For some stupid reason I always leave everything to the last minute. I hate it, and always find myself in stressful situations like the one I am in now. I had only two weeks to find a new place to live and organise everything to do with a move. The place was as complete mess, stained upholstery, dirty grout in the bathroom, was furniture filthy. I had nothing planned, nothing arranged and a tight budget to work within. I needed the place cleaned up fast, I needed to find some upholstery cleaners, Melbourne friends to the rescue.
It was lucky for me that I had a great support network; my friends are my life. After I’d had a few too many glasses of wine, I’d called my best friend Zara and spilled about the ruined upholstery, she came straight over. I let my emotions take over and completely let everything out. Zara was amazing, and had a few glasses of wine herself. I think she probably needed too, to put up with me. Zara tucked me into bed that night, promising me that everything was going to be ok and that my friends would help me through it.
I woke up feeling less stressed than I had done for a long time. I felt a kind of calmness, like somehow I knew things were going to work out. Zara was on the phone in the kitchen organising furniture cleaning.
I listened to her arranging the upholstery cleaning as I walked through the house. There were two more of my friends, packing my books into boxes. When Zara got off the phone to the cleaners she said good morning to me and then continued doing things. She is the best, I couldn’t help but hug her. Overnight, she had somehow, turned me from an emotional wreck, to someone who wanted to get things done.
It’s a jungle out there. A jungle of steel, and…metal. And metal steel. Actually I just checked, and all those platforms are aluminium, so I’m willing to admit I was wrong on the steel thing. Aluminium is still metal though, which means it’s still a metal jungle.
It actually made me late this morning, as I straggled into the office and collapsed on the floor like an explorer who’d been lost in the jungle for weeks. Then I noticed that everyone else had made it on time, and were sitting at their desks watching me in confusion. Apparently I missed all the signs for the alternate entrance we were supposed to use that morning, so my struggle through the forest of folding platform steps and ladders was all for naught, except perhaps the thrill of adventure. It is surprisingly easy to get turned around in there, although I suppose the main purpose of a ladder platform is to elevate, not simply disorient.
I wonder when they’ll be going? My parking space is on the other side of the metal jungle, and this now means I have to walk all the way around to the back of the building. Considering my very carefully timed breakfast schedule, this is going to shift everything forward by about fifty seconds, which means fifty seconds less time to spend in bed. Unless I spend that fifty seconds in bed, and then reallocate that time to eating cereal. Can I eat my cereal with fifty fewer seconds in the morning?
Maybe I could forge a path through the aluminium platforms, to the point where I’m so well-versed in the trek that I can make it in the same time than if they weren’t there! Except the workmen told me it was dangerous and restricted, so…maybe I’ll just have to eat one less weet-bix for the time being.
I think…and I can’t be sure, but I think that might be the last gig we ever play as a band. Gee, I knew it was going to be hard, what with how avant garde and experimental we are, but it sure it a tough, uphill slog. We’re trying to create a whole new form of music here, mashing instruments together in ways that have never been seen before. There’s me, on the tuba! Kirsten, playing the recorder with only one hand! Zack, with his broken violin! Sam, with an instrument that might be a clarinet and might be an oboe, none of us know!
I guess I’m going to be fulfilling my parents’ dream for me: instead of being a big musical sensation, I’ll be a conveyancer. Caulfield needs those, or so I’ve heard. It’s a booming industry, all those people moving around and thus needing the services of conveyancers. That’s a stable job. Not experimental at all, nothing out of the ordinary. A stable industry, as well. Everybody needs somewhere to live, and you might say that they need it more than they need experimental music.
But the drudgery…at least for someone such as myself. My mind overflows with such artistry, such artistic thoughts, full of…art. Even if I became interesting in conveyancing I don’t think I could ever focus on paperwork and house prices for long enough to do the job properly. Such is my theory that some people are simply destined for a role and to try to do something else is foolish.
Looks like I’m getting the band back together…and we’re giving it one last go. The conveyancers of Carlton will have to find someone better for the job, or at least someone with more insistent parents.
Boy, that’s a bad feeling. Getting to the end of a game series you truly love, the developers and the game box and ALL the convention speakers assuring you that this is going to be the ultimate ending to the ultimate game and it’ll TOTALLY BLOW YOUR MIND…and then it isn’t. Were the last eight years all for nothing?
