Day Twenty-Seven: Hooray for internet comics!

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In my sleep-hungry state, I find myself having serious trouble concentrating on anything technical (or anything simple, really).

 

This is where internet comics suck me into their mawing, sexy abyss. God, do I love me an internet comic. I’ve been on the Cyanide and Happiness train for years, read all of the Damn You Auto Correct blunders from their inception until early this year (sometimes at work, where random outbursts of laughter are perhaps inappropriate), and scratched my head to more than a few xkcd clangers.

There’s something so tempting about these graphic bursts of information, story, or joke that having me drawn unheeding towards the Previous, Next, or Random buttons. Just one more for today, I tell myself. Then I realise I’m up to 250 (counting backwards from the most recent) and there’s so much awesome comic left to devour, and I just can’t stop. A lot of the comics that I do read cover elements of science or philosophy that would be dry and stuffy in text form, but are like the most fascinating thing ever when explained by one cartoon horse to another. The things that I’ve learned from reading online comics are probably only topped by the things that I’ve learned from the wrappers of sanitary pads (Odd Spots, ha).

Today, I stumbled upon Hark! A Vagrant for the first time, and ohhh hot damn, am I hooked. If I could draw (and we know from a few days ago that I can’t–at least in Paint), I would be all over the internet comic thing like a struggling writer on any form of paid work. But alas, I’ll have to settle for using clever wordplay and pilfered memes to get my points across.

 

Maybe I’ll take up the pen and practice my comics in the meantime. People like child-like line drawings of cats and frogs, right?

 

TB

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Day Twenty-Six: So damn sleepy (why coffee won’t help)

 

This is me today:

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It’s pretty accurate, given that I’ve pulled a 16 hour day. Although, I’d replace bread with muesli or a salad or something. I don’t dig on bread. I admit that it is probably a more comfortable pillow than the other food items I mentioned, but it makes my belly cry (and by cry, I mean handball straight to my bowels to deal with–and boy do those guys cry).

Now that I don’t eat sugar or drink much coffee or tea (not that I ever really drank much coffee), I don’t get caught in the trap of, “oh, I’m having a super late night, so I’m definitely going to need four litres of coffee and enough sugar to kill six diabetics to keep me going.” That stuff never worked anyway. Sure, you’d get a buzz for an hour if you were lucky, but then you’d crash and burn (literally, if you happened to be on a road trip or something). The other problem with that is it stops you from going to sleep when you do finally manage to get home and crawl, semi-clothed, into bed. Coffee: does nothing for your alertness until you want to sleep.

I have the same day tomorrow, and I’m beginning to think that Hell might be a perpetual cycle of driving around to random peoples’ houses to make deliveries until well after midnight–of course, in this case, the end of the shift never comes, and the sweet sun never rises, and everyone is pissed off at you for arriving so late.

 

Anyway, I’ve just had a great idea for a woven kale pillow. I’ll keep you updated. Zzzzzzz

 

 

TB

Day Twenty-Five: Choose life, not chores

Since today is Sunday and is meant to be a day of rest and all that, I shall present a short and picture-heavy depiction of today (the one day off I’ve had this week).

 

This is what adult me should have done today:

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I do often give myself a list of 15 tasks and attempt to do them all at once (and my feet are pretty dexterous), but essentially what this picture is saying is that I probably should have used today to give the house a vacuum, wipe down the sinks, scrub the toilets, and maybe chuck on a load of washing.

 

Here’s what I did instead:

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I don’t sleep in that much anymore. There’s always some reason that I must be up at a specific time (even if it’s to go and do something fun and relaxing). Today was different. I didn’t even bother with an alarm. I just snoozed until my hunger became so overpowering that I had to get up. Sleeping in all the time makes you pretty sluggish, so just enjoying it when you can makes it all the more special–especially when you and your partner manage to score the day off.

(Also, I realise after a closer look at this picture that it uses ‘advise’ where it should use ‘advice’. Because it’s my day off, I’m going to let it slide. Also, I really don’t want to spend time finding another picture.)

 

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I’m not much of a gamer–questionable hand-eye-coordination, performance stress, easily frustrated by constant failure–but today, instead of jumping straight on the laptop to do whatever it is that I think I have to do to be productive, I powered up a different device. My boyfriend just got us a game called The Cave. It’s an adventure game because, bless him, he knows that I am just no good at running, jumping, shooting, fighting games. I spent a good hour or so testing my brain with story puzzles and reacquainting myself with the basic controls of a Playstation. Could I have been doing something more useful for my future/the world at large? Probably. Was I happy and relaxed? Oh, yes. Taking one for Sunday!

