Sunday, March 20, 2005

Of shyness and social retardation

So I'm at a bar right? I'm not the kind of guy that girls normally even glance at let alone smile at. Despite this a cute girl keeps looking over and smiling and doing this kind of roll-her-eyes-back-in-her head thing that has my heart all aflutter. So I'm thinking to myself; nah, she isn't looking at you, she is looking right through you and thinking about some joke her uncle told her when she was three. Self defeating kind of inner dialogue, you know? So here I am having talked myself out of accepting her quite obvious interest. Fuckhead that I am. All of a sudden one of her friends approaches. I kind of realize what is about to go down but instead of excitement I feel a sense of absolute horror. Oh no, she is going to talk to me or ask me to come over and meet her friend. Shit, I'm not going to have anything to say. I'm going to freeze up and be exposed for the fraud that I am. Leave me alone! Let me enjoy the possible fantasy that she is interested and let me dream and delude myself that if I had of spoken to her I would have been charming and witty and dashing and all the other clich├ęs that you are told in trash Hollywood films that you are supposed to be when tackling an interaction with the opposite sex. But her friend doesn't receive your silent telepathic communication, she continues on towards you with a grim resolve. Kind of like the way the terminator pursues his quarry in the film. Closer. One step, two steps, three steps. My life flashes before my eyes. Go away damn it! But she doesn't... She forces her presence into my line of sight and says: "Can I introduce you to my friend?" I jump and act startled to maintain the charade of me not being aware that this was all about to transpire. "Yeah, sure" I say despite the inevitability of my humiliation when I cross the room and make contact with her friend. So she leads me across the room towards her friend and a feeling of calmness comes over me. The calmness of one resigned to their fate. The calmness of one condemned to the gallows. So you reach the group of girls standing on the dance floor, not one girl, not the girl that has been staring at me and her friend - no - a virtual harem all looking at me expectantly. To compound the difficulty of the situation my friends have become aware that something unusual is unfolding and they are all watching as well. I feel their eyes boring into me, discovering all my inadequacies and failings. The music becomes a faint drone at the back of my consciousness. It seems, in the deeps of my narcissistic mind, that the whole room is watching me awaiting my demise. I make eye contact with the green dress girl "Hi" I offer up lamely, "my name is Jason" I give this introduction, in almost robotic fashion to green-dress and the rest of her friends. I receive a similar response. I look round and say "this almost feels like a job interview". Fuckhead. Meathead. Moron. They let out an uneasy laugh. Who have we let in to our circle of trust they must be thinking to themselves. I start to make conversation with green-dress; "where do you live?" "What do you do?" Banalities all of them. I'm starting to sweat, I'm auditioning for some reality TV show called "Socially retarded idol" and I'm crashing and burning. Despite this she makes pleasant conversation back and actually seems mildly interested, in an aloof sort of way. I find out she works casually at the War Memorial, a short 5 minute walk from my work. I also discover that she is studying her masters in Australian history at university. She discovers that I work a shitty job and that I pace from side to side when I'm nervous. In some amazing show of resilience of charity she still appears interested. I however have no such fortitude. This shuttle is going down and I'm looking for the ejector-button. "I'm going to get a drink" I say. "Oh, she says" with what seems to be a disappointed tone. "I might come back over later" I say. "I'm going home soon she says." So, what do you think I did at this point? Asked her for her number? Not me. Tried to make further conversation? No way! Thought up some witty line to make her laugh and relieve our mutual attention? Not a chance. No, I slink away towards the bar muttering to myself "stupid motherfucker..." "Total dipshit..." "Tumbling, tumbling dickweed..." I guess my question is rhetorical when I ask do you think after buying my drink I went back over to talk to her? Upon returning to my group of friends they asked "what happened? What was going on with that girl?" The looks of horror and disgust when I tell the girls how I managed to fuck up yet again are commonplace by now. So, what have I learnt from last night’s experience? Next time a girl looks my way I should go home and call it a night.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Bright eyes

Bright eyes. I long to burn there. In my longing lies the extinguishment of flame. Broken twigs and polished glass. 26 coals fading fast. And I shall wait for you there amongst the lonely debris of an ocean gone mad.

