Seeing through the world’s eyes

I’ve been home sick with the flu today.

Having watched every single episode of every ghost show that exists on YouTube, I turned onto ABC iView to start watching Dumb, Drunk and Racist.

Growing up in a country town, you tend to know who most people are, and if you don’t know them individually, you at least know which family they come from. Racism in my town was and still is mostly limited to jokes, which aren’t aimed to hurt, but, quite obviously do.

I moved from this town when I was 18, and began living in Fairfield in Sydney, a suburb which, at that time anyway, had a large Lebanese population. I became extremely racist at that point in my life towards anyone who looked Middle Eastern, because I would have these Middle Eastern men following me in the shopping centre, asking me to have coffee with them. One of them followed me from shop to shop for two hours, continuously asking me the same thing.

Each day, waiting at the bus stop outside my house, in the five minutes I would be there, two and sometimes three separate cars of men of varying ages would pull over and say “come for a drive, baby”.

But the worst was the day I had to meet my then-partner at his job in Auburn. It was 4pm and I walked out of Auburn station. A car went past me in the same direction I was walking, called out to me, turned around and called out again, from the other side of the road.

They came back again and pulled up a few metres ahead of me. I ran across four lanes of traffic to get to the other side of the road, knowing that they hadn’t just pulled over to give me a friendly lift somewhere.

As I walked the footpath, lined with Colourbond fences that seemed taller than trees, the same car came speeding towards me and pulled into a driveway in front of me, blocking my path.

I had nowhere to go. The fences were too high, there was traffic coming along the road and I would have had to go near them to get past them.

The driver opened his door, stepped out and began calling me Sarah.

“Come on Sarah. Just get in the car. We don’t have time for this!”.

I instantly realised he was trying to make it look as though we knew each other and I was just being a troublesome woman. It reminded me of those teenagers who brutally killed that 2 year old boy after they stole him from a shopping centre. Witnesses had assumed he was their misbehaving little brother, and ignored his screams.

It wasn’t this realisation that made my blood turn to ice, though. It was the passenger, who laid his seat all the way back and laced his hands behind his head, giving me a grin that said “you can’t win”.

“I’m not Sarah! Leave me alone!” I was screaming.

All those imagination-games I’d played for years, where I’d practised self-defence and totally defeated my crazy-strong captors went right out the window. I had no idea what to do.

To this day, I don’t know what would have happened if some mechanics hadn’t heard me, and come out of their workshop to hunt the men away.

I called my dad and cried the rest of the way to that building. Broad daylight, a busy street and a girl still wasn’t safe to make that 30 minute walk.

After that, I tarred all Lebanese, or Middle Eastern men with that same brush. I was so full of anger, fear and hatred and it was exhausting and all-consuming.

Then I moved to Meadowbank, and became friends with the Lebanese couple who owned the woodfire pizza shop. The wife and I would sometimes catch the train into work together and laugh and joke about life. Two women of completely different backgrounds, and yet all our worries were the same: money, public transport issues, boyfriends…

I realised then that my ‘racism’ had not really been toward Middle Eastern people, but towards those Middle Eastern Men who had harrassed me, no different to the fear and anger I had felt in my tiny little home town the day that caucasian man asked me to go to the pub with him for drinks, and when I declined, got angry and told me he would pay me in cigarettes.

Watching Dumb, Drunk & Racist has had me in tears all afternoon, not just because I’ve been all three, but because I’ve always been someone who just wanted everyone to get along. I don’t understand why people do mean, nasty, hurtful things to other people.

Hearing the most heinous things come out of people who have the same accent as me makes me sick. Who has the right to abuse anyone else, in any way? What gives many Aussies the idea that they are better than anyone else? That their rights are more important than those of any other man, woman or child?

I have no answers whatsoever, but while I know that I’m going to spend every single episode of this show sobbing over the sights I will see, I am glad this mirror is being held up to our country so we can stop denying the ugly parts of our culture, whilst berating others about theirs.

Advertisements

Never vacuum again!

I have decided to make* suits for my cats.

Suits made out of those cleaning cloths that attract dust and heaps of these things, because nothing collects carpet-dirt faster than these fucking things.

image courtesy of  www.gumball.com

should be called “sticky until they make contact with air, and very quickly transform into GrossFeelingHairHands”

The cats are the only ones who ever get behind the TV and under the bed, and considering they spend the entire day sleeping on one patch of floor or the other, I should never really have to vacuum again.

Besides, they’re the ones who make most of the mess.

*what I meant by “make these suits” is never actually make them.

