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Emergency sex

Have I got your attention? Now for the story behind the title…

I had an appointment at the hospital this morning which meant I was going to be at work later than usual. I normally detest my daily drive to and from work. Having to concentrate as the driver of the car and being stuck in traffic are not my idea of having fun nor do I consider it a good use of my time. Many people tell me they use this time as an opportunity to unwind but I find this incredibly difficult when I have to concentrate on what is happening on the road in front of me, behind me, and around me. There have been times when I have been struck by the beauty of what I am seeing – the harbour, the hills, the city etc. – but I can’t stop the car in the middle of the motorway to enjoy the moment or even adequately reflect on it. I have played music and listened to motivational CDs but I never feel, as the driver of the car, that I can relax and unwind. Basically, I hate having to commute to get to work. I realise this is an inevitable fact in today’s society but I don’t understand why, as a distance educator, I have to travel every day to an institution to do my work when I could just as easily, and more efficiently, do my work from home.

Anyhow I am digressing from what I really wanted to talk about – Emergency Sex!

One of the benefits of driving to work later in the morning than usual is that I get to listen to National Radio. Every weekday at this time is the Nine to Noon programme which is currently hosted by Linda Clark. I find the interviews and items nearly always capture my attention. I have even been known to arrive at my destination and sit in the car to hear an interview through to the end. This morning was an example of this. I arrived at work and the interview with Andrew Thomson hadn’t finished so I sat there fascinated.

Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War ZoneAndrew Thomson is an expatriate Wellingtonian who co-wrote the whistle-blowing book, Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from the War Zone, which is critical of the current UN culture and administration:

Andrew Thomson, who topped his Auckland School of Medicine class in his graduation year of 1983, has dedicated his life to humanitarian aid and peacekeeping work for both the Red Cross and UN. He was sacked not long after Emergency Sex was published. Or rather, after 12 years serving in the UN medical team, he was informed that his contract would not be renewed for 2005.

This first-ever account form UN civilians on the frontlines is a powerful, devastatingly honest memoir about people who went somewhere for all the right reasons and wound up facing challenges they never knew existed.

I find people who are passionate about their work, who have dreams about how our world can be improved, who care about others, and who do something about it, very inspiring. So being late to work today was a wonderfully uplifting and energising experience for me. I am looking forward to learning more by reading the book and attending Andrew’s public talk here in Wellington on Monday 6 March at 7pm at the National Library.

Were you expecting to read about something else? Oh, the power of words and the messages they send.

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