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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Of Castle Doors and Kangaroo Letterboxes

Let me set a scene for you.

It is a peaceful leafy Brisbane neighbourhood on a quiet weekday morning. The morning sun shines through the orange Poinciana trees, and the frangipanis are still pretty, even though the paths beneath them are littered with their fallen flowers.

Into this beauty and stillness I arrive on a little red Honda postie motorbike that sounds like an overgrown lawnmower with undertones of whipper-snipper. When I rev the engine in first gear, it sounds like there is a posse of speedway bikes racing in the distance.

My job is to deliver a single black and white pamphlet advertising tree cutting and stump removal, to every letterbox in Brisbane. I have started here in Redcliffe precisely because there are plenty of trees here and perhaps someone will need the service of the landscape company that employ me.

I have a postie bike with a plastic basket zip tied to the front, and a heavy wooden box held onto the back with three wood screws that let it bounce up and down on uneven ground.

I like to think that everyone is up and buttering their breakfast toast as they wonder why the mailperson came early today and I refuse to worry about anyone that might be having a lie in. The Queensland sun has been up since four thirty and this is the best part of the day.

It doesn’t sound like the world’s most desirable vocation but it is the job of my dreams. I get to ride a motorbike all over Brisbane and see different places every day. I set my own hours, plan my own routes, and get paid from the time I leave home until I return. It is so flexible that I can spend more time at home when Phil is here and do more work when he is away. I get lots of thinking time to plan my writing and I am not micro-managed.

This last is important to me because I have had some disappointing bosses. I used to be a middle level manager and managed up to one hundred and twenty people. I loved the managing part, but hated being managed.

One manager threw tantrums and tried to make me write up all my processes before I left because she really did not know how to do her job. Another claimed my work as her own and her failures were sometimes attributed to me.

In contrast there is nothing to think about in my new job except, where is the next letterbox and does it accept ‘junk mail.’ And of course, what will I discover next?

So far I have seen an ordinary house with a castle door, a concrete Viking frolicking with a concrete maiden, yards populated with gnomes, elves, and other whimsical features, and of course lots of funky letterboxes.

This is another wonderful way to explore Australia; one house at a time.