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A Shitty Thing to Write About

6 Jun

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It was a bus shelter empanada that made me break that bathroom in Cartagena.

Three hours before consuming it, I was in a seedy cantina with my new friend, Atlanta: an ex-army medic and survivor of the Fort Hood massacre. Atlanta’s PTSD had pushed him to the north east of Colombia where he volunteered at an isolated jungle hostel, periodically returning to civilisation to replenish his stocks of rum and cocaine. It was on one of these trips that we met, striking up a conversation as he urinated on a police car—the sort of introduction you can only have in Cartagena. After an evening of mayhem and laughter, he decided to smuggle me back to the Sierra Nevada, too.

We found a bus shelter hidden in a laneway that, for reasons unknown, was still selling tickets in the middle of the night. We asked the emaciated Morlock behind the counter for two on the early bird bus to Buritaca.

“And,” I added as an afterthought, “one of those empanadas.”

“I wouldn’t eat that,” Atlanta said, eyeing my Colombian surrogate midnight kebab.

He had a point: it’d been baking under a heat lamp like George Hamilton for the better part of the millennium, and the hands that plucked it from the cage were varnished with grime. Nevertheless, I took a bite. It was basically Whiskas in shortcrust pastry; and while a reasonable person might think, ‘Yuk, if I wanted to eat something crusty and fishy, I could just track down Lindsay Lohan and have a gnaw on her’, I was too stubborn to admit that he was right. So I forced it down with the vigour of a dickhead.

Back at the hostel, I clambered into my bunk, set an alarm for quarter past dawn, and dropped into sleep.

My stomach woke me before the alarm could. Apparently the piscine abomination I’d just consumed was so fetid that my body’s only option was to violently expel it. Right. Fucking. Now.

I vaulted off the bunk with an athleticism that I don’t possess and spent the next hour trudging to the bathroom and back until I gave up and lay on the floor, my head resting on the tiles, breathing shallowly through my mouth like a pregnant kelpie. I was okay with this—what little pride I had was lost when vomit had leaked through my fingers when I didn’t make it off the bunk in time.

And, on a side note, I’d like to apologise to the girl in bunk number seven. If you send me the dry-cleaning bill, I’ll reimburse you.

At about 3:45a.m., my belly gave the sort of ominous rumble that tells you to find a toilet, trash receptacle, or tin-can of sorts. Exhausted, but desperate, I grasped the side of the sink, intending to use it to lift my turgid carcass from the floor. As I pulled myself up, the basin came out from the wall, separated from the porcelain column it rested on, tottered elegantly in midair for a moment or two, and then crashed to the ground like Newton’s apple.

So—to recap—I was trapped in a bathroom wearing a Peter Alexander singlet in fetching, vomit-fleck yellow, and men’s Target-brand boxer shorts with an erroneous, easy access crotch panel. Half-digested Nemo could be found in my hair. My hands clutched part of a sink with the remainder scattered in shards around me, and, to be honest, I probably smelt like a sex crime.

My stomach rumbled.

Oh, and I still needed to go.

The remainder of the basin dropped from my fingers.

 

Shortly later, I snuck to the reception for confession.

The night porter was sitting at the desk, his feet crossed at the ankles, a block of chocolate resting on his belly. He was engrossed in his laptop, which was playing pornography. He jumped when I approached him, dropping his chocolate (which is a nice euphemism for what I’d just been up to myself, really), adjusting his glasses and offering an uncertain, “Hola?”

I attempted to explain in manic Spanglish, trying to highlight the fact that I hadn’t intended on smashing the bathroom like Keith Richards on crack, but an empanada (“Which might have been cat food. You know, el gatto.”) caused me to vigorously evacuate everything from my system which had, inadvertently, caused me to break the bathroom.

Perdon?”

“I’m not on drugs you know,” I babbled. “Honestly.” For some reason it was very important to me that he know this. “I mean, I know it’s Colombia but I’m not.” I blinked, my anxious eyes jittering across his face. “I promise. But the bathroom is—”

From the desk, the naked woman on the laptop let out a moan. We both glanced at it. With one hand he slammed the lid.

“—completely fucked.” I finished.

He explained that his English was not very good, and even if he spoke fluently, he’d struggle to cohere the nonsense that I was hurling at him, so I should just shut the fuck up and show him whatever the hell I was ranting about.

To paraphrase.

I led him to the bathroom, head bowed like a war widow. He looked in. Coughed. Crossed himself.

I glanced up.

The toilet hadn’t flushed properly.

Fuck.

“The other bathroom,” he began, a smirk on his lips. “She is okay?”

I frowned. “I guess so.”

He locked the door. “Then use other bathroom tonight.”

That was it?

Wait—that was it?

He just shut the fucking door? I could have done that! In fact, why didn’t I just do that?

“They fix in morning. Now it’s late. You sleep.” He laid a paw on my shoulder and, remembering the porn, I tried not to think of where it had been.

“You need something else?” he asked.

“Do you have any Gastro Stop?”

He frowned. “I don’t know what this is.”

“How about a cork?”

“Goodnight, miss.”

 

The following morning, Atlanta was in hysterics. “I told you not to eat that shit!” he crowed.

“Be kind to me,” I mewled.

Dehydration had pulled my eyeballs into my skull and the soles of my feet were laced with micro-cuts from the porcelain. Brittle and wan, I was shaking like a dild—

…um, like a…llama. With Parkinson’s. Yeah.

I’d run late for the bus, too. Which was total bullshit. Colombians operate on ‘Colombian time’: a vague assemblage of moments distinguished by phrases such as ‘mas tarde’ and the idiom ‘ahorita’, which, to Colombians, means ‘Nowish…ish.’ It’s impossible to be behind schedule when even a nebulously binding reference to time is abstract. This bus driver was apparently a German expat because Atlanta had to bribe him to wait for my leaky arse.

“You want drugs?”

I peered at him through knock-off Raybans. “You think cocaine fixes everything.”

“I’m not sharing that. I mean these,” he fossicked in his pockets, dropping loose tobacco, receipts, lint, and lighters on my lap before presenting a battered pill packet.

I turned it over. “Codeína?”

He nodded.

“You want me to take,” I squinted at the packet, “sixty milligrams of codeine for food poisoning?” In a distant part of my brain, my nurse training came online. “I don’t think it’s indicated for that.”

“Codeine causes constipation,” he began with forced patience.

It’s true, codeine can turn chia seeds into concrete…and we had eight hours before we reached Buritaca…

“If nothing else, it’ll help you sleep. Keep the pack,” he grinned. “I’ve got shitloads.”

That pill packet would resurface a year later on a bus in Nepal.

 

My gorgeous sister and I had travelled through there in January and—aside from a slightly rapey overnight train, a pair of sunglasses landing with a squelch in a squat toilet, and a clutch of hysterical pilgrims that nearly swallowed my blanket-wielding sibling whole—we’d navigated it without incident. I even swam through crap and corpses in the Ganges, managing to emerge free from sin and dysentery. So when I kissed my sister goodbye in Pokhara, feeling bulletproof, I did what any cocky tourist would do: I gave salmonella prevention the middle finger and ate a discounted hamburger.

The following day, when the rancid meat was somewhere in my jejunum, I boarded a bus to Kathmandu, fragile and cranky. Initially, my ire was blamed on the obnoxious Americans behind me: the ones comparing the selfies they’d taken with malnourished, haunted, but tentatively hopeful Cambodian orphans on their recent poverty-porn world tour. At the first rest stop—with six hours left on a bathroomless bus—I sprinted off to abuse a roadside toilet. It then became as clear as the second line on a pregnancy test that I was screwed.

Buying a bottle of water, I downed the Colombian codeine along with a handful of Gastro-Stop, hoping to calcify the evil that was incubating within me. It worked and six Gastro-Stops later, I was in Kathmandu.

I disembarked into chaos, knowing that my hostel was somewhere, unsure of where, but trusting HostelWorld’s claim that it was a $3 cab ride away. The first two taxi drivers didn’t know where somewhere was, but could get me everywhere else for $5. I declined, and since they didn’t want to go nowhere, they followed me around until I tersely said that I wouldn’t be going anywhere with them.

The third driver didn’t speak English, but nodded with the sort of earnestness that I find charming. I showed him the address on my iPhone—a move which proved to be as useful as a bathroom door around Oscar Pistorius—he couldn’t understand it and I couldn’t pinpoint where Samjhana Street was in the melee before me. We drove through crowds, sporadically stopping to ask random strangers for directions, my iPhone proffered like pocket-sized oracle. In three Gastro-Stops we found it. I checked in, went upstairs to my room, and passed out on the stained futon.

I awoke just before midnight in a batten-down-the-hatches state that can best be described as ‘gastrointestinal Armageddon’. Throwing open my door, I bolted downstairs to the dingy washrooms. This became my first evening in Kathmandu: a veritable red, white and green kaleidoscope of bad decisions punctuated by a shitty staircase. In desperation, I took my entire stash of Gastro-Stop, something that may have caused mild delirium because I recall kicking open the toilet door at one point and swaggering to the bowl like John Wayne after an enema, snarling, “Hello again, you old bastard. Remember me?”

Even though I’d booked the hostel for three nights, I decided to leave early the next morning, because fuck running up and down stairs like Tom and Jerry. I splashed out on a hotel that had a bathroom in the room, packed my bags, and headed to the front desk.

Not wanting to pay for the whole stay, I approached the clerk with a smile and said, “Hello, my grandfather’s dead. Can I check out?”

In Australia, a family emergency trumps a cancellation fee. In Nepal, it opens up a negotiation. With a small nod of condolence, he tallied my bill, swiped my card, and presented me the receipt as if it were inconsequential: bacon rind given to a hungry dog. I glanced at it.

“You’ve charged me for three nights.”

“Yes.”

“But I’m only staying one.”

“Yes.”

“But,” I paused, trying to direct my thoughts through the fog of fatigue. “Can’t you…?” I trailed off, letting the sentence rot in the air between us like a bag of liposuction fat.

He slid a notepad and pen across the counter. “What is your offer?”

I stared at him. “What?”

“You tell me what you want to pay and then we discuss.”

“But…I,” pause. “No! My—”

“And I’m sorry for that.” He tapped the pad, looking delighted. “Your offer?”

The only offer that felt appropriate was a bucket of dicks for him to suck but I had no idea where to unearth such a treasure—not in Nepal, anyway—so I gave up. I reasoned that the money wasn’t worth the very real danger of shitting my pants mid-negotiation—a tactic that could have worked in my favour, but seemed like the sort of thing I’d ultimately regret.

