I remember the first time a total stranger ever referred to me as “the Good News Week girl.”
I was at a language day, standing in the library of an unfamiliar school daydreaming slightly while I listened to vaguely pompous people talk about French (I was one of only two Japanese students). The subject of university and careers came up, as it inevitably does among a group of HSC students. I gave my standard answer-
“I want to write. For television.”
One of the French girls turned to me,
“Are you the Good News Week Girl?”
I blinked at her.
Unspoken question- and who the hell are you?
That was the first time my (for want of a better word) “reputation” preceded me. I think the girl was friends with someone who was in one of my dad’s art classes and that was how she knew. More difficult to work out was how the local paper got my mobile number.
I came home from school one afternoon to find messages on the home phone, my mobile and my mother’s mobile. A woman from The Daily Examiner wanted to talk to me. (The Daily Examiner is my local paper, its only claim to credibility is that it shares its name with the newspaper on Doctor Who). I rang the woman back. She asked me a series of rather odd questions and then told me she was coming over the take my picture.
The article actually isn’t too bad. It still comes up when you Google my name. What I did have a slight problem with was that it didn’t just appear in Grafton’s daily waste of paper, it also appeared in every local rag from Townsville to Taree. I’m not cut out to be famous. The idea of people reading about me while eating cornflakes is distinctly creepy.
“The Good News Week girl” is a term I’ve quickly gotten used to. You’d think that different people would find different ways to phrase it but somehow the entire world seems psychically connected. I’m constantly amazed at people’s ability to ask exactly the same questions, using identical wording, usually in the same order as every other person who’s asked before them. I’m not making this up. It really is a scripted conversation, one I’m now extremely used to having.
My other least favourite conversation is “what do you want to do when you finish school?” Last year I had this conversation sometimes four or five times a day.
“What do you want to do when you finish?”
“I want to be a writer.”
The “oh” has a dual meaning. It can mean “so you haven’t actually thought much about your future?” and “I didn’t know you were mentally unstable.” Its at this point I feel compelled to instigate the dreaded scrip just to prove I’m serious, I have thought about it, I can earn a living and no, I don’t have any kind of mental illness.
Well, nothing serious anyway.