Category: Conversations (Page 1 of 12)

Destined to be thwarted

When we got home yesterday, I put the kettle on to make tea.

B: You didn’t eat that whole packet of chocolate biscuits last night. Did you?
M: No, no. Of course not. I just put the ones that were left in a bag in the fridge.
B: Thank god.
[I promptly forget my chocolate biscuit craving – now I know they’re safe – and decide to eat a cinnamon doughnut that is in a tin in the cupboard.] B: Argh! Argh!
M: [barely lifting an eyebrow; assuming I’ve seen a cane toad, walked into a spiderweb, left my phone in the rain etc. etc.] What?
B: There’s fucking ANTS in the TIN all over the DOUGHNUTS. [Pokes further into the tin.] And they’ve savaged my Ryvitas. That’s it.
[The words ‘that’s it’ are said in unison with me tossing the ant-invaded tin as far as I can from the back steps into the garden. M starts laughing hysterically.] M: You’re Homer! You’re Homer!
B: [Muttering darkly] Yeah. That’s right. I’m living Homer’s nightmare.
[I make the tea, savagely stir in the milk, and start poking around in the fridge.] B: M! Where in the fridge did you put the chocolate biscuits? I can’t find them.
[M’s giggling stops abruptly. I can hear him backing away from the house with sneaky, treacherous little steps.] M: Um…
B: [Shrieking] M! Tell me. Tell me you weren’t just putting off the inevitable by saying you hadn’t eaten all the biscuits. Tell me that they’re in the fridge.
[M shakes his head mutely, and speaks very very softly.] M: I. Ate. Them. All.
[I kick something and flounce into the study with my tea. M drives into town for some Tim Tams. Later that night he eats six of them, guzzles a bottle and a third of red wine, eats pasta, jelly, chocolate and awakes in riotously good humour. It just doesn’t seem right.]

Living With My Mother: Part One

There are many good things about shacking up with my mum for a bit. She cooks me things, lends me her car now and again and drops me at the station in the morning. However, this will never become a long-term arrangement: factors that have contributed to this statement are as follows;

  • It’s Saturday. She comes up the stairs and stands at the end of my bed.
    “It’s a quarter past nine,” she says.
    “And?” I mutter from my pillow, “Is that what you came up to tell me? I have a clock.”
    What she means when she stands there spouting the time at me is that she wants me to walk to the shop with her to get the paper. Luckily, I can interperet motherspeak.
  • Down at the Black Rock shops. We go into the French bakery. My mother, as part of her new, post-retirement life, is learning to parlez vous Francais.
    “Bonjour!” she carols at the girl behind the counter.
    My fifteen year old self awakes with a spasm.
    “Mum, only the bakery is French, not the people that work here. Hello?”
    “I know that, but I have to practice.”
    “No, I don’t think you do.”
    “Un pain au chocolat sil vous plait,” she carols again, at the girl, who is about as French as I am.
    “I’m learning french,” my mother tells her, conspiratorily.
    The girl hands her the croissant, slightly glassy eyed.
    “Merci bien!”
    We leave the shop to the tune of my head slowly shaking…
  • Later on we headed over to what most normal people could, without threat of an understatement, describe as Hell. A place (I dare not speak its name) that is a collection of factory outlets of well known clothes shops. Out in Moorabbin. On a Saturday morning. Pure mayhem. My mother, desperate to buy me a birthday present, trailed behind me. As time wore on, her sighs came closer together. Particularly when she discovered that I would not choose a purse that has a zipper for access to coins. Then I pierced my thumb with a zipper in Garfunkle, and bled freely throughout the change room (extra points for the downlights though – it was less gritty realism, and more soft focus art house style). Another shop, called ‘Charcoal’ actually had some very nice stuff – my mother bought a scarf.
    “This will be perfect for my belly dancing scarf,” she said, tying it around her waist. She then proceeded to belly dance at me in the middle of the shop, while asking “Is it long enough? What do you think?” I stuffed tortured fifteen year old self back in the box, and said I liked it, thinking that it didn’t really matter. To look at us you would never know we were related.
  • We left Hell, her with one purchase, me with none. This is what happens when she takes me shopping.
  • After the first half of Sunday passed by, obliterated by my hangover (never mix champagne and beer, I have done it for you) I slowly came out of my nauseous little shell. I texted my mother, who had gone to the supermarket, to grab me some razors and a tin of Baxters Vegetable Soup. When she returned, in my first bit of humanoid behaviour of the day, I said, with some false optimism,
    “Did you get my text message?”
    My hangover returned with a vengance.
    “Can I ask you something? Do you carry your mobile phone for a reason, or is it just some kind of non-ergonomic time piece?”
    The sigh.
  • However, it turned out that she had some killer home made pumpkin soup, so we both scoffed that down. After a walk around the shops (still questing for that birthday present) we came home and I had a recovery nap, dreaming of the tuna casserole that I knew was going to be for dinner.
  • I prised myself out of bed, and went like a puppy to the dining table. I ate some tuna casserole. I added pepper, parmesan, a bit of salt.
    “How is it?” asked my mother.
    I chose my words with care. “It’s, um, good! I like it!”
    “But what?”
    “Well, it could be a bit more, sort of, tuna-ish?”
    My mother’s mouth dropped open, and she looked at our dinner plates, aghast.
    “Oh my god. I forgot to put the tuna in!”
    “Oh my god! What the hell are we eating then?”
    “Mushroom soup casserole.”
    My turn to sigh.So close. And yet, sooooo far.

