Callan in Paris

This page written circa 3 December, 2022.

When I was a teenager living at home, my favourite TV program was Callan. He was everything I wasn't, tough, indestructible, independent, dangerous. He had conscience issues sometimes, but "what else would I do?" I knew even then that I would not face his lack of career choice. I did not want his job, just his personal skills.

Flash forward a decade. I am a grad student. After a couple of years of karate three times a week I figured I would never be physically tough. I don't have the mass or the strength in my body. Nevertheless, that martial study gave me confidence and the will.

Flash forward another decade. I am living by myself for the first time in my Newtown flat. I found out, after my mother died, what she called me: her little diamond, "brilliant but hard". I guess she had my number---she was always good at understanding people. I had learned loyalty, I kept up with people, and that has brought me long-term friends. I had aquired a little of Mr Callan's hardness. I had survived Toni. Jan had had Amelia.

Amelia does not talk to me. She once accused me of leaving her and her mother. She was startled when I pointed out that it was more like the other way around, although the truth was neither. I will wager she has forgotten that conversation, people tend to forget what they do not want to believe. I have always had great respect for Jan. I may be the only person on the planet who believed for years that Amelia was an accident.
It was Jan's way to walk a path and let the fates make the decisions. She wanted a child, but she wanted absolute control of her life, to make the decisions. She broke off our relationship as soon as she was pregnant. She told me not to bother visiting her when Amelia was born. Various people assured me that I should ignore that request. I did ignore it, and I think the visit was appreciated, but it represented a risk to Jan.
She said I could be involved if I wanted, I said call me. She did call me when one day Amelia asked if she had a daddy. We got to know each other. I would go around once a week and Amelia and I would walk out for an ice cream or similar. (A Weiss fruit bar was considered more healthy.)
Jan took a job in Brisbane. When she and Amelia drove out of Annandale and Sydney---and I remember the day vividly---Amelia and I cried furiously. Amelia told me years later that she did not remember that day. I see it vividly. I wonder if she remembers this conversation?

Nevertheless, I did let them go. Perhaps that was a mistake... but I could not have disagreed more with Jan on how to raise a kid, and it never does to have a fracas in a family. Best to leave the COO to run the ship and move on. I suppose that is pretty much what I am doing with Waikato University.

Flash forward a few more decades. The Sex and the City creator has a masterpiece of visual beauty in Emily. It is truly beautiful to watch, the clothes, the city, the faces, the lifestyles, the personal choices. It is the perfect setting for a story-teller to explore the workings of people you are supposed to envy. I enjoy both SatC and Emily. I like to understand how people work.

Earlier this year Kay and I celebrated being married for 25 years, together 29 years. Surprises me still. Neither marriage nor durable relationship were ever in my plans before we met. And I am careful to ensure Kay knows that I am "still not sorry", which is the truth. Edwin is now 22 years old. He is yet to find his niche in the world. It has always been one of my regrets that Edwin and I do not share an enthusiasm. I never became a computer gamer, he did not get into trains or woodwork. Retirement life exposes that this family have no shareable hobbies in common. We know each other well, but I do not know how to apply that knowledge.

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