My workmates have about as much sensitivity as a Russian condom.

Monday, 22 May 1995  1:38pm

Dear Sis,

Howdy.  I thought of you on the tram this morning.  A pregnant lady was sitting opposite me, rubbing her belly with this secretive smile.  It was a bit creepy to tell you the truth.  Then the tram conductor sat diagonally opposite me and started talking to himself as he leafed through the form guide.  He didn’t ask for my ticket even though he watched me get on.  It was an odd ride, surrounded by mumbling gambling-addicts and women rubbing their bellies like flesh-and-blood buddhas.  I hope you do stuff like that, freaking out people with your “glow”.

Actually went and saw Brett’s band play on Friday night.  I met Josh after work and we had a few drinks in “The Dark Horse”, this little basement pub opposite RMIT.  From there we went to some god-awful peach and burgundy pub in St Kilda.  From there we walked to Josh’s house, a cute top storey flat with art deco windows and doors.  We had a few more drinks, I listened to Josh’s dodgy music, and we caught a tram to Richmond.  We stopped off in a 7-Eleven on the way populated solely by pot-heads.  It was funny, all these 16-18 year old kids with coal slits for eyes and armfuls of chocolate.  Walked to the “Richmond Tavern” and waded through the public room full of shady characters slumped over beers and overflowing ashtrays out to the band area.

I knew half the people there which was disappointing, though I was in a remarkably charitable mood and was nice to those I knew least well.  As matter of fact I was quite rude to Brett.  He was strutting around in a  languid sort of way with his long hair flowing and flannel shirt tied around his waist.  He sauntered over and said “Hey man, glad you could make it.” Squinting upwards at him, I replied “So, you been preparing all day ’round the house, have you? Worshipping Satan?”  He said something rude back, but I didn’t catch it and he wouldn’t repeat it so I left it at that. I resigned myself to watching Josh and some drunk, obese, stuttering German play pool.  The bands played like the pool players – for too long with too little talent.  I couldn’t wait to split. I wandered outside and flagged down a taxi driven by a slurring racist who wanted to shoot some footballer.  He overcharged me a dollar on the fair, but I was too glad to be home to bother arguing about it.  I hope he crashed his car and got rescued by an African.  I stumbled through the front door and read some of the J G Ballard book that Josh loaned me.  It was a crappy book and I creased the cover so now I’ll have to buy him a new copy, which means I’m stuck with a creased, crappy book on my bookshelf.  It won’t be the first.

Saturday I spent around the house, washing, cleaning, recovering.  I didn’t actually feel that bad, I just wished that the music hadn’t been so unrelentingly monotonous.  Sunday, I made a fire and finished off the book.  Leah came over around 3pm and cut my hair for me.  It’s shortish, with a bit of a sticky-uppy fringe.  It has a shaggy appeal.  It amazed my fellow workers no end. I feel like one of those charlatans from South America, amazing the ignorant peasants with simple tricks of magnetism or a block of ice.  I feel like saying, “It’s just a haircut, anyone can do it”. I do feel handsome though Sis.


Tuesday, 23 May 1995  10:15am

Well, today has started better than yesterday.  Some lady was giving me the eye on the tram this morning.  She was hideous, but it’s nice to be noticed.  Obviously it’s my swanky new hair-do that’s reeling ’em in.


Thursday, 25 May 1995 10:02am

I rang your place last night and left a message on the machine.  I thought that if I rang in the middle of the night here, it couldn’t possibly be in the middle of the night over there.  It’s probably a good thing there was no-one around, I wasn’t in a very upbeat mood.  My face is rebelling against me.  My teeth are sore, I think I’ve been grinding my teeth in my sleep again, so I can’t chew on one side and on the other side I’ve got a wisdom tooth coming through and I’ve got an enormous blind pimple on my upper lip.  It’s hidden under my goatee, so I thought “why not give it a squeeze, no-one can see it.” What a mistake!  It’s swollen now and looks like I’ve got a fat lip.  Nobody has noticed yet, or if they have, they haven’t said anything.  Though, knowing that my workmates have about as much sensitivity as a Russian condom, (they are a tribe without mercy), I guess they haven’t seen it yet.  I keep having to suck in one side of my mouth, I feel ridiculous.

I guess I will have to go and see a dentist, but you know all about the unique type of terror they engender in this humble coward.  I wanna find a dentist who’ll just knock me out for the whole procedure.  I’m prepared to pay up to two thousand dollars for this, no shit.  Dentistry scares the absolute crap out of me.  This is an irrational fear, like someone looking out a forty-storey window and filling their trousers faster than the human nose can detect.  Even though there’s three inches of plate glass between them and any chance of falling, they’re still petrified.  Ditto for me and dentists.  Even if I could take my courage in my hand and go, my licence-lessness rears it’s inconvenient head.  When you’re travelling all the way to Poo Town on public transport, the possibilities for delay are endless – the tram, the train and then the taxi.  You know you’re going to be either 2 hours early, or 2 hours late. Oh fuck. The oppressive inevitability of it all.  This is the sort of thing I hate most about life on Earth – being presented with situations that have no options, I hate being deprived of choice.  I hate the glib sentiment of “there are some things in life you just have to do.”  I hate that. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that.

God, I just realized I should stop moaning about my paltry discomforts and ask how you are.  Express some sympathy for having a housebrick resting on your bladder these past few months.  Is mum being much of a help?  Fluffing up cushions, making herbal teas and all that?  Tell me, what illicit substance do you miss the most?  Caffeine or alcohol? I mean, alcohol would seem the obvious choice, but it’s not like you have a drink every day. (Is it?)  But coffee is part of the everyday ritual of waking up and socializing.  Do you even have to give coffee up?  God, I’m so ill-informed.  I suppose you had to stop smoking crack too, yeah?

’til next time.




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