Tag Archives: funny

Trawling Tinder

8 Aug


I’ve never had a good experience on Tinder. And yet, like a woman trapped in a co-dependant union, I keep going back.

Because Tinder is fucking hilarious.

Pockets of humanity lurk on there and trawling Tinder freaks has become a perfectly acceptable way to spend my weekend.

He Gives Good Head

Take this guy:

img_0352

Check out what he’s holding. Doesn’t the image of a man with a decapitated goats head scream, “IT PUTS THE FUCKING LOTION IN THE BASKET!”?

Who’d make that their Tinder profile pic anyway? I mean, doesn’t that just get your goat?

I’m ‘kid’ding.

Can you see where this is ‘head’ing?

Ooh- maybe he’s trying to allude to giving good head?

This joke is old now. It’s time to put it out to pasture.

Pre-Battle Banter

Some men on Tinder are only after one thing.

TinderMan1: “So are we going to meet? What’s your address?”

CC: “We can meet, but I’m not giving you my address. How about a coffee?”

TinderMan1: “We know where coffee is going to end up, so just give me your address.”

This vexed me: Where, exactly, did this audacious prick believe that coffee was going to end up? Does coffee herald coitus? Not necessarily. Coffee can wind up in lots of places: a manic discussion on Jack Kerouac. A hilarious foam-on-the-upper-lip moment. Hell, I could be a stage five clinger that thinks espressos will mean babycinos.

CC: “You see, coffee is my he’s-not-an-axe-murderer-and-I-can-invite-him-into-my-house insurance policy :)”

TinderMan1: “Yeah. See, I work in the music industry and I can’t afford to buy every girl coffee.”

As this message was read, a thwack echoed across the city as the drawbridge to my lady-parts slammed shut.

CC: “What a shame: I’m a gold-digger and I’m not interested in poor men. Better luck next time.”

Luckily, the men on Tinder are a production line and Tinderman1 segued seamlessly into Tinderman2.

TinderMan2: “Where do I work? I work in banking and investments. So how about a vino sometime?”

When I didn’t expeditiously respond, he messaged again.

Tinderman2: “What, is working in finance a deal breaker? :P”

CC: “No. It’s not a deal breaker at all. In fact, it might even be fun to have a drink with someone devoid of a soul :D”

He blocked me after that. He wasn’t devoid of a soul, but apparently devoid of a sense of humor. My sardonic wit often combusts in the tinderbox. I was blocked by another fellow after I playfully said, “Don’t get too excited to meet me- I might yet be a convincing pre-op transsexual ;)”

Testing my Patients

I recently matched with a bearded bloke from Enmore whose profile spoke of ‘sustainability’, ‘craft beer’ and ‘meat trays’.

My, how I do love a hipster.

On our first interaction, The Beard gave me his Instagram handle and invited me to stalk him. I did. There was- amid jumpy iPhone footage of a plethora of live bands- a surprising number of posts dedicated to Shiner Bock beer. These were photographed in glistening, moist, pornographic glory. I counted eleven pictures of beer, but hardly any of him. There was more beer than beard on there.

I pulled out my phone and typed, “Saw your Instagram. Nice. I think my first question is: are you still sponsored by Shiner Bock?”

It was a whimsical bon mot that deserved, at the very least, an emoticon smiley. Instead I got a long, not really coherent explanation that was so convoluted, I wondered why he didn’t just type the word ‘no’ and save us both a lot of time.

We decided to meet for a drink at Newtown. I caught public transport in. Trains weren’t running due to trackwork, so I arrived ten minutes late, breathless and nervous. I scanned the crowd, my gaze finally settling on what I can only describe as a ‘demented lumberjack’. And he wasn’t okay.

Neither was I, actually.

Because who this bloke was in the Tinderverse and who he was in reality was somewhat incongruent.

The man from Tinder was bearded, smiling, slender. He wore Wayfarer sunglasses in one shot, clutched a bass guitar in another. He drank from a stein. He posed with a mischievous pug.

And the man trudging towards me? Well, he was the kind of overweight that usually has the adverb ‘morbidly’ attached to it. His soft, round midsection poked through a threadbare, black sloppy joe that was long ago washed to grey. It was, at least, clean. There were no obvious cum-stains or spag-bol remnants on it. His beanie, on the other hand, was coated in a powdery white substance that was, at best, cocaine and, at worst, dandruff. His face and eyes were completely flat- nary a flicker of emotion was spared for the jittery brunette before him.

And really, an expression would have been nice.

Because I’d only made a tiny bit of fucking effort in getting there.

I’d only spent an hour or so trying on outfits in my bedroom in a Tassie-Devil whirlwind of cotton. I’d only spent ninety fucking minutes battling rail buses, half of which was time spent in close proximity to a man with a facial tattoo who overused the word ‘cunt’. And then, when I changed buses at Strathfield station, there was only that tiny, little argument that I got into with the douche-bag in the hatchback; the guy who, after clocking my vintage army jacket and Doc Marten boots, decided that I was a Neo-Nazi. The dude that then began to trawl me in his car, chanting things like: “Where’s your Swastika, love? Adolf, hey? Seig Heils! Yeah! Nice boots Adolf!” through the open passenger window as I willfully ignored him for as long as I could.

‘As long as I could’ turned out to be ‘half a block’. I snapped after that and shouted- yes, shouted– “Go fuck yourself, you Peugeot-driving wanker!”

Not my finest moment. If I didn’t look like a scary skinhead before I started shouting at passing motorists with wild-eyed zeal, I certainly did after. Something clever and punchy like: “How dare you call me Adolf! Call me Eva. Or Miss Braun, you socialist swine,” would have been better.

Fucking l’esprit d’escalier.

Anyway, this bummed me out, because I thought that my carefully-chosen outfit said, ‘I’m stylish without trying too hard and my Heathers t-shirt says that I understand and embrace cult pop-culture references.’

But it didn’t. Apparently it just said two words: Master Race.

But, back to The Beard: when he greeted me, it was in a monotone, and he slurred his words.

Oh fuck, I thought. Is he drunk?

He leaned in for a kiss. I offered a cheek. He rested a paw uncomfortably close to another cheek. I pulled away. His hand lingered on my jeans like Velcro. He told me about his Sunday: a long walk with a friend that was hard because he got “munted” Saturday night, but a walk that he persevered with nonetheless because he’s “a fat bastard now”.

Then he asked where I wanted to go. We could go anywhere except The Townie. He’d been kicked out of The Townie last month- a feat that I, nor anyone who has ever set foot in The Townie, would think possible. But it was. The Beard’s version of events was: ‘I slur even when I’m not drunk.’ The bouncers was: ‘Even so, ten beers and a broken chair is inappropriate, and you have to leave.’

He asked if I’d eaten, the memory of his fat arse breaking a chair seemingly jogging him back to food. “Let’s go to Mary’s. You ever been there?”

I hadn’t.

He wiped his mouth. “I can’t believe you’ve never been to Mary’s,” he exclaimed in a flat voice.

We began walking up King street, taking a left turn down an alleyway. He led me through the darkness, deep into sex-crime central, before stopping at a place that had no signage, just a bare red bulb glowing above the door.

Oh Christ, I thought. He’s taking me to a brothel. Or a rape dungeon.

It wasn’t. In fact, Mary’s may be the only good thing to come out of that night. Mary’s is a dingy, heavy metal pub that serves fried chicken so consumable, I’m fairly certain it was a Breaking Bad, crystal-meth laced, Los Pollos Hermanos bird. They also serve a fried chicken dish named ‘Larry Bird’, which tickled me. Immensely.

He sat opposite me, studying me with open curiosity. “So how’m ah’doin?”

I put down my piece of chicken. “What?”

He wiped his mouth. “How am I doin’ on the date?”

I was taken aback and laughed. Loudly. “HAHAHAHAHA! That’s a…question. Isn’t it? Look at you asking…questions.”