Employment induced zen

I did absolutely nothing at work today. I'm talking zip, zilch, nada, and zero. There have been many days over the last 5 years that have echoed this pattern. I simply have no interest in what I'm doing there and yet I don't seem to be able to motivate myself to find something better to do with my time. They pay me well too...
I think the same feeling is in the minds of a lot of my co-workers. Ryan didn't even turn up yesterday and nobody bothered to ask where he was. He came in today and didn't bother to fill in a leave form. I think that, personal pride aside, if you worked for this company you would probably feel the same way. I still realize that it is pathetic that I don't go out and do something more fulfilling.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Snap Dragon

I purchased some more clothes today, far more than I intended to. I bought them from Dangerfield and a vintage clothing store called Out of the closet. My new wears include 1 - pair of black jeans, 1 - pair of very strange pants, 1 - cheap pair of slacks (which probably look better than the previous two far more expensive pants), 1 - black t-shirt and a black belt.
I seriously had no intention of buying any clothes at all however the girl in Dangerfield was really pretty and I got roped into it. I'm pretty sure she was just saying she liked everything to make me buy more stuff but it was nice to have a funky chick pay attention to me and pay me compliments. She looked a lot like an ex of mine with big shiny eyes and a warm cherubic face. I guess I got ripped off but it was fun!

Some days

Some days all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes, some good tunes and a nice new coat. Then you smile.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Frances the mute

"Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore"
"I’ve always wanted To eat glass with you again But I never knew how How to talk without Walls dropping on the eve The nest they made couldn’t break you Along the fallen Scowled a fence of beaks But the temple is scathing Through your veins They were scaling Through an ice pick of abcess rekoning And when Miranda sang Everyone turned away Used to the noose they obey And whoever said that they would scatter Separating the mother from child She can bat a broken eyelid
Raining maggots from it’s sty And with the traces that she leaves She will skin you out alive All the children go grinding their jaws The sweet smell of their toothless canals And the damn she will break, make an ocean from this lake As they siphon off all of our blood And when Miranda sang Everyone turned away Used to the noose the obey"
I have been listening to Frances the mute an album by The Mars Volta lately and to be honest I'm completely blown away. It has been a long time since I've listened to an album and found myself having to sit quietly for 20 minutes afterwards in a state akin to a post-coital daze. Truly an amazing piece of music. A journey that you won't regret!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Campathon 2005 - completed!

