Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tales from a Mall - The Aero Caramel and The Chad Who Loved Me

I don't really know what to think about today, it's one of those nothing days that really slip and in and out of your memory as soon as they are over - regardless of Buddy Franklins 100th goal - and I've been amazingly lazy. I've probably spent far too much time in the spa or lying around on the lawn. I was talking to my friend today about the fact that I quite like being the age that I am now - I like my broader scope of references. That's not to say I wouldn't sometimes like another crash at the coffee and dating scene, hanging out with Alix, but it's passed. I went for a nice walk and saw the mother of the most beautiful barmaid in Hobart - so that might be my in, although my competition is fierce, comprising Midori Man and several members of the Lauderdale football team. I like walking around Kingston, because there's not many people about, and I don't have to walk through the really dodgy swing park anymore. I walked through that place to get home one night (don't tell my Mum) and there was a girl on the swings who said "What's your name?" and when I told her, she didn't say anything, so I was a little worried that perhaps her boyfriend was on his way to club me over the head so I didn't say anything, and after about fifteen seconds she said "My names Jodie" - to get out of this tricky situation, I sort of tried to get quickly to my house, passing the comment that "That's a nice name"...when I got to my front door, she had sat and taken in this piece of wisdom and replied "Nah, nah, it's pretty fucked!" - end of conversation I would have thought. I miss Jodie, she called a spade a spade.

Everyone who hangs out in the mall in Hobart would know there's a newsagents in the middle of the mall, directly across from Big Sanity, run by a white haired gentleman who I'm certain plays Santa Claus at Christmas functions. He's a very nice man, unlike my local newsagent where I work who puts the magazines into plastic bags so people can't read them and is only nice to you if you buy a magazine priced over $10, and unlike his slightly less enthusiastic wife and his parade of disinterested minimum wage staff. I used to go in there all the time to buy my copy of the Herald Sun and get my bottle of water - and he was always nice enough to point out to me when he a brand new chocolate bar. I really don't know why he decided that I would be the official taste taster of new chocolate, although he wasn't nice enough to give them to me for free. One day I went in and held up a meaty fist to halt me from espying the fridge of any new types of Red Eye, and he said wait there in deep tones. I stood there not sure what was coming out of this transaction - footy cards, a loyalty card, a copy of the album Love and Kisses by Dannii Minogue - but he unwrapped from his paw a silver wrapped Aero Caramel. He was holding it was one might hold a newborn baby, with the utmost care - "try that" he said, with no further word. Well, there wasn't much to do but take the entrustment I was given and run with it. To protect the mighty silver chocolate, I put it in the fridge at work, but when I went to get it, it was gone, scoffed by a fat workmate with trouble fitting into a pair of jeans I suspect. When I returned to the newsagent the next day, he was beaming, to the point you could see his back teeth, and he was leaning forward conspiratorally. "So, did you like it?" he said - by which point, I was getting really suspicious it had been loaded up with E or laxatives or something to punish me for my parsimony in not buying top shelf porn at twenty bucks a pop (or maybe because I did) - and after racking my brains, I realised what I was meant to like, and said, sure, why not, and he began chuckling heartily (only the older man can chuckle heartily) and replied "I thought you would, you look like a caramel lover" - I can assure everyone that I have no idea what a caramel lover looks like, but apparently, I do, or indeed if I've missed some kind of terrible sexual code. The contents of this mysterious bar to this day remain a mystery (mysterious mystery, gee, that's just good writing isn't it?) but for some reason, I remain eternally greatful that I didn't eat it...