“Is there like, any chance of,” he paused. “You know…”

Oh please God, don’t say it.

“Because I don’t go for casual stuff,” he continued. “Mostly. Like, I had a friend with benefits once, but that ended. It’s not me. There was one Tinder girl who took me home. That was weird because, like, she was tall and our feet touched during it. She left straight after it.”

I’d like to pause the story and assure you that I am absolutely not making this up. He absolutely said this to me, and as he spoke, I was absolutely conducting a mini-mental examination on the poor bastard: What the fuck is he talking about? That didn’t make sense. That was thought disordered as fuck. And I think he’s derailing. Is he derailing? No, he’s totally derailing. Is he a patient somewhere? I bet he’s a schizophrenic.

He wiped his mouth again. “You’re, like, big- for a chick, I mean- aren’t ya? You’ve gotta be five eight or…?”

Maybe I should ask if he takes Clozapine. The belly. The drool. Fuck! Okay, this is weird. I think I’m accidentally on a date with a fucking-

He considered me. “How do you usually go on Tinder dates? Like how do you do this?”

What the shit…? Oh no, he’s staring at you! Quick, say something now! Change the subject! Talk about  the chicken! Larry Bird! LARRY BIRD!

He left to use the bathroom. I took the opportunity to broadcast my woe on Facebook. When he returned, I casually brought up the uni assignment due that evening. I’d already done it- it was submitted earlier that afternoon, in between leg-day at the gym and my ‘yuck, I now smell like a diseased yak’ pre-date shower. I didn’t know that The Beard was going to be a living nightmare and I wanted to be free from responsibility if he wasn’t.

“So I have to leave. Right now.” Which is a shame, I tried to say with my eyes. But, you know, responsibility. Stuff.

“Have another beer.”

“I can’t.”

“I’ll drive you home.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that! To Hornsby!”

“It’s an easy drive.”

“No, it’s fine. Besides, you’ve been drinking.”

“Only four pints.”

In two hours. And I don’t want to die in a fiery car wreck. At least not before I erase my Google Chrome history. “Really, I’ll get the train.”

He walked me to the station, I glanced at the board and saw that a train- although not my train- was leaving in two minutes. “Two minutes! Nick of time. I’ve really got to run.”

He responded by grabbing me around the waist and grinding his crotch into my hip like a horny Doberman. He went in for the kiss and, again, I offered a cheek. He smelt like chicken. Craft beer. Plague. Peristalsis. Hormones. And desperation.

I boarded my train feeling fed-up. You can’t go on a bad date without it draining you of something. Even if you enter the evening with no expectations, you leave robbed of a little effervescence. I can usually see the funny side, and writing about it fortifies me, but there are times when I can’t help but wish I could go back to that heady period in my early-twenties when the world didn’t seem to be full of weirdos.

Wanting a little pick me up, I opened Tinder.

And found this guy.
img_0023His profile states- with a two-finger salute to the rules of grammar- that he is “the badboy you’re mothers warned you about”, he’s “the real 50 shades baby.”

He’s also a poet, because he goes on to claim that he’s “hung like an ox”,

“enjoys nibbling at your…”

“and making you scream with his…”

But only blows his load into socks.

Okay, so I made that last one up.

Tinder, hey?

Shit.

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.

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.

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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

A Post About a Threesome…

13 Jul

Ha! I’ve busted you, you perverted little sausage. This isn’t a story about a threesome at all. I’ve told a lie in a blatant ploy for attention that stops just shy of ‘tawdry’ by my omission of the word “lesbian”. My salacious title is just pandering to the voyeur in all of us. It’s my ‘now that I have your attention’ moment. There is no fornicating to speak of in this post. Just pornographic self-publication.

I am endeavoring, like The Little CC That Could, to get my book published via Kindle Scout. It’s called Funereal. It’s a black comedy. About a fucked up family squabbling over a will. There’s a twist at the end. And the heroine gets committed to a loony bin. That’s not the twist, though. That’s like, a plot point right near the beginning. It’s dark in places. I tried to write a sex scene. And failed. A monkey smokes a Parliament. And the word “fuck” appears 221 times, making the book 0.39% ‘fuck’.

The tagline is: And you thought your family was bad.

And it’s good. I promise you. Don’t believe me? Here are some recent reviews that I’ve gotten:

“I’m so proud of you honey. No, I didn’t read it, but you wrote a novel! Look at you! You came out of my vagina and thirty years later you wrote a whole book! Kiss, kiss. Dinner is at 6pm Tuesday.”

-Mum

“It’s not bad. That doesn’t mean that it’s good but…well…it’s done now. That’s something, right?”

-Uncle Theodore

“CC, I paid you to edit my sociology essay, and you send me this? Where is my essay? If you don’t replace this nonsense with ‘Merits and Demerits of Media for a Society’, I’m taking it further. You can’t hold my essay ransom until I write your book a good review. It’s unethical. And answer your goddamn phone. Return my damn calls. Goodbye.”

-Girl I met in the Manning Bar at Sydney Uni

“One of the greatest, most provocative and enlightening books of our generation. ‘Fight Club’ is an absolute must read.”

–A positive review for a totally different book.

“It’s hilarious. Well written. Compelling. Full of well drawn characters that seem to jump off the page. The next time you hear the name ‘Casey Millikin’, it will be alongside names like Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare.”

-Homeless man at Central Station who is, on a completely unrelated note, now $50 richer.

“You surprised me, its actually not that bad. The bisexual musician character, that’s based on me, isn’t it? Your saying you want to get back together, aren’t you? …No? Oh. …Well, your writings shit. Prick tease.”

–A grammatically inept email from an ex-boyfriend.

“Okay, just so we’re clear- if I write a good review for your book, you blow me. Right?”

-Something that never actually happened.

“CC, I’m going to say this one more time: Stop contacting me, stop stalking my Facebook page, and leave my secretary alone. The poor woman is two steps from a nervous breakdown. Threatening her cat was completely inappropriate of you. Yes, I gave you an ‘F’ but it was ten years ago and I stand by it: your poem was dreadful. You need to move on with your life. And stop sending my mother your smutty novel. I have no idea how you got her address but she’s had a stroke. She needs rest. The nursing staff have your picture and have been instructed to refuse you entry.”

-As Associate Professor Barnes can now attest: you never give CC an ‘F’.

“Alright, alright. It’s good, okay? There. Please stop crying. You’re so ugly when you cry.”

-Beneficial friend #23

I should probably tell you how Kindle Scout works. It’s basically crowd funding. I put my book up, you read the beginning of it, you peruse some Q & A I’ve done, you read a short- and not entirely truthful- bio of me, and then you log in with your Amazon account and nominate me in your top 3. If I’m popular enough to get selected for an eBook deal, you get a copy of it for free. Either way, you get a personalised thank-you note from me just by voting. It’s Sally Field’s acceptance speech from the 1984 Academy Awards- you know the one. She says, “You like me. You really like me.” in it.

And, just to add a sweet little kicker, if you vote for me, I’ll totally get Megan Fox to date you. Don’t believe me? I met her earlier in the year. She was an inpatient at a ward I used to work in. Lovely girl- a little volatile when she’s coming down from crack- but nice nonetheless. She has what’s known as a ‘grandiose delusion’. Sure, she’s let herself go a little bit since Transformers, but if she’s still heavily into the gear I can probably call in a favour from her. Guys, you’ll love her. Heroin has taken almost all of her teeth. They call her ‘Gummy Joe’ now. And she might even be a bit manic- and we all know what that means.

I’m kidding.

But in all seriousness- the book is good. Everyone who I’ve shown it to has read it in one or two sittings. They’ve laughed out loud. They’ve disliked the anti-heroine but found themselves rooting for her anyway. When I got it professionally edited, the feedback I received was, “It’s great! I stayed intrigued and interested to see what was going to happen next all the way through…The chapter titles work well; I loved the humour, enjoyed the profanity and the gutsy-but-fucked-up heroine.”

