NEXT OF KIN

We’ve been away up north in coastal Urunga, NSW. What a lazy, lovely, spectacular place it is.

It was hard to come home to our mouldy, dark, lazy, lovely Sydney workers’ hovel.

Robinson wore a RAVING INNER CITY LUNATIC t-shirt up north. The fact that we’re inner city lunatics now, not workers, welcomed us back home. As did Nina the Cat in the front window. Thanks Krista for minding our hovel and risking your knitting with Nina.

It was funny leaving notes for Krista about the intimacies of our old house. The front door doesn’t always shut properly. The fire alarms go off for no good reason (a fire, fire for example) and the ceilings are so high here you need to turn the alarm off with that bamboo garden stake kept behind the bedroom door. That’s what it’s there for, though you can use it to whip consenting buttocks as well.

When we got to Urunga there were similar shared intimacies. The washing machine powder dispenser must be left a little open during a cycle or else it floods. The dishwasher ON/OFF button sometimes doesn’t work. Spin around once to your left and try it again.

The elderly neighbour asked me to throw her newspaper up onto her veranda in the mornings, if I happened to see it there, and didn’t mind. She said I could pick some of her passionfruit.

Life on a blue/green planet.

On the drive home we passed a terrible car crash on the other side of the highway. Traffic was backed up for miles. All that angst and need for speed versus a person bleeding on a stretcher in the middle of the road, tended by ambos. We’re frail against what’s coming.

Robinson and I both burst into tears. Sooks in our old age, we’re witness by now to the things that can go right and wrong in a life, and how tenuous things actually are.

Miles past the crash site Robinson wondered who our next of kin are, beyond each other, and how the authorities would find them.

It’s a sensible, morbid question. I think we’re out of date, pending a dual disaster. It will be a shambles.

Technically, ‘next of kin’ is a closest living relative. In my case that might be my older sibling twins or my younger brother. Or someone else I’ve nominated. The Geelong Football Club, for example. My estate could get them a ruckman after all these years – though they don’t seem to want one, and they are on top of the AFL ladder.

On TikTok, apparently, kin is anyone you have affection for. As in ‘I kin [whoever won the latest celebrity Shit Show].’ I’m not dissing that. There’s much to be admired in this flimsy, present world. Truly. It’s all we have.

We made our wills thirty-five years ago and have agreed for at least the last ten years that we need to change them. So far we’re too busy being raving inner city lunatics to get around to doing anything about it.

Note to self: do something. About something. Soon.

Urunga wetlands. The future is ahead of us.

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