All in all the camping and hiking was a resounding success! I think it was exactly what I needed to rouse me from the malaise that I have been in of late. The sunshine, fresh air and frequent swimming managed to wash away much of the depressive cloak that has been shrouding my soul of late. I should add that I don't necessarily believe in such a thing as a soul but it seems a good word to use in lieu of anything appropriate to sum up all that encapsulates what a conscious person is.
So, to break down the trip:
Day 1: Saw us hiking to Little Waterloo bay. We arrived at Emma's early in the morning and much complaining about general tiredness was engaged in by all. This was a fleeting thing as we were all quite excited about the impending journey. We set off from there on the 3 hour drive to the prom.
The weather was already a picture of sparkling perfection and after we consumed some burgers and purchased camping supplies we struck off along the first trail. The conversation streamed fast and furious at first as we were all filled with energy and enthusiasm. Walking sticks were found and then discarded as we realized that they actually prove to be ornamental rather than practical.
I couldn't believe how pristine and untouched the wilderness that constitutes "the prom" remains. There was an abundance of wildlife (see day 3 for our encounter with a tiger snake) and being away from the city and particularly my mobile phone had me feeling peachy! Leaving the mobile phone at home was a good idea as it meant that I was constantly checking it to see if she had called.
The hike to little waterloo bay took about 4 hours (roughly 11 km's distance) and the banter that had flowed so easily before started to flag as fatigue set in. I fared far better than some of the members of our expedition as I had packed lightly and consequently didn't have to lug a heavy pack the whole way. Despite this it was still a fairly arduous journey for a man that lives a rather sedentary life.
It was near dark when we arrived and we promptly set up camp. I was concerned about setting up the tent as construction has never been my strong point but it was a simple 2-man and did not prove difficult. One of the bonuses of my small tent was that a) it was very small and b) I was sharing it with a very VERY fit girl. This situation was made even rosier when the nights turned cold and said hot girl had to snuggle in to young Jason's body!
I almost forgot to mention the beach that we came upon at Waterloo bay - it was truly fantastic. I don't think I have even seen any quite so blue or inviting. We swam for much of that afternoon which was a good opportunity to wash off the accumulated dust and grime from the days trekking. There is something about an untouched beach, something timeless and otherworldly that erases your troubles and makes you feel small and yet universally connected. Something which I do not have the writing skills to convey. So I won't bother trying...
Day 2:We awoke early to a morning that was largely dominated by stiffness and soreness. Our bodies complained: "hey, you never take me out for a spin and now you propose to ask this out of me? Not likely without me fighting back!" These aches and pains were not only from the previous days march but also due to the unfriendly hard ground that we had to sleep on. I spent the night constantly rolling from side to side trying to find that elusive soft spot that would provide a gateway so sleep. I did not find that place, that sweet water-bed of my dreams throughout the whole three nights of camping.
Our destination for this days hike was a place called refuge cove. This leg of the journey was by far the toughest on foot. The trail winded it’s was through many coastal hills and was littered with jagged rocks and steep inclines. Emma and I pushed the pace and by the half way point we had left the group behind. This was more due to the lightness of our packs rather than superior fitness.
Even though our muscles begged for mercy and this cry was heard through aches and pains in every region we were still amazed at the grandeur that was the oceans and mountains unfolding around us. The terrain at the prom is extremely diverse, it shifts between sub-tropical rainforest, humid swamp land and from time to time resembles an American style rocky desert.
Another amazing beach awaited us when we made camp and more swimming was had. We were quite jealous when Tim managed to convince a group of holiday makers to let him climb on their boat and then proceeded to share their beer, cheese platter and other such luxuries with him. Meanwhile we were forced to eat packet mix food and did not even have a proper toilet to go to. Good luck to him I say!
We spent the night playing Uno, learning (trying to learn) how to play 500 and swatting mosquitoes. Another night was spent by a very happy me snuggling up with the gorgeous Tongen... Now I know what you're thinking and the answer is no! There was no fooling around with her. She is a mate’s ex-girlfriend and I would never go so far as to engage in any "fooling around" with her. The fantasy remains just that.
Day 3) By now the muscles had started to rally hard against their mistreatment however we had no choice but to push on. The first half hour or so seemed to be the worst and after that their protests would subside. It was a fiercely hot day and we were sweating profusely after the first kilometer or so.
The views were just as beautiful and there were a lot of large boulders to stand on along the path which provided excellent photo opportunities. Emma, Glenn and I broke away from the group again and we covered the distance to Sealers Cove at a pretty impressive pace for 3 lazy, unfit 26 year olds. We made it to camp around midday so we had a lot of time on our hands. This meant that after setting up camp, which was located in an incredible clearing surrounded by boulders and ancient gum trees almost reminiscent of the ewok landscape in The empire strikes back, we were able to spend the rest of the day at the beach.
It was such a magnificent day and the sun was shining so fiercely that the water, which flows towards the prom from the frigid frozen depths of the Arctic, was quite warm and inviting. I intended to read whilst away however I became far too relaxed whilst on the beach to even bother opening the book. Instead it became a pillow as I lazily watched the day go by and inhaled the ocean breeze. How can anyone have a worry in the world when nature is willing to provide such sweet counsel?
Towards evening I started to feel a little crap from a combination of too much sun and over exertion during the hiking. I spent the evening lying in the tent while the rest of the gang played a version of Uno that included consumption of Tequila as the penalty for failure. Much cheating was going on in the background and pretty soon all participants were cheerfully inebriated. I felt a little sorry for the other weary campers as my companions were quite vocal at an hour when most travel weary people would prefer not to be disturbed. The end result of too much liquor was the inevitable "skinny dip!" There were certainly no arguments coming from us when the girls ran naked into the sea. I went out as well in spite of feeling reasonably seedy, however it was more so I could say I did a nudy run and at the possibility of seeing the girls naked than due to any desire to brave the cold ocean water in the depths of the night! Did I mention that during that days march we almost stumbled upon a tigre snake? It was big and black but beautiful in a strange alien/reptilian way. It had no interest in us, it just took its time and slowly slithered off the path...
Day 4:The final day of our trip saw many of the group nursing sore heads and fatigued bodies from the previous 3 days hiking and the excess ingestion of tequila from the night before. I was feeling far better. The days hike was a lot easier with less broken trail and less steep ascents.
4 days without a shower was beginning to take its toll as we began to feel merged with the dirt and mud that we had been wading through. I constantly mentioned the plan of stopping at a pub on the way home for a chicken parmigana. The imagery of a crumbed bird smothered in melted cheese with a side of steaming hot chips served well to distract us from any discomfort we were feeling. As it was the hike was over quite quickly with a final positive upon reaching the top of a mountain that was continually caressed with a cool refreshing mist. This clearing was reminiscent, in my wildly overactive imagination, of a Scottish highland scene in which mystical druids would perform mystical ceremonies that I couldn't understand because... They are mystical, right?
So we made it to the cars, celebrated our small triumph over the wild and headed back to civilization. We stopped on the way for the earlier mentioned bird, which was I might say, every bit the meal that I promised it would be. We arrived back at Emma's around 3 in the afternoon, battered but not broken. The only real injury was Suffered by Adrian whose small toes had blistered and swelled into something that would make Quasi Moto or the Elephant man feel good about themselves.
In summary I would say that the trip was a resounding success and helped me to resolve a few issues that had been clouding my perspectives for the last few months. I stopped thinking about her, at least for awhile, and began to realize that I need to move on with my life. I probably won't do anything like it for quite some time, living rough takes it out of a city boy like me, but it was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. Now I need to go and take care of another pressing need - sleep.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Campathon 2005