The Phone Ranger

I have done an almost world beating long-jump in the realm of mobile phones. I began with a phone donated to me by Dylan (who out-gadgets me on a regular basis) – it was a Nokia so old that it probably didn’t even have a model number. It had red glowing LED and was insanely chunky. I thought it was totally the biz. So I had that for a year or two (back when I still wore glasses) and one day it rang just as I got out of the bath, and in groping blindly for it, I knocked it from the table and it fell in and drowned 🙁 After that I got an Alcatel, which was my favourite thing, but the ‘9’ key was dodgy. I met someone else who had the same phone with the same fault. My admiration for it waned.
Though it did have one stand out feature, which was that you could run it on three AAA batteries if you needed to…


So then Dylan passed another phone my way…my trusty Nokia 5110, which I have had for about five years:


Until last night at the British Star hotel in Smith Street (you should check it out) where I met my small brother’s former flatmate who is over from London for a fleeting visit. My small brother had remembered his promise, and had bequeathed me his phone when he upgraded. His former housemate was nice enough to drag it all the way to Melbourne, despite having about one hours sleep due to excessive partying, and delivered it to me (with a couple of gin & tonics – thanks Liv!) in the front bar. Today I bought a travel plug converter, and I am feeling slightly bewildered by all the options it has – but I’m glad I can now have more than 30 numbers in my address book. I also have bluetooth, a camera and probably other stuff that I haven’t yet stumbled on. Now, if I could just figure out how to get my pictures from the phone to my computer…


Oh…and predictive text is insanely annoying, but I’m hoping it will improve with time.

Who’s been eating my porridge?

Went to gym this morning. Got there at 6am. They looked puzzled. I thought it was because they’d never seen a person so unfit before. Turns out, they’d written me in for 6pm. She said, in the sparkling tones of someone who is accustomed to being awake at such ungodly hours;
“You’ve done the hardest thing – you’ve got out of bed and come here! You may as well make it worth it and do half an hour on the treadmill.”
“You’ve got to be joking. I’m going home to bed.”

I came home and made porridge for me and M, who wasn’t up yet. I had rhubarb on mine. In my coltish, girlish way, I was quite pleased with myself that I’d made him a hot breakfast. He got up, stepped into his clothes and looked non-plussed at the idea of porridge. But he didn’t say “No, I don’t want breakfast this morning as I ate too much pizza last night.” He just took the smaller bowl of porridge that I had put out for E. Turned his nose up at the rhubarb and asked if it was the stewed blackberries that we’d had at my dad’s on the weekend. Then muttered after a few mouthfuls that he wasn’t going to have breakfast this morning, and could he just eat half the bowl…?
At which point I left the room to escape his presence, restrain my urge to repeatedly bang my head against the wall, and to work on my resume. He came in to say goodbye.
“Don’t have the s@#%s with me, B.”
“I don’t,” I said, lying, looking at the computer screen.
“Don’t lie. I wish I’d never seen you this morning.”
I found this mildly shocking.
“Yeah. Bye.”

At least now we’re in Melbourne we have places to go, and appointments to keep; so we don’t have to retire to separate ends of our acre in Queensland and hiss like cats when we see each other.

My horoscope says:

Promise Now: ‘I will not freak out this evening and quit my degree/thesis/project/book/movie. I will ride the existential crisis wave into tomorrow when I will laugh at my paranoia.’

Replace the words ‘this evening’ with ‘this morning’…unless this just relates to my 6PM gym appointment. His says:

Try to find a place where you will not be able to make a phone call tonight. Full Moon in your 10th house triggers feelings of crisis – that the ‘career’ is shite & there is no point. It’s illusory; the Sun also Rises.

Great. Hurry up sun.

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