So, there.

And you know what? Fuck it, I believe in it. think it’s good and sometimes that’s all you need- delusions of adequacy.

Here’s the link. Vote. Not just for me, but for your country. Vote to stop the tyranny of ISIS in it’s tracks. Vote for the second helping that Jenny Craig won’t let you eat. Vote for the cake you dug out of the bin and ate with your hands after the last attempt at fitting into your skinny jeans failed. Vote for your dog. For the one-legged pigeon that confronts you on the way to work each morning. Vote for the red wine that you drink out of a chipped coffee cup when you can’t be bothered to do the washing up. Vote for Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Vote for the hug you get from your best friend when the man/woman/dishcloth breaks your heart. Again. Do it for God, because s/he would totally read Funereal. If you believe in that sort of thing, look at it this way: God put this in my brain for you to read, so you have to vote or God will get cranky. And we don’t want an angry God- Nepal can’t handle another earthquake. You don’t want that in your conscience, do you? Hmm? Well, vote. Now.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/42SZ05LUODJV

FUNEREAL – ON KINDLE SCOUT

The Hymen Soliloquies

24 Jun

Four months ago I decided to become celibate. And it’s going well. Okay, so ‘well’ isn’t an adjective I’d use to describe my life at the moment, but it’s been…interesting. Enlightening. My hymen is about to grow back, I haven’t rubbed up against the dread-locked guy on the 438 bus yet, and the sex dreams involving Magneto, Adalita and Annie the CPR dummy are fun to interpret. Sure, there’s the nasty case of RSI in my left middle finger, and a brand new obsession with knitting squares of wool, sending them overseas, and hoping that they will be sewn together to make a blanket for some poor, malnourished child in Zambia; but aside from that, not having sex is really not that bad. My life now isn’t that different to when I was married. I just have pink hair and live in a different suburb. Minus a dog. And a mortgage. I’ve hymenated myself and come full circle.

Besides, I have way more spare time to go to the gym, which has enabled me to shave two whole minutes off my three kilometre run time. So I can now sprint away from penis at a velocity that I may not have managed if I was spending my spare time on my back. There are benefits to gaining physical fitness, of course. My physique is honed. Just in time for nobody to see me naked. Oh the irony. I’ve started showering with the window open in the hopes that my 50-something neighbour will have a gander because someone has to benefit from the hours I’m spending on the treadmill, and if I can’t give a bearded hipster an eyeful of my pale arse I can at least give an old Italian man a heart attack.

I could write that my lack of lovin’ is benevolently contributing to the dividend payments of Duracell battery shareholders, and that my decidedly solitary lifestyle is allowing them to buy a second chicken dinner at the pub on Thursdays. For their girlfriend. Who will then have sex with them. Because nothing excites women like a schnitty. Or a man with shares in a battery company. Breaded chicken breast and a diverse stock portfolio is more intoxicating than a man-bun, you know. My Duracell bunny has allowed me to become the Mother Theresa of copulation.

Okay, that part isn’t even true.

I use Eveready.

You might not even like those jokes.

And I really don’t give a schnit.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

But seriously, my brand new lifestyle is courtesy of a Chilean who I went on a few bad dates with when I first got back to Australia. Let’s call him Fern, because that’s alarmingly similar to his real name. And I’m going to be mean to Fern. Sorry, but it’s what I do.

Fern and I were work colleagues back when my job involved stuffing burgers into paper bags with my left hand while I wiped teenage grease from my T-zone with my right. We lost contact, in the way that you do when you meet someone at the age of fifteen, only to meet up again when I started dating my ex-husband. Fern was friends with my ex, and would smoke pot and play basketball with him back when we were stuffing Whoppers into paper bags. We saw each other again at a party, exclaimed how odd life was, and periodically engaged in inebriated exchanges at social gatherings thereafter. I pondered the fatalistic aspects of becoming engaged to a man who had always existed on the fringes of my social circle. Fern apparently stared at my backside when I would inevitably stretch out and fall asleep on a flat surface after too many wines. I got married. Fern stayed single. I briefly wondered if he was gay, lost myself in married life, ultimately got divorced, and lost contact with him.

Then he read my blog.

He found my difficulties of getting a grasp on espanol slightly hilarious, emailed me, and offered to teach me. I gratefully accepted his offer, we started chatting, and things eventually escalated to the point where we sent long and quirky emails to each other while I was traveling. He asked me out, without expressly asking me out: Hola Guapita. Si no estas aburrida de todo lo ‘latino’ me gustaria llevar la a conocer mis amigos espanoles y tambien mis restaurantes sud americano favorito. Which roughly translates to, “Hello Pretty Girl, if you aren’t bored of all that is Latino, I’d like to take you out to my favourite South American restaurants with my friends when you get back.”

Fast forward three months and I am walking through Newtown with him, slightly disconcerted at the way I can look straight over the top of his head without raising my chin. I don’t remember him being so damn short, I thought. He’s like a Latino hobbit. What the fuck am I doing being led down King Street by Diego Baggins? Despite this, the date was perfectly adequate. We chatted. We laughed. He didn’t eat. I did. He kept getting up to use the bathroom. I crossed and recrossed my legs. He covered his mouth when he talked. I wondered if my paella had left a chunky bit of blackened herb in my teeth. I threw bad Spanish at the waitress. She looked to him for a translation. I excused myself to check my teeth in the bathroom and he surreptitiously paid the bill while I was gone. Upon exiting the restaurant, he grabbed my hand, let it go, wiped his palm on his T-shirt, re-grabbed said hand, then confidently wove me through the traffic of King street all the way to the Bank Hotel. We drank beer. He chain smoked, knocked a flying cockroach out of the air in a way that was slightly ninja, inched his chair closer to mine, asked how many tattoos I had, then told me about his internet dating mishaps in a way that was slightly tragic.

Just after midnight he drove me back to my parents house, put the car in park, leaned over, opened his mouth wide, and latched onto my face like an eager catfish. The thirty seconds that followed was, for me, not unlike being licked into submission by an obsessive compulsive bulldog. I pulled away, he made a bad joke, patted my head affectionately, and delicately suggested that I get out of his car. Now.

Then he texted to ask me out for a second date. And, despite the fact that I wasn’t particularly enthused, I agreed.

Why?

Because he was nice. Really nice. Plus he was a musician, but we’re ignoring that part. He was just…a nice guy. Who was into me. And indulging the emotionally stable men that show interest in you when you are disconcertingly close to middle age is the mature thing to do, right? Sure, the three things I usually find essential in the opposite sex are a height difference in his favour, a kiss that makes my toes curl, and chemistry that makes my brain fuzz; but focusing on that at the expense of someone who was a musician nice seemed shallow. Sure, he resembled a sweaty, salivating Tolkein character, but he seemed normal. And he wasn’t Gary Glitter. Or Macauley Culkin. So why not give him a second date?

Looking back, the warning signs of douchebaggery were always there. “Sorry to kick you out of my car the other night,” he began via text message, “but you looked so good that if we had of kept kissing I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself.”

Which is, well, a little….oh, I don’t know. Rapey?

Hey baby, you looked so hot in that grey All About Eve dress that I could have committed a sex crime on you. You looked very rapeable last night. Rapealicious. Positively rapetastic. I could have forced myself on you like Oscar Pistorious through a bathroom door.

Date number two was closer to home. Literally. I was crashing on the couch that my parents had generously donated to their thirty-something wash-out of a spawn; and he was living with his parents as well.

“Why does he live with his parents?” my best friend asked me.

“Because he doesn’t have a job.”

Pause. “And why doesn’t he have a job?”

“Because he left the corporate world to focus on his music.”

“Right.” He took a sip of coffee. “And how’s that going for him?”

Well enough to be able to move back in with mum and dad.

We went to the drive-ins at Blacktown. I’m not proud of it, I was geographically challenged. We had a few too many beers at a nearby pub, forgot about the drive-ins, and wound up making out in his car.

