I’m never drinking beer again, not while I have the financial means at my disposal allowing me to indulge in less deleterious drinks.

Monday, 6 Feb, 1995 2:07pm


Hi, it’s a new week, it’s a new letter.  I’ve just finished my bowl of rice for the day, and I have a little bit of lunch time left to fill in. I’m eating rice to atone for a weekend of orgiastic spending and stupidity. On Friday after work I was enticed over the road for drinks at the “News Bar” with some workmates, and again I allowed myself to get sucked into the round-buying thing and was blotto by the time I headed for the door somewhere around 11pm.  I caught a taxi – god knows how – and stumbled in the front door and fell asleep on top of the bed covers.  Man, did I have a shocking hangover on Saturday, wow! I haven’t felt that bad in a long time. I am seriously not drinking beer ever again, not while I have the financial means at my disposal allowing me to indulge in less deleterious drinks. So I moaned and whinged all day while Dad came over and fixed up a leak in the bathroom window and a leaking tap in the kitchen. I didn’t start feeling better until about 6pm.

Leah and her man, Aidan, came over Saturday and dislodged me from the rock under which I was hiding and took me over to Richmond to watch some crappy videos. I got some awful French horror film called “Baby Blood”. I thought it might be good because one of the reviews described it as a cross between “Look Who’s Talking” and “Alien”. That sounded like an interesting combination, but the movie was dreadful, fell asleep before the ending.

When I left Leah’s on Sunday morning, I neglected to take my wallet with me, so I had to get the spare key from Pam (Mum’s friend) down the road. I had shelter, but alas, no money to speak of, so I spent all day yesterday reading that Joseph Conrad book. Leah said she’d drop my wallet into work on the way home. anyhow seeing as I had no money, I realized at 8am this morning, that I wouldn’t be able to catch a tram to work, so I resigned myself bitterly to walking the one-and-a-half-hours into the city, but SK saw me on the side of the road – hallelujah! – and offered me a lift in his Corolla. I must have done something nice to someone to get that ride.

I thought I would be training someone new today, but it turns out that they start tomorrow. Her name is Neda and she’s been out of the work force for fifteen years, and the boss keeps telling me that she’ll be nervous, and I’ve been trusted with the onerous responsibility of shepherding her through the painful re-introduction to the cut-throat work of the work-place. Between you and me Sis, I don’t know if I’m up to the task. Simon is away for the week, so Neda will be at his desk in our little office. After my disorganized and trying weekend I’ve been rather enjoying the solitude of Simon’s absence, I hope Neda won’t need too much attention.

Tuesday, 7 Feb, 1995 3:38pm

As it turned out, Neda did need a fair bit of guidance, but I kind of enjoyed it to tell the truth. She’s really nice, and concerned about doing things correctly, which I really like when it comes to my book. I can’t help it, I’m clucky. Leah dropped my wallet over to my house last night and drove me down to Coles to do my shopping, which was nice of her. Man, did I spend up big! I spent $102.95, and really enjoyed it. I’ve go so much food, I think there’s almost a representative from all five food groups in there. I’m broke for the rest of the week, but I will eat luxuriously, I will feast sumptuously, I will feed gloriously, there shall be no end to the gastronomic glutton in the the “House of J”. I suppose I’m making up for my social austerity this week at work by spoiling myself with nice food. By social austerity, I mean that I’m working hard and not chatting around the office like I usually do because I’m embarrassed for being so drunk on Friday night. I don’t know if it’s such a good idea to mix socially with workmates. Do you see your colleagues out of work? There’s too much potential for humiliation in front of people whose respect for you actually matters. The people I work with are generally pretty uptight anyway, career types, you know? Rather serious young people from middle class backgrounds with middle class ambitions, they all wanna make money, but in a tasteful way. They wanna eat in Prahran, South Yarra; wanna live in Albert Park, Carlton; wanna work at The Age, The Herald-Sun (in order of preference, there). Dull, dull, dull. Mind you, that’s probably exactly how I’ll end up, if I’m lucky. I’d never eat in Prahran or South Yarra, though.

Sis, are you going to try and instill in your child any political values? Or will you let it form its own? How would you feel if your baby wanted to join the blockades of live animal export down at the Dover docks, or wherever it is? Or if they said “I’m going to be a dull old Systems Analyst and there’s nothing you can do to stop me!”  If any child of mine wanted to be a Bank Manager, I’m afraid I’d have to shoot it. What if they want to be a vegetarian? If they want to eat raw meat? Do you realize I’m going to ask you these types of question in every letter until you have this baby? How many of these things are you and Jack going to have? I’m only buying presents for the first two. Any children after the first two don’t really count. I wouldn’t even bother naming them if I were you.

Wednesday, 8 Feb 1995 4:09pm

You know I’ll be glad to see Simon again. Neda is nice, but she can be a little talkative. We have pretty different opinions on things, like children for example. She’s quite fond of the young of the species, she has four of her own after all, and I told her how your spud wasn’t going to be allowed within ten feet of me unless it had discharge guards on (you know, nappies and the likes) and she came on all dismayed, like she was amazed that anyone could not like children. Luckily I didn’t tell her my ideas for replacing duck season with schoolyard sniping.

Dad just rang. Did I tell you he’s trapped me into going skiing with Damien (Green) and him up at Eppalock. I kept saying “No, can’t go then. Nooo, won’t be able to make it then either. Naaah, I’m busy with the book around then, Dad” but he just kept pushing and pushing further down the calendar, so now I’m locked in for Easter. God, I wish I’d just said I’m not interested in skiing anymore. And just then, on the phone, he did the same with visiting Nana and Pop. He knows I’m too polite to say no outright, so he pushes and pushes until there’s  no excuses left. I really resent it. At least he said it’s just him and I going to Nana and Pop’s. I’ll think of some way of getting out of this Easter thing, if I go I know I’ll just embarrass him by saying or doing something that everyone else thinks is weird. If I went with Dad and Uncle Richard and Damien, I’d no longer be a kid. I’d be expected to be a bloke, and do blokey things. I’d be in on all the perving, the misogynistic jokes, the whole machismo beer swilling thing. That whole culture is something I really want to avoid. To me it’s boring, arid, and slightly odious. That’s just to me though, I’m not denying that for other people it is fun, fulfilling and wholesome, I don’t want to be a cultural snob, I don’t believe everyone should be poetry reading artists, all cultures and subcultures have their own merit. God, the more I think about it the more I need to get out of this thing.

Thursday 9 Feb 1995 1:27pm

God, I don’t know what’s gotten into Dad lately, he dropped around out of the blue to my house in Flemington last night. (Don’t you love the way I say “My house in Flemington”, like I’ve got penthouses scattered all over the globe.) I hate it when people drop in unexpectedly. I like at least 2 hours notice to clean up and buy the Tim Tams. I guess if I was a better housekeeper and didn’t have clothes strewn about the place, it wouldn’t matter, but I still think its polite to warn people before knocking their door down. It unsettled me for hours, so I sat down and watched some telly to pacify my churning soul.

Until next time Sis….




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