 

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The juice is supposed to be an ‘every day’ thing, aimed at pumping me full of the nutrition of a full salad in one small glass, but it ends up being a day-off luxury instead. This means that every day off simply must contain a healthy green concoction. Today was a combination of lots of leafy veg and a little bit of fruit, which came out in a colour that would make Kermit the Frog jealous. I wonder what my insides look like after guzzling this goodness. I hope they’re smiling (or performing the internal organ equivalent of a smile).

 

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After a nice shower (not pictured, sorry fellas), the boyfriend and I set off on a bus to the city. We took a magical trek through the streets of Brisbane, avoided getting rained on by about five minutes, and spent the afternoon and evening with his workmates, farewelling two of his colleagues. It probably wasn’t as good as Homer’s night–we did dance around a maypole but I remember the events on either side–but for those few hours I completely forgot about whatever it was that I thought I had to do today, and just enjoyed the company and the view (overlooking the river, with multi-coloured lights on the bridge when night fell).

 

Attending to your adult responsibilities like cleaning is important, and I’m not suggesting that every minute not spent at work should be spent sleeping, lazing, juicing, or socialising, but every now and then it’s OK to just do whatever the hell you feel like. After all, what’s the point of working most of the week, only to spend every other moment working at home? Days off aren’t just for catching up on everything you ‘really must’ do, they’re for recharging your soul and doing things that make you happy.

 

I’m off to wash the juicer now–but only because I feel that it will truly fulfill me.

 

TB

Day Twenty-Four: The laziness sets in

I’ve decided that writing a long-winded, deep and meaningful post every single day is quite difficult sometimes. Given that I’m facing the week from hell next week (16 hour days, 2.30am starts, oh the joy!), I’ve decided that weekends and ‘super stupid busy days’ shall be henceforth given over to brief comments/jokes, pictures of funny stuff I’ve found, or crudely-drawn images by yours truly.

Lucky you, you get the third one today.

This masterpiece depicts how I felt at work today.

 

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That’s me at work surrounded by flames, if you can’t tell. It’s not, in fact, me exiting a rather angry vagina. And those lines are steam, not stink. (Although, given the heat, I may well have been giving off a nice reek.)

Working outdoors in summer should stay the domain of chain-gangs.

Pretty good for a laptop-track-pad-in-Paint job, right? And yes, I am that pretty in real life.

This is what you have to look forward to. Brace yourself.

 

TB

Day Twenty-Three: Five things that make me act like a kid

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I now have as many blog posts as I have years on this earth. After my shopping trip that got me feeling like a six-year-old, I promised myself that I would learn to act more like an adult… in certain situations. You see, there are still a few things that get me bouncing in my seat and squealing like a high-school girl at a One Direction concert.

 

Getting mail

I don’t know if other people have just gotten over this, or whether it was never that exciting to begin with, but I love getting mail. It’s particularly exciting now that most things are done online. The letter is a rare beast, endangered and ever-dwindling. The sight of a letter with my name on it warms my heart. When I was a kid, I’d ask mum and dad every time they brought the mail in whether there was anything for me. Usually, I was hoping a long-lost relative had sent me some spare cash, but even a letter from the bank would do. There was something about stealing away to my room and tearing that sucker open that make me feel incredibly important. It’s funny, becaues I was always jealous of the number of letters that Mum and Dad got. I found out after a while that most of them were unwelcome. Now that my own letter box gets the occasional visit from the postie, I too am getting mostly bills (or old-school spam addressed to ‘the tenant’–that’s me!), but I still hold my breath every time I turn the key in the lock.

Note: I despise junk mail. It is the antithesis of getting a personalised letter. Junk mail can rot.

