Friday, March 25, 2016

What would you ask for if you knew the answer was yes?

I came across this blog post's titular question on Instagram recently, and it stopped me dead in my scrolling. It was a welcome respite from all those narcissistic selfies and show-off holiday snaps that make Instagram my least-favorite social media forum. Plus, it got me thinking.

I'm such a difficult guy to shop for, and not because I have everything. I'm a minimalist, so I'm not into collecting. That only leads to clutter, to which I'm violently allergic. As material possessions go, I have pretty much all I want/need. I'd never turn down a nice hoodie, but I'm more into the intangible.

So while I'm borderline-impossible to shop for, if someone were handing out wishes, it wouldn't be so difficult to please me. What would I ask for if I knew the answer was yes? Well, that one's easy.

1. The one Have we met? Did I already love and lose him? I've been waiting decades (yes, literally). Come on now. Get here... if you dare.

2. Home Last week I gave a presentation at work about my professional story, which I separated into three distinct chapters: 1) The magazine era in New York City. 2) The book era in Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Bangkok, and Cape Town. 3) The online era in Sydney.

"So where do you consider to be home then?" someone asked when I was finished.

I have no idea, but I'm more than ready to find out. As the golden soul oldie so eloquently put it, a house is not a home. Nor is a home necessarily home. And as much as I love my home in Sydney, this isn't home.

How will I know I'm finally home? When I feel secure and happy enough somewhere to take a major leap of faith and sign up for a long-term Internet plan.

3. An idea for a groundbreaking app Yeah, like Marnie's boyfriend on the first season or two of Girls. Whatever happened to him? I lost interest in all of the show's male characters after he disappeared.

4. My own private bathroom at work Maybe it has something to do with Sydney's obsession with coffee, but the washroom at work sometimes feels like a loo at Grand Central Station -- only stinkier. And what a wonderful work week it would be if I no longer had to hold in my own number-twos until I can get to some remote location where nobody recognizes me.

5. My own private gym Yes, sometimes the presence of so many attractive hardbodies (and I haven't seen so many on the gym floor since the month I spent in Berlin in 2013) can provide motivation, but I'd give it up if it meant I'd never again have to wait on someone who's hogging the bench-press area.

6. A digital copy of House of Bondage (photos by Ernest Cole, words by Thomas Flaherty) It's a rare book, published and banned in South Africa during the apartheid era, making it virtually impossible to buy there even today. I first learned about it via an exhibit at The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, the one that made me break down in tears in 2013 and inspired my in-the-works second book, Storms in Africa: Notes from the Motherland.

I haven't cried since, and I haven't been able to find a new copy in any bookstore, or online for less than $100, much less in eBook form. When I finally decide to throw my $100-plus to the wind and order a hard copy for $50 international delivery, I'll probably read it and weep...again.

7. A job where I don't have to go to an office or deal with anyone face-to-face Sadly, unless Tyler Perry or Lee Daniels buy the rights to one of my books, I'll likely never be able to earn a living writing them.

8. A stash of benzos without a prescription Doctors in Australia are pretty much banned from prescribing them, which is hardly surprising, given the nanny state I'm in. I kicked my Klonopin addiction years ago, but my panic disorder persists, and if I'm being totally honest, I occasionally crave half a Valium to curb my latest anxiety attack... or at least having the option to do so.

9. Donald Trump's immediate exit from public life Like many of my fellow Americans (and human beings), I'm tired of seeing his puffy, hideous orange face.

10. World peace Of course. Because we don't need another Brussels or Istanbul or Paris or 9/11, Because I don't want to read about yet another black, another gay, another refugee, another Muslim, or another woman being harassed, bashed or murdered. Because both guns and people kill.
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