Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Community Capers

Now that I’m a dweller of regional suburbia I’ve decided, since the coffers somewhat allow this time round, that I’ll take the opportunities that arise to participate or attend community activities.

I’ve attended the opening of an art exhibition which made me a little sad because I couldn’t afford the price tag on any of the pieces although I know exactly where, in my future house, that I will put them. I walked around with a friend, sipping a glass of champagne, admiring all the efforts of NT artists and their creativity.

The following day I participated in the annual “Women Walk the World”, where normally I would sit back and ‘man the stall’ or just be out bush fixing a fence in the blazing sun. There was only a mere 5 of us eager enough to pound the pavement; our new International Officer for the CWA, her friend, our Secretary, our President and me with my dog, Monty, in tow because he was busy peeing on everything or trying to escape that ‘scary’ truck that just went past. I also had to be watchful that he didn’t pee on my friends’ pram. The other, less energetic members and their friends, ate scones and sweets and drank coffee in the hall while we were gone.

But the community event that had me in my element was the Great Nitmiluk Toad Bust at the national park, hosted by Ranger Claire, as part of Parks Week.

There were bloody kids everywhere. Squealing and talking loudly to ensure they are heard over any other possible noise, asking questions like only a bloody kid can. And I was going to make sure I wasn’t going to be outdone by a bloody kid.

My friend, Jac, and I had an agreement. Since she didn’t like toads but wanted to be there, she would shine the torch on them and I would catch them. And catch I did. Every time one of us saw a toad, whatever I was carrying made a sudden exit from my hands and I would leap and bound and jump and slide and climb and slosh and ignore “Please do not walk here” signs till I had that slimy toad in my hands then into the sandwich bag.

Our outcome was good. A team effort though Jac often did question my eye-sight on occasion. We caught three big toads and one smaller toad and prevented an innocent frog from being picked up as a toad by someone who is more blind than me. Though really, my eye-sight is not that bad, this fellow just lacked a torch to see what he was doing but had enough common sense to ask us if “that little one is a toad?”

At the end of the evening the bloody kids, who worked in a noisy, squealing pack with a few reluctant adults in tow, caught plenty of toads. And I even willingly shared our catch so the littlest kid didn’t miss out on being in the group photo.

Catching toads sent me back in my memory bank to my college days, where I would torment toads and people alike. My favourite trick was to tie sinkers to the feet of toads then hurl them onto the roof of the dorms. They would then proceed to hop across the roof, if they hadn’t already fallen off, dragging the sinker behind them with a clankity, clankity-clank. Not everyone thought I was as funny or clever as I did. Take Michael for example. It was above his room that I would normally throw the toads. He got cranky about it. But at the same time he had no problem with being dared by fellow students to sit on a toaster to see if his pubic hairs caught on fire. Go figure.

"Help, I've been put in a sandwich bag by a mad woman!"
Back to the present. I’m sure there will be more, mature activities I can do here in K-Town that don’t involve toads. You never know, next art exhibition I could be throwing my working class poverty into the wind and buying works of art to hang on the walls of my yet built home.


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