 

Going to a pet shop

Now, I know I’m not alone on this one. Whether you’ve gone there intentionally to buy something for an existing pet or you just happen to be wandering past, there is no joy quite like dragging the person you’re with in to coo at the adorable puppies (and kittens, if you’re into that sort of thing). I used to turn to my mum, eyes shining, and beg to go and look at the pups. When she rolled her eyes and agreed–making sure to remind me that “we already have a dog”–it was like she’d granted permission for me to gather every puppy I saw, take them home, and hug them til my arms bled. Of course, I couldn’t touch the little guys, and they cost about 800 bucks each,  but just being close to them and watching them do their little puppy things was a gift in itself. These days, it’s my boyfriend who I turn to with shining eyes–that is, when he’s not already dragging me in there himself. A visit to the puppies is a sure-fire way to lift the mood in the midst of a Christmas shopping labyrinth of hell. There’s something about a tiny dog falling asleep in its water bowl that just melts the stress right away.

Also, there’s a quick gift solution right there. Everyone loves puppies, right?

 

Going on a plane

I’m not sure whether this one can be put down to nervous energy; I’m not particularly frightened of flying, but I do have a healthy appreciation for the fact that I couldn’t say how the aircraft stays in the air. The night before a flight–even a one-hour interstate trip–I struggle to sleep. Part of this is stress: about missing the flight; about forgetting to pack something; about fiery mid-air collisions. Mostly, though, it’s just pure old excitement. It still makes me grin to think that you can effectively be in two countries in the same day. Even just city-hopping fills me with glee. In truth, the flights themselves generally bore the shit out of me. If I’m not sleeping, I’m restlessly watching the first five minutes of movies/TV shows before giving up, or reading the same sentence over and over in my book. Flight is fascinating, but it’s the landing that gets my heart pounding with anticipation. Knowing you’ve reached your destination, and your next journey is just beginning is what dreams are made of.

 

Visiting theme parks

I don’t know if this just comes down to pure old lights, colour, sugar, and adrenalin, but waiting at the gates to get into Disneyland, Dreamworld, Movie World, or Universal Studios just gets me in a lather. Disney and Universal have the added joy factor of being a plane ride away; I’m surprised my heart even handled the constant fits of excitement I experienced when I visited LA. The feeling I get when I clear the queue and emerge into the pre-fabricated world of cartoons or movies is akin to stepping onto another planet. (Not that I’ve ever stepped onto another planet, so I can’t really compare. But I imagine it’s similar, albeit with less oxygen and a less hospitable atmoshpere.) There’s the moment of anxious indecision where you figure out which ride to visit first. There’s the eye-widening glance at the map (so many rides!). There’s the stupid grins exchanged with whomever you’re with when you realise that you’ve entered a whole city dedicated to your entertainment.

There’s also the multi-coloured vomit, the gasp-inducingly high prices, and the endless waiting. But nobody can take that initial moment of joy (unless a guy in a Goofy suit were to punch me square in the face as I walked through the gates.)

Actually, even then, it would still be awesome.

 

Buying, cutting up, and eating a watermelon

When I was a kid and my parents bought watermelon, it was one of the best treats around. We’d jump in the pool, and Dad would toss the melon in after us. After we’d had our fun bobbing around on it, we’d deliver it to Mum, who’d be waiting with a sharp knife in hand. (She really hated us and our stupid melon.) It was back to the pool while Mum did the leg-work, then a sprint to the outdoor table to gulp as much sweet red flesh as we could manage, toss the skins back on the plate, and sprint back to the pool to wash off. Even now, it’s a real struggle for me to eat watermelon like a civilised human being. Unless it’s cut up into thin, dainty slices, you can bet that 10 per cent of the juice will be running down my chin, and that half my face will disappear momentarily as I scrape every last morsel of edible fruit from the skin like a deranged beaver. I’m the same with mangoes. If you don’t need a shower afterwards, you just haven’t enjoyed it properly. (That’s true for a lot of areas of life.)

 

It’s fair to say that I might look like a bit of an idiot bounding to the mailbox, but I think that viewing parts of the world with child-like innocence is good for the soul. The feeling of true excitement is hard to top. It’s all the better when you’re sharing it with someone who’s just as thrilled as you are. So, find yourself some childish friends, take off your shoes, and run around like an aeroplane. Book a flight, even if you only have time to spend a day in a nearby city. Get a penpal. Go on a rollercoaster. Stick your face into a watermelon.

You won’t reget it.

 

TB

Day Twenty-Two: Australia, we have a drinking problem

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The end of exams has come and gone, and I can’t help but feel that I dodged a bullet (in the liver) by not participating in any form of booze-fuelled celebration beyond sharing a glass of wine with my man at home.

