Sunday, 12 May 2013

Day 155: The importance of history

Day 155 (10 May) Friday. I am to make a special trip up the Coast today for a 'community engagement' lecture. We do these things from time to time, in addition to our usual work. Friday has usually been my day to catch up for a coffee with Chas, now I'll just think about him. 

Breakfast, at 6.12am
The lecture is at 10am, so I opted to get a few hours sleep and get up earlier than usual (4.00am) to put together some notes. It a work habit I've developed over the years. A doctor once told me that every hour before twelve midnight is worth two afterwards. I try to do that as much as possible, rather than work through the night (as I did when I was a student). 

By 6.12am, the lecture is well and truly prepared. It is one of those challenging ones...condense thirty years of what I've learnt about Japanese history and politics into two hours, including a break and question time. My students know of my 'frustration' at having only 13 weeks to talk to them about Japan...two hours...sheesh.

There is also the added element that this sort of engagement just might inspire a student or two to pursue history, or Japanese, or just break down the fears about what 'university' might be about. I remember my first encounter with 'University people' as a high school left a lasting impression. I really want to do the same. 

In the office at work, just before the high school lecture, a text comes through that there is no change, he's hanging in there. Not quite a 'rally' but I carry the thought to get me through the day that I might be able to catch up tomorrow morning. Maybe. 

History is not in just one book, as I told the students today.
My office, or one wall, at 6.12pm
The lecture works...eventually. I introduce the students to some of my own research towards the end and it seems to capture their imaginations. I breathe a sigh of relief. I return to my office to find a media request, this time over a silly press release put out by one of the local candidates for the federal election. Some long bow about Nambour being swamped by boat people. Good grief. Sometimes I have to explain some stupid things. 

I've a plan to try and leave a bit earlier today...maybe via the hospital, maybe. 

I have instead, a couple of students drop by. It is important time for the students, and a part of the job I don't have enough time for these days. Never mind I have some new assignments to prepare and a few other things to do...I really do enjoy this time with students, it matters. 

In the end, I leave about quarter to eight. I drive through without stopping at Caboolture tonight. My mate's life is slipping away. I'm home about 9pm...I miss my best mate. It's been a day of life's total mix of emotions. I did the very best I can do at my job...I missed my best mate, throughout the day. I went to bed, still hoping that maybe tomorrow I could duck up to the hospital. 

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