of all went thoughts.
Thoughts related to the end of a beautiful decade-long relationship. The death of a cat. The disappearance of another. And many other matters, both contemporaneous and historical, that need not concern you.
Which is why this photograph is so apt. In early December just gone, after a few weeks when the black dog had been particularly snarly, I made an appointment with my GP of nearly 20 years. “[REDACTED], we’re going to sort this out properly, once and for all,” I said. We spent the next hour starting to put together our action plan.
Yes, boys and girls, we’re unlocking all those little boxes, something I hinted at in last week’s headline. Some of these boxes date back decades. A few date back, inevitably, to childhood. I’m looking forward to opening them up. All of them.
The thing about opening long-locked boxes is that sometimes they have spiders inside.