Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Putting out fires.

It was a hot night. An old friend came over for a late dinner and we sat outside and drank cold beers and talked about life and what you can do about it and the answer was: nothing.

My friend is a cop and his girlfriend is an academic and she is soon to leave for a posting at a US university somewhere in the mid-west, with the prospect of a further posting at another campus closer to the west coast; while a university here in Melbourne is also in the throes of making her an offer, but being a university, its bureaucracy moves like a glacier; so she will be more likely to take one of the two US postings. There must be a shortage of academics. I don't even know what they do. They must do something.

So if she goes, that's it. You can't be in Australia and have a girlfriend in America. He is a single child of aged Greek parents who speak little English and who depend on him. He won't leave them to follow her. It sounded to me as if the girlfriend didn't care either way and he'd be better off facing reality and cutting ties now. But he couldn't. Plus he had an eight-grand ring in his pocket that he wasn't sure whether to force the issue with or not.

Eight-grand rings don't force issues, they just sparkle and glister and confuse. But you can't advise, you can only listen. I listened and we ate. We ate spinach paneer and I grilled some fenugreek roti on the barbecue. Have you any idea how good fenugreek roti smells when grilled?

The smoke from the barbecue drifted across the garden and into someone else's garden and it got dark. We had another cold beer. My friend is leaving for Bairnsdale tomorrow for a week, as part of a police special response group co-ordinating emergency services in the bushfire zone. It should be a nice quiet change for him.


Tanna said...

Great writing! Life presents difficult questions/choices and sometimes we miss the question altogether.
Thanks for stopping by my place.

Tanna said...

Great writing! Life presents difficult questions/choices and sometimes we miss the question altogether.
Thanks for stopping by my place.

Carmen in Canada said...

It seems to me that if your friend is "not sure whether to force the issue or not".....then he is not ready to get married yet. He should have no question at all in his mind whether or not to pop the question......This is just my humble opintion, though.

neil said...

Sometimes you want grab someone like that by the shoulders and shake them whilst shouting "You idiot, can't you see she doesn't love you!" But I guess that's the beauty of life - you get to live it any way you want.

kitchen hand said...

Thanks, Tanna - I miss the question all the time. Carmen, I think he's ready but he won't admit to himself that she is not. Neil, you're right - I do want to do that, but some of his other friends already have. I try to be diplomatic. I don't know why. It makes conversations a lot longer.

Another Outspoken Female said...

I find its interesting that it's all about her not being commited, yet he is the one 'married' to his dependent family. He's not free while he is the ever dutiful son. No wonder she wants a little space and freedom. I don't doubt that she may love him, but wants to have her own career and not be tied into this kind of family dynamic. Ahh but that is just my humble opinion :)

kitchen hand said...

I agree completely, AOF. I just couldn't tell him that.

Sarah said...

I sympathise, both with her and with him. (watch while I over-reveal my own questions...)
I'm Australian and living in the US for my PhD, which will soon finish. My boyfriend is American, not really able to move elsewhere for his job. I need to find a job here, but it might be too difficult. Should one marry for a visa, if one is actually in love? Is that too much pressure? Should I just go home if I have to?
Tune in by May to find out.
These things have no right answers sometimes, no matter what one would prefer.

kitchen hand said...

Sarah, if you're in love, marry. I hope it works out for you. Which is your blog?