I have alcohol on the brain–not literally–because of the recent report released by The Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD). Fittingly, when my go-to radio station reported on it, they described it as ‘sobering’ (GEDDIT?). The report is long and full of wordiness (as reports often are), but the gist of it is this:

Australians have a bit of a problem with alcohol. Specifically, it’s responsible for the deaths of one in eight and the hospitalisation of one-fifth of people under 25.

But we’re just having a few on the weekend, right? Like, “I don’t have a drinking problem; I just like to have fun when I get off work”?

I remember observing someone on my Facebook whose status was always alcohol-related.

Just having some beers with the boys! he’d write on a Friday night.

Cannot wait to get home from work and crack some brewskies, he’d post most afternoons.

Fucking hangover from hell, he’d complain more often than is healthy.

I was tempted more than once to comment on his statuses with “I think you have a problem” or just private message him a link to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Bit harsh of me, right? He’s just a young man with an active social life who also likes to drink to wind down, isn’t he? To me, his constant references to alcohol, and the fact that he wasn’t just drinking but ‘getting maggot’ several nights a week, signals an addiction. If someone’s every status update was about how they can’t wait to have a cigarette/are dying for a ciggy/smoked sooo many durries last night, you’d assume they were addicted to nicotene, wouldn’t you?

I’m not much of a drinker–very much a light-weight and not a fan of losing control–but I’ve had my fair share of nights on the town. The common denominator is always alcohol, and lots of it. In fact, for most people, the whole point of a night out is to get pissed beyond all help. Event invites often specifically call for attendees to ‘get super drunk with me’, ‘drink our cares away’, or ‘celebrate graduation by wiping all the information we learned during our degree with booze’. There are even gatherings before the gatherings so that we can get nicely hammered before heading to the bar to save money. We’re so resourceful.

 

If you don’t think drinking is that important to our social culture, just try going out with your piss-head friends and staying sober. You will be asked at least 50 times why you’re not drinking, offered 100 drinks by friends and strangers alike, urged to ‘just have one’, interrogated about whether you’re having fun, and complimented about how ‘good’ you’re being. I’m not saying that it’s not fun to go out without drinking–if you’re like me and can dance stone sober to elevator music–but you will come up against a lot of weird looks and no matter how hard you try, you just won’t be as interested in bitching/flirting/crying/throwing up as your friends are.

After my first sober night out, I knew that it wasn’t my scene. (Actually, to be honest, even drunky-pants me knew that it wasn’t my scene, but her brain was swimming in enough vodka to endure.) There are heaps of fun things to do with friends that don’t involve drinking, but it turns out that going out to nightclubs isn’t one of them. It could be that it’s just me (it often is), but having sweaty people grind up against me, elbowing my way around, and shouting myself hoarse while trying to have a conversation do not equate to having a good time. Give me a group of hilarious friends and a good meal any day of the week.

This isn’t to say that I’m against drinking all together. Sometimes it is genuinely fun to gather with friends and enjoy some good wine, cold beer, or delicious cider in abundance. But not every night. Not even every weekend. Since becoming a complete loved-up old person, I’ve come to appreciate alcohol for its taste–yes, it has a taste!–which makes guzzling it down (particularly through a tube) feel like a bit of a waste. When I was eighteen, I hated the taste of all booze, but I liked the social aspect of getting drunk. The number of times I had a shot with a friend and made a disgusted face is probably in the thousands. I don’t know how many times I turned to someone and admitted, “I’m not even thirsty.” Weirdly enough, as soon as I stopped abusing alcohol, I began to actually explore it as a beverage (as opposed to a bitter tonic prescribed for soberness).

 

The ANCD recommends an overhaul of regulations to limit availability and advertising, but, as we’ve seen time and again, making something taboo and hard to obtain is not a great way to stop people using it. If anything, it makes the substance more attractive. Rather than shielding young people from alcohol (and then suddenly allowing them free reign when they reach eighteen), we should be working on changing people’s attitudes towards booze from the time that they are children. Start by making it less of a big deal. Warning your child that they should never drink this ‘poison’ between sips of beer is not effective deterrence. Getting yourself horribly injured in a drinking-induced accident might be, but is a painful way to teach your kid a lesson (and is likely to have some pscyhological effects beyond those you intended). If they just see alcohol as an occasional thing that their parents partake in with their dinner, then they’re less likely to associate any special meaning to it. If they ask for a sip, give them a tiny one; if they’re anything like I was as a child they’ll spit it out and tell you it’s gross.

