Punching bag

Punching Bag 2

My name’s Angela and I sell things online. Not for the money, just to offload stuff. I’m a chucker and there’s not a sentimental bone in my body. Soft toy you’ve had since infancy? Binned. School magazine collection from the 1970s? Consider it compost. The Husband is afraid to stand still in case I size him up for a trade-in.

Until recently I just gave things away. Last time we moved house, I had a walnut, art-deco dressing table surplus to requirements. It had a central curved mirror with two hinged mirrors on either side. A glass shelf rested between two sets of draws, each hidden behind gently curved doors of solid timber with original metal handles. I bought it second hand not long after I’d married, because our first home had no storage. But the house we were moving to, a pile of bricks so imposing the neighbours planted bamboo when they saw the slab being poured, had plenty.

When one of the lads moving our furniture admired the dressing table I offered it to him. “How much do you want?” he said. “My girlfriend would love it.”

“It’s yours,” I replied. “I’m just happy it’s going to someone who will appreciate its beauty.”

The thick-necked boy could hardly believe it. Nor could The Husband when he found out, moving quickly to review his pen collection.

As time has passed we’ve accumulated more stuff. Now even this big house is groaning, stuffed to the gills with life’s accoutrements. Tired of a garage piled high with broken furniture and unwanted sports equipment, I’ve installed Gumtree and Ebay apps on my phone and reactivated my Paypal account. Flushed with success from my first two listings (sold within days), I’m now flogging more of The Husband’s shoes and, as of today, a punching bag.

The punching bag is unused. It was a gift from The Husband’s dad, who died last year, so I figure I won’t be offending anyone.

Which is more than can be said for a fellow fencing committee member who emailed today, blasting my social media efforts like fat bellows fanning my insecurities. He said I’m using the organisation’s communication channels inappropriately to promote one club at the expense of others.

I’ve written before about how many hours I spend designing graphics, editing photos and writing newsletters, all aimed at raising the sport’s profile. I agonise over every social media post. I flushed when I read the email and have fumed over it all day. This volunteer gig is onerous enough without having my motives impugned.

I’m trying desperately to consider the criticism for its merits, to not be unduly defensive. But I’m failing. The email asked that the issue be added to the agenda for our next committee meeting. (Coincidentally, I’m also the organisation’s secretary.) I said I welcome a discussion (READ: I’m itching for a fight.)

I’ll finish today’s note by putting my petty woes into perspective.

The Athlete, the one who’s had her shoulder reconstructed twice, who isn’t studying or working at the moment, just training for world domination, has been diagnosed with a likely stress fracture in her ulna. She’s having scans tomorrow to confirm, but won’t be able to compete at a national tournament as planned this weekend. She’s devastated. I’m sad. Of all the punching bags in today’s story, I think she’s suffered the heaviest blow.

Dictionary challenge – where I use three words selected at random from the dictionary

  1. bellows
  2. finish
  3. onerous
Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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