Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The 2016 Australia Day experience—all hail volunteers

It's Australia Day. While I don't think we should celebrate our national day being the start date of white settlement of Australia—and am on the record of promoting Jan 2 as the day we should have to stack on Federation with New Year's Day—nonetheless it is our "national" day and it's when awesome people get recognised for being awesome.

Last night our original-to-the-house skylights got smashed in by hail. Today, a State Emergency Service (SES) crew turned up to cover and tape up the skylights until we can get tradespeople in to fix them.

They were from NSW. They all had plans for their day off as normal people but they instead spent their public holiday doggedly driving around Canberra helping people with damaged rooves.

I hung out for a bit and asked about previous jobs and their kewl truck and they told me rescue stories, including one where the couple rescued from a tree ended their relationship in the boat after the rescue because it had been his idea to take an air mattress to a flood-swollen river in the first place.

Some of crew had been in the SES for nearly 20 years.

Now that's a proper Australia Day—people from a nearby community helping their neighbours in distress. Not a bunch of bogans hanging on the piss scaring up aggro by waving signs demanding passers by be an Ozzer.

I got helped by a bunch of strangers who dedicate part of their lives to helping people in need.

It's a universal human value, to help those in need, and how awesome I got to experience that on Australia Day itself, a day when the country celebrates those people who give to their community.

Being helped by strangers for the win—and thanks, SES peeps, for giving up your Oz day to help Canberrans. 

UPDATE: A self-pat to me. It got to 1 pm and I took our ladder out to see if I could at least see the damage, and, what if I tried to gaffer tape it up? It can't be that hard. I leaned the ladder against the wall—it was heavy—and re-thought my decision; you are a man with multiple disabilities who once fell off a wii balance board, and that was two centimetres high. I wisely returned the ladder to the shed and waited for the professionals. I recognised my inability, reminded myself there is no shame in not doing manly things when you're not physically equipped to do manly things, then went back to lying in the dark and picking at my cheek scar. And that is now why I am not in casualty or stuck in the middle of my roof with a femoral bleed. I really am growing as a person. 

UPDATE2: The hail storm was intense, I think it lasted ten minutes. The sound on the roof was like incoming machine gun fire. But my anxiety didn't trigger—I was more worried for thewife outside trying to save the chickens (who had saved themselves under the eaves of the roof). Afterwards theboy was impressed that I didn't freak out at the overwhelming noise—"You're getting better!" So not am I only growing as a person my mental fortitude is restoring itself. Double WFTW.

UPDATE3: I sent a thanks email and they emailed back to say thanks for the thanks. That was nice. That's another gold patch for me to hang on to.  

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