Here, things got weird. He asked if I wanted to take our passionate tryst “into the back seat” and I declined because- call me prudish- I didn’t want to fuck my nice guy in the back of a Nissan Skyline by the side of the road in Western Sydney’s ‘Southern Cross’ heartland, two metres away from what may or may not have been the decomposing carcass of a stray cat. I’m picky like that. And I stand by my decision- the first time you have sex with someone you want to remember it fondly because the memories are often all you have when it ends. I’m not saying that you need candles and Marvin Gaye, but a bed or flat surface of some description is always a bonus. As is an area of more than two metres square. And a gear stick, unless its being used as a sex toy, is often just problematic. It’s an unneeded accoutrement. Don’t get me wrong, car sex can be fun, but for the first time I usually want to get my in-and-outs inside of a man-made structure that preferably contains a stained futon, rather than a backseat littered with McDonald’s wrappers and empty packets of JPs Blue. Understandably, he may not have wanted his mother to find a girl who is very white with hair that was very blue urinating in her bathroom the following morning (“My mother doesn’t like Australian women. Unless they speak Spanish. So she might like you.”) but I didn’t want to seal the deal with my nice, I’m-not-really-sure-if-I-like-him guy in a skanky, I’m-not-really-sure-if-I’m-comfortable-with-this way.

He dropped me home, slightly disconcerted, and I messaged him a few days later, suggesting that we get a hotel room in the city for our next date; which is saying, without really saying, “I’ll fuck you.”

And I got silence in return.

Silence is cruel. And cowardly. You’re left wondering, Did they receive it? Should I send it again? No, that looks needy. Stop checking your phone. Go for a walk. Drink a bottle of wine. Hug a stuffed animal.  Alphabetise your CDs. Just do anything that will get you away from the reality that you are being rejected, without really being rejected.

Although, it has to be said that a phone silence isn’t as bad as a Facebook silence. At least with a text message you can delude yourself that in some freak telecommunications accident, the text was never received. Facebook messages have a timestamp: Seen at 8.10a.m. Ignored at 8.11 a.m.
Untitled
To be honest, the whole scenario confused me. Since when does not acting like a tramp scare a dude away? I pondered it for a long time- at least ten minutes. It even made me pause Better Call Saul and stare pensively at a white wall for a few moments. Then, I took my rejection and turned it into arrogance, ranting at my best friend about ‘strong females scaring men away’ and how ‘things with a dick suck. Except you. And Wil Anderson.’ After this I calmed down, removed my cranium from my rectal cavity, and worked on feeling bad about myself.

My friends sensed my bruised ego and tried to make it sound less tragic: “Maybe he just really wanted to shag you and thought that it would be easier than it was. I mean, you did say that he read your blog, right? Maybe he thought that fucking you was going to be easy.”

It was about this time that I wondered if life would be easier if I went whole lesbian.

Being rejected by someone that you weren’t even that into isn’t fun. And I’m not sure what I was thinking in the first place for this whole mess to happen. Had I followed my intuitive, ovarian twinges after our first date, I never would have agreed to the second. I wouldn’t have come dangerously close to being finger-fucked near the drive-ins at Blacktown, and never would have felt crappy about myself. Had I followed my gut, rather than intellectualising- again- none of this would have happened.

So I decided to try celibacy. Why?

Well, once upon a six-months-ago, I was sitting on a beach in Puerto Escondido. Beside me was a deliciously English man that I was falling heavily into like with. Our time together was short, ultimately tumultuous, but indescribably lovely. And it reminded me what it feels like to shag someone that you really like. To lie beside someone, your soft bellies touching, hands curled under the pillow, lips in a cats cream smile, wanting to stretch time into eternity. To stay awake talking all-fucking-night because, as Dr. Seuss said, you don’t want to go to sleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. I sat beside this man on the beach, watching the sun slowly drop into the ocean before us, and I was happier than I can describe without verging into Hallmark territory. And it’s made everything thereafter feel cheap. Fake. A copy of a poorly photocopied reprint. It raised the bar and lowered my threshold for bullshit. I don’t want lukewarm, yeah-he’s-okay-I-guess nonsense anymore. I’ll wait for something better. I might wait a while, but that’s okay. I just bought shares in Duracell.

Sharpening claws with a Swiss army knife

24 Jan

Switzerland was a girl that you simply couldn’t feel neutral about.

Ha! See what I did there?

Don’t get me wrong, she was quite friendly; but she was also a European princess, the only daughter of rich parents, who would frequently say offensive, ignorant and moderately hilarious things, then chastise you in a prim voice (“You have no right to speak to me like that!”) when you dared to question her questionable logic.

I’d managed to conduct a few surface conversations with her when I first arrived at The Royale, always with a moderate amount of social lubrication, usually without incident. But, like a cancerous tumor snaking it’s way through your white matter, she would eventually wear me down and annoy the shit out of me.

Bärengraben

There were two things that Switzerland hated in this world: dogs and poor people. And, after a week of incessant teasing from Atlanta and I, I’d say that we now occupy spaces 3 and 4 respectively.

Virtual high-five to my jungle comrade.

Her hatred for poor people became apparent during a conversation Atlanta and I had with her about zoos.

Switzerland: “I think zoos should be banned. It’s completely cruel to the animals.”

Atlanta and I debated with her, bringing up conservation efforts, breeding programs, care for sick and wounded animals that may die out in the wild…

“I don’t care. It’s cruel. Lions should not be suffering in a cage in Switzerland.”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “They aren’t really suffering. They’re in large pens being taken care of by people with degrees in zoology. It’s not like they’re living in the ghetto.”

“I don’t agree with it.”

I tried a different tack. “Okay, how about this: not everyone is fortunate enough to travel to the Serengeti to see a lion. Does this mean that they haven’t got the right to see one in their lifetime?”

“I don’t see why animals should have to suffer because some people are poor. It’s not the animals problem that they don’t want to work.”

Yeah. Uh-huh. That’s right- fuck all you poor people.

“It is cruel,” mini-Rinehart continued thoughtfully. “Switzerland is cold, you know. A lion has no business being there.”

“I had no fucking idea it was cold in Switzerland,” I snapped. “Thank you for the geography lesson.”

Pet Semetary

Switzerland fell in love with a stray cat that occasionally hung out at The Royale. It was a horrible little black thing that I christened Church due to the fact that it looked like it had come from the wrong end of the Pet Semetary. Switzerland would cuddle it, coo at it, and feed it spoonfuls of her dinner. From her fork. While she was still eating. When Atlanta and I began to wind her up she would retreat to the hammock, holding the cat like a security blanket, glaring at us, and smacking the nose of any canine that came within a ten feet radius of her precious pussy.

One lunch, as she was feeding the beast prime backstrap beef that had been cut from a freshly slain cow that morning, Atlanta was watching her in bemused horror. He elbowed me and whispered drily, “I’m sure there’s some local Colombians who would like that meat. I’m going to kick that cat so fucking hard when she leaves.” He paused, then said loudly, “CC, did I ever tell you the story about the cat empanada that I was served?”

“Cat? As in cat food?”

“No, as in cat meat. El gatto.”

“Bullshit.”

“It’s true. There were no pollo empanadas left so I ate cat. Doesn’t taste too bad, actually.”

Switzerland spooned a mouthful of soup, willfully ignoring us.

“You’re not doing that cat any favours by feeding it, you know,” Atlanta piped up.

“Why?” she asked, stroking the creatures head.

“Because you are taking away it’s ability to procure food for itself.”

“It’s a domestic animal.”

I took up the bait. “He’s right. That’s why you can’t feed the birds in wildlife parks, they lose the ability to hunt. That cat is going to wind up starving to death if you keep feeding it.”

“Cats don’t hunt.”

“Yes they do,” Atlanta and I said as one.

“It’s someones pet,” she huffed.