Of course, yes, I realise that peer pressure is the big one, and some kids will always see alcohol as some beacon of awesomeness, but maybe if there are more of them that look at a sack of goon and say, “no thanks, I don’t drink that shit; I’ll just have a nice glass of this Pinot Grigio”, the abusive culture might start to fade (and Passion Pop will finally face extinction).

Anyway, I’m off to enjoy a nice spot of crack.

 

TB

Day Twenty-One: Let’s talk about poo, baby

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Humans poo. There, I’ve said it.

Some of you will stare at the page blanky and say, “So what?” Others, I expect, will wrinkle your noses in disgust and note that you might have been OK with it if I’d said “humans produce waste”.

How about this? Humans are pooping, pissing, bleeding, farting machines who have sex and get sweaty and occasionally vomit.

Plenty of people I’ve met will argue that they accept these traits of humanity, but it doesn’t mean that they want to hear about them. Fair enough, gratuitous poo talk at the dinner table is not ideal, but trying to block out the fact that you (or your partner) does these things just makes life more difficult.

“Chicks don’t crap,” my brother once quoted his friend as saying.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Of course they do. Does he really not know that?”

“No, he does,” my brother answered. “But he meant that as far as he’s concerned, they don’t do it. He just pretends it doesn’t exist, because it’d be too gross otherwise.”

I have to agree that imagining another person huffing and puffing to relieve themselves of a hefty log is not exactly boner-inducing material, but pretending that it doesn’t happen just sets you up for a horrible shock when you one day stumble into the bathroom when your honey is steaming things up.

 

I remember my boyfriend and I discussing farts, maybe a year into our relationship. One day–which one, I couldn’t pinpoint–we’d suddenly stopped trying to hide from each other the fact that we had bowels. From then onwards, it’s been a sweet little partnership peppered with suspicious noises, funky smells, and inevitable giggles.

“Remember back in the day when we were trying not to do anything gross in front of each other?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he laughed. “I held in so many farts.”

“I did too,” I admitted. “Actually, every time I told you I had an ‘unexplained belly ache’ it was just built-up gas.”

“I know,” he said. “Sometimes you farted in your sleep. It was cute.”

I don’t know if we’re just a couple of weirdos, but knowing this information about each other, and witnessing each other’s less glamorous bodily functions hasn’t killed The Magic. In fact, it just makes me feel completely at ease with the one I love (particularly now that we live in the same home AKA Lucy’s Fart Cave).

It could be because we both come from families where one parent has medical connections. His mum is a nurse (and now he is too), so blood and pus and poo were all treated very clinically. My dad is a pharmacist, and we grew up with him as our pseudo-doctor, investigating our various ailments and doling out treatment as necessary.

“Your dad buys your pads?” my friends gasped. “That’s so embarrassing.”

“For who?” I asked (I know, it’s ‘whom’ but I was young and foolish). “Dad doesn’t care; it’s his job. I don’t care. He’s always bought our medicines for us.”

And yes, if you’re wondering, that does include the more awkward stuff like thrush pills, fungal cream, and herbal laxatives (not all of which were for me… and not at the same time).

When I go to the pharmacy (the one downstairs from work) to buy my ‘sanitary items’, I feel not even an inkling of shame. At least they know I’m regular (and not pregnant), I think as I make aggressive eye contact over the counter.

“But isn’t it weird that the people in your workplace know you have your period?” friends have asked.

It’s about as weird as the people I work with knowing I eat and shit.

 

If anything, a bit of knowledge and openness can actually save you a lot of trouble. The old saying (and I’m loosely paraphrasing) goes like this:

Don’t be a fool; check your stool.

What they should say is this: if you’ve never spoken to anyone about toileting habits because you’ve been too embarrassed to bring it up (even with a doctor), how will you know what’s normal? I imagine that there is a high percentage of people out there suffering from undiagnosed IBS and ignoring the blood in their stool simply because they have no point of reference for how things are meant to be. You only crap once a week? Yeah, that’s a problem.