Of course, this strange exchange certainly can't diminish my pleasant memories of the man, regardless of his opinions on what I looked like I like. In fact to get onto my favourite theme of local pride, I'm proud that most local businesses in Hobart (apart from Boost Juice) do at least make the attempt to provide customer service with some kind of friendliness, particularly the ones in the mall. I don't know if you remember the English band Mansun (no, me neither) - they had a song called Stripper Vicar which I think was about our local guy in Penguin. The first song on their album was called The Chad Who Loved Me - which always makes me think of a particular waiter in a little coffee shop in the mall called Chad, who didn't love me, but my friend, Andrew, in a terribly unrequited way. I don't know that this unrequited love ever got very far though - Andrew was a bustling, busy man with very little time for human emotions, nevermind affections from a gay waiter. One day I was sitting in Chads restaurant minding my own business listening to Beaverloop (too obscure) on the walkman when Chad decided that he would pull up a chair and join me. I'm terrible at being interrupted mid thought, although in this case my thought was probably "Wow! Beaverloop will go on for decades!" He was terribly tormented, he sipped his mediumly tepid hot chocolate and asked if things would ever happen for him and Andrew - and I had to say quite honestly, no, that it wouldn't. He was clearly very upset by this news, but shook his head, and said, no, he wasn't going to cry. And then he did, big upset tears of...er...upset (this is quite the poetic post isn't it?). There was only one thing for it...human empathy? Well, it's not my strong point, and I realised people thought I'd just dumped him myself...I quietly got up, left a five dollar tip, and moved on, leaving Andrew to be comforted by an all men are bastards style waitress called Amber - when I looked back, I realised that the incredibly gay Chad was actually...perving quite openly down Ambers top...it was all a trick to pick up women I assume, but what could I do? Our eyes met and he gave an imperciptable flash of his eyes, the flash that said he was busted, but Amber was a really nice girl, and I think they ended up very happy together, and tour the nation watching the Veronicas as part of their "crew"...

At night, the mall is slightly strange - one night, I was part of a social experiment/bet with my friends as to who could bear sleeping on one of the circular green benches for the longest without going home (I lasted a minute and went home with KFC). The Mercury continually tells us that the mall at night is this dangerous hotbed of crime and violence. The only problem I've ever had in 11 years was one night recently, when I was walking through the mall and was suddenly accosted by one of the night-time Jesus freaks. One of the things I love about Hobart is that we have very, very few of those people who try and stick you up for surveys and leaflets - unlike Glasgow, which is just shocking for semi attractive girls with a cause telling you they love your accent as a way to try and get you to love the WWF (the pandas not Hulk Hogan). However, there is a small pocket of Jesus freaks who tell you that because you have in your hand a prostitute handed out leaflet (if it was 1997 and you were an American serviceman) or are wearing the clothing of a sweatshop company like Nike that you are going straight to hell unless you put a dollah in the box...in my case, I made the mistake of stopping to tie my shoe lace and she was straight into me like a pit bull - specifically for wearing my IPOD, an immoral purchase instead of putting a dollah in the box for Jeebus...of course, being the person I am when faced with the horns of a moral dilemma, I simply ensured that I turned my IPOD on, as a sign that no, I wouldn't be putting a dollah in the box, and by chance, on my shuffle selection came Accidentally Kelly Street by Frente! (I think I should have a dollah in the box for Jeebus rather than spending time thinking about Frente!) and I walked away in a jaunty fashion while behind me, her face was contorted in religious fury, sound, and contempt for my soul, her small soul almost leaping out her body in a gymnastic attempt to articulate her anger. I, on the other hand, remained undaunted, because I was where friends and strangers sometimes meet...

And it wasn't, on this particular night, the church....

5 comments:

grocerystoredates said...

you were the first non-friend or non-i-commented-on-your-blog-please-comment-on-mine,-internet-courtesy,-you-know type, to comment my blog. yeah, poor sentence, sure, but i am so glad you did because your entries are internet GEMS.
things I noted about tasmania when i was there briefly in 07: 1. the boys have exceptionally pretty hair, the kind you want to touch and hum the pantene tune to, should pantene have a tune and you were to remember it 2. the houses are gorgeous 3. port arthur is not haunted.

Kath Lockett said...

Accidentally Kelly Street? You, Miles, the inserter of obscure band references have THAT on your shuffle?.... are you trying to tell us that it is in fact YOU who is the gay waiter in love with Andrew but actually perving down Amber's top?

Miles McClagan said...

Thankyou GSD, I appreciate it - I don't know if Port Arthur is haunted, basically they tell you it is to get the kids down there. As for Pantene, was that the "It won't happen overnight, but it will happen?" company? Whatever happened to Rachel Hunter?

No Kath, I am not Chad - is Accidentally Kelly Street gay is it? I had no idea, I have loved it since seeing the late Show parody. Thank goodness I didn't get onto my S Club 7 songs (brilliant when they come on shuffle after Pantera)

grocerystoredates said...

RE: Rachel Hunter. She hosted the brit version of Make Me a Supermodel and it was epic.

Miles McClagan said...

Did she bring the same elan and panache she brought to You and Your Stupid Mate? We can only hope...