Until now I have been a creature of habit around the university. I regularly eat the same meals at a couple of places. I sit in the same spot during committee meetings. I take familiar paths between the car park, meeting rooms, cafes and my office. I have done so repeatedly and unseeingly. I have treated my university as a non-place.
This is changing.
Once or twice a week my daughter comes to work with me. Her epilepsy is better controlled than a couple of months ago (with three to five seizures a day) but, on four medications, she is very tired. She has managed two hours of school per week (one morning only) for a couple of weeks with mixed success. She will not be returning to full-time schooling this year.
Her illness changes time. There is a lot of waiting with epilepsy. It also changes how I experience the space of the university. She likes to walk a different route every day. She notices things — like the door identification plates in my building.
We are walking the campus, visiting its museums and art gallery (I recommend the current mermaids exhibition for those nearby), discussing brutalist architecture, and admiring the sculptures, gardens and birds. I feel more aware of my surroundings and my location than ever before. This week we are in Canberra, shadowing my daughter’s school excursion, and being somewhere new certainly primes our noticing skills.