Who you gonna call?

I went for a blood test today.

On the bright side, my blood isn’t entirely cabernet sauvignon. That possibility kept me awake all last night. My blood is more of a blend, apparently. Cab sav. Shiraz. Whisky. Tequila. Sunshine. Platelets.

On the dull side, my blood isn’t normal. ‘Abnormal’ was the inflammatory term the haematologist used. What would he know! I’m choosing to regard it as ‘exceptional’, though not the ‘unusually good’ option of that definition. More the ‘thing that does not follow the rule’ thing.

That’s me. I’m the thing that does not follow the rule. I’m a bloody iconoclast with glasses.

After the blood test but before the ‘abnormal’ diagnosis I had to check in at the RPA hospital. I’d done this before but this time they asked me if I had a next of kin.

Holy shit! I naturally concluded that they knew the results of the blood test and knew I was about to die. They wanted to know who to phone. And did I have a funeral plan? (Yes, as it turns out; vaguely; a Woodstock long weekend with about 200 favourite songs DJ’d by Wallington – including The Go Betweens ‘Part Company’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RIyRNtMkS8 – and too much drinking and dancing.)

Did I have a next of kin?

It was a good question. I realised I didn’t know legally what a kin was, unless it was a New Zealand bloke called Ken? I didn’t have him, even though he sounds nice.

I checked, hours later, and kin means ‘ancestral stock, family’ or ‘closely related as in next of kin’.

Just as I thought! Just as well I nominated Wallington as my next of kin. We’re closely related. Only last night – truly – she described us as ‘clenched at the uterus’. She meant joined at the hip. Malaprop genius!

‘Can you give me her mobile number?’ the receptionist asked, clattering at her keyboard.

‘No idea,’ I replied, truthfully.

I was alone, as we all are. If I died there at the counter, abnormal, no-one would know who to call.

Ghostbusters, maybe?

I walked back to work, abnormal, exceptional, happily still alive, and suddenly wondered who kith was. Kith and kin. I’d guessed rightly at kin but kith seemed to me even more obscure.

Here I was walking the surface of the earth thinking I knew what things meant, thinking I knew one number to call in an emergency (actually I knew I didn’t know that number) and now things were spiralling out of control. Kith? Kith?

I checked, hours later, and kith means ‘friends and relations’.

Kith and kin means ‘friends and relations and clenched at the uterus’. FYI, in an emergency. I don’t know who to call. Ghostbusters, maybe?

On the way back to work I joined a woman at an intersection who was walking with a frame. She was hesitant at the kerb and I asked if she needed some help.

She thanked me, her speech struggled, but said that she would manage.

‘It’s scary going down’ she said.

So it is.


Eve asleep in the sun. A good version of a good life.



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