Pause and notice

Haiku on the streets of Canberra
Haiku on the streets of Canberra

Scattered about you,
if you are slow and steady,
are feasts for the eyes.

Of working from home

I’m a remote worker. And for the first time in a long time, I spent an entire day at home. Working.

Writing for work, without a break, hoping to get the damn thing finished so I could spend more time writing more stuff—poetry, opinions, random strings of sentences I wish would make a reasonable story.

Then, I’d edit my works in progress, expecting to get a lot done, as much as I could, within my limited daytime.

As I wrote on, my heart longed for the great outdoors. Through my window, soft breeze and cloudy sky called for me. After three months of bushfire smoke haze, the rains of last week had cleared the air and people’s lungs of deadly particles. It was, at last, beautiful outside.

Over the last week, it seemed like summer had decided to call it a day. The temperatures had cooled down, delaying sunrises and expediting sunsets. Though I still saw the light at quarter to eight, the sun had already retired, taking much of the heat with it.

And all the while, I sat on my desk, typing away, taking a minute or two to distract myself on Facebook or to tune into the radio to hear the last of the daily quiz show.

Just as I finished my work stuff, I realised I hadn’t showered in two days. Though my pedestal fan prevented any perspiration, I was still uncomfortable in my own skin. A bath later, I remembered I still had to meal prep for the next couple of days. As the light waned in the garden, I let my imagination and hopes melt in the heat of the stove. All the stirring, sautéing, and the dishwashing that followed left me drained.

Nothing worse than when the body is able, but the mind has already shut down for the day.

I felt claustrophobic, even with so much light and ventilation. It was like being in a cubicle, shut off from the rest of the world. I love my home, but it drove me crazy. It felt wrong not to go out, to interact with people, walk, or rush for the bus. As if everything normal in my life had taken a sudden break, crippling me.

That’s when I realised: working from home is great, as long as you’re not in your home.

A psychedelic experience

I went to an art exhibition titled Psychedelic Realism. It’s a collection of about 50 paintings by a renowned Australian artist and musician, Reg Mombassa.

Keeping true to the overarching theme of the exhibition, most of the art work on display illustrated unreal impossibilities, yet harsh truths that you often associate with out-of-the-world experiences. An alien eye, for example. Or a disfigured robot taking over humankind in space.

I knew I was walking into unfamiliar territory. I’d seen a few images online that helped me gauge a pattern with this kind of art. However, I am a complete novice in psychedelic artwork and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Welcoming me were a few questionable robots. One sat in a chair with a bloody blind over its eye. Another seemed to be trying to take advantage of a man. Yet another one wore a suit parading its masculinity. It all looked a little… controversial and worthy of raised eyebrows.

To complement the work, a mild drumming music played in the background, helping me transition from an aloof bystander to a more immersed viewer, reading into and attempting to decode the artist’s brush strokes and glitter usage.

For there was glitter. To my surprise, the artist had incorporated shiny matter to make his colours and characters pop out.

As I moved trough the aisle, I saw other types of work as well. There were houses and bush lands, and Victorian landscapes as the artist interpreted them.

I later learnt that the artist is the owner of Mambo comics and murals—a popular style of art that uses unrealistic and humorous elements—like an Australian Jesus—to drive home a message. Here’re a few examples:

This exhibition has been an eyeopener for me. having seen various styles of psychedelic art online, I never expected to see anything as unique and unconventional as this. Even though I’ve never had a psychedelic experience myself, it was an interesting to wonder what the artist had in mind when creating these.