A mother called Mary
When Mary wakes up her hubby Doug has already left for work. He works long hours. She's proud of him.
She gets Leyah and Brayden out of bed and ready for school, with a lunch order for the school canteen filled out. She notices Leyah is looking a bit chubby and is breathing hard as she walks from the house to the car. Mary resolves that tomorrow, she will give Leyah a dried fruit-pack and maybe some multivitamins for morning tea.
Mary arrives home from dropping the kids at school. She has got a while before work, so she visits a news website. The first story she sees is about how the weather all over the world is getting worse thanks to climate change.
Mary knows about so-called climate change. Her hubby Doug doesn't believe in climate change. He'd know - he works for a company that distributes asphalt. "They're all lying", Doug says. "It's all a big left-wing conspiracy to get more funding and taxes. They even changed the name from global warming to climate change, that's how stupid they are! Any scientist who supports it isn't even a real scientist."
Doug is an accountant. Mary is proud of him. She has supplemented his knowledge with occasional readings of an alternative health website her friend Cassandra subscribes to.
"Their all lying . . . its all a big lefty considerably to get more funding and taxes . . . they even changed the name from global warming to climate change . . . they arent even real scientists." Mary types.
She considers her writing, as one should, before hitting "post". After a moment's hesitation, she changes the full stop at the end of her sentence to a set of ellipses. She likes ellipses. A niggling doubt at the back of her mind suggests ellipses might not be the proper thing to use in place of all punctuation. She reminds herself that she passed School Certificate English with a mark of 62 per cent. (moderated.) "And that's an A", she thinks triumphantly.
Mary goes to work. She works part-time, during school hours. This enables her to bring in some extra money as well as have the house clean and hot meals on the table for Doug, when he gets home. She works as a receptionist at a homeopathic clinic.
It is good, honest work, but (Mary admits to herself) not terribly exciting.
As Doctor Woodcock is treating a cancer patient, Mary logs on to a news site and notices a story about how people are angry that Jonathan Hunt, a prominent homeopathy supporter in the UK, has been put in charge of the National Health Service.
This upsets Mary. Without homeopathy, she thinks, she wouldn't have a job. Besides, it works. She used to get terrible migraines until a change in diet and homeopathic prescriptions fixed her right up. And Cassandra is a big believer in homeopathy. She uses it to treat the Asperger's syndrome her son Benny contracted from vaccines. Apparently, it's starting to show very good results.
"This is just more propaganda against medicines that actually work . . ." Mary writes.
"If New Zealand started using scientifically proven homeopathy in our health system . . . our tax bill would halve . . ."
Taxes. Rates. Doug is always worried about taxes and rates. So is Mary. Doug uses a family trust to get around the worst of them, and all the rest of their money is in property, but Mary can't help but feel the country would be better off with them much lower, or gone.
What do they even go on? Silly things, she knows. Stuff like hip-hop tours, and conservation. "Why should people pay taxes for conservation?" Mary wonders. "If people want to conserve native plants, why don't they just put them in their gardens?"
This is too good a thought to waste, so she uses Google to find a news story about conservation. She finds one about regional council workers warning about an invasive weed in waterways and leaves the comment there.
Mary finishes work and goes home.
Brayden and Leyah come back from school. She sits them down in front of the TV and tidies the kitchen, occasionally slipping back onto the computer. She comments on stories about a paedophile being released from prison ("Castrate him!") about the possibility of the city council putting up a homeless shelter ("Why should our rates go to people who have chosen to be homeless" . . . ?!?) about gay marriage. ("Its obvious that its bilogically unnatural. . .")
She comments about everything.
She goes to bed, snuggles up under the covers.
Her hubby Doug is working late again. She's proud of him, but she wishes he was home.
Joshua Drummond is a Hamilton freelance writer who wishes he could stop himself from reading the comments.