It’s been an eventful month.
First of all there was exam fortnight. The last exams of my Bachelor’s Degree. This was of course proceeded by study week, which was itself proceeded by two weeks with major essays due at the end of them. Exam fortnight would have been stressful enough if I hadn’t also come down with a virus, which put me out of action of a few days. I wasn’t dangerously sick, but I had to miss an exam which is deferred to the first week of August. This is a nuisance because it interfered with some potential travel plans. I also had to spent $70 on medical certificates to prove that I was actually unwell.
So that was all going on in my personal sphere of existence. Then the tragedy in Orlando hit the news. To be honest, I didn’t have much of a reaction. That’s not unusual for me. I’ve never had an emotional response to any tragedy that’s occurred in my lifetime. No sorrow, no anger; not even shock or disbelief. Just a sense of dull resignation. As if the brutality of the world is never a surprise to me. Perhaps that’s what comes of being a history buff. Even so, I felt frustration when the Orlando Massacre was reported in many cases as an “attack on America(ns)” or even an “attack on humanity”. Why? It was an attack on LGBT persons. Were those persons also American? Yes. Were they also human beings? Of course. But that wasn’t why they were targeted that night, at an LGBT nightclub. If the Orlando gunman had simply wanted to attack Americans or non-Muslims, he could have picked virtually any nightclub. Or any crowded place with low security measures. But he chose Pulse. The attack was on LGBT persons. And it came as an especially heavy blow during Pride Month, when LGBT communities across the globe were preparing to march in celebration of their identity. The rainbow flag was flying at half-mast that day, but we have not struck the colours.
At home things carried on as usual. I sat my penultimate exam and declared myself free until August. I had my last riding lesson of the semester, in which there were races and games. I kissed my mount on the muzzle and forehead and gave her a hug goodbye. I miss all the school horses during break, but I’ve grown particularly fond of that chestnut mare. I’ve also learnt that if you scritch her withers and stand at just the right angle, she’ll give you a gentle scratch on the back!
But there was more excitement in the international headlines: the Brexit. The votes were in and jaws dropped around the globe. I was peacefully sleeping in that morning when my dad knocked on the door. “Can I come in?” he said. I mumbled in the affirmative. He walked in and simply said, “They’ve voted to Leave.” I stared at him for a few uncomprehending seconds before saying something I’m disinclined to publish online. What does an Australian care either way about the Brexit vote? Well, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but I did have high hopes of moving to the United Kingdom – or Ireland – in the relatively near future. Currently I just have high hopes of moving to Ireland.
Between the referendum and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, politics had become a common topic of discussion at the dinner table. Ironically, no one had much to say about the oncoming Australian Federal Election. It’s not that my family isn’t engaged with Australian politics; it’s just that Australian politics is dismally un-engaging. Nevertheless, I did my homework before VOTING FOR THE FIRST TIME on Saturday. I walked down to the polling place with my parents, as I’d done several times as a child. Everything was just as I remembered it; the school hall full of cardboard voting booths and people in coloured vests. Except this time my name was on the roll and I had my own ballot papers to fill out. I went to a booth and wrote my numbers as neatly as possible, anxious not to make a donkey vote. I had a strong recollection of standing behind my mother’s legs as she filled her ballot and felt curiously oversized. Then I slipped my papers into a box and strolled back up the hill. I didn’t feel any more like an adult, but I did feel quietly pleased to live in a democracy where so many people actually have the privilege of a vote.
So that all happened. And in the meanwhile, with graduation looming, I had to make some important decisions with regard to my future career. That is, I had to determine where I was going and what I was doing for the next phase of my tertiary education. Now that I’ve resolved that question, I just need to do some minor things like enrol.