It's hot in Sydney. It hit 41 celsius on the weekend. The first hot days of the summer that will be with us in a few short weeks. And I wasn't prepared. I wore jeans and a white shirt. A mistake I think. This is the sort of weather where waking up enters you into a city-wide wet t-shirt competition. Deodorant companies are the real winner. Do you check the weather? I don't. I base all my decisions on how I felt about yesterday's decisions. Maybe checking the weather is how you know you're growing up.
But it's not much of a complaint is it.
I was on radio on Saturday morning as usual. And as usual I was playing songs and makingdumb jokes. And as usual, the news was awful. There was an arrest in connection with the murder of a Sydney police worker by a 15 year old boy who had links to terrorism. Jihadi John had been killed in what David Cameron was calling "a strike at the heart of IS." So it seemed terrorism was going to be the news of the day already. And then reports started saying 10 people were dead at a Paris cafe. Then, as we know, that figure turned into 20 and then 30 and then the hostages and then the uncertainty. A terrible morning.
What do you do, literally a world away, on a day like that? No really, what do you do? I'm actually asking. Because we had no idea. We watched the news for a while but as Paris headed for the thick of the night nothing changed. The same stories rolled around the coverage at 5pm as did at midday. I visited Martin Place where a few hundred gathered to light candles and sing the French National Anthem La Marseillaise, but I didn't know the words. I went to the Opera House but didn't see the French flag projected on the giant sails, rather I saw them do the keystoning required to get the projection of the flag just right. I mistimed it. 'Am I meant to stick around?' I wondered. I felt utterly useless.
In the news today I see the Russians have offered France a puppy in a show of solidarity. I think that fairly sums it up. It's hard to know what to do in the face of such evil, so in the meantime here's a puppy. Puppies are fun. Coming to terms with tragedy of this scale - maybe that's how you know you're growing up.
At times like this I realise how lucky I am. I'm a young white man, and I'm afforded all the unjust societal privilege that comes with that in Australia. I was born into relative wealth. And I live on an island thousands of kilometres from this piecewar. And though it rears its ugly head here on occassion, we have so far been saved the sort of trauma seen in Iraq, New York, London, Syria and now Paris.
My biggest complaint is I went to the beach to cool off. I feel so guilty. And without trying to decide how others feel for them, I think it's fair to say that is the general feeling here.
For all our problems - and for sure there are many - we have it so good.