I was a bad Australian today. Shortly after 11 am, when I returned to the reporting room after counselling a woman about her obstetric ultrasound there was discussion in the reporting room, wondering what happened to the overhead announcement, to alert everybody that it was time for a minute’s silence? Last year, I remember sitting quietly with everybody else, in that same room. I saw the ANZAC biscuits I’d baked the night before and got incredibly excited that I’d serendipitously baked ANZAC biscuits for ANZAC Day, completely forgetting that is in April, and Remembrance Day in Australia is the same thing as it is in Canada, Nov 11. Not only had I forgot to pause work at 11 am but I’d forgot why. All week Canadians have been walking around with plastic red poppy flower lapel pins. There are TV community service advertisements extolling younger generations holding tight to still living war veterans. All my grandparents are dead. I have no war veteran to call. I felt it my duty to explain ANZAC Day to everybody in the room, getting the date completely wrong, but the sentiment right. Now I have to go back and explain ANZAC Day. It was a busy day at work. I didn’t leave until 7.
I made sure to have a lunch break as it was so busy. This was a good thing to do. Instead of resenting the incessant onslaught of paper cuts that leave you bleeding by mid-afternoon I wandered downstairs and bought lunch (the salad in the fridge had turned again), sitting in the median strip in University Ave under almost naked trees and loud chirping birds and then grabbing a coffee treat at Tim Hortons. I felt quite at peace by the time 20 minutes had passed by and I sipped my medium French vanilla with an espresso shot (the servers still all call it “expresso”, perhaps it is deliberate and a new drink called “expresso” and not a shot of coffee). The afternoon, though as busy as the morning, was more enjoyable and we stayed on top of things. Well, I did.