It was all going so well, too. Glass Defect 1 and 2 were both masterpieces, and the third was still a great game, but that ending? It’s like they got the intern to write it on their first day. I get that simulation games are all the rage right now…especially since I had to share the console with my sister, and she was obsessed with Shears of War, the one where you do all kinds of hair removal. Except even when I was younger I could tell that there was one game-breaking element, and that was travelling to Melbourne for laser hair removal. You might start with the basic scissors, and the game tells you to upgrade until you have the ULTIMATE SHEARS, but actually, laser hair removal is practically necessary for the later levels since cutting leg hairs with scissors needs too much precision. Supposedly the game tried to make it clear that the laser hair removal level was only for the leg hair removal, but you can totally take the technology with you into other levels and it works way better than anything else. Which isn’t true for real life, unless people go to the hairdresser to get their head zapped with lasers. I mean…I live in Ballarat. Laser hair removal here is not for the head.
Not that I, uh, know much about that. I just picked up Shears of War a few times, y’know? Almost by accident. No, I played REAL games, flying across the galaxy and checking windows for defects. Manly stuff.
People don’t appreciate aluminium like they used to. I retired as the head of the aluminium appreciation society last year when my arthritis got particularly bad. I couldn’t rifle through junk yards like I used to, lugging home gigantic pieces of scrap and generally making my wife annoyed at me for having to fit it all in the shed. Not that she ever used the shed…but that’s neither here nor there, the point is that at one time, I had Melbourne’s finest aluminium ute canopies just sitting in my shed, and I was the envy of the masses.
Our members have been going strong for decades, thousands across the city who recognised the place of aluminium and how it would aid us in the future. At the time, I took that for granted, because it was so obvious that people should admire aluminium for what it was. Such a rare and precious metal, so versatile, such a rich and vibrant destiny…maybe there’s just too much of it around these days. Ute Toolboxes and under tray draw systems have become so prevalent that it’s hard for people to really appreciate the craftsmanship.
It’s not shiny and new, so people have stopped paying attention. Well, that’s their loss. I’ve known so many friends who’ve left the society for various reasons, but they all seemed to lose appreciation for aluminium’s place in our lives. I say we should shun the nonbelievers!
Back in my day, it was a simpler time…you could own proper fixed service bodies for your ute with no bells and whistles, and you still got admiration from the entire Aluminium Appreciation Society. They’ll all see, one day. They’ll see that when we’re poking around the junk heap, it’s all for the greater good. We do what we do for a reason. And then they’ll stop throwing away their aluminium accessories, because they’ll be recognised for what they are: essential for mankind’s survival.
Having six kids means things often go wrong. We are late to pretty much everything, one of them is normally crying and something is always broken. Normally I ignore the broken thing unless it is one of the children directly or something that will end up very costly in the long run. When the older ones started complaining that the toilet was flushing slowly I ignored them. A lot of the time they make things up and I hadn’t noticed any problems with our drains or pipes recently. My husband is fairly useless when it comes to DIY so if something around the house does need seeing to I tend to call in licenced professionals.
A few months after the toilet blockage rumours I started noticing that the kitchen sink drained very slowly. Having so many mouths to feed equals a lot of washing up so for most of the day the kitchen sink is filled with soapy water, it is rare that I even get a minute to stand there while it drains. When I finally did I noticed it was taking a while and so I made the call to the plumber and said I think I have a blocked sewer. Melbourne is a very family friendly city so we spend a lot of time out of the house where they can’t break things that will cost me money. Of course the duty of dealing with the plumber and the blocked sewer fell on me so I arranged for first thing in the morning and my lord am I glad I did! Turns out we need a full on sewer replacement. Melbourne is apparently not used to dealing with quite so much flow through, six baths a night is a lot of pressure on our old system. After some high pressure jet blasting it seems our drains will make it until the replacement can be arranged.
And they say parking attendants are supposed to be a noble breed. Actually, I tell lie, sort of…the guy I was chatting up was only pretending to be a parking attendant because he wanted to sound important. Why do I always get suckered into that stuff??
Oh yeah. Because I do basically the same thing. I actually just work in a $2 shop, which is…embarrassing. For me. Alright, maybe it wouldn’t be so much if I didn’t run around parties and everywhere else telling people I do other things and thus having to hide it from the world, but that’s the thing: lying just comes to me naturally, like breathing or craving fast food.
The true art is when you make your job sound good, but not too implausible. My current favourite is that I do pest control. Pakenham is a relatively small town, but since I don’t know anyone from there, it works as my fictional place of employment. I actually know some people who do termite control and all that, so I can bluff my way through the job pretty well. And why does this work so well? Because it’s an off-kilter job that’s still a vital service to to the community. And thus I make myself sound important without having to tell people I’m the head of a multinational corporation. Tried that once in my foolish younger years. It worked…about as well as it sounded. And then the people at the party saw me being picked up in my Mum’s Toyota Corolla, and that just couldn’t be explained away.