 

Outside, the streets were still quiet and I stopped at the only pharmacy that was open. I bought the essential narcotics from the white-smocked clerk, neglecting to do the currency conversion in my head. Later that evening, I discovered that he’d charged me roughly three times the amount he was supposed to. A fact which bothered me roughly three times the amount it should have.

Sure, it was a minuscule amount of cash to me but a modest amount to him, but I was vexed: It was wrong, I was just a tourist. And I was sick. Vulnerable. He was taking advantage of that. He was shitting all over me. I had to say something—for colonically-challenged travellers everywhere.

Two days later, lathered into frenzy, I strode to the store with my indignant inner monologue juggling words and phrases in my head like linguistic Sudoku. I stormed up to the pharmacist, struck my fist on the counter, and said—among other things—“You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”

Yep. Apparently food poisoning turns me into Dorothy from Oz. I mean: who says ‘ought to’ in general conversation? What the fuck was that? Why not just go all-out and put my little soliloquy into iambic pentameter?

At the end of my rant, he was flummoxed. Here we go, I thought. He’s going to find some ridiculous justification for it.

“Madam,” he began delicately. “I’ve never seen you before.”

My first reaction was shock, “What?” which slowly gave way to confusion, “I was just in here the other day,” then realisation, “Oh,” and finally, a throbbing mortification: “You didn’t serve me, did you?”

He shook his head.

I looked around, trying to pick the offender from the line-up of neat men in matching uniforms. “Does your twin brother work here?” I gave what I hoped was a charming, disarming, and completely non-racist smile. “Maybe he served me?”

“Madam, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“Okay,” I turned, and then looked back. “Just, you know, don’t overcharge tourists. Not that you do. Because, um, we now know,” grin, “that you don’t.” Pause. “I’m a nurse by the way! Yep. An egalitarian nurse who is totally supportive of refugees and…”

I prattled on like this for a while, determined to dig myself out of the hole I’d just placed myself in.

Perhaps I should have just buried my shit in it instead.

Most cats do that, you know—bury their crap.

But not this one.

This cat flings it into the ether of the internet in a scatological frenzy.

Cropdusting Hipsters

31 Oct

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It all started when I farted in yoga.

It happened once, twice, three times a lady flatulist.

Not many girls own up to a fart, so at first I pretended that the pop was simply a wayward hip joint being wrenched from its socket like a newly-weaned, puppy farm kelpie. It kept happening though: every class I’d cropdust inner-west hipsters like a leaky Vietnam war jet, blithely turning the yoga studio into a miasma of my own special brand of Agent Orange. And sure, those bastards were breaking wind in uttanasana waaaaaay before it was cool, but some poor fucker was going to get their improved flexibility with a side of asbestosis. Seriously, I was about to be swapped out of the class on an emissions trading scheme for a sacred cow. I had to do something. So I tried a champagne cork. My li’l butt-plug became a rogue missile that rebounded off the wall and wedged in my instructor’s man-bun. It nearly took his eye out, actually. Thank god he had those vintage horn-rimmed Ray-Bans on.

Blaming it all on poor digestion, I briefly turned vegan. That was an experience. A windy one: I didn’t realise that eating legumes would cause me to fart more. Why did nobody tell me that? I dropped my guts so often that I’m probably due for a stoma. And it’s fucking hard to be a vegan. Not because of what you can’t eat; but because you have to master a brand-new tone of voice. The most important part of being a vegan is telling everyone that you’re a vegan. And you have to learn to say this correctly. You want only a modicum of snarkiness. You should imply superiority without sounding grandiose. Do this wrong and you’ll get punched in the face. And you absolutely cannot get punched. Trust me. A physical blow is devastating to a vegan- they’re all dangerously low on iron because vegan food tastes like unwaxed cardboard, elder abuse and broken dreams.

Next I tried The Paleo Diet: one of the most baffling marketing gimmicks this side of a Toohey’s commercial. Paleo is astoundingly popular in Australia- Woolworths are in the process of creating a mastodon section in the frozen food aisle as you read this very paragraph, so it’s not likely to become extinct anytime soon. In my brief stint as a cavewoman, I discovered that you can eat a large variety of foods. Such as bacon and olive Paleo bread served with thick, creamy clarified butter.

I wasn’t aware that Cro-Magnon man cured meat. Or baked, actually. Is Betty Crocker that fucking old? And what cavewoman churned butter? Was that while getting Bubba Yum Yum to stop scrawling on the walls of the cave and consume their autism-averting bone broth? And I have a math problem for you: how much kombucha do I have to drink over what period of time before I get the ‘Pete Evans manic gleam’ in my eye?

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That man is the Charles Manson of the food industry. Have you seen his Instagram page? It’s just drenched in clarified smug. I’m fairly certain that if you scroll backwards through it at a high velocity you’ll generate enough Newtownian energy to play Helter Skelter.

Another weird Paleo thing? Activated almonds. Yep, just because Pete Evans is a dick, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy his nuts. How do you activate nuts? Well, first you soak them in salt water- so the special, miracle Paleo enzymes are released- then you bake them over a low heat. And yes, cavemen totally did this. It’s how we evolved evolutionarily- activated almonds gave us the energy burst needed to outrun the sabre-tooth tiger. Everyone knows that. God, read a book. Activated nuts are easier on your colon, too. So not only will your anus love Pete Evans’ nuts, your shit won’t stink, either. I have to admit that my nuts felt awesome after they were activated. They were so salty and warm! I couldn’t stop playing with them. And I don’t know why Pete Evans doesn’t say to women, “Hey baby, do you want to come over to my place tonight and help me activate my nuts?”

There are people in this world who spend their time thinking about the dichotomy of capitalism and world peace. Me? Paleo pick-up lines.

Anyway, when my Paleolithic era died out, I latched onto the I Quit Sugar bandwagon and rode it to glory.

I Quit Sugar isn’t a diet. Sure, it involves drastically reducing your calorie intake and cutting out entire food groups- just like a diet- but it’s more than that. I Quit Sugar is a cult way of life. That will make you healthier. Glowier. Better at calculus. See, your body metabolises fructose differently to other sources of fuel. For example, when you drink Coca-Cola, your pancreas release insulin. You knew that, right? Well what you may not know- and I didn’t until I started reading Sarah Wilson’s blog- is that insulin then reacts with the soda, causing the glucose molecules to bind together to form a miniscule troll that will then take refuge in a pocket of your liver. Consume enough, and the pocket will begin to harden, calcify, and resemble a cave (this is why I Quit Sugar is so similar to the Paleo diet). If you keep consuming sugar, your body becomes acidic, and the troll will magically procure a pitchfork. The pitchfork then permeates the cells of your mitochondria to give you diabetes, adult acne, unfuckability, and high-magnitude emotional instability. Before you know it, you’re spinning off into a banshee’s orbit, screeching at people, dousing the world in vitriol because some lazy motherfucker forgot to refill the photocopier’s paper tray. Again. Bastard. This causes a chain reaction: the other person gets angry, stews on it, goes home, kicks the dog, slams the fridge door, and crushes their son’s 5th birthday cake- the Power Ranger one that the nice old lady down the street baked for him. The son will then grow up with soul-crushing feelings of inadequacy, which leads him to externalise, shag your only daughter, and dump her in front of the entire school, breaking her heart.

All because you drank a fucking Coke. Shame on you.

So, in summation: Sugar is evil. And, like Buffy, we must roundhouse kick it in the temple.

Odd things happened when I quit. My shopping trolley, for instance, was suddenly stuffed with kale, maca powder and coconut water.

Coconut water. Something that I once proclaimed to be “the only substance in the world less palatable than jizz.”

As the month wore on, my blood sugar levels stabilised, my stomach flattened, and my energy levels increased in direct correlation to my sense of puffed-up superiority. Before I knew it, I was becoming one of those horrible people that post their dinner to social media. Although, I must have retained some modicum of CC-ness because I added the hashtag ‘peteevansisadick’ to everything.

By day 35 I was running at 88% macrobiotic: almost at full Gwyneth. I felt amazing. I was a better person. Better than you. Better than Jesus. So I decided to bake brownies for everyone, which is what Jesus used to do for his disciples.

Don’t believe me? It’s true. Jesus used to bake all the fucking time. He wasn’t a Palestinian. He was a Paleotarian. It’s just a mistranslation. Pete Evans is writing a book about it. It’s self-published. Due out later this year. I believe it’s called, You have to eat Paleo to get into heaven. Apparently Bubba Yum Yum got smart from being fed bone broth instead of breast milk and wrote delicious recipes on the cave walls, which Jesus then found when he spent three days in there over Easter. He was resurrected to bring Paleo to the world. Where do you think the “loaves and the fishes” thing came from? It was smoked mackeral on gluten-free Paleo bread.

Anyway, since I’d been so healthy for so long, I decided to eat some batter. I dipped my finger in the mixing bowl, scooped out a large chunk of sugary happiness, and-

It all unravelled quite quickly.

I came to three hours later, snapping back into reality like a KGB sleeper agent who’d just heard their trigger phrase. I was on my kitchen floor, foetal, with a mixing bowl on my head. Around me, a nest of sugar packets, brownie batter, a mangled rubber chicken, clotted cream, and pinking shears. I have no recollection of what happened and my thongs are still missing. It’s possible that I traded them for some sugar. Or a rubber chicken. And I spent the next seven days consuming more chocolate than Honey Boo Boo’s entire family- including the inbred, extended brother-cousins. I was more saccharine than Delta’s post-leukemia album.

Banning sugar had given me a total ‘don’t push the red button moment’, and when I allowed myself to linger within the vicinity of the button again I not only touched it, but licked it, fondled it, and spanked it with synthetic poultry. I needed a detox day, I told myself. 24 hours where I consumed nothing but vegetables and green tea. That’d pull me out of Willy Wonka’s rabbit hole. I’d reset everything and I’d be okay.

I made it to 5pm before driving to the shops and purchasing a large jar of Nutella, which I then consumed for dinner.

That’s not true.

The double bacon cheeseburger with extra avocado (that’s a vegetable…right?!) was my dinner. The Nutella became dessert. A dessert that I ate directly from the jar with a tablespoon while wearing little more than shame, a basketball jersey and a pair of Batman knickers. Well, I could only bring myself to eat ¾ of it before coming to my senses and throwing it in the bin.

Okay, that isn’t true either.

I consumed roughly ⅞ of the jar before digging the remaining slivers out with my fingers, smearing them across my cheeks like war-paint, and watching Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson on Netflix, because when I cross that sticky brown line into debauchery, my instinct is always to round it like a marathon runner and sprint into the forest faster than a Delorian trying to travel through time.

