The Doust Files – Albany Advertiser 29/3/2011

Yes, I am on Facebook, and Twitter, but not Myspace. I drew the line at that space.

Thanks for the question, yes, why would a man of this age be on such a new world, hi-tech, conversational stopping, human interaction distorting, internet jungle thing?

I wasn’t sure in the beginning, but now I am. Let me explain myself.

It all happened because of a man who married a cousin and he seemed so worldly by comparison to me, born and raised in Bridgetown, Manjimup and still raising in Albany. This cousin by marriage lives in the high flying world of Blackberries and iPhones. He said to me: “Get on Facebook, Jon, get on Twitter, it will help you sell your books.”

That was enough to get me excited, the prospect of pushing book sales into the stratosphere, all the way up the ladder to “Best Seller”.

To be fair, the book has sold well. To be honest, I don’t think Facebook and Twitter have done much. Although I am sure it resulted in at least three sales, but to three people I already knew.

Now here’s the real plus, a big one, and it all came to a head recently when I got this message: “Are you the Jon Doust who worked on a hop-farm out of Worcester, England, in 1972?”

My face exploded because I was that very same Jon Doust. There was no other Jon Doust but me. I was him. I couldn’t believe it was me. Sorry, I couldn’t believe it was her, Sarah, she found me, after all these years.

What would it all mean? The end of my current marriage? The rejection of all that had taken place in the interim, between when we met and now?

No, of course not, because we weren’t lovers, we were just the very best of friends. Sit back, relax, let me tell you the tale.

In 1972 I was madly in love with an Israeli soldier, but her parents pushed me away and I went all the way to the rolling green hills of Worcester, where I found work on a hop-farm run by a delightful and decidedly English family.

I lived in an old workers cottage with an Irish chap who only drank beer, only ate hazelnuts, and only washed the top half of his body. There was no electricity, no hot water, but there was a gas stove with one plate in working order. Outside our yard was a forest of stinging nettles and underneath the growth, a horse trough.

Stung, screaming, but determined, I cleaned out the horse trough and once a week I filled it with hot water I boiled on the single plate. I then removed all my clothes in front of a fire I built in the downstairs fireplace, ran for the trough, plunged, lay there until the cold hit, then ran back to the fire.

The police were called and I was incarcerated for sixteen years.

No, of course not, but Sarah and her mother were the kindest of folk and when the harvest was over they invited me into their 16th century home where they plied me with scones, tea and all sorts of fresh and exuberant foods.

I stayed with them until the Israeli called me back. I never forgot their kindness.

And that’s why I love Facebook, because Sarah found me on it, and so did Debra, the New Yorker and Graciela, the Argentinean, Tania, the Israeli, and on and on the list goes and all these people who impacted my life, who I was sure I would never see again, are with me, every day I turn on my computer.

It’s a nightmare come true. And I enjoy every minute of it.

One thought on “The Doust Files – Albany Advertiser 29/3/2011

  1. Gah, the reason twitter might not have worked is because you haven't used it (I just got all excited when I found the link, then I was let down :p ).Yes, facebook is awesome when you find people from way back. Or are able to keep in touch with friends you met travelling but live far away from.By the way, good work on the mcing at the Fly the other night. Go Steve Marsh!And go our awesome boy of a Mayor 😀

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