This letter was typed by J on his beat up old typewriter that he loved dearly.
Wednesday, 17 July 1996 1:49pm
I’m at home. Faking a sickie. Well, only half-faking, really. I did feel pretty bad this morning. I’ve been “coming down with something” for about four days: sore throat, dry cough, runny nose. enough symptoms to lay the groundwork for a mid-week sickie. I like to plan these things in advance. That way, when the boss comes down and says “Oooh, J not in today? your workmates can say with an honesty which is true (dig those tautologies) “Hmm, yeah. He did have a sore throat on Monday.” If you’re going to tell a fib, do it properly I say.
SO I’ve been treating myself like and invalid all day, just to pamper poor old J. Lying in bed with lemon tea, (I can’t believe I actually wanted to drink tea, I normally loathe it), listening to the flu advice on talk-back radio (I even scribbled down some naturopath’s recipe for ginger tea).
I was also a little hung-over. I tramped down to Myer last night with Pippa of the Wheat Silo Boobies (they’re just enormous) to get the last of my lovely manchester. Then she asked me if I wanted a drink, and she had got me the sheets for half price, so I felt obligated to let her buy me some drinks. “Oh, I love a drink Pippa, but I am rather poor this week. Why, I don’t even have $10.” Snigger, snigger. “Oh don’t worry J, I’ve got plenty of cash. Let me shout you a few.” Oh I am a bad man, Sis. I know she’s got the hots for me, and I exploit it to the hilt. Why the hell not, I figure. It’s a bit of a role-reversal. Have you never accepted drinks from some loser, knowing full well why he was buying them, and that his grubby little desires were not to be sated? Anyway, enough with the rationalizations…
We drank in the “Charles Dickens Tavern” again, on Collins Street. I do quite like her company, she knows how to disagree with someone without leaping down their throat, a quality sadly lacking in many of my co-workers. We left around 11pm, on the same tram now that she’s shifted to her Grandfather’s place in Greenvale for a few rent free weeks until she can find another flat. She keeps talking of renting in North Melbourne or Kensignton, which is my neck of the woods. I do hope it’s a coincidence, and that I’m not going to have her hollering in the street “J, J!! Throw down your nostril hair, that I might climb that furry stair…” There’s a lovely image for you.
The reason that my letters to you have been dropping off in frequency is that it is the busy period at work once more, and my computer’s been behaving badly. It crashes a lot, and it has been known to telegraph my work to other people’s terminals. With the, er, delicate subject matter I am wont to cover in these bitchy little missives, it is not a good idea to work on them with any danger of dissemination attending. I reckon it does result in a slightly less fluid letter though. On a typewriter, there’s not much scope for review, unless you want to type two of them, and I’m too lazy for that.
So what have I been doing? Let’s see, Friday night I went over to Quinn’s for drinks with some of the people from work. Quinn used to work with us, and knows quite a few of the folks with us now from his uni days, so he invited us all over. I got tolerably drunk, abused Nadia (who looks just smashing with her new pixie hair-cut) for not telling some drug dealers across the road from her work that they are under surveillance by the fuzz. I think she has a civic duty to inform them. I offered to do it from a public phone booth, but she couldn’t remember the name of the shop they’re using as a front. It’s an antique shop.
What else did I do that night? Um, I hit on his housemate Hannah, while her boyfriend hung himself supine over the back of the couch. I kinda know, but had conveniently forgotten she had him. Oh well. I don’t even feel bad about it. When I say hit on her, I don’t mean put my hand down her knickers or anything, just those casual looks that you hold for that instant too long. “Mr J’s smouldering gaze lingered upon her, she could feel a blush starting at the base of her neck and creeping up her face, She swilled the remnants of her martini and rose woodenly from the velvet brocade chair. ‘More martini’s anyone? she announced to the room, turning toward the kitchen. Mr J rose fluidly from his chair, a tornado of sex in a charcoal suit…” Geez I love to crap on. I wish my life was scripted by one of those romance hacks. Only with a bit more nookie in it.
I left Quinn’s I-don’t-know-when and latched a ride with Erin and her boyfriend Billy. Pippa somehow ended coming for the ride too. We went to the Prince of Wales in St Kilda, and had one drink and left. It was full of freaks and bums. Too hot, too crowded. Pippa walked home (she was shifting to Greenvale the next day) and Billy started whinging about how tired he was, how much he had to do the next day, so Erin and I had to curtail our boozy enthusiasm and resign ourselves to going home. It took longer than expected though, because Billy’s licence had lapsed, which technically made him a learner and Erin, who was Margharita’d to the eyeballs, the supervising driver. So Billy ducked down side streets and managed to weave his way though all the cops pulling over people who were trying to pull the same stunt. Ten minutes later after a detour into Kensington, I was at my front door. Rather exciting, really. Very Starsky and Hutch. It would have been better if instead of stopping and letting me out of the car, if they had just opened the door as they screeched around the corner and sent me tumbling out onto the tarmac. But I like having my skin on my body, and not on the road surface, so we went for the former option. Less theatrical, perhaps.
