… but not for the reasons you might suspect.
Yes, Australia is a beautiful country. Or so say the folks that have been there. I recall when I graduated from college, there was an abundance of teaching jobs there … and I was sorely tempted. How differently life might have turned out, eh? But that is not why I say this.
And yes, Koalas and Kangaroos and Wallabys and Dingos are all unique and cute and deserve the appropriate kudos and smiles. But no, that is not why I say this.
And although I like UGG’s and Australian Shampoo and various Movie Stars and whatnot … snow trekking set aside, this is not why I say this.
And it is not because one of the authors I follow on Facebook is currently visiting Australia … and giving us a blow-by-blow of many wonderful Australian things.
And it is not because of the Australian voice-over artist who encouraged me to go to the radio station and actually see if there was a chance I could get on air with my voice. Constant readers know that I did, and they did … and the rest is history.
And it is not even because of all the Constant Readers who are from Australia … or the fact that Australia and Canada are in a virtual tie on the list for most hits to the Happy Holly Project, second only to the States here.
It is because of one of the people I had lunch with today.
The lunch was organized by Pat, the eighty-something gal who is working on her college degree. And the lunch included her, Linda. me and a charming couple who are both professors at the local University. It was the first time I had met him, although I had met her at a bar-b-cue this past summer.
He is from Australia.
With that unmistakable Australian accent. And just as you might expect, both he and his wife were intelligent, charming and witty. And the lunch went quite well.
He explained his love of anchovies … of which Linda and I are avid fans … and there were high fives all around as we shared other similar tastes and preferences.
He described that unique item that is Vegemite … and how it tastes salty and smoky at the same time … according to Wikipedia:
Vegemite is made from brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives. It is salty, slightly bitter and malty, and rich in umami – similar to beef bouillon. The texture is smooth and the product is a paste. It is not as intensely flavoured as British Marmite and it is less sweet than the New Zealand version of Marmite.
But the thing that got my eternal gratitude was a discussion of my blogging … things I have blogged and why … and the reason for this Happy Holly Project blog in the first place.
I do not share much here about the heartbreak that led me to writing in the first place … except to say that it did. But for some reason, Linda felt the need to tell a few stories related to that.
And I agreed that I had fallen in love. Had jumped in with both feet … something quite unusual for yours truly. And I told the unvarnished truth about how it all came about … and came to an end. Fully expecting to hear things like “Well, you will have this.” or “Well that is to be expected.” or something along those lines.
Trust me, it was perfectly awful. Maybe the rudest, most classless break-off I have ever heard of … even given allowances for the circumstances.
But then maybe it was just because it was me going through it all and it hurt so terribly much.
I had said many, many kind things about the man. And what things were and were not.
When I got to saying exactly how he chose to cut things off … abruptly … rudely … harshly … the Australian professor, with eyes wide open, leaned far back in his seat.
And muttered something that I did not hear.
When he came back upright, he sat there … with his hand in the shape of the letter “L” … for loser. He sat there in that position for a full minute … or longer.
Linda laughed. And agreed.
I was stunned.
I sometimes forget how horrendous the reality of it really was … or how it might look to a not emotionally involved outsider. But I certainly saw a gut level reaction today.
And oddly, it made me feel better. Granted, if they knew the man they would no doubt like him. But regardless of what a wonderful man he was … and is … the way that he ended things with me was abhorrent.
I am not holding my breath for a proper apology.
But I do have a greater admiration for all things Australian.