I refuse to go to a party where I’m the only person I know. That’s the sort of situation that leads to excessive indulgence and a Sunday of self-flagellation.

Wednesday, 20 September 1995  9:05AM

Spoke to Dad on the phone yesterday, he’s offered me free tickets to the Melbourne Show. Apparently he and Uncle Beluga Big-Bum have supplied a few Jeeps for the judges to zoom around in while they check out the sheep and the cattle and the goats and the what have you. So, anyway, if I’ve got one of Dad’s business cards, I can get in for free. Being half-delirious (hay fever medication) yesterday, I took him up on the offer, and gave Leah a call last night to see if she and boyfriend Aidan wanted to come. Boyfriend Aidan has to work, but Leah was thrilled to accept. Having no other friends, and not wanting to be at the mercy of Leah’s capricious exuberance and incessant demands to join her on every ride, I called Josh to see if he wanted to come. He wasn’t home (he’s living with his parents again) but his Mum was there, and we had a half-hour chat about Mr B (the pedophile teacher), which was weird, but nice at the same time. I haven’t used that mode of conversation for ages. You know, a mixture of earnestness, fair-mindedness and a touch of gossip. I hope Josh calls me back this morning, Dad needs to know how many tickets I need. If Josh can’t make it, I’ll tell Leah that I’m gonna have to work this weekend, so sorry, but it’s off. I’ve gone about this poorly, I should have called Josh first. What can I say? I had this momentary and silly notion that I should get out more.

Same day, 3:33PM

New guy in the office today.  Guess what his name is?  You give up, of course. It’s J. That’s right, J. Same spelling. I spoke to him briefly to pass on a message, one of his calls was put through to me. The phone rang, I picked it up and this person says “Hi J. That gig tonight sounds excellent, but I couldn’t quite hear you properly in the car last night.” Biting my lip, I frantically searched my memory for some scenario that might vaguely fit. Then I realized it was for the other J.  It’s a bit weird, I can’t recall ever meeting someone with my name who’s around my age.  He’s really tall (somewhere around 6”2), with wavy dark brown hair in a ponytail that reaches to the small of his back. He keeps smiling at me. He looks nice enough.  He’s a friend of Henry’s, apparently they’re moving in together to some flat in St Kilda above a brothel. Charming, eh? Caitlin (2nd in charge) said he’s only temporary, thankfully.  I’m not really keen on sharing my name. You ever met any other S’s?

Thursday, 21 September 1995  8:17AM

I’m in early again, praise be to The Early One.  I thought it was eight o’clock when it was really only seven.  Embarrassing, but handy.

Invited to another party yesterday. It’s Matt’s housewarming. Matt (doesn’t work here) is Paige’s (she does) boyfriend, who use to live with Lisa (who also works here). Lisa and Matt were housemates and hosts of the infamous house cooling that precipitated my prodigious mea culpa routine at the start of this letter. So Lisa and Matt have parted company, but Paige gave me an invitation to Matt’s party. The connection is a bit tenuous, Paige’s only been here two months, I’ve met Matt maybe three times. I’m worried that I’ve acquired some reputation of, at best, a party-starter, at worst, entertainment reminiscent of the circus side-show freaks. “Come see the Amazing Dog Boy, watch him quiver from haunch to convulsing gullet as he brings up yet more bile! Roll up! Rrrrolll up!” And to make matters worse, Matt asked for me by name like he was booking a favorite stripper or something. No-one else from work is going as far as I can ascertain. I’ve begged, I’ve even offered people money to go, all to no avail. Simon’s staying home to watch the footy (typical!), Erin has a quasi-school reunion to attend, and I don’t know if anyone else was even asked. I refuse to go to a party where I’m the only person I know. That’s the sort of situation that leads to excessive indulgence and a Sunday of self-flagellating housework.

To change the subject entirely, I’m really enjoying this Sartre novel. More than I thought I would. I was a bit worried it would be rather dense with philosophical dogma to be digested in large, uncomfortable chunks, but it’s quite readable. I’m underlining passages as I go, putting little notes in. the margins, just like when I was at school. It’s kinda fun. I might even write little profiles of each character, actually study it, ‘coz I assume there is something to be learnt from this book. Maybe I should stop trying to read so many books at once and spend more time analyzing each one, reading it thoroughly. Of half the stuff I’ve read, I can barely remember the plots, let alone the central message the book was trying to impart. It’s all just snobbery I guess. I just wanna be able to sit around with learned folk and discuss highbrow garbage and think that I’m living in the pinnacle of high culture. It’s very easy to be hard, so much more difficult to be tough, don’t you think?

Josh called last night, he didn’t wanna come to the show. I don’t believe I made it sound a very enticing offer. Then Leah called and tried the “too much work” line. She just shifted it to the next weekend when boyfriend Aidan could make it. Maybe I’ll get tanked beforehand, it might then be just bearable. Damn these sociable moments that come unheeded and put me in these positions! I need some new friends Sis. I know what you’re thinking, it goes a little like this “Well, why don’t you go to Matt’s party and meet some glittering new people there? There are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet.” Sorry, that was a bit vicious wasn’t it? Can’t think of a good counter-argument though.

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