At 32 years old I should know what I can and can’t do in relation to dieting. Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person that can airily attend a few extra spin classes and skip dessert in order to fit into last summer’s bikini. When I diet, it starts as, “I’m only allowed to eat broccoli and cottage cheese, upside-down in a darkened room, while an organic lemon myrtle candle burns,” before eventually degenerating to, “So, I’ve spent the morning burning myself and smearing Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream into the wounds while crying and listening to The Smiths.”

So I quit quitting sugar because I didn’t want to be a quitter anymore. I had to. I Quit Sugar nearly turned me into Sally Struthers. So I threw the whole thing away and decided to face reality, to be a grown-up and be honest about where my digestive issues stem from.

Blocked chakras. Obviously. Specifically the sacral one.

So I’ve just booked the Flowering Lotus Spiritual Retreat. It promises to be a “magical journey through Mother India” which includes meditation, reiki, introspective rituals of the sacred goddess and, for some lucky participants, a Delhi Belly purifying cleanse. Inner Peace is guaranteed in the fine print and since I’ve booked before December 1st, I receive a free colonic irrigation upon arrival. Woo!

Fleurgen the Stereo Muppet

18 Sep

Six months ago I bought an $800 car- a dusty red Charade manufactured back when Paul Keating was Prime Minister. I dubiously christened her “Cherry Bomb”.

She was bought from a fellow in Darlington. From there, Cherry travelled nine kilometres before having a hot flush and overheating on a busy road, ultimately forcing me to tow her like a menopausal beached whale to my mechanic. After some tinkering from him, my $800 bomb became my $1100 baby. We shared a few volatile months that were punctuated by agitated dashboard slaps, emergency radiator refills, and cries of “Just move you old whore!” Shortly after returning from an impulsive and ill-advised road trip to Melbourne, Cherry Bomb died, and I abandoned her on the side of the road like a Bangladeshi baby girl.

Then I bought another car. A shiny blue Citroen: round as a bubble, pretty as a daffodil, and reliable as a mule. I called my darlin’: Clementine.

Clementine deserved a new stereo. Speakers, too. Other stuff. I’m not sure what- I’m not fluent in tech…but something heroic that could handle Meshuggah being played at a volume best described as “unwise”.

I turned to Google. Found Fleurgen. Fleurgen has a 100% 5-star Google review rating. RodBallz2164 claimed that Fleurgen is a “wizard” that does “seriouse jobs n wiked shit”. DriftMaker called him the patron saint of car stereos before adding: “Don’t let the size of the shop fool you! lols! Hes an awesome dude too.”

Sounded good. I emailed Fleurgen. He instructed me to visit him Friday.

On Thursday night I had a few quiet beers with my best friend, The Reader. Because we’re horrible influences on each other, our three craft beers quickly devolved into being the last two inebriated idiots badgering staff at The Absinthe Salon, followed soon after by a dodgy kebab that may, or may not, have contained some minced dachshund.

So on Friday morning we’re both in a fragile state. Through a green groan, I tell The Reader about Fleurgen.

“Who?”

“The dude who’s installing my car stereo. He’s Swedish. I’m sure his workspace is filled with misbehaving chickens and that he says, ‘fleurdy der, der fleurdy der…bork bork bork!’ as he works.”

Just to, you know, ram that reference home for you all. Bork.

Just to, you know, ram that reference home for you all.
Bork.

“We’ll go,” I continue, “Meet him super quickly, then have wanky inner-west coffee somewhere.”

“And bacon.”

I grin. “Pork pork pork!”

*

The first thing you notice about Fleurgen are his teeth, because they aren’t really his teeth at all. They’re Gollum’s. Despite this, Fleurg smiles warmly, talks quickly, and repetitively answers his mobile phone during the consultation.

My knowledge of car stereo systems is just behind that of Toad from Wind in the Willows, and, in my hungover state, I’m about as green as my foppish, amphibian counterpart. I try to explain my audio needs to Fleurg, “I listen to music loud. And I listen to a lot of metal,” I swallow, willing myself not to fleurg recycled absinthe all over Fleurg’s floor. “I don’t want anything too extreme, no doofwoofer thingies,” I croak, “Just something that can frighten the soccer mums in traffic.”

Instead of answering, Fleurg leads us to his ute and folds himself in, leaving a pale, hairy leg protruding horizontally from the door. The Reader and I eye each other. Fleurg emerges and encourages me to get in. I do. He flips a switch and Swedish gangsta rap straight outta Stockholm assaults my ears.

“Sure,” I say, once he’s mercifully turned it off. “Sounds good.”

He grins wolfishly. “Well, that’s expensive.”

“Too good,” I quickly clarify. “I’m not worthy of such a sound.”

Fleurg then enquires about my budget. I evade the question, knowing that an answer will betray both my lack of knowledge and my deep pockets. He studies my car, muttering words like “amplifier”, “head unit” and “tweeders”, which sound like the unfortunately named sidekicks of a meth dealer to me. Fleurg suggests that I “soundproof” my ride, something that involves ripping my doors apart and stuffing them with what appears to be Ikea bubble wrap.

“It’s to create a speaker box,” he explains. “I can skip this but it really won’t sound any different after an upgrade and you’ll be wasting money.”

It’s all got the vague aroma of bullshit, but absinthe numbs my olfactory receptors and I was out of my depth the minute his jargon morphed from dB’s to THD’s, so I agree and ask for the quote. $1300. A quarter of the price I paid for the fucking car. It’s more than what I’d expected, but Fleurg is the best. And the best costs money. And it’s what Opeth and Katatonia would want to be played through, so…

“That’s fine.”

As he’s taking a small deposit, Fleurg asks where I work.

“I’m a nurse.”

“Oh, so you know about signalling molecules?”

My stare is blank. “I’m a mental health nurse. Not, you know, a real one.”

“Oh, mental health,” he clasps his hands together. “No. Even more relevant. Yes. Wait, please.”

He leaves, returning a minute later with a small photo album.

And then it got weird.

Because for the next ten, cotton-brained, dry-mouthed, we-are-both-way-too-old-for-this-shit, and-maybe-that-shot-of-mescal-was-a-bad-idea minutes, Fleurg shows us pictures of mouth cancer, ulcerated flesh, STD-ravaged genitalia, and limbs smeared with autoimmune skin disease, all juxtaposed with images of slightly less grotesque versions of the aforementioned. The Reader retches, swallows, and absently touches the cigarette packet in his pocket. Fleurg doesn’t notice. He’s enthusiastically flicking through the album like it’s a twisted Playboy– illness porn. He claims that the sole credit for healing goes to ASEA.

Make that ‘science porn’.

“What’s ASEA?”

According to Fleurg, ASEA is a scientifically sound revolution of molecules and atoms that are created in scientifically advanced ways and used in the fantastically scientific science of curing disease scientifically.

ASEA is the fountain of youth. The next big thing. It can fix anything. Anything. Did he mention that? Cerebral Palsy. Tuberculosis. Acne-scarred skin.

“Acne-scarred skin?” The Reader asks dubiously.

Fleurg nods. Anything. In fact, Fleurg’s been drinking ASEA for years.

“ASEA cures anything. Anything!”*
*except poorly fluoridated teeth

The Reader raises an eyebrow, “Drinking it?”

Yes. ASEA is water. Salt water, actually. Filled with miracle molecules.

I gaze at Fleurg, wanting to ask if he has any magic beans to sell us, as well. Before I can, he gets to the point: ASEA is, to be blunt, a pyramid scheme.

That I can buy into.

For the low, low cost of $259 per month.

Then, I can then sell ASEA to my patients at work, making a tidy profit in the process.

Simply by encouraging the mentally ill to exchange their antipsychotics for magic saline.

I’m not sure how that fits into that pesky ‘duty of care’ thing we nurses have.

Fleurg isn’t either. “Hmm, maybe you just refer your patients to me- keep things simple for you.”

I agree to it. I’ll agree to anything just to get the fuck out of there. “Yep, I’ll take a look at it…No, it sounds very interesting…Yes…No, of course I will. Just, ah, email it to me, and I’ll, um, look.”

By offering to buy the Kool-aid that he drinks as opposed to the stereos that he is meant to be fucking selling, I have pleased Fleurg immensely. “Goodbye, Happy CC!” he cries. “I send you information tonight!”

The Reader and I barely make it into the car before we begin cackling like jackals.

“What a fucking lunatic!” he exclaims as I speed out of there. “I just knew he’d be nuts. Fucking Scandinavians.”

*

Two hours later, over a cup of the inner west’s finest coffee: An overpriced, single origin blend infused with Guatemalan hayfever and Colombian orphan tears, we dissect ASEA.

I look up from my phone. “It is salt water. Literally. The bottle lists the ingredients as ‘salt’ and ‘water’. And, on a side note, the company director looks like a member of NAMBLA.”

The Reader leans in to look, smoking and smirking. “I think we should sell everything we own and buy into this. We’ll be rich as Nazis!”

I switch to Google stalking Fleurg. “According to his LinkdIn profile, Fleurg is a health and wellbeing enthusiast who believes that the apocalypse is coming.”

“Fruit loop. I might start selling my pubes as organic dental floss.”

“If they’re paleo you might be able to get Pete Evans to spruik them.”

“Think he’s on the wank-water bandwagon, too?”

My coffee cup clatters to the table in mock indignation. “It’s ‘ionised molecular saline’. Not wank-water. It cures cancer. Get it right.”

*

Later that evening, I receive a voicemail from an ASEA associate, a woman named Gaia who tries to build a rapport- or possibly credibility- by opening with, “I’m a nurse, too”. She then…speaks with…odd…pauses during part…s…of the conversation, almost…as if she was reading it…from…a script that had a large…cancerous…tumor on it.

Apparently ASEA have found a way to clone William Shatner into a female’s body, as well.

Fifteen minutes later Gaia calls again.

Then once more after four days.

Next, Fleurg emails me: ‘Hello Happy CC, Do you have steering wheel control for the radio in your car? Do you still want to be able to use this?’

‘Yes. And definitely,’ I type, finishing the sentence tersely in my head: I’m not sure what else I’m about to pay you over a thousand fucking dollars for.

His reply comes the next day. He’s ordered the part. But he can’t guarantee that it will work. Apparently, Happy CC’s car is “a borderline”.

Oh, no, I think. Clementine is a PD. I guess that explains the scratch marks around the doors. Maybe some ASEA in the fuel tank will cure her.

Untitled

But that wasn’t the end of the email:

With regards to the Redox Signalling molecules i spoke to yo about.