Ah, the rustling of leaves, the fresh scent of eucalypts, the stale smell of unwashed campers (ew), the rustic charm of the bush... It is campathon 2005!
Tomorrow 7 friends and myself are setting off on a hiking adventure around Wilson’s Prom. For those of you that aren't familiar with Australian geography Wilson’s Prom is located in the south-east of Victoria.
I haven't been camping in many years being the city slicker that I am. Perhaps as many as 10 - 15 years! I have childhood memories of getting grubby, damp and miserable during past camping expeditions, however given the weather forecast for the next 4 days (30 degrees every day)I think this shall be quite a fun little outing.
Will there be romance? Will there be ghost stories? Will we get lost? I look forward to sitting around the campsite with a torch tilted towards my face to emphasize my most scary Jason look as I tell stories of ghosts and ghouls. Unfortunately campers aren't allowed to light fires down at the prom so we will have to let our imaginations overlook that much needed spooky-story ambience. We shall also have to pretend that our marshmallows are toasted!
My only real concern about this hike is how my back will handle it. I suffer from a pretty bad back as a result of a basketball injury from high school. My backpack is quite heavy so I think I may start to feel the pinch at some stage. One of the girls that is coming along is a Physio, and a quite hot Physio at that, so maybe I shall have to ask for a back rub *wink*.
My plan is to not take any cigarettes with me this weekend to kick off my attempt at dropping the habit. I may become cranky Jason when the cravings set in however there will be no shops to purchase the evil things.
Anyway, I shall fill you all in (I don't think I have any readers yet but I shall write as if I do) on any developments, disasters or random camping hilarity that ensues during campathon 2005.
Over and out.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Unsent letter

I remember a time when we were close. This was not so long ago. We were so direct and intimate with each other that I thought things would never change. Do you remember the way you could cheer me up with your crazy antics when I hit a low? Nobody else ever could.
Things always change.
I remember trips to the cinema, and our heated discussions about the films that we had seen. I am amazed even now how comfortable we were in our disagreements. We seemed able to talk on any topic without reservation.
All things come to pass.
When I watched you ride that old red bicycle with the basket on the front I thought that my heart would burst. Your funny litte scarf trailed in the wind and my hopes and dreams followed with it. Never have I encountered someone so unique, so amazing.
I'm sorry that things changed.
I guess you couldn't hold out, waiting for me to get my shit together. I took for granted that you would always be around, although I shouldn't have because you deserved far better than I ever gave you.
So now you are gone.
You will never read this letter but if you did I would want you to know that I fucked up and that I'm sorry. No, you will never read this but if you did I would tell you that you will never be forgotten.

Tedium

Tedium is the daily commute to my place of employment. A train ride in to Melbourne from Berwick takes about 45 minutes. Those 45 minutes can feel like a lifetime.
Everything is grey inside a train carriage. It can be the sunniest day outside but if you look around all the colors seem muted. Everything takes on the monochrome tones of the morning newspaper that the ochre fat, coughing and spluttering, man with no name is reading in front of me.
The steady rattle and thump of train against track slowly hammers away at my consciousness until I feel as if I can take it no more. At times like this I wonder to myself - why did I move back home? Why didn't I stay in the city, with work a friendly neighbor nearby? I miss the back streets of Melbourne with its surplus of hidden bars and unexpected happenings around every turn.
Berwick is no place for a young person to live - not really suburban, not really country. If I woke up to the whisper of ocean waves or the ozone aroma of the forest I might find myself more accepting of a slower paced life for awhile.
Even the cows look bored in this shitty town.
I know I brought this on myself. 20 thousand spent on drugs, alcohol and other entertainment over the last 3 years has forced me back here. This is my penance. In some ways this is worse than hell as there is no fire, no brimstone, only the constant cycle of train, work; save money to live, live to work, work to catch the train and so on and so forth.
Overly dramatic? Probably. No, definitely. Some people don't have the luxury of gainful employment, some people wake up unsure if they will be breathing at the end of the day and some people don't wake up at all. I guess I just woke up in a funk today...