I visit libraries just to feel better. Have been there four times in the past week.
Jo was sitting comfortably on the couch, reading the newspaper. She's a tenancy advocate for a local community legal centre and has one son who is 27. He just got back from Europe and is staying with her for a while. He's a digital strategist and writing a musical.
"He's already used up the internet access at home ... it's so slow now. Three more days until we can go online again properly."
I laughed and told her her that will always happen as long as he lives with her. Jo raised her son by herself. It was hard, but she managed to do it with the help from her mother who minded him while Jo went to uni and worked. She said she couldn't have done it if she had more than one child.
Jo is kind and shy. Her TV is on the blink and she loves it because she's reading so many books. She borrowed three today.
We sat together awkwardly, but by the end of the conversation we became more relaxed and friendly and exchanged cards. If she needs building work she'll call Dave, and if I need tenancy advice I'll call her.
I thanked her so much for saying yes and talking to me, because I could tell she hesitated.
"Oh I'm not very interesting."
I said everybody is interesting. Every one of us. Jo had a seashell sewn onto her handbag. She had a limp because she had a sore knee and she'll probably have eggs for dinner because she has four chickens.
We walked outside and I told her I really want to get chickens. We stood in the rain and her eyes shone when she described her chicken coop.
"The Radiata Pine in the backyard was struck by lightening and had to be felled, so I got a guy to come up from Hartley and mill it. I built the coop myself, and the chickens lay eggs every day. If I ever build another one, I'd draw a plan."
So cool. We laughed and I touched her arm when we said goodbye.
Previous Street Talks:
Noelene The Young
Megan The Mouse
Harpal The Australian
Darren The Artist