Here are a couple of links to short info videos:

www.amazingmolecules.com

Watch ” The Redox Breakthrough” (9 min)

” ASEA The Genesis” (21 min)

I like ” Doctors and Science” (5 min)

If you have further interest i suggest that you attend ASEA Discovery Event in Ryde this Saturday morning starting at 10, for about two hour.

This will be part of mainstream health care not to long from now.

You will hear real testimonials face to face.

Come along and have some fun a great bunch of people!

It was an event such as this that it convinced me it is something i need to be part of. This is an exceptional opportunity not only to seriously help people …but also to get paid for it!

Ver-fucking-batim. I think Fleurg’s positive Google reviews were left by fellow bricks on the ASEA pyramid.

*

“Don’t fucking go to that!” The Reader shrieks when I tell him. “It’s probably in a fucking dungeon where they make you drink their atomised rape-water and molest you to Swedish gangsta rap!”

“Think they want to ‘pork pork pork’ me?”

“Or maybe ASEA is just the bottled tears of their investors. It’s all just too fucking strange. Cultish. And how do people fall for this shit!?”

*

So, in conclusion, it wasn’t the redox that signalled to me on a molecular level that I was making a mistake in getting Fleurg to install the stereo in my car. It was an intuitive twang, something as thin and fine as gold filigree that plinks in my gut every now and then. I used to ignore them, often finding myself in horrific situations- like, you know, the time I was fucking robbed in fucking Panama– but I try to listen now.

Or, more succinctly: I tell Fleurg to fuck off.

I find a well-known car stereo franchise that afternoon. I speak to an earnest young man who quotes me $500 less than Fleurg. So far so good.

“And can I still use the steering wheel controls already in place?”

“That’s going to cost a little bit more.”

I hold my breath.

Keys click on the computer. “That part costs $15.”

My breath exhales in a rush. “And it’ll work?”

He eyes me strangely. “Well, yeah.”

I glance at his pasty, unfortunately pock-marked skin. Acne-scarring. Obviously not an ASEA enthusiast.

I grin. “How much deposit do you need?”

6ebb3c76fce9319fb54e82c7bc95e46e

Oh, *nose boop* you humans.

26 Dec

Six years ago, I went for a sales job. It was one of those abhorrent group recruitment processes where they put a room of wannabes together and assign them ridiculous tasks, ultimately causing the recruits to transform into screeching, carnivorous toddlers that tear metaphorical flesh from bone with aspiration-sharpened milk teeth. We shredded each other like a Mexican cock fight that day, each of us furtively looking over our shoulder for the approval of the bosses who were languidly surveying their surroundings with the sort of enthusiasm generally reserved for monkeys in fezzes that rhythmically bash cymbals. It was brutal. Although, I almost want to recruit my next boyfriend like that. I picture a room of men, inexplicably wearing gold lamé hot pants, slathered in baby-oil, who will ultimately claw their way towards a date with me. Sure, that might sound a little homo-erotic, but we are evolving beyond stereotypes in society and homophobia is a reprehensible character trait in anyone, anyway. There will be a Ben-Hur style battle involving a loincloth, pitchfork, and a life-sized animatronic lion. They’ll solve a Rubix cube, blindfolded, whilst Stephen Hawkings reads a garbled version of 50 Shades of Grey; then watch Adaptation and write a grammatically correct essay on the subtle nuances in Charlie Kauffman’s screenwriting and, in the grand finale, play at least ten bars of the Ibert Flute Concerto. On the flute, of course.

I’ll let you figure out the reasoning behind the final quest.

One thing I remember from the recruitment day was the lecture from the Managing Director, a pompous Brit who liked to use the phrase, “That’s what I love about you humans”. The final two words were delivered with contempt, as if he’d evolved beyond the pettiness of his emotion-charged companions. The sentence usually preceded a ‘people are gullible’ sales principle; and after the third “you humans”, I began to wonder if he was some sort of Neuro-Linguistic alien: a sales-bot swaddled in an expensive pinstripe suit, sent here to bore the conscience laden masses with unimaginative lectures on the importance of materialism.

I hadn’t thought about this man until San Cristobal de las Casas.

I left my blankey in Puerto Escondido

I had fled to San Cristobal after the Manchesterian Mayhem, spending the evening drunk on a night bus next to a ginger-haired Australian who was polite enough to let me sleep even when, some time after midnight, my head lolled gently onto his shoulder where it stubbornly remained for the rest of the journey. I awoke to him gently prodding me a little after 6am. It was his stop and, he added with an affectionate grin, he needed the use of his arm again. Mortified, I wiped the drool from my mouth, the crust from my eyes, and thanked him for being such a cooperative pillow for the journey. That’s what happens when you mix booze with buses, you wind up shoulder-raping a fellow passenger. I’m sleeping with you whether you like it or not, hippie man.

My first instinct for San Cristobal was to book a cheap hotel with my two new friends- misery and beer. I wanted to lick my wounds in solitude, get blisteringly drunk- perhaps inside of a pillow fort- and put on some heartache-curing red lipstick before lip-syncing Chandelier by Sia. However, I knew that a hotel room would only see me listening to The Smiths, crying, and logging into Facebook where I would either shamelessly stalk Manchester’s profile, send him an irate and colourfully worded message full of exclamation points and drunken typos, or put up inappropriate and slightly maudlin status updates that I would cringe to and promptly delete the following morning. Becoming a hysterical chipmunk on Facebook is inappropriate for anyone over the age of thirteen, so I decided to book a hostel, figuring that you humans would act as a welcome distraction.

It didn’t start that way. After making halfhearted conversation with the Irish boy in my dorm who subtly chastised me for not having accommodation booked for Christmas and New Years, I headed to the bar with my laptop, planning to rectify this. Here, an older gentleman was trying to entertain a table of girls by telling them that he used to wrestle alligators in the 1970’s.

Because every girl fantasises about bagging an over-the-hill Steve Irwin type on holidays.

But this reminded me of the eccentric older gentleman that Manchester and I met on one of our first evenings out- a dude who managed to subtly work the fact that he hung out with Hunter S. Thompson during his campaign for Sheriff of Colorado into the conversation, which reminded me of Manchester, which-

No.

I packed up my laptop and headed to the courtyard. Here, another traveller was singing and playing guitar. What song? You can’t always get what you want. Pertinent. At least it wasn’t All by myself or the mariachi classic I broke my girl’s heart in a seedy cantina last Friday night. Still, it was as welcome as genital warts, so I returned to my dorm, booking the accommodation there. Tulum for Christmas Day and Playa del Carmen for my birthday and New Years Eve. I landed the last dorm bed in the city for the latter, at the slightly inflated rate of 500 pesos per evening.

For those that don’t travel- that’s obscene. Really obscene. Fucking obscene. It’s as obscene as Marilyn Manson’s mOBSCENE. And that song sucks, so you know how I feel about staying in a dorm for the equivalent of AUD$50. Basically, for that price, I want round-the-clock midget massages and a scantily clad man servant- preferably not a midget- to feed me peeled grapes whilst his twin brother lazily fans me with a palm frond. In Puerto I was spending 150 pesos on a private room. 500 pesos is my daily budget. It’d better be a backpacker’s utopia filled with interesting and open-minded people that I can latch onto like a foul-mouthed barnacle.

Casablancian

I tried to open my locker the following morning only to discover that I had somehow managed to procure two sets of keys. I’d checked in early and the girl had given me one set when I paid, then another when I was allowed into the room, something that hadn’t become apparent until I’d blearily shoved my hand in my bag and removed the wrong set. I went to the front desk to return the spare key. Here, the receptionist let out a sigh of exasperation, turned to her colleague to complain about the other staff, and demanded to know who checked me in, using the voice of someone interrogating an al-Qaeda operative. Not wanting to be water-boarded, I hurriedly tried to explain that I wasn’t filing a complaint, nor was I trying to get anyone in trouble, and I had no idea where Bin Laden’s successor was. She was retrieving the electrified nipple clamps from the drawer when an Australian accent drifted from behind me.

“I thought I recognised that voice.”

Yep. She recognised “that voice”. Verbatim. Apparently I’m shrill.

“Do you remember us?”

I turned to find the two Aussie’s that I had befriended in the bar in Puerto. The ones that I’d ditched Manchester to dance with.

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world.

The odds of meeting these girls again were marginal. The odds of staying at the same hostel at the same time were even smaller. And the odds of seeing them two days after Manchester unceremoniously flung his faeces at me like a temperamental lemur was about as likely as finding the Hope Diamond in a pile of liposuction waste. Oh, the irony. It tastes like a stale salted caramel tart from that little bakery that the health inspector shut down last Christmas.

“You broke up with your boyfriend?” the blonde exclaimed.

It’s my firm belief that life, or the great deity in the sky, or the universe- or whatever you want to call it- has a sense of humor. A black one. I’d left Puerto, wanting nothing but an environment that would distract me from the very real pain that was still coursing through my veins. Instead, I’d been confronted with satire, irony and coincidence. Life is absolutely ridiculous at times. Mine is, anyway. At least it consistently gives me dubious material for a badly written blog.

“Ah,” I chuckled awkwardly. “You saw that, huh?”

“We saw,” she stopped when she saw the look on my face. “Nothing really. Just you guys talking then leaving…but the English girl you were with?”

Manchester’s dorm mate at the hostel he was working for. A girl who we had managed to silently shag beside one evening, a move which would lead me to be overly friendly to her the following day as I tried to clumsily ascertain if she’d been awake or not. “Yeah?”

“Well, you guys disappeared from her? Or something? Anyway, we hung out with her for the night because she said she couldn’t find you. That’s all I know. Anyway, how are you?!”

Sex-Toys on Chairs.

Two hours later I was on my knees in the middle of a crowded street. I had managed to slip and spectacularly stack it before two bemused Russians. It’s my own fault, really. I was listening to Skrillex at the time. That’s what you get when you listen to dubstep. The Music Gods reach down from the sky and flick you across the back of the head, knocking your tasteless arse to the ground. I never fall over when listening to metal.

A little while later a stray dog with creepy grey eyes chased me, but I managed to both evade it and stay upright. Small victories. Nonetheless, I was slightly fed-up upon returning to the hostel. Walking to the courtyard for a cigarette, I noticed a raucous group of people drinking. After five drags of my fag, one called out.

“Hey, you.”

I turned. “Me?”

“Yes, you,” the French accent continued. “Who are you?”

“Who am I?” I responded with a grin that I hoped would soften the next statement, “Who the fuck are you?”

He considered me. “I like you. Come and join us.”

I obediently sat and began to chat to the Central American dude beside me, starting with the obligatory: “So, where are you from?”