There’s no place like home

One sip in and the tunnel vision begins.
My eyes involuntarily glaze over as I let my body enjoy coming home;  a blank Word Doc in front of me, sing-along-metal, my alcohol and me.

The glass feels heavy in my unsteady hand. My last sip still lingers on my lips as I take another and disappear inside the warmth of my own, private oblivion. There’s nothing in that place, just me, the music, and the dark. My head-voice even sits down to enjoy the silence.

I lean back into the sumptuous pleather chair, close my eyes and do the footparts of the drums. Gently.

As the alcohol level in my glass diminishes, so too does my footdrumming until I am barely lifting a couple of toes from the ground every minute or so.  We’ve moved from the warm place to the quiet place, where vision begins to blur, the number of blinks increase and my brain is happy to be hearing the voices of other people, respite from mine.

Memory-songs interrupt the silence, jarring me back to people and places from long ago. Being driven to the first day of my job trial by Sonja, a moment that changed my life, resulting in me moving out of my family home via a phone call from Sydney, telling them I got the job and had to start on Monday.

My essentials were posted down in cardboard post boxes, and driven down to me by my heartbroken parents. None of us had had any time to say goodbye. Instead we did it in the driveway of that rundown little house in Sackville Street, mum’s pain radiating from her uncontrollably.

I spent many of the following nights waiting until my boyfriend’s breathing turned into a gentle snore, before allowing myself to cry myself to sleep. I couldn’t even think of my brother’s name, or the nickname I’d called him since he created his own name when he was 2. If I even thought that name, public or alone, the uncontrollable sobs would shake my body until I could no longer hold it in, releasing it in an undignified choke-hiccup.

Moving back to this town gave me a couple more years with my now grown up little brother. Now that he’s gone off to design his own adventure, I find myself back in that place, losing a couple of silent little tears each time I think of him in pain or heartbreak. At least I’m not sobbing, so that’s progress.

A third of the way through my third glass and my maudlin recollections have run their course, and let me float back to the closed-eyes silence and escape-sounds. My singing begins as a soft accompaniment, but quickly turns into the lead, and before I know it, I’m in front of the mirror, serenading a fake audience who simply adore me.

This is where the remainder of my night will find me, creating my own music videos and wondering why this hasn’t been turned into a reality TV show already.

This third glass drains quickly and my unsteady feet and vision war with my euphoria. Nine times out of every ten, euphoria wins and a fourth, fifth, sixth glass gets drained while I fall too far down the rabbit hole, my hands scrabbling at the walls for some way to stop before I land at the bottom, shattering the precious things that lie there.

Thankfully, the cloud of my bed calls to me much louder than a night lost in the bottle and I go to bed with my music, my darkness and myself.

Tomorrow, I am getting a haircut.

My favourite time of the week is Friday night, around 6:30pm.

It’s not the moment I walk in the door from work. It’s not the moment I get to the pub and sip my first drink. It’s the moment I take off my work clothes, and throw them on the floor, trampling them beneath my feet.

Through the week I take care not to wrinkle my work clothes. It means less vigorous ironing after the wash. On Friday nights, I can take them off and not look at them again until Sunday. Late. When I realise I still haven’t washed my work clothes.

But in that initial moment, where my stockinged feet slide on the silk of my shirt and I can feel the bubbles of the carpet beneath it, I take a perverse sort of pleasure out of that moment where work ends and that glorious solitude of the weekend begins.

In my job, I get an RDO every second Friday, tomorrow being one of them.

Tonight, I scrunched my work clothes into balls and aimed for the laundry basket.

4/6 bitches!

1,826 days

Tomorrow it will be five years since the night Sid turned up at my South Yarra apartment and a few hours later, drunkenly told me I was his girlfriend.

Melbourne, 2008… ish

I say “told me” because that’s precisely how it happened.

I agreed without hesitation, partly because I was stalkerishly in like with him via MySpace (RIP), partly because I was severely damaged and subservient (related: point 1), but mostly because in the months I’d known him, his very Sidness had been evident, and it’s this Sidness that makes people flock to him.

It’s not just his dashing good looks, which I once described as “a cross between Leonardo DiCaprio and Stephen Dorff”, a combination this hasn’t-left-the-nineties girl found irresistable, it’s in the way he makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. He does this to everyone, from strangers crossing the road to the people ringing up his groceries.

I don’t mention that I was at that time severely damaged and subservient because it sounds funny (it does), but because I really, actually was. I’d been hanging out in boozetown for years, and then coming home and wrecking the place with crazed, angry, horrible. I wasn’t in a good place, and I wasn’t safe from myself. Sid gave me a solid, secure and loving foundation on which to start healing myself.