Look, I could be a pest controller. I have it in me. I’m not afraid of bugs, and I actually had a wood-louse farm in my room when I was younger. I mean, termite inspection people deal with chemicals, so it’s got to have an education and training element to it like any job. But most people don’t know that. They know, like, Rosebud pest control people or whatever, and they know what they do. And I could be one of them. It’s plausible. And thus, I’m an interesting person.
We got our new windows installed, and they look smashing. Perhaps that is the wrong word for windows, as I want them very much in one piece. Anyway, they look really good.
I had a nice chat to the guy installing the windows. They had a few on the job, but he was left at the end of the day to settle the small details and clean up. He said that the house looks fantastic, and asked me what else I had done. He seemed so impressed with my party planning expertise, that he asked if I could help organise his engagement party. He said that he is so busy with his job replacing windows, and his fiance is also busy with her job so they are incredibly behind on their plans. He offered me a substantial amount to act as a party planner. I said I would do it, provided they move the date.
I do not want it to take me away from organising Arya’s birthday. I only have five months! They were planning to have their party a little sooner than that, but are willing to compromise if it means they get organised.
I hope Pat is not too mad. This is the closest thing to a paid job that I have done in years, and hopefully he will understand that I was getting a tad bored. the difficult part will be explaining how the opportunity arose. I did not tell him we were getting the best timber windows in Melbourne in preparation for the party. This is too big a deal to lie about. He could so easily find out, and I do not wish to have that kind of marriage. I will have to come clean about the windows. It will be easier to break the news because my payment as party planner pays for almost the entire cost of a whole house worth of windows.
You wouldn’t think that a brown bear could do karate. I didn’t think so myself, until I saw Karate Brown Bear, but now I’m perfectly convinced. I know it was a children’s’ movie, but it was so beautifully animated I can’t help but be convinced. As in, if there WAS a bear voiced by famous comedy actor Jake Brown who was taught to do karate, he could excel and save the world and become world-renowned and such.
And then my imagination ran away with all the kinds of ways human society could be different if instead of just sort of awkwardly living among animals, they helped us out in society. My stomach turns whenever I see someone standing on some mobile scaffolding high in the air, painting or washing windows or doing some kind of construction. Imagine if…instead of a human, we could get birds to do that stuff instead. Not the really little ones, because then it’d be really hard for them to hold a paintbrush or power tools. But like…an albatross, or a condor. They could climb up all those planks and trestles, do the job and there would be no fear of falling, unless they were silly enough to fall asleep up there or something.
Actually, they wouldn’t even need to climb up, because they could just FLY up. If they fell off…well, they could just fly right back down. I can tell you I never get stomach turns watching birds fly, and imagine how many accidents could be prevented!
This idea lends itself to quite a number of other concepts. Like, imagine if road workers were all nocturnal animals, so no one would have to do shifts. Actually, ALL shift workers would be nocturnal animals, so no one ever has to get up at a weird time. Cats could…no, cats would probably all be unemployed.
But instead, we either keep them as pets or observe them getting on with life in the wild. So I’m going to keep getting sick looking at people on aluminium platforms, and my cat is still useless.
Fishing IS everything. That’s obvious, obviously. It really makes my blood boil when people say things like ‘fishing isn’t a sport!’ and ‘so it’s like an afternoon nap in a boat, right?’
I was at the pub last night and my mate Jim was talking about how he’s getting ready for the big fishing competition: taking more naps. And then everyone laughed, so I had to say “Look, Jim, you know fishing needs more skill than that, right?” and he replied “Jim, seriously. It was a joke.”
There’s no joke when fishing is involved. I didn’t save up for years, against the wishes of the wife, just to buy a plate alloy boat and use it for napping. I didn’t train for years, crafting my own fishing rod holders and purchasing the best stainless steel snapper rack money can buy, just so I could have my chance at fishing glory. After all, there’s no sport that could be better described at the sport of kings. People always need to eat, and the water is just teeming with the answer to that problem. Man has been fishing since time immemorial, so when did it become so that it’s something reserved only for lazy folks with no social life beyond napping?
It’d be like if we all suddenly decided that farming was a profession for dossers. They don’t get enough respect as it is, in my opinion, so we might just be heading there. In any case, you can see why I’m taking this big fishing competition seriously. It’s one of the few places where we can come together and take this sport seriously, with an actual trophy at the end and glory for the winner. And everyone there just knows their stuff. Like, I can talk to anyone standing on the banks about fishing rod holders, and we can natter for hours on the best way to install them, which ones work best for different types of fishing…that’s why I hang out for this competition. I get to be among my people.