We rolled back into town yesterday afternoon after a week on the New South Wales coast. What is there to say about holidays, other than they are delicious. Even travelling single-mum style 1500 km was no bother – actually that is a slight exaggeration – I'm getting a few flashbacks as I type. The secret to my success? Spend a small fortune on bad snacks and stock up on kids magazines. In many respects it was like an old fashioned meet, with family members travelling to the seaside town of Tathra from interstate and overseas. We rented two places, a flash house overlooking the Ocean and a unit in the flatlands to accommodate the large numbers. Between breakfast cook-ups and sit down dinners we played cards, checkers, passed around Fifty Shades of Grey and splashed around in the pool nursing cold drinks of the G&T variety. Possibly because we arrived here as refugees, my parents always emphasized the importance of family. But we were also raised in an atmosphere of crisis. If we had a story it was this: we could come together in times of crisis. Given this template it was a wholly new experience to, you know, gather and have a regular good time. I loved every minute of it except the ten minute breakdown on the last night when I lost patience with the monkeys and locked myself in the bathroom yelling through tears Go To Sleep. (Sleep was hard to come by in the flash house; the owners were too cool for curtains).
It's hard to know sometimes whether literature shapes the world or the other way around. Every now and again I had a sense of de-ja-vu like I was in a play, a Hannie Rayson or Joanna Murray Smith play and I was on the MTC stage. I mean, there was copious alcohol, a family meeting where words like power of attorney were uttered and on the last day a car accident involving a kangaroo. Real aussie drama.
Illustration: Two-headed monster by Otto.