January 19, 2011 by jessperriam
Perth can sometimes throw up failures. And a week or so ago I was having one of those failure days.
I was meant to be meeting my friend Laetitia. We hadn’t seen each other in the better part of a decade – I know, I’m a horrible friend, but Facebook is a great reconnecter (and an amazing time waster), right?
So I was late catching my train and I rocked up at the cafe we’d arranged to meet at (fifteen minutes late) to discover that it was shut anyway.
And she wasn’t there.
And I didn’t have the forethought to get her phone number.
If this was a work situation, I may have found a quiet corner to sob into and scold myself for my lack of organisation.
But God bless Facebook. And 3G mobile technology, Laetitia got her friend in the US to send me a Facebook message to tell me she was lost.
Long, convoluted story short, we ended up meeting about 45 minutes later to go in search of my next bet of a cafe. And that was also shut. I know cafe owners are small business owners but don’t be shut on a weekday in the CBD. Just don’t . It makes me sad. Especially when you are a dealer in good coffee.
*There is a point to this, I promise. I just wanted to whinge about how badly the day had been up until then*
So we ambled up London Court to a cafe I’d never been to before. It looked like a 1980s coffee shop. But we were tired of doing a scavenger hunt of closed signs, so we sat down and caught up on a decade of our lives.
You know how those conversations go:
“So what have you done? What are you going to do?”
And of course we answered in that sweetened condensed, 25 words or less version of the past decade. That either makes you seem as though you’ve achieved very little or quite a lot.
Laetitia is remarkable just for being her, and I’ve got savoir-vivre so we were comfortably in the achieving quite a lot category. She asked me a lot of “What’s it like to work for the ABC?” kind of questions. They’re good fun to answer (colleagues past or present – how do you answer that question?)
And then she asked me a question that made me stop and think:
“What is the one top thing you want to achieve in your life? And you’re not allowed to turn the question back on me.”
To that I said, “Damn.” Because it’s always somewhat easier to answer questions like that in the knowledge that you’ll get to hear someone else’s view.
And my top thing? It’s remarkably staid.
I have many grand ideas, the world is my oyster. But my top thing?
“Well, I just want to get to the end of my life and know that I’ve been the best friend I possibly can be to those close to me and know that I’ve told an amazing story with my life.”
And before you correct me, I know that’s a double-barreled answer but it’s my journalist’s protest to those who ask double-barreled questions.
But I feel as though maybe I’ve set the bar too high. How do you measure those achievements? Are they easily attained?
But here’s my sneaky opportunity to flick the question back at you: what is the top thing you want to achieve in your life?