“This is a Colombian cat,” Atlanta offered. “Colombian cats aren’t like regular cats. They’re tough. They carry a switchblade and-”

“I’m sure someone will feed him,” she stroked the cats chin and continued in a baby voice, “he’s so lovely.”

“I won’t feed it,” he added cheerfully. “It’s going in the furnace as soon as I get hold of it.”

“Wait,” I said, putting down my spoon. ”Do cats carry a switchblade because people try and make empanadas out of them all the time?”

Inner Beauty

I can’t be too unkind to Switzerland. She did have a good appreciation for aesthetics:

“I really want to get married one day, but only to a blonde man. With no body hair. I hate body hair. That’s why I hated Brazil. It’s full of little, ugly, hairy people. I like blonde men and they have to be from a good family. I haven’t had sex in six months you know, I had to mentally prepare myself when travelling Africa for no sex because I don’t like African men, but I thought I’d find at least one blonde man in South America,” she turned to me and added thoughtfully, “I loved Australian men.”

I wanted to tell her to get her manicured, upper-class claws out of the pool of Australian men that my friends and I fish from. I should have pointed out that there are more blonde men from good families in South Africa than South America and that she should probably just fuck off back to Cape Town. She could even buy the baby she always wanted: “I’d love to buy an African baby. But only a cute one. Not an ugly one.”

And there was the time she did acid: “Everyone became ugly. I couldn’t stand it. I hid in my room for the night because I was just surrounded by hideous looking people. It was really quite frightening.”

Despite being constantly frustrated by her, I travelled with Switzerland for a bit, purely for the convenience and safety of having a human being beside you as you traverse Colombia. If you’re thinking that I was only using her- well, you’re right. I was. If you are tittering at what a horrible human being I am- well, you’re wrong. I’m fairly certain that she was doing the same thing: “I’ll stay at the hostel you are staying at in Santa Marta…maybe I’ll find some cool people to travel with there. It’s a drag being with the same six people every day. I need to find someone fun to hang out with.”

When international relations collapse

But, one evening, I very nearly throttled Switzerland.

We were at the beach, drinking fresh juice and staring at our phones, willfully refusing to converse with one another. We’d spent the better part of the afternoon bickering like pensioners at the bus stop. We’d heard a story a few days earlier about a rape ring that was once operating out of a popular party hostel in Medellin. It was a horrific tale that scared the pants off me- oh my, what a terrible pun that was- Switzerland, however, didn’t want to believe it because she had plans to stay there.

Switzerland: “I don’t think that people were really assaulted in the hostel in Medellin. They would have said something.”

“They probably reported it to the police who hushed it up.”

“Yes but I don’t understand why you wouldn’t write a bad review on Tripadvisor.”

Imagine reading that: Cindy gives XXYXY Hostel, Medellin 1 star, ‘The gardens are lovely but there is a good to fair chance that you will be viciously raped in them.’ 

Switzerland was staring at me. “Um…,” I said finally, “Shame?”

“Well they don’t have to put their real name.”

“Look, sexual assault is handled by every person differently and many people don’t shout about their experience. Most sexual assaults go unreported, actually. It’s that Victim Guilt thing.”

“Oh, I don’t believe that.”

I stared at her. “Well, honey, mental health is my fucking job and I know a little bit about this.”

“Yes, but I’d report it.”

“You don’t actually know what you’d do until it happens.”

“I’d go to the embassy and create such a fuss that the hostel had to be shut down,” she continued. This was a debate technique that she employed often. When your point trumped hers, she would continue on as if you hadn’t spoken. This would then cause an agitated silence from my end, and after a beat she would say in a little girl voice, “I wonder how the kitty is.”

At 5.30, I ask her if she wants to head back to The Royale. She agrees. Two minutes later she asks, “Oh my, how are we going to get back?”

I tell her it’s not a long walk. “But it’ll be dark soon, we’ve got to go now.”

She pays her tab, picks up her thongs, walks into a tent, and engages in a fifteen minute conversation about handmade bracelets while I tap my foot and swear under my breath outside.

“We have to go,” I urge her. “Now.”

“Yes, yes, I just want to buy a bracelet.”

You’ve had all fucking afternoon to buy a bracelet you vapid whore, I shout in my head. Get your silver spoon arse off that chair and let’s fucking vamos, Swissderella.

Eventually we leave. Somehow the conversation falls to the minimum wage in America.

“You know, I wouldn’t even get out of bed for $6 an hour,” she said.

“Well, some people don’t have a choice.”

“I used to babysit my brother and get $250 a week from my parents just for eating pizza and watching movies. And I got $30 an hour for my other babysitting jobs. I don’t see why they can’t just do that.”

There you go America: your economic woes have just been solved.

“I miss being fifteen. Life was so easy then.”

It’s bait that I can’t help but take. “Easy? You are travelling through Colombia,” I spat. “You haven’t even finished uni yet, what, exactly, about life is hard?”

Silence. Switzerland has now fallen ten passive-aggressive metres behind me. On the main road, we pass the marker that states it’s one kilometre back to the Royale.

“Should we get a lift?” Switzerland calls out.

I stop, looking around at the complete absence of anything. “From where?”

She points at a nearby farmhouse. “I’ll ask if they can drop us off.”

She approaches the porch and asks a random Colombian for a lift as if this is perfectly normal behaviour. I wait by the road, the darkness growing as quickly as my ire. We waste ten minutes of twilight as she tries to explain the location of an obscure jungle hostel to a flummoxed local who looks as if he wants to somehow evaporate into smoke to escape her pushy arse.

“It’s kilometre marker 46. You know the one,” she huffs. “It’s right there.”

After a beat she flits back to me. “He will take us but he can only take one at a time, so do you want to go first?”

I stare at her. “You can’t be fucking serious.”

“Or you can wait and I’ll go.”

“I’m not getting,” I spit, “on the back of a strangers fucking motorcycle.”

In my defense, walking into a house in a dangerous country and trusting that a stranger will take you 1km up the hill out of the sheer goodness of his heart is something that I consider to be ‘retarded. Deliverance retarded. Non-Academy Award winning you’ve-just-gone-full-retard, retarded.’ And if I was stupid enough to agree with her harebrained scheme, my two options were completely fucked: I could be the first on the bike and hope that I wasn’t going to wind up, at best, robbed in a field somewhere, or I could stand on the side of the road at night and hope that I wasn’t going to wind up, at best, robbed in a field somewhere. Furthermore, she has spent so much time trying to convince this Kogi fucktard to double us like Evel Knievel on the back of his motorbike, that it’s now nighttime. So, I snap. And I had every right to do so.

“You can catch the fucking bike if you like. Fuck this shit. Fuck you, fuck the franc, fuck Tag Heuer, and fuck the Red Cross, I’m fucking walking.”

Okay, I didn’t exactly phrase it like that. But my dummy was spat unceremoniously across the road as a Colombian man watched the exchange in shock.

Switzerland gathers herself, sighs, and follows me as I steam down the road.

“Take the fucking bike,” I call over my shoulder.

“Well obviously I’m not going to let you walk alone,” she huffed.

Santa Marta

She followed me to Santa Marta and we spent an awkward night making stilted conversation in the hostel bar. Prayer in C by Robin Schultz came on, and Switzerland let a small piece of empathy slip: “Oh, this song reminds me of my friend who died of malaria. I used to listen to it over and over when he…” she looked down at her wine.

Maybe she is human after after all, I found myself thinking. But, before I could pat her hand and say something forced and inappropriate, an insubstantial summer breeze flitted back across the table: “You know,” she said leaning forward, “the last thing I said to him was, ‘At least with malaria you’ll be nice and skinny’. He was dead a week later,” giggle. “Not a very good thing to say, was it?!”

The next day, she boarded a bus to Medellin and we made the thoroughly insincere promise to “catch up again!”

