Came in from the summer garden just as the sun was coming up and saw that President Obama had been re-elected to a second term. Out here there is great relief in terms of American foreign policy because a world power impacts on those of us in the Third World in ways that it might be hard for those living elsewhere to understand.
And the power lines are up again, catching up with news and blogs. Early November and pretty fuchsias coming into flower, my thorny ‘Mermaid’ roses golden against the old wall at the side of the house. Blue-headed lizards dozing on sunwarmed terracotta tiles. The dogs splashing in pools of irrigation water at the back, small planes flying low overhead headed for fields and crop-spraying. Pesticide drift on a windy day. My neighbour is at the front gate doing a jolly Morris dance with the fingers of one hand snapping and twirling above her head because she wants me to look at her on the new video phone for the intercom. I am slow-roasting fennel and red onions for a different kind of quiche for lunch. Talking with a friend on the mobile phone about domestic violence, about women’s lives, about choices and craziness.
A day that is like any other and unlike any other, filled with possibilities and difficulties, the morning flying past — more election news, more political analyses, phone calls about school-feeding, towelling dry a small wet dog before she dashes into the kitchen. Another neighbour has bought an antique 1880s clock in gilded porcelain , the ornate clockface suspended on the shoulders and dented wings of two sphinxes, one frowning and the other smirking. I admire it, telling one white lie after another. The housemate calls and says she is feeling much, much better. I’m not sure I believe her. A small cat is sleeping stretched out in sun on the verandah step and trusting me to keep dogs away while she sleeps. I can’t make sense of the notes I made yesterday, lazy notetaking and nobody but myself to blame.
A dog walker calls out to me and I run into the street to pat his puppy, a young Rottweiler named Beastie Boy. We talk about municipal elections and his new job on oil rigs off the coast of Angola. My sweet Great Dane comes down the drive and sees me outside cuddling and fondling a strange dog. He bellows and howls with rage, betrayal and dog-dismay.
The dog-walker shows me a photo of the racing bike he will buy with money earned on oil rigs, his dreams for the future all bound up with racing fast bikes at rallies. He doesn’t care who gets to use the oil, he doesn’t care who has the right to that oil, he doesn’t worry about pollution of the coral reef or oceans off Africa. He just wants his future to open up like a narrow road curving off to the horizon and glimpsed over handlebars. We all have our own absurd and sometimes unrealistic dreams and hopes, we all have moments of rage and disappointment, as humans we have more in common than we care to admit. Beastie Boy whimpers to see me walk away and my own dog roars at me through the fence where roses and pelargoniums tumble over spires of lavender.