Sydney City Living
An apartment in the city is enchanting. Our situation here needs a few tweaks to achieve total sweetness, we've had to sort through dust mites, dried up sewer traps and continuing internet access issues, but these annoyances aside it has really been fun for Joe and I to relive the city life this time with the kids. I love the whole lack-of-space forced paradigm shift replacing costco trips with just-in-time delivery. It pushes the burden of warehousing off of you and on to the many excellent supply sources found in a city. Finding your needs amongst the streets and avenues is a treasure hunt- sometimes a real Where's-Waldo hunt for goods. But that's part of the fun- knitting together your sources of supply- finding the soup nazis. We have taken to never walking the same way twice to uncover the gems hidden in the side streets. I think the only thing missed in city life besides family and friends thus far is horseback riding. This is not easy to pursue in a concrete jungle. Only the lucky- those cops on horseback really have it all.
Our just-in-time world tour living is very Zen. Clutter free. Minimal space, minimal goods, minimal maintenance. The kids watch the city from the windows of our perch on the 13th floor like an IMAX. They keep surveillance of the little ants making their way to work. They marvel at the coffee lines and measure the day by what time the lines start to form. They have given character traits to the shadowy head that slightly rises above the computer screen on the 18th across the way. He/she is always the last to leave the office. Inside our dwelling, our little bathroom is like a watering hole. We all go to it to tend to our most basic needs, and occasionally we meet up and a skirmish arises. Mutual of Omaha could put a camera at the entry and make a fine Wild Kingdom episode. Our fisher price sized appliances are sub par but good all we need. The kids must feel like they are in a playhouse for they dive right in to help with dishes and laundry and after procurement piece the foodstuff into the mini fridge. They even used the easy bake oven on my birthday to make cupcakes. I am not sure how the kids would describe it but the new archetype with less stuff and more pitching-in is an increase in quality of life for me. I used to spend my days mostly alone wetting things, drying things, buying things, cooking things, moving things around the house returning them to their places…then as if things animated at night and walked around I would repeat it all the next day and the next and the ... The absence of this penance has highlighted how many hours I have been spent solitary in an entranced dysthymic state of object manipulation. Shudder. My time with the kids is of a higher quality and I finally have time to write. Rejoice.
It's not all peaches all the time. There is a big uncomfortable scramble the first days in any place as we forage for necessities and set up processes that make the new living situation work. We assess our gains and losses. We high five the gains and sometimes whine like Veruca Salt about the losses. The whole ordeal is an exercise in working as a team to secure the base of the triangle- Abraham Maslow's triangle. Abe never actually put his theory into triangular form- but somewhere along the line some graphic artist or consultant did and I adore them for it. Maslow described his observations about human motivation as being a hierarchy of needs. Physiological needs form the wide base or ground floor of the triangle and must be met before energy towards any higher level needs can be summoned. The absence of having base physiological needs met will result in anxiety and tension. Base needs include breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, excretion, homeostasis (aka stability) and internet connection. Above the base taking up less space horizontally thus beginning a triangular narrowing are the safety needs of personal security, financial security, health/well being, safety against accidents/illness and homeschooling. The next even less horizontally occupying layer is love and belonging, which apart from each other we get largely through our internet connection! The layer on top of it is esteem/to be accepted and valued by others which I read as I really need to be on super mom with the positive feedback because the sources of being valued have greatly been reduced by removing the kids from their larger community. Lastly, the top of the triangle is (angels singing) self-actualization (more singing). Here we realize our full potential. Such a great triangle with solid real world secrets to living well and it gets topped off with self-actualization esoteric BS blah? Personally, if I ever reach the top of the triangle it feels like it would be the one occasion I would actually be into some ink. A really cool understated tattoo permanently marking the occasion.. which seems a much kinder alternative to grabbing a boiling cast iron pattern-engraved pot with with your forearms like Grasshopper did when he arrived at the top (give me a virtual nod if you are old enough to get this reference).
So whats got me thinking about triangles, tattoos, Kung Fu and Maslow?
1. I have become conscious that at the heart of this world tour is the familial experience of establishing and rock climbing said triangle in different cultures- appreciating and co-navigating the challenges each presents. There it is. What it is.
2. The triangle helps structure my empathy for the homeless of Sydney. They are stuck at the base. Trapped in that anxious tense unstable place and their way out is besieged with road blocks. I have clocked hours researching and doing impromptu interviews of people who cross my path and taxi drivers to uncover WHY in this great, beautiful city? What about the culture facilitates this? What can one person do? That last question is a troubling puzzle and the energy behind solving it is welling up. Every possible answer requires paddling downstream to uncover potential negative repercussions. The road to hell for some is paved with the good intentions of others and frankly these people don't need a 2-minute good-Samaritan pick-me-up from me to further f- up their life.
Trying to respectfully sort puzzles in Sydney, 151° Longitude East
Coming soon….the great things about Sydney, homeschooling and...
the well overflows into action with the homeless.