I post and blog a lot of travel photos and experiences but rarely my work, leaving me open to repeatedly hear the incredulous, “Do you even work!?” Last weekend, a long weekend in Western Australia, Mardi Gras in Sydney, when everybody else on my Facebook feed was interstate marching in a parade, I spent four days straight at work. Yes, I work. In between I squeezed as much as I could. I even work every night from home. After 4 years, my second fellowship project has finally had an accepted manuscript last week. This was 4 years of mostly unpaid out of hours working from home, on a plane, or during my lunch break. Yesterday I stayed late at work, to help setup an Excel audit file on the work server for our new non-invasive prenatal aneuploidy screening, and to give the last first trimester screen patient of the day her high risk screening result. On a Friday afternoon, when I was meant to have gone home an hour before. I enjoy my jobs, so it never actually feels like work and I forget it’s time to go home.
Today is Western Australia’s state election. I went in early, at 08:30, to Maylands Park Primary School. The queue was already tracing the perimeter of the lawn outside the library. A sausage sizzle was in full swing. Mostly Greens and Labor flyers were being handed out. A few independent candidates and solitary Liberal and Australian Christians For Families workers cruised by. I almost called out to the ACFF representative if she was interested in being a surrogate for my husband and I, to start a family, seeing as she was in support of families and all. But that would be advertising intent which is illegal in Australia. I just listened to the onions and sausages quietly sizzling on the barbecue and stared at my green thongs, thankful I wasn’t in a country where I would be thrown off a roof, tied to a chair blindfolded because I had a husband. Then I resented my country because our marriage is still not legally recognised. A trans woman was stoned to death last week somewhere overseas.
I didn’t purchase a Democracy Sausage as I was full from eating leftovers for breakfast (Dan has been in Rottnest for two nights, staying with Charlotte – her plus one for a wedding, so I have had UberEats deliver food because I’m too lazy to cook). I felt like having a sausage sizzle so I drove all the way to Bunnings in Morley, on the pretext to purchase terracotta pots that I could’ve got in Mount Lawley, but conveniently the entrance was flanked with Dianella Scouts and their sausage sizzle. A$2.50 got me a sausage, with onions, in a bun, tomato sauce and the yellow one. I managed to push the left-steering trolley right through to the outdoor garden section one-handed without bumping into anything hard enough to knock it over, just a few scratches and dents.
Today, I exercised my democratic right to vote. I enjoyed my weekend re-potting our new plants, afforded by my penalty rate 2013 AMA Industrial Agreement Medical Practitioner callbacks from the extra on call shifts I picked up. A job I studied long and hard to get, supported at the time by social welfare (Austudy) and subsidised by the Australian Government by the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. As bummed as I am to now be in the top tax bracket and see almost half my income taxed, I get a secret thrill wondering if my tax dollars are helping new Medical Students become doctors too; when my uncle had a stroke last month feeling safe that he both accessed appropriate emergency care and could afford it too, because it’s publicly funded; that some of my cousins, who are facing tough times, will probably be supported by our collective contributions. I still haven’t finished reading that Ayn Rand book about John Gault.
In the morning my eyes pricked with tears of nationalistic pride as my mind remembered how excited I was in Primary School every election, when the school grounds were transformed into a shrine to democracy. I possibly annoyed my Mum more about her duty to vote than about how much better we were told to eat per day or how we should be going to church every Sunday. I was a deontological child. Grown up, I almost forgot the election was today; if it weren’t for somebody posting a link to the WA State Election 2017 sausage sizzle map, I might have forgot to vote. Time to get back to rolling a rock up a hill.