Saturday I spent in bed recovering (an old story, a very old story) and then cleaning. I ‘Exit Moulded’ the bathroom. I think this is where I got my sore throat from. That stuff (Exit Mould) is this killer of mould, which as a vegetarian and respecter of all life, makes me very uncomfortable, but I’m taking the piss, so ignore me) is so bad for the lungs, it sears, I tells ya, it sears ya lungs and ya nose. Sunday I spent feeling sorry for myself and my sore throat. Leah rang and asked me out for a coffee. I wasn’t feeling too social, so I told her I had the flu and wasn’t going anywhere, but she was welcome to cover over for a coffee if she liked. So she did. She arrived at the door with a plastic bag full of Flu-Fighting Food. Oranges, apples, mandarines. Some liquorice and butter methols too. It was very sweet. While she was over, Mia called. I chatted to her for about five minutes, and then she called me an alcoholic, which she knows I hate, so I said to her (bear in mind that Mia is the jealous type, jealous indeed) “Well, I’d love to keep chatting, but I really must go. Leah is in the kitchen, doing my dishes. ta-tah.” and the best part is, I know it worked. Scottish Lisa intimated something about it at work on Monday. Don’t you just love it when your poison arrows find their mark so truly? You know Sis, I think relations with women are turning me into something not altogether nice. Venomous and venal, that’s me.
On Monday night I went and say “Richard III” with Ian McKellen and the rest in it. It was great, but I picked a fight in the cinema. Well, I sorta picked a fight. I was sitting just behind this slinky little thing from some affluent suburb (Prahran, Camberwell, Brighton – take your pick) with two of her friends. She was one of these twats, quite attractive, and is too used to having people fawn over her. I know it sounds implausible, but it’s true, I can surmise this much about someone just by sitting behind them in a darkened cinema – true. So she’s sitting there, watching the film, and then she laughs at something. and – oh! – what a laugh. A real donkey’s bray. And she does it non-stop through the film at completely inappropriate moments. When it’s just not meant to be funny. Now, I can appreciate laughing in films at things which sometimes aren’t intended to be a gag, but that is in crap films, where you’re laughing at the film, not with it, you know? So she’s laughing so hard sometimes that she actually doubles up in her seat, guffawing. By the end of the film the whole cinema was sick of her, and so was I. So, as the credits started to roll, I’ve hollered out nice and loud “WHY IS THAT EVERY TIME I GO TO SEE A FILM I GET STUCK BEHIND SOME COMPLETE TWAT WHO SPOILS THE FILM FOR EVERYONE ELSE? LAUGHING AT NOTHING LIKE THEY’RE SOMEHOW SMARTER THAN US AND CAN SEE ALL THESE IN-JOKES THAT US POOR SIMPLETONS CAN’T GRASP? IT WOULDN’T BE SO BAD IF IT WASN’T SUCH AND AFFECTATION. THIS VERY SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I WENT…” and so on. I was really loud and there was no question of them not hearing me. They scuttled out before us (I was with Henry, Pippa – surprise, surprise – and Paige). Then when we get out, the foyer is really crowded for the next session, and Henry looks over to the group of people I’ve just abused in front of the whole cinema and says “Oh, Hi. How are you?” I realize what I’ve done, and now it’s my turn to scurry, so I make like a rodent. Henry catches up with me five minutes later. I should have been more tolerant, perhaps. Or I should have at the start of the film leaned forward, tapped her on the shoulder and said “Could you be a little quieter please? in a condescending way. I’m scared I’ll run into this dizzy tart when she’s got an army of supporters, and I’ll be chased down the street. That’s the price you pay for aggression I suppose. It did feel good though.
Well, I’m gonna go eat some of my soup that I made earlier today in my leisurely convalescence.
same day 5:20pm
Hmmm. Feeling warm and toasty now. I’ve got the lamps on, spreading their warm, intimate glow. I went to the supermarket earlier, braving the antarctic wind howling between the primary school children that were weaving their way home. I had to pay for my crumpets and noodles in spare change (my bank book is at work). I made Thai style noodles and Vegemite crumpets in my kitchen that’s been made warm by having my heater roaring at full blast all day. It’s lovely, even here in the front room, furthest from the heater. I’ve spent the day lolling about in my new sheets and stuffing my face with healthy and yummy food. and I had always thought the two were mutually exclusive. I’m gonna fake more sickies, Sis. I’ve had a super day.