“A little town an hour north of here.”

“Oh,” I wasn’t expecting that. “And you’re here for Christmas?”

“No. I’m one of the owners.”

It was the first time I had seen an owner of a hostel engaged in a drinking session with his guests.

“You need a drink,” he continued. “Let me get you a rum.”

He returned with a fucking pint glass which he proceeded to fill with a heady mix of spiced rum and pineapple juice despite my protestations: “What, no lemonade? What kind of dive bar are you running?”

The evening whirled on from there. The group was an eccentric bunch from all areas of the globe. We instantly got along, and the alcohol poured into us as easily as the conversation flowed out. We laughed, poked fun at each other, and smoked around a plastic picnic table in a freezing courtyard in a tiny Chiapan town. At one point, the owner had a pirate moustache drawn on his face- although none of us could exactly remember why, just like we couldn’t remember how the curved finger sex toy got glued to the leg of the chair. The bar stayed open late that night, and I collapsed into bed a little after 3am, inexplicably happy again. Finding yourself in a hostel with a group of people that you instantly click with is a travelling four leaf clover. When you find yourself in this position after a man has just taken a gigantic- and figurative- shit on you, it’s even more wonderful.

The following day, I had to leave. I didn’t want to, but my accommodation for Tulum was booked and there was a hefty cancellation fee for the Christmas period. I found my friends in the courtyard. Upon seeing my backpack, the Frenchman cried, “No! You’re leaving?”

I explained that I didn’t want to.

“So don’t,” Connecticut Guy declared, lighting a Marlboro red. “Stay with us.”

“I really can’t.”

Belgium Girl got up and gave me a hug. UK Lass followed. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by people, all hugging me and pleading that I stay. Since goodbyes are not my strong point, I broke away, offered a flippant wave, and turned to leave.

“Don’t go, CC!” Connecticut called after me.

“You’re making a mistake,” Belgium cried.

“Stay! We’re doing mushrooms tomorrow,” France added.

But, with a moderate amount of regret, I left. It was harder to leave this group than it was to flee Manchester. Without realising it, without knowing anything about the events that had led to me being there, they had distracted me for seventeen whole hours. When you feel like shit, that can seem like blissful eternity.

Feliz Navidad

Christmas Day arrives two days later. I’m on a beach in Tulum. The water is cold. It’s overcast, and I am sitting on my sarong listening to music when a couple kissing catches my eye. My thoughts are drawn irresistibly back to the many sunsets that Manchester and I enjoyed in much the same way on Zicatela beach. Knowing that I had to make peace with things, knowing that I couldn’t carry an iron heart through South America- my goddamned backpack is heavy enough- I tried to reframe the events in a positive way. And this is what I came up with:

Manchester was obscenely good looking. Horrifically attractive. Looking at him was like staring at a solar eclipse: it’s magnificent, but you get the sense that a protracted gaze will sear your retinas like rump steaks forever. He actually modelled once. For Prada. Oh, he didn’t set out to, it was offered to him- which makes the whole thing even more fucking intimidating. He wasn’t narcissistic enough to try and model, just attractive enough to be scouted one windy winter’s evening. He told me the story during one of our many stay-up-chatting-until-sunrise nights. Manchester’s stories rocked, I’ll grudgingly give him that. They were delivered with a loquacious, laconic wit, often contained excessive amounts of narcotics or a hilarious misunderstanding, and were summed up succinctly at the end: “So that’s how I modelled for Prada”, “So that’s how I woke up in a Mexican jail on my birthday”, “So that’s how my grandmother wound up in the garden with a used condom on her shoulder”. Now, I’m far from shallow- it’s usually a person’s energy that attracts me rather than their visage- but, if nothing else, I can now arrogantly say that I once dated a Prada model with incredibly dexterous fingers. Yep, lil’ ol’ fidgety, gawky, clumsy CC managed to repeatedly shag a male model in Mexico. Sure, he hurt me, and it didn’t end well, but instead of focusing on that, maybe I should look for the story, rather than wallow.

Could I have gotten here without the people I met at San Cristobal? The people who reminded me how to laugh for an evening? Could I have gotten here without the unyielding and most welcome support of my loved ones in Sydney, who all answered my Facebook call to arms with love, compliments and positivity?

No.

And “that’s the thing about us humans”. Without meaning to, without realising what we are doing, we can help someone when they most need it. Sometimes we know that assistance is required, and we pass the metaphorical hat around. Sometimes we have no idea that we are bringing someone up from a San Cristobalian pavement to their feet where they can dumbly survey their surroundings like a newborn calf after a bush fire. It’s the nectar of humanity that lies within all of us. It’s beautiful. And it can mean everything to someone. However you want to describe it, it makes me smile, it makes me grateful, and it makes me promise to pay it forward whenever I can.

“Me talk pretty one day.”

20 Nov

In an oestrogen laden opening sentence I can sum up my Wednesday: I got my hair done. In Mexico, it’s about $50 for a full head of blonde foils and a cut. For the men that don’t speak ‘vanity’: that’s cheap. Really cheap.

I went to Spanish class afterward and tried to tell my teacher about it. I failed. Dismally.

This leads me to transcribe the actual conversations that I’ve had in Spanish with my language teacher. I can’t say that it all happened on one day, but, unfortunately, it did all happen. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse, really.

“So, CC, what did you do this morning?”

“I have the white stripes this morning,” I motion to my hair.

“Ah, you do look different! Where?”

“Um, on the street. Here.”

On the street?”

“No, no. On the here street. There.” I point out the door.

Pause.

“Um, what’s the word for ‘down’ again? Hmm…okay, I walk down the street here for the white stripes.”

“Okay.”

“I run up the school for my reservation there today. Now I am a little tired but happy.”

Pause. “Escaleras is stairs. Escuela is school”

It’s nice that she speaks gringa. “Yes. I like it but I want it blue now.” I motion to my hair.

“Blue?”

“Well, when I arrive in Mexico my onion is blue. I like blue. Blue as well, now.”

“Your…wait, what?”

“I have blue…um…paint for onion with my bag and I want make onion blue. On Saturday, more or less. Maybe Sunday.”

“What are you saying?”

“My onion is blue on Saturday. Many months ago it was purple, but now with white stripes I can all blue.”

She realises what I am trying to say. “Oh! No, no. Cabello is hair. Cebolla is onion.”

“Ah.” The frown that the hairdresser gave me earlier suddenly makes sense: ‘Thank you, my onion is very good now.’

“Okay, what about last night? What did you do last night?”

“Last night I write and I go to my American friend and I drink beer with her. I drink beer because I am on vacation now and I am unemployed all day now and this morning I use the bathroom for cold shower. And I eat many chorizo tacos. I like chorizo tacos. It is very cheap with 25 pesos because I buy chorizo tacos for arrive eat.”

“You bought chorizo tacos take-away. Llevar is to take. Llegar is to arrive.”

I nod. “I need to eat more fruit and no more chocolate because I am a lazy rabbit here and I don’t gymnasium here for run. In Sydney, yes. I eat many Nutella in Sydney and run at gymnasium but here, no. I smoke a lot. More and less. I need do less smoke but more run. No. Yes?”

“Right. Let’s start the lesson now. I’m going to ask you questions and I want you to answer in Spanish, okay?”

“Yes, yes, yes.”

“What days do you study Spanish?”

“I study Spanish with the Oasis school from Monday to old man.”

“What? No, Friday is pronounced like this. Not viejo. A viejo is an old man.”

“Ah, yes, yes, yes.”

“Okay, so what time are your Spanish classes?”

“My class is three at the point.”

“No, en punto, is o’clock, not a la punta.”

“Right.”

“La Punta is a beach here.”

“Okay. Can we study on the beach?”

“Not really.”

I’m mildly crestfallen. “Okay,” but remain optimistic, “but the room is large and there is one fan so it’s not, um, fire here now but beach maybe fire there today.”

“Caliente is the word for hot.”

“Right.”

“Now you try asking me some questions. Let’s start with ‘where’. Ask me a ‘where’ question.”

“Where…is…your mother.”

There is a pause. “My mother is dead.”

Awkward. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Ask another one.”

“Where is…Batman?”

“…what?”

“Nevermind. Where is my kitchen?”

This continues on. For some reason, she thinks that my conversation skills need work. So, this happens.

“What do you do in Australia?”

“I am a sick in Australia.”

“You are a nurse in Australia.”

“Yes. And I work in a…nurse house. A big, loco nurse store.”

“A hospital.”

How could I fuck that up?! It’s the same damn word in English. “Yes, a hospital. For loco.”

“A psychiatric hospital.”

“Yes.”

“What do you do for leisure?”

“At cafe, I drink coffee with my Australian friends-”

“You can just say we drink coffee. What else do you like?”

“Or we go and drink all the wine glasses.”

“You drink wine?”

“I like the wine very much.”

“Red or white?”

“White when I go there, red when relax on my house.”

In my house.”

“Yes, yes, yes.”

“Do you dance?”

“A little, but I am a rectum…no, wait. I am a retarded. I make bad dancing, no, wait- I am bad dancing. I want good dancing but I make bad dancing…so, um, no. No dance in Australia.”

“Do you do anything else?”

“Yes. With my Australian friends and I-”

“You know you can just say-”

“We can drink many beers. But before we have to lay down on the pizza at two in the morning.”

Silence.

“No, wait, after. After we lay on the pizza. Before beer, after pizza.”

More silence.

I realise my error. “No! Shit, piso is floor. We lay down on the floor.”

“You lay down on the floor?”

“Yes, yes, yes. Many beers. We sleep. And we drink many coffee and eat bacon because I am happy in the morning with my bacon. Bacon is friendly.”

“Just say delicioso.”

“I thought amable was nice?”

“Yes, but it’s personality nice, not taste nice.”

“Oh, correct. But I don’t like eggs for breakfast. Or lunch. Or-”

“Right. I get it. What else?”

“I do not like green eggs and ham!”

She doesn’t laugh. Maybe it was lost in translation…or maybe I said it incorrectly. “What else?”

“I write a lot. Also I write blog of good.”

“Write what?”

“Blog of happy. Ha-ha good, more or less.”

“Funny?”

“Yes, yes, yes.” Well, I do try to make good happy-funny for my friendly amigos.

“Are they real stories or do you make them up?”

“All real because I am bad with living and I make crazy story many days. When I travel, I do bad things.”

She didn’t bat an eyelid at the fact that I have made myself sound like a serial killer who hunts abroad. “What silly things?”

“I make lost. Other night. There. Not here. Many times.”

“You get lost?”