 

My friends and I had an amazing moment of clarity in year nine when one of us casually brought up vaginas. What followed was an enlightening and uplifting conversation where each of us was assured that our pink bits were, in fact, completely normal (even though they weren’t all the same). We didn’t have to whip anything out or compare pics, but years of pent-up anxiety was able to relieved by a simple and candid conversation, with plenty of description. (If you didn’t have this convo, and are interested in the varying shapes and sizes of fannies, check out the ‘controversial’ Honi Soit magazine cover here.)

If your argument is that children shouldn’t be exposed to images of real genitalia then I have to ask how exactly you figured out what was going on downstairs in your youth. Sure, I would have giggled my ass off and probably made a face about how ‘gross’ the vaginas looked, but in the end I’d keep those photos in my memory for a later date, and save myself a lot of stress about whether I was ‘normal’.

 

So, have a chat to someone about how many poos you’ve done today; proudly purchase your tampons and/or condoms and refuse a paper bag to hide them in; Google pictures of vaginas (or penises, guys) that haven’t appeared in a Playboy magazine.

And always remember: your parents had sex at least once (and they probably liked it). You don’t have to trade tips with them over Christmas lunch, but never forget that you are a product of one of the most basic (and sticky) human acts.

You’re welcome.

 

TB

 

Day Twenty: Why grocery shopping makes me feel like a child

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It is just me or does food shopping make everyone crazy?

In a fit of independence (throw your hands up at me!) I decided that I would surprise my boyfriend by doing the shopping. He’s done it for me probably ten times. I’ll come home from work when he’s had a day off, and the fridge and pantry are overflowing with vittles. It’s pretty awesome, but makes me feel like a non-contributing bum. After all, whoever goes, pays.

The shopping expedition starts with a list. I feel mega organised because I’ve gone through the cupboards and noted what is lacking, and I pat myself on the back for remembering to place the list in my bag before leaving. Obviously this memory thing doesn’t extend to all areas of the shopping trip; I get downstairs to my car before I remember that I didn’t bring the effing bags. (We have those ‘green’ bags that make me feel less like an environmental terrorist.)

Off to a great start, I mumble to myself, then immediately check my neighbours’ balcony overhead to see if they’re on their way to call a mental health specialist.

I trudge back up the stairs and grab the bags. At least I didn’t leave without them, right? I sternly remind myself to take them inside the shopping centre when I arrive, and set off to do my grown-up duty.

The problem I have with shopping (and supermarkets in particular) is that it overwhelms me. I don’t know if it’s the lights, or the colourful displays, or just the sheer volume of shit on offer, but it makes my heart race and my brain turn to mush. I think I get this from my dad. He hates shopping with a passion. He’ll do the Christmas buying in one day, non-stop, until it’s done and he doesn’t have to face the horror again for another year. With that time of the year approaching again, I fear for my own sanity.

 

When I shop alone, I feel like I’m still a little kid. It’s like that for three reasons:

1. I cannot control a full trolley (or indeed a half-full trolley)

I’m not sure whether all people of low weight have this problem, or I’m just maneouvering it so poorly that I’m pushing against all the laws of physics. Either way, I feel like I’m about seven years old, and I need my mum to come and take the reins. Straight ahead is fine; it’s getting the damn thing to turn a corner that gets me. I know people are watching in amusement as I dig in my feet, strain my arms, and make a face as I slide my trolley awkwardly around a bend. Or just to the side slightly. I’d like to blame the age of the trolley (I know that the super old ones are notoriously lop-sided and rickety) but the ones at my supermarket are shiny and new. When I come up against a walker in an aisle I always smile apologetically, but what I really mean is, well it’s going to take me far longer to move this fucking thing than it will take you to walk around it. Mostly, though, I’m just jumping on the stupid thing and joy-riding through the carpark.

 

2. I impulse buy

I think I also get this from my dad. At times when my mum has been away (she’s the go-to teacher to chaperone awesome overseas trips) it has fallen to Dad to feed us, wash our clothes, and shop for food. It’s not that he’d never shopped for us before, but Mum was just efficient and willing to do it (and was the one cooking most of the meals). The first time Mum went overseas, we ended up with a cupboard full of Home Brand everything. I’ve never seen so much yellow. Dad bought things that we’d never had or expressed an interest in before–choc-cream biscuits, tinned berries, ‘fun’ new products clearly from the aisle ends. Now that I’m shopping for myself, I know how this happened. Supermarkets are fraught with panic- and excitement-inducing traps. If something says ‘new’ or has its own display, you’d better believe I’m going to be over there looking at it. When my boyfriend shops with me, I’ll show him things, my eyes shining.

