It's been an odd week. For many reasons. But one instance stood out above all. I was heading out late on a work afternoon. There are not a lot of places to eat in Fyshwick, well there are but they all close just after lunch, check out Two Hands and Plumb and Cafe Cellestino if you're out our way, and Isa St Bakery for the best value sandwiches ever.
But at 4pm I just needed something to get me through those late hours you have to work when you've dragged yourself out of bed at 9am on a school holiday Wednesday and made it into work closer to 11 because you've caught up with another mum the night before.
I was heading back into the office. I'd noticed this woman on my way out. She was at the front counter, placing a classified ad I'm assuming, one of the remaining few people who actually comes into the Fyshwick counter to do so.
She was backing out into Pirie St, but she paused when she saw me and wound the window down and beckoned me over. I'm hopeless with directions, I'm thinking, but okay, you look friendly enough.
You're Karen Hardy, she said. Ah yes. I get this a bit. She said she had been at Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka on Saturday night for the book launch of Petronella McGovern's new book Six Minutes, which I had the pleasure of hosting. It's a fabulous book, and Petronella's husband Jamie is an old colleague and it was super to catch up with everyone.
Anyway, this woman in the car said she liked what I wrote in this column each week but then she told me she thought I looked much better with my hair tied back, which it was on Saturday night at the book launch, and again this Monday when she saw me. Perhaps I should change the photo on my column, she said. Ah, okay.
And then, earlier this week, I had the great pleasure of being the guest speaker at the monthly lunch of the Tuggeranong Day View Club. What a feisty bunch they are. Interesting women all, involved in social issues and making connections and realising that a woman's voice is a powerful thing and doing what they can to make themselves heard.
What I love about weeks like this is that I realise there is a connection between what I do and you the reader.
I sometimes wonder when I'm in my golden years, if that's not disrespectful, what I might do to stay connected, to still feel as though I have a voice.
I don't know much about such organisations as View Club, or other such groups like Lions or Rotary or men's sheds or whichever organisation you might hear of that attracts people of a certain age.
I'm a joiner. I love being part of my hockey club but am unsure how many years my knees have left in them. I was always on P and Cs and sports committees.
Could such an organisation as View Club be for me? I liked their sass. I liked the concept that women gather in groups and don't feel afraid to speak their mind.
It caused quite a stir at this meeting when they found out the national council had decided to ban them from saying grace, and speaking the pledge, before meetings, without really consulting the general membership. I'm not right up on the details of it all but never stand between a woman and a decision made without asking her opinion.
I thoroughly enjoyed this luncheon. The lamb cutlets at the Tuggeranong Vikings Club were tender and I had to restrain myself from picking them up and chewing them from the bone. The company was excellent, one woman had grown up in Orange not far from where my grandmother's house was, others were hockey players or sports fans who felt we needed more rugby in The Canberra Times. And the majority of them bought the actual physical paper but were a bit cross they had to pay now for an online subscription.
What I love about weeks like this is that I realise there is a connection between what I do and you the reader. That for as many times I ask myself why anyone would find anything I have to say interesting, and that I've been bluffing my way through the past 30 years, is that we, the women of Canberra, have more in common than we'd like to admit.
I spoke at this meeting about the whole idea behind this column is about being honest. About not being afraid to admit that I'm a far from perfect mother, friend, employee, daughter, ex-wife. We're human, a woman said at the View Club lunch. Indeed we are.