“Yes. Every day more or less. And I am a bad Spanish, as well.”

“CC, you have to drink more water and less beer because the climate is so hot here that you get dehydrated and it makes you tired and unable to think straight. You look a little tired today, yes?”

“A little. Tonight I eat chicken tacos at a store of take away food and tomorrow I must go to the beach and read but not when the sun is strong because I am all white and when I am many time in strong sun I’m going to, um…ouch.”

“Right, enjoy. I’ll give you more reflexive verbs for homework.”

Buenos Aires! Oh, shit. I mean, good day. Thank you. See you tomorrow, my lawyer.”

“Teacher, CC. I’m a teacher. Adios.”

A post that is almost about blow-jobs

22 Jul

This. THIS is why I hate feminism.

Or feminists.

I’m not sure. Maybe both. Maybe I am a misogynist with a vagina. Who knows.

Okay, before I begin, I want you to embrace a hypothetical for me. Let’s pretend that this blog is read by more than just three Cambodian perverts and a semi-literate goat in Brazil. We need to pretend that this blog is huge, that it receives over 4 million page views per month.

…Sorry, I was side tracked in cleaning up the gigantic puddle of urine that erupted, mid-cackle, when I considered the complete unlikelihood of my inane ramblings ever going grand-scale.

Not that you would know that I paused to clean up urine. I mean, you would have finished one sentence and skipped straight to the next, not knowing that there was a break in typing as I mopped up wee.

I didn’t.

Mop up wee, that is.

Or, come to think of it, wet myself, either.

Actually, I’m not even sure why I included that wee lil’ urine joke, it’s not funny.

And it probably leaves you with a small question as to the state of my pelvic floor muscles.

Perfectly fine.

By the way.

I’m, uh, totally continent.

Yep.

Anyway, we need to pretend that I am a male writer with a strong pelvic floor and a stronger disdain for lady parts. We need to pretend that I am a man who hates eating pussy.

Stay with me- there is a point to this.

Pretend that I have written a blog post that talks about how gross it is to eat a girl out. This blog post is going to be sexist, NSFW, and offensive, so you are probably going to read things like:

“Vaginas, in general, are disgusting. And ugly. Below the waist, every woman looks like she has been flayed by an inept Hannibal Lecter with late stage Parkinson’s disease.”

“Even the word: vuh-gyna. It sounds like something that an AIDS-ridden Care Bear would say.”

“When girls get excited they leak manky, salty fluid that tastes like battery acid, Kraft Blue Cheese dressing, and sorrow. And, all girls smell like an old can of tuna.”

I want you to imagine the words “axe wound”, “meat curtains”, “hairy doughnut”, “sausage wallet”, “fish taco”, and “cum dumpster” are included in the article.

Picture a graphic description of sweaty thighs with no box-gap clamped over ears, followed by a bad joke about this pressure inducing an aneurysm. I would then talk about a hairy bush that has the unmistakable tang of urine.

Imagine, that as a man, I complain about what a horrible chore it is to eat pussy but I simply have to because if I don’t, all of the Machiavellian double-x chromosomes out there will cry and, since women look ugly when they cry, it’s easier to just suck it up and take one for the team…by “digging around that black-hole with an increasingly cramped tongue.”

It would be pretty offensive, no?

Now, if this article actually existed, it would be pulled apart and ovulated over by the radical fillies at Mamamia. For those that don’t know, Mamamia is a feminist blog run by Mia Freedman. I hate-read it on a regular basis.

Seriously, it’s dreadful.

On the blog, the writers frequently point out sexism in society. (“Gob-smackingly sexist media moment of the day“, “The man is repulsive. The end.“, “Female defense force cadets are ‘flabby and smell like fish’.“) They complain about things. (“It’s time for offensive and violent bumper stickers to be banned.”) A lot. (“What’s the difference between a men’s magazine and a rapist?“) They hate Seth MacFarlane. (“Today, the world got together and said ‘No’ to Hollywoood’s creepy, lazy misogyny.“) A lot. (“Oscars host Seth MacFarlane’s ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ song. Sexist, or just wrong?“) They don’t believe in objectification of men. (“Shameless objectification. Of men. Is this ad offensive to boys?“) They point out the sins of the patriarchy with smug, cats-cream smiles. (“Somebody actually wrote ‘5 reasons to date a girl with an eating disorder.’“) They frequently take things that are supposed to be a joke, put them into a gigantic vagina-grinder, and somehow turn it into the reason that men and women STILL DON’T GET EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE. (“The 2UE ‘Comedy’ sketch which left me cold.“) They skirt the sticky line between lipstick-feminism and “the female body should under no circumstances be shown in a mildly sexualised light or else our daughters, and daughters-daughters, are going to be chained to a kitchen sink and repeatedly gang-raped by a martini-wielding Don Draper-type while being forced to bake brownies from scratch” with hypocritical abandon. (“Embarassing and degrading for celebrities.“)

Occasionally, I leave comments. Often, they are deleted. My last opinion that was promptly erased from cyberspace like the memory of a bad date was: “It’s tripe like this that gives feminism a bad name.”

So, going back to my original point: if this anti-fanny blog post I hypothesised about earlier actually existed, it would have been shredded by Mamamia.

HOWEVER.

This piece of rancid afterbirth appeared on Mamamia a few weeks ago.

“Giving head is the worst”

It was written by this odious character.

rosie-having-a-panic-attack

Rosie Waterland.

Guys, if you ever see this woman in the street, I would suggest that you fucking run like you are being chased. By a woman. Who hates your sweaty penis.

Then dance like nobody’s watching. Laugh like there’s no tomorrow. Sing like nobody is listening and love like you’ve never been hurt.

You know, if you get motivated. By running. Maybe a spontaneous act of strenuous exercise will energise you? Maybe it will give you an endorphin rush of inspiration that suddenly turns you into a lame e-Card.

I’m not even making sense anymore.

Anyway, you can click the link to read the article or, since I know that reading on the internet breeds a special type of laziness, you can read it here, complete with her unfunny photo captions.

I’m just going to come right out and say it:

Giving head is the worst.

It’s okay – you’re reading this in your mind right now so nobody has to know that you agree.

I understand, as unjust as it is, that most ladies (and I suspect a lot of guys) feel like they can’t admit to having unpleasant feelings about sausage-shaped chunks of rigid flesh being shoved repeatedly into their mouths.

There seems to be a general feeling that one must pretend to enjoy performing oral sex or risk a life of loneliness, listening to Taylor Swift while getting into twitter fights with people about Jennifer Aniston’s love-life.

I get it. There’s pressure to conform. But this is a safe place, and I think we all just need to admit that eating penis isn’t enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong – I totally accept that giving lady-head would be just as unpleasant an experience. I can’t imagine having to swim through my pube garden would be easy by any means. But it’s all about doing something nice for someone else and taking one for the team. So while I understand that enjoyment can come from doing something that your partner enjoys, that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy the sweaty balled, sperm-inducing act itself.

I mean, let’s break it down, shall we?

It usually begins with a make-out session that is rudely interrupted by the not-so-subtle pushing down of the head. That is the penis-owner’s code for: “I would like an orgasm that requires no physical exertion on my part. Thanks in advance.”

hotdogIf only.

If you accept your fate and agree to be a selfless blow-job hero, you then have to pull off the dude’s undies and untangle his sweaty bulge from his hairy balls (one of which always needs to be peeled off the inside of his leg) and unfurl them like one of those wrinkly puppies stretching out in the sun.

All the sweat that has been collecting in between his pubes from hours locked inside his penis-oven now glistens on your hands, which you try to politely wipe on the bed/carpet/your own pants without him seeing. Because romance/magic etc.

After some obligatory kissing of the general area, you eventually realise that you’ve put off the inevitable long enough – you must take the actual penis into your mouth. You can only cup sweaty balls and kiss the safe zone between the belly button and the pubes for so long. You must get down to business.

(Also, let’s take a brief moment here to acknowledge that just the concept of putting something in your mouth that was probably shooting out urine just minutes ago is straight up gross.)

It’s important you try to get comfortable now, as there will be some sustained physical effort on your part. The key word being ‘try’, as comfort for a person giving a head job is generally regarded as an urban myth. You’ll either get a dead leg from being on your knees, or an aching arm from lying on your side and trying to hold up the top half of your body with one elbow.

Highest possible comfort level attained (not very), you must then must ‘ease’ into proceedings, as just shoving the whole thing into your mouth and letting it sit there like a docked boat until it explodes is, unfortunately, considered poor form.

You must try to coat the whole shaft in your (sexy, make sure it’s sexy) saliva to ensure adequate lubrication for your hands (usually still covered in glistening ball sweat), which will shoulder some of the workload while you avoid the inevitable for as long as possible: the attempted deep throat.

orangThis is all I could find in stock images to represent sweaty balls.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a penis must be in want of an individual to deep throat it. And no matter how many times he has tried and failed, he will grab the back of your head mid blow-job and try to push it as far forward as he can.

Men tend to forget the concept of head ownership during sexy-times; they assume that if their penis is currently attached to someone’s head, it indicates ownership of that head. IT DOES NOT INDICATE OWNERSHIP OF THAT HEAD. The person who owns the head knows how far it can go in, okay?

It’s at this point you are usually expected to begin ‘sexy moaning’. This involves ignoring the fact you currently have a penis trying to poke the top of your left lung, so that you may concentrate on making the relevant human sounds that indicate sexual pleasure.

It is also, though not always, expected that you make sexy eye contact with very sexual sexy eyes. It should also be noted here that looking sexy with your gaping mouth stretched around a penis is impossible – no amount of sexy eyes is going to fix that.

It’s been said that a very rare and select group of women look attractive while crying – I suspect those are the only women who look attractive with a dick in their mouths. And probably also at the dentist.

Okay. Here’s where things start to speed up. At this point you are basically like one of those perpetual motion chicken toys that drinks the coloured water, except on steroids. All pretence of hand involvement is forgotten. This part is basically about you trying not to gag as your head moves back and forth at an exponential rate. You must resist the urge to switch whatever leg/elbow/hand/toe you are leaning on, or the rhythm will be interrupted and you may end up having to go even longer.

The lips you have wrapped around your teeth to protect his precious manhood are starting to feel the pressure. All you can think about is how much easier this would be if you were fitter. You desperately need a glass of water.

Then…

fountain

Get ready to die, sperm. IN MY MOUTH.

He finishes. (Which is just a nice way of saying that he explodes 1 billion little wriggly sperm into your mouth, which immediately begin gasping for air, racing towards an egg they’ll never find).