“I’ve heard about this!” I tell him.

“Twelve bucks! That’s a bit hexy,” he says sensibly.

Today it was mangoes. I love mangoes. If I could eat one fruit forever, it’d be nectarines, but mangoes rate pretty highly. Without the sensible voice of the bf, I bought two for eight bucks (not a bargain, I know. Please help me). I then proceeded to the ‘reject’ table, where the overripe fruit is packaged up and marked down. Two probably-too-soft-to-eat-cleanly mangoes were half the price of the fresh ones. Did I stop and think that four mangoes between two people was a bad idea, given that it was hot and they’d be overripe in two days anyway? No, sir. I bought both. I’ll make smoothies/juice, I told myself, It’s a bargain. It’s only a bargain if you were going to buy it anyway and got a better price. In the quiet calm of my home, I know this. Damn those fluorescent lights!

 

3. I get tired quickly

When I’m shopping and I hear a baby crying or a toddler throwing a tantrum, I can understand it. I hear you, kid, I think as I drag the afore-mentioned trolley from aisle to aisle, trying to avoid looking at the cheap homewares in the centre of Aldi. Physically, I get sore feet (because I wear sandals and not hiking boots like I should), my back aches from hunching over the trolley, and my eyes burn from the blasting air-conditioning. Mentally, I’m full of self-doubt about my purchases, worry that I’m spending too much, and sensory overload from all the crazy colours and sounds. If that’s enough to set an adult’s teeth on edge, I can imagine how bad it must be for a kid. By the time I’ve been to four different shops to pick up the things that we need–we buy our fruit from the proper fruit shop, and the better (read: more expensive) tuna from Woolies–I’ve traversed a good kilometre, endured temperatures that vary from comfortable to ice-box, and produced my wallet more times than I care to mention. If I had been dragged along on that journey against my will, I’d be melting down in the middle of Aldi too. The drive home is a small respite before loading up on heavy bags (all of them at once, obviously, because I’m not going to do another trip), fiddling with keys, climbing two flights of stairs, fiddling with keys again, and putting all the stuff away. No wonder I feel like napping.

 

Food shopping can be a little quicker and a little less painful with a bit of preparation–making a list and sticking to it, keeping your eyes on the prize, and limiting your trolley-load to something you can handle (also good for saving money since you’re buying fewer things). Mostly though, it’s something that I’d prefer to share with someone else. The excited grabber needs the sensible money-considerer; the habitual forgetter needs the elephant; the same-shit-every-weeker needs the shake-it-upperer.

What I really need though is a strong trolley-pusher, blinkers to keep me focussed, and a good sleep.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some mangoes that need my attention.

 

TB

Day Nineteen: Making new house rules

I keep mine in the bathroom, but whatever.

I keep mine in the bathroom, but whatever.

 

Living with your partner has its perks (massages and sex on demand, anyone?), but more than anything it’s a learning experience.

When you’re a kid, you kind of assume that everyone else is the same as you. Other kids think the same things and have the same kinds of families and play the same games, right?

When I was in early primary school, I met my first child-of-divorced-parents.

“I’m at Mum’s house this weekend, and she’s going to take me shopping for a new skirt,” my friend said casually.

“Your mum’s house?” I asked. “Where does your dad live?”

“Oh, my parents broke up, so they don’t live together,” she explained breezily. “I spend half the time at one and half at the other.”

I was gob-smacked. I’d never thought that there was anything but living in one house with two parents and a bunch of siblings.

 

Moving out with someone is kind of the same, except with more adult stuff. (OK, and sometimes less adult stuff.)

For example, my boyfriend and I had a moment in the kitchen, when we’d first moved in, about where to keep the glad wrap. He couldn’t understand (and fair enough) why I wanted to put the alfoil and the baking paper in the bottom drawer, but keep the glad wrap in the pantry. They’re the same shape and size, and logic would dictate that all wrapping materials should be housed in the same space.

“Well, it’s just easier to access from the pantry,” I said. “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s just where Mum kept it, so I’m used to finding it there.”

In fact, a lot of the stuff I do is just ingrained in me from living a certain way for so long. If there’s no other explanation, it’s safe to assume that I’m just doing it out of habit.