I don’t think I will. Having a body next to you when you trawl Colombia has it’s advantages, but having the wrong body is a CATastrophe of Pet Semetarian proportions. Sometimes travelling alone and relying on your instincts is safer than being with the wrong person. Besides, she would have dumped me as a companion when she found out I was poor, anyway.

Terror at 10,000 feet

12 Dec

I dropped my iPhone in the toilet.

Yep, John West decided to go fishing for some brown trout.

Seeing my brand new phone at the bottom of the loo didn’t bother me for two reasons- the first being that I’d dropped it on the way down, so it was only marinading in filthy Mexican toilet water instead of filthy Mexican toilet water mixed with beer-laced urine; and also I had spent the morning drinking with Manchester- an English expat I met in Puerto Escondido a few days earlier. I handled the drowning of John West with the misguided optimism that can only be brought on with high levels of alcohol coupled with an excessively handsome drinking companion- it was blithely downgraded from catastrophic to ‘Oh, toilet water can’t be that harmful for something as technologically advanced as the iPhone 5c, right?’

But John West died that day. His funeral was a simple affair: three shots of Mezcal poured into the cistern, a few heartfelt words, a mariachi band playing something upbeat yet melancholic, and a simple burial in the back pocket of my backpack. I, and my underpants, will certainly miss our old friend.

I’d met Manchester a week earlier through a mutual friend. It was a sunny and hedonistic Thursday in Mexico, and we’d spent the day drinking beers in front of a local supermarket. We were animatedly chatting away, the beer flowing as quickly as the funny stories, when he uttered two particularly intriguing phrases. The first: his ex-wife was once a lesbian who he had managed to lure back onto solids by oral fixation. The second: he had the uncanny ability to make any woman expel fluid from a particular part of the female anatomy. It was my belief that not all women were capable of such watery bedroom antics and I told him so, but Manchester assured me that we all are. It was his guarantee, uttered not in the pressured speech of a poser, but in the quietly confident voice of a man who knows he’s got the skills to back up his mouth. Or the mouth to back up his claims. Or the dexterity to-

I’ll stop there.

I could argue that shagging him was a science experiment. I was simply being a wild-eyed sexual explorer, drunkenly venturing my little canoe out into the crystalline waters of female bodily fluids with nothing but a misbuttoned yellow rain slicker and a brave smile for protection. I wasn’t doing it for me, but for every other vagina on Planet Earth. Plus, I was benevolently giving him a slightly larger population sample to base his claims on. That’s all it was. It had nothing to do with the fact that he’s an intelligent, funny, interesting, and charming guy. No. I’m just a vapid whore.

Five nights later, after a sixteen hour binge involving over-the-counter Lignocaine, horse tranquilisers, double choc Magnums and three Czech prostitutes; we had ditched the juggling roadside clown and were sitting, bleary eyed, on the back of a bus heading towards San José del Pacífico- a tiny mountain town of about 800 people that sits five hours north of Puerto. There’s not much there beyond natural beauty- no banks, no WiFi etc- and it’s 10,000 feet above sea level.

Just keep that in mind.

Manchester and I spent the journey there draped over each other like discarded marionettes. The road was too winding and bumpy for me to welcome anything that resembled sleep, so I stared vacantly out the window as the bus wound us up the mountain towards the sky. We reached San José, blearily found a hotel, checked in, and promptly collapsed onto the bed. Later that evening there was a textbook romance moment: watching a beautiful sun set over a breathtaking mountain range as an affectionate stray dog slobbers on your shoulder and paws at your lap. It was lovely.

The following day shit got messy.

Now, before I go on I want you to stop and put yourself in Manchester’s shoes. You’ve met a quirky, blue haired, Australian traveller. You’ve only known her a week but you have fun together and you like her. You invite her up to the mountains. You figure that your days will be spent drinking hot chocolate in front of an open fire and strolling the main street holding hands while goofily gazing at each other through dilated pupils. It’ll be like a Nescafe commercial.

Now, if after the first night, that quirky, perky blue-haired lass morphs into Crampy: the sweaty, violently ill, dank, aquamarine yak; what would you do? You can answer honestly, there’s nobody in your head but you and the tracking chip that the Government implants in us all at birth. Would you bail? Or would you look after her?

Because he looked after me.

For three days, I lay in the foetal position with knifing stomach cramps, fevers, sweats, chills, and shortness of breath in the high altitude. I was so weak that I couldn’t leave the bed. Which meant that anything above a bathroom break was a frivolity that simply had to be avoided. I didn’t shower. I couldn’t shower. I wanted to, but I was fairly certain that trying to do so would see me faint and slam into the porcelain tiles where I would lie twitching like a dying Marlin. You really should pity Manchester. Then canonise him. Knight him- he is English after all. I mean, he’s known me for one week. And believe me, I ain’t that flipping special, but that man valiantly took care of me as I groaned the Star Spangled Banner on sweat-stained sheets. After Day One of no showering, Crampy the Yak turned into Crampy the Yeti. I can’t even begin to describe the nightmare that was my body on Day Two. I haven’t been that sick in a long time and if I was in Sydney I probably would have taken myself to the hospital, but I was in a teeny, widdle Mexican town. With no doctors. The pharmacist had selfishly died a few months earlier. And there was no way I could have managed a winding five hour bus ride back to Puerto, so Manchester and I were locked in a chain of events that went from romantic to horrific at warp speed.

On day three, in desperation, he visited his friend, the village Shaman. He returned with a herbal tea, a remedy encased in a recycled red-and-white yoghurt container. I was to ingest a litre, wait until bedtime, brew another litre, ingest that, then join the Shaman for a Temazcal in the morning.

I was mildly skeptical, but highly desperate. I would have happily masticated distilled donkey snot on Ritz crackers at that point.

I managed to keep the first dose of tea down. I waited a few hours, drank the second dose, and passed out.

The next morning I felt marginally better. The stabbing pain was gone, and I could get out of bed without the room turning into a bad acid trip. We went for the Temazcal.

Which was a half hour walk from town.

In the freezing cold.

At a Sherpa’s altitude.

I mutely followed Manchester like an extra from The Walking Dead, silently accepting his encouragement and affectionate taps on the backside, glazed eyes determinedly fixed on the road ahead.

A Temazcal is an earthenware Mexican sauna. It’s outdoors, sort of like a mud hut. You strip down to your delicates, they seal you into complete blackness, and you get to make forced conversation with a bunch of strangers as herbal tea is poured over hot stones and the temperature climbs towards the Dante-esque. Then you crawl out, have an icy shower of fresh mountain water, and pour four cups of hot tea over yourself.

Now, I suspect that I may have some people with nursing training who read my blog, and I suspect that they are now calling me all manner of fucking idiot for doing this with a roasting fever that should have taken me towards copious amounts of IV antibiotics and little else.

But it worked. It wasn‘t fun. My god, it was fucking horrific, but damn if it didn’t get me onto a bus to Puerto the next morning. At sea level, everything looked better. I could breathe. I visited a Mexican doctor, described my symptoms in Spanglish, then got a lovely bag of drugs for my efforts. I do like drugs.

So that’s San José. Señor Navarro who runs the Four Elements Temazcal is a hero. Manchester almost deserves to be named on the blog for the accolades and years of free vagina he will no doubt receive. I think I’ll just put up posters around Puerto Escondido with his face and “Ladies, when I leave, please shag him often and well.” Actually, they both have Crowd Funding Pages for some eco-projects that they are separately engaging in, and when I get the link I’ll donate a kidney or two then put it up on the blog for any benevolent soul to do the same. You may or may not be the type to nurse a near stranger for three days, but surely you have a couple of bucks to spare for some good-hearted people.

And I am back in Puerto. Much healthier. More fragrant. And surely I’ll be perky again soon.

