I am not one who believes in omens or other forms of superstition. A black cat is not going to stop me proceeding on my way. On the other hand, I do believe the brain is a complicated and sophisticated computer with access to all the data input of one’s senses and feelings. It is processing data to which one one may not be consciously paying any heed, such as sounds and snatches of conversation, cloud formations, sky colour, smells, and of course the sensations and feelings of one’s own body.
From the dreams I have I know my brain is capable of imaginative use of the information it stores and processes. So when I have a “bad feeling” about something. I pay heed. I pay heed because I figure my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Call it superstition if you will, but I consider it to be more along the lines of unresearched science. Empirically valid observations.
On Thursday I was to have accompanied the boss to a meeting of Environmental Health Officers at Leeman, a small town about 270km north of Perth. We were to drive up on the Thursday, meet everyone over dinner at Green Head, and stay overnight for the meeting on Friday.
Unfortunately a sudden bereavement meant that I had to go alone. My first thought was of course that I could now take the bike rather than the car. (I had already offered to take the boss as a pillion before the situation changed – but was refused). Ordinarily I would have jumped at the opportunity to ride, packed my new cissy seat bag, and set off. But something was telling me that this was not a good idea. I could not rationally identify what could go wrong that would be a problem, certainly not the weather, as I have weather gear to wear, and quite like riding in rain as long as I am not cold. Nonetheless I listened to my subconscious. On those occasions I did not, I have usually regretted it.
So I took the car. I set off just after lunch. It was a mundane trip. MP3 player blasting. Thermos of coffee for the occasional rest break and leg stretch. The only problem was that I had to cross Perth during the rush hour. Nothing exciting enlivened the trip except seeing a couple of emus and a kangaroo in the dark somewhere before Cervantes. I arrived at Green Head after 8PM. I could not find the dinner venue in the dark, so after cruising Ocean View Road a few times I headed on up the road to the motel, at Leeman.
It turned out not to be a motel but a collection of holiday units. In other words a motel without an office. The “onsite managers” referred to on the website were nowhere to be found and they did not answer the phone on the two numbers I had. I wandered around the units hoping to find one with a key in the door and a sign saying “Mr Freshwater”.
Nothing. (Although apparently there was and I missed it)
So I slept in the car. And was pleased that after all, I had not taken the bike. You can sleep on a bike. I have done so. But you have to be really tired, and it is easier in a car.
Not easy enough as it turns out, because I slept fitfully, and at some point I twisted my left knee and seriously exacerbated my arthritis pain. Plus I became cold, and got the shivers and shakes.
At this point I realised that after such a night, and in such condition, I was not going to be able to sit through an all day meeting without embarrassing myself. At 5 Am I decided to drive home. I stopped several times on the way to rest, napping on the roadside, and I called in to my sister’s on the way for a coffee. It was around three pm I arrived back in Katanning. Exhausted and still in pain, I showered, and hit the sack with the electric blanket on high. The warmth was a great pain relief.
A few minutes later Carl was knocking on my window, having seen the car outside. he asked if I realised that everyone was looking for me? I had not, of course. It had not even occurred to me that my absence at the meeting would be reported, and a State – wide police manhunt initiated. The Katanning police arrived at home just as my sister rang to tell me that the Geraldton Police had been enquiring after me.
Then the boss spoke to me on the phone. She was not happy. I can hardly blame her. Once I was thinking rationally it seemed obvious I should have told someone what I was doing. But at the time I just thought I did not want to disturb the boss in her time of bereavement, with what was a minor matter in the scheme of things. Monday would be soon enough.
Now I am in for a bollocking.