My boyfriend keeps fruit in a basket on the bench; at my family home, we’d always kept it in the fridge (except bananas, of course).

He puts onion in salads; my family was more of the ‘lettuce, cheese, tomato’ persuasion. (Now that I look back, I can only assume it’s because we were a bunch of bland-palletted sissy-kids. We never had chilli much either.)

He fishes teabags out with his bare fingers (what a man); I use a spoon and wrap the string around to squeeze the liquid out.

He puts knives in the dishwasher point up; I put them in point down.

 

None of these things is inherently right or wrong, just different. Usually, we can find some happy medium. (I cut myself about five times on upturned knives in the first week, but I’m getting better at dodging.) Sometimes it takes someone challenging your habits for you to stop and think, yeah, actually this does look kind of crazy, and perhaps stems from mild OCD.

There are some things, though, that I absolutely will not compromise on. If you hang your toilet paper like this, we just can’t share a bathroom.

 

Oh, how convenient. I’ll just reach under here and grab blindly until I find the end.

 

TB

Day Eighteen: You haven’t seen it?! (I wasn’t born)

Image

Sunday, bloody Sunday. My November squat challenge says that Sunday is a rest day. (Yes, she squats.) By the same token, my brain thought that Sunday was blog rest day too. Silly brain.

 

Yesterday I posted an article that I wrote for mX—a ‘vent your spleen’ of sorts. Unfortunately that article had a word limit. If it didn’t, I might have added the following discussion:

 

When I was a teenager, my mum had a habit of comparing situations to eighties (or early nineties) movies. She’d quote from Dirty Dancing or describe something as “like that scene in Top Gun”, and look at me, expecting… I don’t know. A trace of recognition?

Us kids had gained most of our education from the Simpsons, and were free to run around screaming, “You can’t handle the truth!” despite never seeing ‘A Few Good Men’. (No truth-handler, you! I deride your truth-handling abilities!) Or so we thought.

“Do you know where that quote comes from?” Mum demanded.

“Ah, yeah, the Simpsons, duh,” I’d answer, rolling my eyes at her foolishness.

“Wrong!” she’d screech triumphantly. “It’s from one of the greatest movies of all time.”

Then came the inevitable admission: “I haven’t seen it.”

 

Well, if that wasn’t just the most horrifying thing she’d ever heard. Time seemed to stand still. I think she’d have been less shocked if I’d told her I was pregnant at 14.

“You… haven’t… seen… it?” she’d choke.

“No,” I’d confirm, feeling filthy and shamed.

 

It was only some time later, when I reflected on these situations, that the injustice hit me. Hang on a minute, I should have said. Do you remember when I was born?

Of course she would remember when I was born (unless the drugs were really good) but she probably wouldn’t make the connection straight away. (1990, by the way.) ‘A Few Good Men’ came out in 1992. If she’d showed it to me when I was two, that likely explains why I don’t remember it. ‘Top Gun’ was released four years before my birth; ‘Dirty Dancing’ was three years pre-me.

I lived in the family home until a month ago. Like parents often do, my mum and dad selected appropriate children’s films for us to watch. My question to my mum should have been, When exactly am I supposed to have seen these movies?!

There’s small likelihood of ‘Dirty Dancing’ featuring as an educational asset in the classroom. Child Services may have been involved if I’d popped over to a friend’s place to watch ‘Fight Club’ as a nine-year-old.

 

“But you could have seen The Princess Bride; it’s a kids’ movie,” my boyfriend argued, when I greeted his “as you wish” with a blank stare.

‘The Princess Bride’ was released one year after he was born, so in my view it was lucky even he saw it. The secret may have been his older siblings, who were the prime age for late-80s/early-90s kids’ movies. My eldest brother only has one year on me.

 

One of the most entertaining parts of sharing your life with another person, though, is reminiscing on what made your childhood special–whether that’s a movie, a toy, an activity, or something else entirely (leggings, anyone?). My boyfriend has the good sense to go and find the movies that I’ve “missed out on”, rather than just gape stupidly at me. This weekend alone, I caught up on ‘The Goonies’ and ‘The Princess Bride’. I figure by the time I’m 40, I may be close to seeing all the great films of the eighties and nineties.

It’s a good thing they don’t make good movies anymore, right Mum?

 

TB