Sufferin’ Succotash

29 Nov

As I write this, I’ve been in Puerto Escondido for nearly three weeks. This beautiful beach side town has made me it’s unintentional prisoner as I wait to receive a package from Australia. I underestimated Mexican postal services. I foolishly thought that an express post package that should arrive overseas in three business days would have made an appearance in Puerto Escondido within a week and a half. Silly CC- I forgot about the phenomena that is Mexican Time. If one was going to compare the Mexican postal service to anything, it wouldn’t be to a Looney Tunes mouse.

SPEEDY

Once I learned to blithely flick the bull ants off the bed and ignore the geckos fighting in the corner of the room, the accommodation I stayed at for my language school was lovely. Mix that with amazing people in the area and the purpose that comes with a scholastic responsibility each day, and I found myself quite content with my Escondidian routine. After travelling for six weeks, it kind-of, almost felt like my little Mexican home, but when the language course finished, I had to find new digs. Without giving the matter much thought, I chose the hostel that a friend was staying in. It was disconcertingly devoid of human beings every time I walked past, but The Texan had found a private room there for $2000 pesos for the month- an obscenely good rate- so I booked a room for three nights.

I didn’t notice my surroundings on the first night. I’d been involved in a particularly debauched drinking session with The Texan and an English expat chum of his, and I fell down no less than eight times during the 500m walk back to my room. Once I made it to the door, it took me a good fifteen minutes to open it. I stood, swaying in the hallway like an inebriated fuckwit, clumsily inserting and reinserting each key over and over. I was given three keys when I checked in and I never did discover what the other two were for. I jammed them into everything from the storage closet to the cat, but their purpose remained enigmatic.

The next morning I woke up looking, feeling, and smelling like a bruised puddle of bulldog vomit. The bathroom was located down the hall. It was a poky, light blue room, smothered with leopard spots of mould. The noxious odours of Mexican feasts past had long stripped the paint from the walls, and what was left hung in flaky chunks like sunburned skin. The toilet cistern lid was broken, and damp books were piled haphazardly on top it like some make-shift lavatorical library. And there was never, ever any fucking toilet paper in there. In fact, if you asked at the front desk for toilet paper, the staff would half heartedly look behind the counter before saying, “I don’t have.” This was uttered in a completely indifferent tone, almost as if you’d asked for a pen or a cigarette lighter. The first time they said it I was flummoxed, “What do you mean, ‘you don’t have’?” I asked in Spanish.

Shrug. “No tengo.”

“I need to go to the toilet,” I said. “What do your suggest that I use?”

She smiled, nodded and said, “Use. Yes.” Then she turned, walked across the reception floor and stood by the fridge, staring at the wall, her back to me.

It was a tactic that I had employed myself. The staff spoke almost exclusively Spanish and when they’d say something I didn’t quite catch, I’d lean forward and ask them to repeat it. They would, and if I couldn’t cherry pick enough words from the sentence to create a meaning, I’d often just repeat the last word they said and add a ‘yes’, so it sounded like I understood them thoroughly enough to confirm the final word of their sentence. You know, you do it if someone offers you directions:

“Turn right at the park.”

“The park, yes.”

“Then first left.”

“Left. Yep.”

“Then go straight past the school…”

“The school, got it.”

But since the phrase was spoken in a second language, I could have been agreeing to anything:

“We’re going to slaughter a stray dog in a voodoo ritual tonight. Right here.”

“Right here,” Enthusiastic nod. “Yes!”

When the reception gals couldn’t deliver the bog-roll, I was forced to fossick through my bag for travel wipes and, when they ran out, odd athletic socks whose partner had fallen victim to Mexican lavanderias. I’d drop each in the basket beside the toilet with a small sigh- another travelling companion lost in Mexico, like a pilled, grey drug cartel victim.

The shower in the bathroom was a single jet of water, a quarter of the diameter of your average garden hose. The shower head was cemented to the wall, so it stuck straight out at an 130 degree angle. This meant that the adjacent sink often got a better bathing than you did. Unfortunately the angle wasn’t obtuse enough to dislodge the seventeen bars of pubic-hair encrusted soap that were perpetually glued to the porcelain of the sink; but it did create a striking paper mâché effect with the yellowing Surf Class pamphlets that were stuck to the top of it. It looked like something an obsessive compulsive preschooler had created after binge watching Playschool under the influence of acid. The water pressure was unyielding, and, despite the room being constantly shrouded in steam, freezing. It was like trying to clean yourself in a Urinating Cherub Fountain. In fact, if the water had of been warm, it would have felt like I was being peed on by an excessively well-hydrated vagrant. Showering became an endurance event: not something pleasant and refreshing that you do of a morning, but a necessary ordeal undertaken only to rinse the smell of the mattress from you.

The mattress smelt like interspecies erotica, sherbet, and broken promises, but I’ll get to that.

My room had a large concrete mesh window which offered a lovely view of an abandoned toilet in the courtyard. If I squinted, I was transported to The Labyrinthian Bog of Eternal Stench. My window didn’t have curtains on it, something I realised as I was dressing after the shower. There was a cleaning lady outside who was systematically moving through the courtyard, scrubbing the concrete with a weathered red broom. It was refreshing that they paid so much attention to the ground outside. I mean, my room was wallpapered in dust and spiderwebs, and the pool was a particularly fetching shade of flourescent green, but at least the external concrete was clean. That patch of cement may have been more sanitary than my sheets. It was certainly cleaner than my mattress, which had morphed from beige to yellow under the strain of assorted bodily fluids from a thousand anonymous hosts. When I spied the lady, I ducked into a crouch, trying to hide. However, since I could still see her, there was a good chance that she could see the naked thirty one year old squatting on the floor like she’s trying to insert something into her vaginal canal, so I stood up slowly, not wanting to attract her attention. I did, anyway. I’m not sure if the moment our eyes locked was more uncomfortable for her or me. I think it was for her- the hairbrush dropped from my ‘giney when I stood up, and it clattered loudly to the floor with a wince and a disapproving glance.

I’m kidding.

I bring a frozen zucchini when I travel. It’s more ergonomic.

I forgot to take my toothbrush into the bathroom and I couldn’t bring myself to go back in there, so I went to the sinks in the common room to complete my ablutions. Turning the handle gave me a puff of smoke, several bats, and small dribble of rust coloured liquid. I didn’t have a bottle of water on me, so the receptionist helpfully offered me some. I accepted it gratefully.

“Can I have some toothpaste?” She asked as she handed me the glass.

I paused. It was the first time that hotel staff had asked to borrow my toiletries.

“I’ve run out,” she continued.

I was so baffled that I agreed before considering the implications of giving my toothpaste to a stranger to smear across something that scrubbed the bacteria from her mouth. I realised the ick-factor as she was fetching her toothbrush, and when she returned with a dog eared blue thing, I told her that she could keep the toothpaste.

“Really,” I said, offering her the full tube of Colgate like some babbling dental hygiene fairy. “I have plenty and it’s nearly empty, anyway.”

I wasn’t given a top sheet, so that evening I slept huddled beneath my sarong. At some point during the night the fan had stopped working, and I awoke just after 3am in an environment sufficient to bake scones in. The skin that hadn’t been covered in brightly coloured cotton was now covered in bright red mosquito bites, which itched in an insomnia-inducing ditty of frustration. I lay there, mentally offering Satan everything from my soul to the virginity of my first born child in exchange for sleep, trying to ignore the itching that was slowly making it’s way from my skin to the last shred of my sanity. Something crawled over my arm, I smacked it and felt it scurry up my shoulder and onto the pillow. I vaulted out of bed in one fluid motion, turning on the light and flapping my hands at the wrists.

The light allowed me to see that the mosquitoes had made their way into my room via a hole in the flyscreen, which was roughly the size and shape of an overdeveloped child’s fist. I was considering what other item of clothing I could sacrifice to jam into this filthy hole when a moth flew through it. It might have been as drunk as I was the previous night because it spectacularly missed the lightbulb to crash land just below my left eye. My hands started flapping again, the moth flew away, and the next fifteen minutes were spent chasing it around the room with a thong. It was a wily little bastard, I’d thwack one wall seconds after it careened off to the next one. This noise woke up my neighbour, who thought that a spell of vocal masturbation would be just the thing to get him back to sleep. The walls were thin, and I heard enough to be able to confidently do it myself, had I wanted to. I should have offered him my zucchini.

