Ah Christmas. That special time on the Christian calender where the troll’s life in the real world gets crazy. Work becomes overloaded as people seek to redress their problems before the break. Add a smattering of late-night Christmas functions, and the daily consumption of Christmas cheer (ie chocolates, cake, finger food, alcohol +/- interesting but not necessarily coherent conversation) and life becomes somewhat messy for a preferentially solitary troll. Not that there is anything wrong with a little quiet time. Or a daily diet of microwaved broccoli. It’s just that the troll seems to need them more than the typical integrated human.
In the real world the troll employs a secretary to order him around from Monday to Friday. She’s from New Zealand. So, as a patriotic Australian, I employed her out of pity and, ultimately, to make fun of her. Just as it is my Australian duty to ridicule the Poms who still rue the bygone days of Australia as their convict colony. (irony is when a population living on a small, cold, dreary island banishes their thieves and vagabonds to a land of sand, surf and sunshine...)
Well, my secretary (let’s call her Kelly, because that’s her real name and she never visits this blogsite despite my pleas for her to increase the traffic by 100%) Well Kelly, has used the phrase “fire steering time” on a number of occasions. I never really understood this and what I can’t comprehend I simply ignore (which, according to Kelly, tends to be quite a lot). One day I made the mistake of responding - which went a little like “what the f-k? How can you steer a f-king fire?”. Returning a phrase after peppering it with expletives and combining it with a resolute lack of eye contact usually means “go away, I’m trying to ignore you” and is usually met by a caustic glare and a stomp back to her desk. But Kelly was having a good day. So she rolled her eyes (she rolls her eyes a lot), sighed (she sighs a lot) and sat down (exactly what I didn’t want, and it makes me very uncomfortable).
“I’ve told you this before but, as usual, you’ve forgotten. (did I mention she’s from New Zealand? Australians don’t need to listen to New Zealanders) Remember back in the caveman days when the man goes out all day to hunt and the cavewoman stays home all day cooking, cleaning, and looking after the baby? (yes, have things changed?) (rolls eyes) Well, anyway, she builds up all these things she needs to let out when her caveman husband returns. So when he comes back after a hard day hunting she bombards him with the trials of her day in the cave - the baby cried and was inconsolable, the seeds are spoilt, the neighbours are bitching again, your mother came round to tell me how to raise a family... To which the caveman responds by putting up his hand and says “fire steering time”. So he sits down on his rock and steers silently at the fire for about 20 minutes. After which he stands up, goes to his wife, and asks about her day. Fire steering time. That’s how me and Dan (Kelly’s partner) maintain our relationship.”
“Oh, you mean fire staring time”
“Yes, fire steering time”
Now it made sense. And surprisingly good advice. A little fire staring time to wind down after work so you can have a fresh outlook on the next series of challenges that daily life brings.
Christmas tree steering time
At this time every year, a group of cycling enthusiasts embrace the Christmas spirit with a ride to the big Christmas tree in the city. This is an inclusive group although you don’t get an invite if you are a pretentious bicycle snob. Having misplaced my invite this year (hey, Jim, you did send it didn’t you...) I present to you a photo of some great guys who have found yet another great reason to ride.