It involved him telling me a lot of things he knew I wouldn’t like, and it takes a lot of courage to say that to someone who was quite likely to sever contact and run to a new place where there wasn’t a mess to clean up yet. He did it gently, but he never wavered. He also never judged, and every time I tried to run away, he made me realise that I wasn’t the horrible monster I’d believed myself to be, I was just a girl who got lost and needed a bit of help to find home.

That’s always how Sid has felt to me. He’s been my home, my sanctuary, my safe place from the world, and most importantly, from myself.

We’ve weathered violent alcohol blackout storms, insecurity/trust/jealousy squalls, tsunamis of unspoken rage that manifest in passive-aggressive behaviours and the whirlpool of Growing Up Without Growing Apart. We have plenty of fights, usually courtesy of the aforementioned passive-aggressiveness, but on the whole, he and I are both fully aware that we’re the centre of each other’s world, and right where we want to be.

I feel incredibly lucky to spend my days with this strange guy I friended on MySpace because of his music taste and my lack of friends who would lower themselves enough to attend DV8.  Thanks to Kittenbomb of Eat Your City who came with me on the night I met him, I not only found a music-partner but a couchfort-cat-adventure partner.

He makes my heart smile and tells the best old man jokes and he’s given me two beautiful cats; children who basically take care of themselves?

This man knows me.

Be Your Own Boss! Unless you’re me, because you’d get fired but you’d be too lazy to do it.

Last week, I jokingly made a statement that, I guess like many others, had a surprising grain of truth to it.

“I need a Life boss. It’s not good when I’m the leader. I never listen to myself”.

If I am tasked with something by another person, I will go above and beyond to get it completed to the very best of my ability. If it’s a task for me, or the laundry or dishes? Psh. That shit can just wait until I have no time left and am forced to do it because Sid is coming home and will not appreciate the mess I’ve made.

It’s as though I figure “if I’m at home, that means I do not have to work”, and “work” for me is .. well, anything that isn’t the internet or ghost shows.

This morning, thanks to the power of my Facebook news feed, I came across this link, which basically says everything I’ve been saying to myself for the past six months… and not actually done anything about.

http://galadarling.com/article/100-things-to-do-instead-of-procrastinating-on-the-internet

This week, I am challenging myself to spend a maximum of two hours in total online each evening. Since I usually only leave the computer to shower or use the bathroom, I can spend anywhere from 5 to 7 hours online each night, getting bored as hell with the lack of interesting things to do on the internet and bemoaning my ghost-like existence.

Tonight, the challenge begins. The second wardrobe cull in a year will commence and then, perhaps, if everything fits into my wardrobe easily, I’ll go back to that blissful and short-lived period of never leaving clothes on the bedroom floor again!

Or, I won’t, probably, but at least when time runs out and I have no choice but to put those floor clothes away, I won’t have to roll them into a ball and squish them into whichever open space I can manage to find.

Now, since we both know that I’ll come home from work this afternoon and go “Damnit, past lying Bri! Why did you commit us to this?!”, before promptly rebelling against myself and parking on the lounge for a night of ghosts, I have come up with a way to fool myself.

I have pretended that I will get fired from my work job if my wardrobe is unable to house all of my clothing, and that Sid has been forced by the real estate to tell the truth if questioned, otherwise we’ll get kicked out of home.

That should cause enough anxiety for me to go into a panic and spend the night not only culling the wardrobe, but spring cleaning the entire house from top to bottom with a toothbrush and domestos.

Where have you been? Here, I replied, pausing the cat video on YouTube.

The shitmobile has returned in full force and I’ve found myself coming home and zoning out to really bad youtube videos that I can’t stop myself from watching, instead of doing productive things like writing and cooking.

It isn’t fair to call it a shitmobile. I love my job and the people I work with, there is just a phenomenal amount of work to do and limited resources with which to get it done, so there are a lot of major projects with simultaneous deadlines and every day you find yourself juggling them, adding things to a To Do list that never gets completed.

That’s why tonight found me leaving the office much later than I had expected to, realising as I locked the door behind me, that I hadn’t even considered a minute beyond finishing work.

What was I going to have for dinner? Do the cats have food at home? Will the milk be off tomorrow? Can I just get noodle box and risk the rest?

Yes. Future Bri can handle the shit out of that.

It’s 7:30 now and I’ve finished my prawns and rice in garlic sauce. The cats are entertaining each other with a plastic bag and a receipt and I’m eyeing off the lounge, contemplating an evening of ghost shows, knowing I’ll then go to bed with the light on and pretend I just “fell asleep”.

I live right on the edge, people. See what you’ve been missing out on?