Grouped together, they have the consistency of warm snot and the taste of broken dreams. And it doesn’t matter whether you spit or swallow; some of them will definitely end up wedged in sad little sperm graveyards between your teeth.

So, that’s it. Not unbearable, but certainly not pleasant. I’m not saying that I never do it. I’m just saying that I hate it. And I know, I know, I’m not the only one.

Because giving head is the worst.

Now please excuse me while I go and watch any chance I have to find a man slowly fade away.

 

My first thought on reading it was, ‘Lesbian!’ Followed shortly by, ‘So…does that mean she swallows?’  Then, inevitably, ‘Wait a minute, you can imagine that it’s not easy to “swim through [your] pube garden”? Maybe, um, you know, you should give your hedges a little trim every now and then?!’

Plus, she makes the bile-inducing suggestion that even though giving head sucks, she does it.

Wow.

Rosie. I mean, bravo.

You heroic, blow-job warrior.

Her making this comment is a thinly veiled “See? I’m not a man-hater” but it actually comes off (ha! comes off. Geddit?! Like… Oh, never mind) as the dating equivalent of “I’m not racist but…” In other words, a bad justification.

Oh, maybe I could have made a semen joke there: A bad jizz-tification!

Ha!

A girl left a comment saying how much she “freaking *loves*” giving head, thereby securing her a moderate queue of men who would happily cut off their leg at the hip for half a chance to spend the night with her in any permutation of any foreseeable future.

Anyway, if a man told me that he hated to eat pussy, then proceeded to describe the act in the way that Ms. Waterland just did, I would rightly brand him a sexist pig and promptly take my lovely, little ‘giney to a man that is going to enjoy it. People who use phrases like “yuck”, “gross” or “I don’t do that” in regards to oral sex immediately ring alarm bells for me. Not because they’re a prude and I’m a fiend (which I may well be), but because people who flap their hands at the wrists and cry “Ew!” when it comes to something as normal as oral sex have some fucked-up issues that I don’t want to begin to unravel. I’ll find a nice, normal man who is only too happy to bury his head between my legs with delightful regularity and work on repaying the favour. In full. With interest. And stuff.

But it’s this double standard that annoys me about feminism, and I suspect it is what is sending a generation of girls running to websites like Women Against Feminism. For many feminists- and I have that heinous clan of upper/middle-class, Anglo-Saxon wenches at Mamamia firmly in my sights when I say this- feminism is less about fighting for “equality” and more about carrying a large, vagina-shaped chip on your shoulder. (On a side note, I just googled “Does feminism have a capital f?” and found that someone had answered, “Isn’t there a man around that you can ask?” Bwahahaha.) If Mamamia really believed in equality, they would never have published this article because it’s fucking hypocritical to call out instances of sexist jokes against (against? toward? about? yeah, about sounds right) women and then poke fun at men. That’s not equality. That’s fucking sexism.

And I’m calling it out on my tiny blog.

And, gentlemen, you know how you can thank me? 😉

I’m kidding.

 

 

…But seriously, I’m not.

Get down there.

Now.

The Great UFC

27 Jun

I’ve written a novel. Yay. I’m tirelessly editing and reworking it to submit to one of the many publishing houses accepting unsolicited submissions. Before I did, I showed it to a select group of people, telling them three things:

1. If it sucks, you have to tell me.

2. This is fiction. Which means no, that character isn’t based on you.

3. Constructive feedback is welcome.

Five people have all said the same thing. It’s really good. I read it (53,000 words) in one sitting. Your beginning needs work (duly noted and fixed) but your main character, Jemma, is too unlikeable.

I showed it to my dad, who put the pages on the table with a frown. “CC, is Jemma a P.D?” (a P.D is someone suffering from a Personality Disorder)

“No.”

“Is she a sociopath?”

“Uh, no.”

“Okay, because,” he puts his hands on the manuscript, “she’s fucking nuts.”

One of my best mates said to me, “I don’t like Jemma. At all. But I’m strangely rooting for her.”

Basically, my main character is a pain-in-the-arse. She’s in her early 20’s. She’s promiscuous. She chain smokes. She’s an alcoholic. She’s confrontational, antagonistic, dysfunctional, sarcastic, misanthropic, arrogant, selfish, and she has zero empathy for anybody.

Hardly redeemable.

Still, I was slightly affronted. I like Jemma. I have a mother’s love for her. My brain did, after all, give birth to her. I have been trying to write this novel for five years, always giving up and saying with a tear, ‘Oh, I can’t do it! I’ll never be able to write a novel!’, so Jemma has been living in my mind for some time. Yes, she is dreadful at times, but she redeems herself a little bit in the end. And, the genre is transgressive fiction which is “literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways. Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressive fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic.”

So there, she has to be nuts.

Besides, Jemma has what I believe to be positive traits- she is loyal to the two people in the world that she loves, she’s ballsy, strong-willed, witty, fiery, smart, she walks her own path despite what people may think of her, and she loves animals.

Plus, I don’t think you have to ‘like’ a character. Half of the books I read have unlikeable lead characters. I don’t want to have a beer with them, I want to be entertained by them. There are plenty of examples. Two from the top of my head- Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (I refer to his portrayal in the book, not the movie where Christian Bale managed to infuse him with charm) and Bruce Robertson in Irvine Welsh’s Filth (a character so horrible that I had trouble reading the book.)

But. These. Are. Both. Male. Characters.

This spurred me into researching anti-heroines to make sure that I wasn’t completely fucking up in my crafting of a character and I came across something called the Unlikeable Female Character (UFC). Unfortunately, the remainder of this post will verge dangerously close to a feminist rant so I apologise in advance. Basically, to sum up a lot of reading, there are plenty of male characters who are unlikeable but these generate a different response to a similar female character. In the blog, I Make Up Worldsguest blogger Kameron Hurley uses Sideways and Young Adult to illustrate the point:

“One follows a drunken, frumpy loser who steals money from his mother to enable his soon-to-be-married best friend to cheat on his soon-to-be-spouse; the other follows a drunk, frumpy loser who drives to small-town Minnesota to try and hook up with her happily married ex. Both films created stark, harrowing portraits of their protagonists’ pathology and inability to connect to others. Both protagonists are even writers! The biggest difference in the reception of these films, I’d argue, is that one featured a male protagonist – and thus was critically celebrated. The other told the story of a deeply flawed woman, and become instantly “controversial” because of its “thoroughly unlikable” heroine.”

Think about it, in every romantic comedy there is a scene where a man runs towards his love interest, declaring his undying for her. This is terribly romantic and usually incites a delicate ovarian flutter. That part in The Notebook where Noah grabs Ally and kisses her in the rain- My. God. Dry my seat and still my heart. But in this book, Ally is engaged to another man. If a female grabbed an engaged man and threw herself at him, what would you think? Slut? Tramp? If a lady chased down a train and screamed her undying love to the man on it, would she look anything but mentally ill or clingy? It’s a huge double standard.

I’d like to argue that the portrayal of female characters in film and literature is still quite narrow. We have come a long way from having gals portrayed as either a mother or a whore with a heart of gold, but there is a long way to go and I would argue that UFC’s will help to bridge this gap. There are hundreds of female characters out there who are beautiful, skinny, intelligent, nurturing, emotionally strong, and seemingly good at everything they do- i.e. they are perfect- but they have one delightful “flaw” (Oh, she overcooked the pasta! She’s not very domestic. How charming. Now she’s real.) or a delightful “quirk” (Oh, she bakes cupcakes while wearing army boots! And she has a ferret! Oh, how whimsical and charming.) These characters all have their place, but I don’t necessarily want to read, or write, about them because in reality they don’t exist. We are all flawed, fucked up human beings. I’ll put my hand up to admit it. And, fundamentally, we never change, we just grow up and become better at managing our fucked up-ness. I am still the same screw-up that I was at 21, but at 31 I have developed the tools to manage my neuroses. My character, Jemma, is in her early 20’s. Of course she isn’t together. Of course she is flawed. Who wasn’t at that age?

Plus, I would argue that that characters like Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele are unlikeable. No, scratch that. I would argue that they are hideous. They are nothing but whiny, one dimensional bags of co-dependant crap. Thing is, they aren’t meant to be unlikeable. But they are. Characters like Summer Finn in 500 Days of Summer, Mavis Gary in Young Adult or Elizabeth Halsey in Bad Teacher are UFC’s, but they are interesting. Compelling. Real. And I like them a hell of a lot more- flaws and all- than I do a whiny, selfish teenager who prick teases a werewolf while giving up everything for a sparkly vampire.

In any event, hearing that Jemma was unlikeable has thrown me into a bit of a tail-spin regarding submitting my novel. Most publishing houses only want the first 50 pages- where my main character is at her absolute worst. So, to offset this, I wrote something that I think is quite clever. In submitting my novel to Vintage Cape, I included this note from Jemma. Hopefully, it falls on the side of ‘creative and clever’ rather than ‘schizophrenic and egomaniacal’. I’m gambling that most people who submit their novel include a very serious synopsis of their work and accomplishments. I’m giving them the accomplishments, but with this:

“You probably won’t like me very much. I thought I’d open with that. I wanted to say that I don’t care if you like me because I probably wouldn’t like you, but Casey made me edit that. “We are not alienating the people who we want to publish our book,” she said. Look, I’m not perfect. I’m human. I’m flawed. As a result, I am an Unlikeable Female Character. To be honest, I wanted to portray myself in a kinder light. I mean, even someone who looked like the back end of a bus would want to be played by Angelina Jolie in their life story, but Casey insisted we tell the truth. She said that the events wouldn’t be believable if we lied. She’s right. If I’d acted like a human being in the beginning, the fact that I was sent to a psych ward shortly after my gran’s funeral wouldn’t make sense.

Anyway, this is a story about greed and family secrets and dysfunction and one lone anarchist (me) standing up against a sea of morons (my family). Casey calls it postmodern/ trangressive fiction, whatever that is. You probably want a brief summary? Well, after my grandmother died, I was made executor of her will. Her estate was huge. Nobody expected that. Her ex-husband, my grandfather, is evil. And greedy. He wanted the money. With my unwitting help, he managed to paint me as a mentally unstable alcoholic and I was committed. Here, he tried to wrench control of the estate. I was nearly raped in hospital and, being a clever little sociopath, I managed to use this event to con my way into a drug and alcohol rehab. I thought that entering rehab would prove that I was serious about my role as executor. In rehab I met a boy, a gorgeous, punk-rock Buddy Holly, and he trod on my heart. But, I should probably thank him because this was the catalyst for me to grow up a bit.