After destroying the moth, I sat on the bed, lit a cigarette and listened to the overweight fellow next door flog his meat like an unemployed butcher. I reasoned that noxious tobacco fumes might be enough to drive away both the bugs and my ever-increasing desire to repeatedly punch a badger in the ovaries, so I smoked and lazily batted at buzzing mosquitoes while he jerked away on the other side of the wall. The only sounds in the hostel were a symphony of pleasure, hunger and frustration. And I don’t even know which was which.

I checked into a hotel after this. It was three times the price. I saw clean white sheets on the bed when I checked in. Totally worth it.

“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.”

Voy a Surfear

15 Nov

I need to be honest with myself. The charade has to stop. Something happened today, and I simply can’t lie to myself for one more moment. It doesn’t matter who started it, who called who a cry-baby, it ends now. It’s time to be an adult and admit one simple truth:

I suck at surfing.

Like really, really suck at it.

It’s okay. In the half hour walk from the beach I’ve made peace with it. My ego, which lay in tattered shreds, has been scotch-taped back together. I mean, it’s not like I’m a total spaz. Well, I kind-of am, but I have plenty of skills that more than make up for my lack of grace on the ol’ longboard. I can wiggle my ears, you know. It’s true. I have a some sort of bizarre muscle mutation in my cranium which allows me to move them without touching them. When I was a kid I used to pretend that I was Samantha from Bewitched, but a horrible accident meant that I could no longer wiggle my nose, so I had to resort to ear calisthenics to cast spells instead.

That’s not true.

Well, it is, but after typing it I realised how weird it sounds.

I’ve never been particularly athletic. In school, my best friends and I would enter P.E class, clutching our limbs and moaning like World War 1 soldiers on the front line. Diseases that had been cured would come out, “I can’t play volleyball, Miss. My polio is acting up again.” Once, during the headily petulant era of Year Nine, I wagged P.E. My friend and I walked to the shops and ate ice cream instead- a move that threw down a gauntlet of decadence that would scurry behind me like Thing Addams for decades. My teacher noticed that I was missing. Not my friend, just me. Apparently the absence of an argumentative, pubescent horror child that made her life difficult was notable. It certainly wasn’t my Lacrosse prowess that kept me in her memory, anyway.

I played softball after school for one season. I wagged that, too. When forced to play, I would stand in Right Field, disinterestedly watching the ball bounce by as my team mates shouted things like “fucking move”. My parents would watch from the sidelines, pretending that they had a child who was a source of pride. “Maybe don’t just stand with your arms folded, CC,” my mum helpfully said after one particularly heinous match. “Try and, you know, look interested.” I’m not sporty. Anything beyond lifting weights while scowling at the floor, or running on a treadmill like a hamster to Don’t Stop me Now by Queen is beyond my capabilities. So, my decision to take surf lessons was really an act of bravery. I’m still a soldier on the front line, I just have a better excuse than polio now. ‘Hungover’ usually works.

My first surfing lesson was fun. I was with five fresh-out-of-the-army Israeli’s, one of whom, bafflingly, couldn’t swim. I don’t know what drives a person to choose surfing lessons as a leisure activity when they look like a three-legged Collie flailing in the water, but Lame Dog Goldstein did serve as misdirection for my suckiness. You might think I’m mean for saying that. The way I see it is, he either has, or will, slaughter about seven hundred and eighty six Palestinian children in his lifetime. I have the moral highground. Which means I can compare him to a disabled canine. Don’t like it? Well, email me and we can engage in a long debate on Zionist Propaganda and anti-semitism. I’ve read The Gun and the Olive Branch. Well, half of it. But I’ll win, anyway.

Enough of that, though. I didn’t think that my crapness was any more than the average level of I’ve-never-done-this-before. Sure, I’m Australian and I should know how to surf, wrestle crocodiles, and match a cork-adorned Akubra to any outfit, but I watched Jaws at the tender age of ten and as a result I’ve managed to get through thirty one years with minimal time in the ocean. In my first surf lesson, I kind of stood up. Kind of. I did manage to get a good paddle going. Then I sat on the board, staring pensively at the ocean like some ludicrous Layne Beachley. It was fun.

This lesson something happened. I’m not entirely sure what.

Perhaps I should have been practising. I could have spent my nights lying on the kitchen floor and leaping up like a ninja instead of drinking beer and socialising. The whole thing is probably my fault- I’m not taking my non-existent career as an amateur surfer seriously.

In the fourty eight hours between lessons, the Israeli’s had all been transformed into Hasidic Kelly Slater’s. The one who couldn’t swim was gone, replaced with an impossibly attractive girl who carried herself with the arrogant grace of the genetically blessed. The bitch could surf, too. She even did a fist pump as she rode the wave. A fucking fist pump. It’s true- I saw it as I clutched my surfboard, choking on salt water. “Fucking Israeli’s,” I muttered as I tried to sit up. Karma- or God- tipped me off the board then. I looked like a Down Syndrome porpoise as I remounted.

The instructors are lovely, and incredibly patient with me. “CC, you look really tense. You need to relax,” one coached. “Don’t think that can’t do it, don’t think that anybody is judging you-”

“I’m judging me.”

“And don’t feel that you have to stand up, okay? Just have fun.”

“You’re right. I’m allowed to completely suck at surfing. It’s my right to be absolutely terrible and I’m going to milk it.”

When it became clear that my ‘kneel on the board and let out a high pitched shriek’ technique wasn’t working, I was taken aside and given special ‘stand up’ lessons. “Oh god,” I exclaimed to the instructor. “I’ve fallen behind the class and need extra tutoring. I’m in remedial surfing now.”

He laughed and offered me some advice. “Try not to, you know, be so awful.”

Whatever he said worked, I managed to stand up and balance on the board without a wave twice. Therefore I can do it, but I don’t think I can do it, so when I am on a wave, instead of casually rising and giving a little fist pump, I find myself thinking, Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, fuck, fuck, fuck, stand up! Stand up! Stand- gurgle, gurgle, choke.

At the end of the wave I’d surface rapidly, choke on the Pacific, and flap about. I must have looked like a dying seagull because the instructors would look at me in horror. “CC! Are you okay?” I was always fine, the only thing that took a real battering was my ego, which, after two hours, was almost worn down to a nub. I was called over and told to try another wave. I asked the instructor what time it was. I think he knew I was two seconds from fed-up because he said “If you like, catch this wave and then you can go back to the sand.”

“So I can sit on the shore and suck at surfing quietly from the sidelines?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you!”

I managed to stand up for a nanosecond on that wave, and the adrenaline was enough to make me want to go back out. I didn’t, though. I was battle-scarred. I grabbed my thongs, ripped off my rash vest and began a long trudge up the stairs back to the surf school.

In a bikini.

And nothing else.

Sometimes you just can’t get it right. Not only did I suck in the water, I sucked on land, too. For reasons that still remain unclear to me, I chose to leave my clothes and towel at the school. So I had to walk the main street of town in pool-underwear. In Puerto Escondido, you can’t walk anywhere without running into people you know, so my solitary trudge of defeat was witnessed by many acquaintances. “Hola,” I would say to people, trying to cover my midsection with a sea soaked rash vest. Do you like the travellers physique? I’d think. The soft lumpiness is thanks to Corona and chocolate. Look at this bulge, I’ve had to eat seventeen tacos to get that bulge. Have you ever seen a chickie with a rim of flesh there? No? That’s right, I’m hot shit. That’s why I’m almost naked in broad daylight. Thank me later.

Some days you are a triangle peg in a world of Layne Beachley’s, some days you are a general on the front lines, bravely fighting polio, but most days, self deprecation can soothe a shattered ego.