Highly Risky Behaviour

The chair Lucinda sat in...

Imagine, if you will, the difficulties of explaining to your eleven year old daughter that a stranger who you met on the internet is coming over to visit. She is appalled and outraged, even after I explain that Lucinda and I have been corresponding over a number of years, that I know her real name and occupation and that truly, she is a bona fide all round good person. And also, that she, Posy, is absolutely right to be shocked at my behaviour, and that she, Posy, must never, never talk to strangers on the internet, well, not before the age of 44, anyway.

There was an uneasy detente that lasted until about three seconds after Posy met Lucinda. Lucinda is petite, elegant, and (currently) has hair the colour of maple leaves in the Autumn. She is also irresistible to children, and Posy is now her number one fan. I'm not sure if it was the presents ("All second-hand, I promise, had a clean out at home, LOOK, in a reusable canvas bag even!"), or the fact that she keeps no less than four lipsticks in her handbag, or that she glows with enthusiasm about every topic she embarks on, or that she knows how to effortlessly engage children in conversation, but Posy was hooked.

And how lovely to be able to chat to someone whose words I have been reading for years. I am hoping to catch up with Lucinda again at the end of her holiday. Honestly, she is a force of nature, whizzing around our little island with all the verve and energy I so clearly lack. She will return having seen more of Tasmania than I have. I am trying to get her to up sticks and move here, a strategy I try out on everyone I like. It is a cunning plan to avoid having to travel anywhere else, and fill Tasmania to the brim with all my favourite people. Currently I am tempting her with our low, low house prices..

This morning, my own babies left to travel for a week with their dad. If you have never stood at an airport window and watched your babies fly away, don't worry, you will one day, and it is an awful, heart-dropping moment, even if they are only going for a week. However, an hour later they arrived safely at their destination, and I have only to endure the agonies of knowing they are driving interstate, and flying  again, before I have (most of) my chicks back under my wing again. Do you ever have the urge to roll up your children in cotton-wool and pop them into a nice, safe little box at the back of the wardrobe where nothing bad can ever happen to them? I do, and must sternly resist it. They shall go out into the world and make terrible mistakes and do crazy risky things and follow their stars wherever that may lead them.. and I shan't do a thing to stop them. It's just terrifying, this parenting gig, isn't it?

Meanwhile, I am home alone. I must admit, nagging anxiety re the children apart, I have had the most wonderfully relaxing day:

This was my afternoon nap.

Soon I am going to take everything out of the fridge and decide how to eat it all up this week. I have not done the grocery shopping this week, because I need to eat everything that I bought at the market on the weekend, forgetting that I would be home alone. So, lots of vegies. And some rice. I am thinking of cooking up a large vegetarian curry and eating it all week. Just think, no cooking for days...

Now, Lucinda was complaining that none of the (two? Three?) photos of me on the blog look anything like me. Well, I can't help it if I change into a completely different person in photos. It may be my supernatural powers. Anyway, this morning I tried taking photos of myself, which was actually quite difficult. It turns out I have short arms. These are the ones that looked the least insane, and something like what I see in the mirror (to explain my difficulty, I don't own a smart phone, so am using my actual camera, and cannot see what I am photographing. Highly entertaining for the dog):

This is sort-of-normal-me

This is the disbelieving look I give the children when they tell me they have vaccuumed their rooms, and also the face I make after fifteen or so attempts at taking my own photo, only five of which contain all of my face. 

Updated to add: Lucinda's version of our blind date is hilarious, and very lovely and complimentary. I especially liked this sentence: "And so much for her not liking shopping – she had on a lovely dress, sandals and toes nails painted to match her sandals. "

Dress (the one above) - 5 years old at least, from Target. Sandals - hand-me-downs from Rosy, whose feet obligingly grew two sizes bigger than mine. Toenails - painted by Posy, who did indeed choose from among her fifty nail polishes to match my only pair of coloured sandals (pink, for the record).


Anonymous said…
It's awesome that you two had a meetup! And you look great - and happy - it shows :)
Jo said…
Hi Dar, it was lovely to meet Lucinda, although nerve-racking. It is very odd to meet someone who you know quite well, but have never seen.. one of the strange consequences of modern living and social media..
and yes, I am happy, very, thank you:) Who would have thought that being a single parent could be such a joyful experience. But I am finding it so. Also enjoying this little break though:)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Thanks for the photos as it is nice to put a face to a name.

I haven't had a chance to read the ADR this week yet, because I saw your blog entry in blogger today and read the first paragraph and had an internal alarm bell go off. Honestly it was screaming at me! Glad to hear everything is OK and all went well.

Anyway, I grew up being surrounded by some dubious folks and can offer you this bit of advice regarding predators. There are three things to note about predators which should set of your alarm bells:

1. Be wary of any man exercising white male privilege: i.e. The man-terruption! They're a nuisance and they believe that they are more charming than they actually are. And they're not only a problem for females, I can assure you...

2. Sociopaths are often superficially charming. Be very wary of them as they mean you no good and not to stress, you can't hurt their feelings by telling them to rack off...

3. Beware of the male that is superficially charming, but occasionally says very odd (and often suggestive) things because they are real nuisance and things may escalate if allowed...

That is some hard won advice, which you can choose to contemplate or ignore at your leisure.

Also, I do hope that you enjoy your week and that the children get up to not too much mischief! :-)!

PS: We went to see the film "Joy" yesterday with Jennifer Lawrence and it was very good.


Jo said…
Chris, it is so kind of you to be concerned:) Don't worry, I am a very cautious person and a very good judge of character. Lucinda is a marvellous and kind person and not at all a sociopath:) and she is a very well respected and respectable member of her community. Actually, she was taking more of a risk than I was - she has a significant on-line presence in her role in the real world, whereas I have only this blog. I could be just anyone!!

Anonymous said…
No, you are so sweet! Thank you for the kind and way too positive words. And thank you for the warm hospitality. I will be back!!!

You look so beautiful in these photos. Because you are in real life. And the love between you and your offspring is a presence that can be felt. Just as your "disbelieving look" photo shows you are not mean and shouty but use a hint of humour in correcting or challenging your offspring.

I am in awe of how you manage a full time job, single parenting, a clean and tidy house, a massive garden and a blog. And look fit and healthy.

I've written a post on our date. I may be calmer and quieter next time as I won't have the blind date jitters.
Jo said…
Lucinda, yes, I was ridiculously nervous beforehand as well! And don't believe I am not shouty. Just ask Posy. She often reminds me that I am a Very Bad Mother and should go to my room or use an Inside Voice..

So looking forward to seeing you again. Will give you a proper tour this time. I was a bit flustered last time you saw me:)

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