At the end of rehab, I learnt some pretty horrible family secrets which allowed me to pull the thread on a blanket that had covered my family for years. My grandmother

[***EDITED DUE TO SPOILERS****]

Finally, I was more than just a wayward, drunken, black sheep. I was a wayward, drunken black sheep who had managed to do some good, after being vile for so long. I was Black Sheep version 2.0. My family were happy. I was happy. Sort of. I was as happy as I will ever get.  And my grandfather

[****EDITED DUE TO SPOILERS****]

 

So, that’s my story. Casey makes it sound awesome- funny and tragic all at once. She’s quite a talented writer.

(I sent this to her to forward over to you and I’m fairly certain that her gigantic ego will stop her editing that part out.)

Which is probably the sort of comment that makes me unlikeable.

Casey does have a huge ego, though. Don’t reject her. She will cry. Seriously. And she looks ugly when she cries. Like Clifford the Big Red Snotrag. It’s horrible. And if she cries, I’ll have to deal with it and I don’t want to deal with it and, as a result, I will get pissed off and then you will have to deal with me. So really, it’s easier for everyone if you just read the book.”

The Fat Chick Fitness Challenge

23 Sep

“I wasn’t always fat, but I have always been unfit.”

These ten words heralded my first feeble attempt at blogging. I reread it recently to discover- between cringing and shrieking at the computer- that it contained enough rough, unpolished diamonds to squeeze out a post.

I wrote this blog under the moniker Eddie- my dad’s nickname for me. My idea was to write a hopefully hilarious post each day summarising my attempts to get fit. It would keep me motivated and accountable. I’d be writing again. It would get me away from Funny or Die when work was quiet. It would be, in short, a fucking good idea.

It crashed and burned quite quickly.

I ran out of funny ways to say, ‘and then I ran out of breath’.

As I describe what transpires, one should note that I was about fifteen kilos heavier than I am now, dreadfully unfit, and with a lot of fucked-up ideas about food and dieting. It was written when I was pushing myself to the brink and everyone in my life was copping the sharp end of my tongue. I was studying and working both full time. My marriage was in trouble. Graves Disease had turned my thyroid gland renegade, so even my own body had turned against me.*Sob* I had been hospitalised for complications that arose from this. Basically, life was a gigantic shit storm and it seemed like sunshine would never return.

I know. We should all feel sorry for the whiny, self indulgent, little white girl.

To try and regain some control, I found myself a hard ass dietician/ personal trainer who I nicknamed Cobra. Together, we meandered hand-in-hand down the labyrinthian path to physical fitness.

“My attempt to get fit is not unlike me trying to teach my dog the Thriller dance: cute to behold, but ultimately time consuming and futile…”

My first post included my start weight and measurements.

Fuck. A. Duck.

I ask myself: Why, CC, why?

I can’t imagine what drove me to do something so masochistic. I put the centimetre circumference of my fat ass up in cyberspace. Thank God the webpage got no traffic. I may be lighter, but I still do, and always will, have a big, round bum.

I set a goal weight and fitness goal- both ambitious. Very ambitious, actually. I will opt to walk through fire over stepping on the scales, but I’m sure that I am still heavier than that goal weight. By a lot. *Sob*

Cobra’s first challenge was a 30 minute walk/ run. It didn’t go well. My dog wound up dragging me home like a Marayong Malamute. I crawled up the stairs, fell into the shower and:

“I couldn’t get the right temperature. I wanted tepid refreshment. I got intermittent bursts of hot and cold water until I gave up and hysterically screamed at the shower head: ‘God damn you. Have you just run? No, you haven’t. You’re just a fucking shower head. Fuck you! You can’t run. You don’t even have fucking consciousness. Asshole. So why, WHY, are you fucking with me? I won’t take it. I am enlightened. Enlightened, you hear? Fuck. FUCK. FUCK!! Cunt monkey.'”

The following day I was predictably sore. I tried doing the “standard level of fitness” exercises Cobra had prescribed. I collapsed, cried and kicked the pool table when I couldn’t do ten push ups.

The next post started with: “I think I’ve broken something…”

In the one after that, I tried to jump rope. I compared myself to My Little Pony on crack, then mused about using my pink skipping rope to hang myself from the garage rafters instead. This was followed by the detailed description of a dream where I was eating a chocolate sundae alone on a life raft, adrift at sea. Hmmm.

Shortly after this I got drunk. Very drunk. You see, when you put ‘massive restriction of food’ into a blender with ‘bottle of vodka’ and add a dash of ‘bored at home’, you come up with an “I’d like to apologise to my neighbours” smoothie.

I woke up on the couch with leaves in my hair. Stumbling into the kitchen found a broken house plant, and an Eddie-sized hole in the wall behind it.

“I must have blacked out after the tenth vodka gimlet. HubbyBear returned home at 3am to find me comatose on the couch, covered with enough greenery to look like I was trying to hunt Predator. Buffy the Vampire Slayer blared in the background. When HB tried to rouse me, I barked like a dog, proclaimed, ‘warriors sleep in the field’, and promptly began snoring again.”

The next few posts are incredibly boring. But the blog picks up again with a post titled Two Guys, a Girl, and a Fitness Challenge.

HubbyBear surprised me one afternoon. You see, watching me limp through life with burning quad muscles had inspired him. He looked up the Ryan Reynold’s Blade Trinity workout plan; bought himself $230 worth of protein powder, creatine, muscle juice, vitamins, supplements, and protein bars and embarked on his own fitness challenge. So we could bond over it.

$230.

Uh-huh.

Mine was cheaper.

Just saying.

I’m reasonably competitive, and we egged each other on. Our other problems meant we embraced our goals with manic zeal, and in doing so, discovered a questionable way to reconnect. The post culminated with me charging into our room, post workout, leaping on the bed, and jumping up and down like a four year old:

“Morning, baby! I just went for a run, or a run walk, hmm, maybe I can call it a ralk. Are you awake? Are you going to work out today? Are you going to do the Ryan Reynolds chest program? You know, I was reading an article on Ryan Reynolds’ diet for Blade 3 and apparently Ryan Reynolds combines lean protein with good fats and Ryan Reynolds’ trainer suggests that the creatine should be consumed…”

Okay, so the conversation is grossly exaggerated, but I did charge in and jump on the bed as the poor bastard tried to sleep.

The next blog post was titled Dozy Eddie the Half-Time Fitness Freak, and inexplicably contains:

“I think I could pick my husband’s dick out of a line up of every other dick in the world.”

No, I’m not sure either.

I finish up my blogging expedition by complaining about sprint training.

Wow.

Get the laureate ready.

I gave up The Fat Chick Fitness Challenge shortly after.

I drowned in Baskin Robbins.

Luckily, in the years that have passed and the grey hairs that have multiplied, I have learnt to exist in the middle rather than in extremes. Vodka is no longer a valid dinner food, and I haven’t used the words Ryan and Reynolds together in a sentence for a very long time. I am no longer obsessed, which is a relief- if only to my quads.

Now, my motivation to exercise is not aesthetic. Emotion and food are no longer interchangeable and I generally like the skin I’m in now, flaws and all. I am grateful to have a body that works well most of the time, and I try to respect it. I have seen some heartbreaking stuff in my time as a nurse, working in a spinal rehab ward put things into perspective. I have grown fond of my big, round bum, because it supports two legs that carry me briskly to and from each ridiculous situation that I find myself in.

This blog is self deprecating, and I will happily take the piss out of myself and the stupid shit I do, but reading between the lines of that blog was a bit disturbing. I was in a fucked-up mindset back then. I may be labouring under a delusion here, but I tend to think of myself now as a content, quirky mess; instead of something awful that needs to change. Turning thirty does have its benefits. You start to give up on who you think you should be and start accepting who you are, big, round bum and all.

And if I ever join a travelling circus, I think I’ll call myself Dozy Eddie the Half-Time Fitness Freak. It has a ring to it, don’t you think?

Tattoo removal, divorce, bush fires, and inner city wankers

13 Jun

I sit outside a little cafe in glebe, smoking, drinking my soy cappuccino, listening to the sex pistols, and writing. Ugh, how utterly pretentious I sound. Throw in a little musing about the current state of the Labour Party fiscal policy and exchange some witty and ironic banter with the cute barista and I’m a total inner city wanker.

So far my manic goal of starting a blog is coming up gang busters. I awoke like a small child on Christmas Day, excited at the prospect of sunshine on my day off and the writing that I would do. After the obligatory time spent lounging in bed and dicking around on Facebook, I finally drag my carcass up, stroll down to a cafe, and sit, albatross like, and begin.

I need to find a tattoo removal place. The weirdest thing happened last weekend. I awoke with a sore bum in a strange bed. Upon inspection I discover that I have the name “Ricky” tattooed on my derrière. I hope that it was Ricky’s bed I awoke in.

Actually, that’s not true.

It is “Duane” that marks my pale backside.

Not true again.

I actually want to get a tattoo that I got on my honeymoon removed. My ex husband has the same one on his arm. I know, matching tattoos. How classy in a trailer park, Pam and Tommy sort of way.

It’s a small yin and yang symbol on the back of my neck. I initially wasn’t going to get it removed. I told myself that ‘its a part of who I am’, ‘just because the marriage didn’t work out doesn’t mean a simple little tattoo has to go’, and ‘erasing a tattoo will not change the past’. However, the recent dickheadedness troublesome behaviour of my ex husband has spurred me into a new place, where I just want to fucking move past all of his immature shit and get on with my fucking life already. I know that removing a tattoo will not make life any easier, much that I know I can only ignore the incessant text messages from him for so long, but there is something cathartic about moving forward. It’s like the new landscape after a burning brushfire has swept through. It s all green and there are some lovely analogies about new growth that I probably should make but can’t really bring myself to.

A few days ago I threw out my wedding dress. After we got married it was put in a box and forgotten about- perhaps a fitting metaphor. I then threw out all of the little momentos that you keep to remind yourself of the silly and fun times of your relationship. Well, you do if you’re me. Anyway, all of this is now sitting in the bottom of a bin in Glebe. All of the coupley photos and the wedding photos are now taken down from my Facebook page. I have ignored two pleading text messages from him so far this morning, choosing to sit, inner-city-wanker like, at my iPad and muse about the nature of love on a badly written blog. Back in Marayong, my ex husband bitches about me, blames me for the marriage breakdown, stubbornly refuses to get help for his problems, and generally drives the people in his life nuts by talking about me. Apparently I’m not that interesting. I think, in comparison, wanting a tattoo removed is not so bad after all. I just need to decide on the cheesy post divorce tattoo. I’m thinking a cherry blossom, something that symbolises the transitional nature of life. Retch. Wanker.