Friday, September 19, 2008

Not dying like Benny Hill (of being 31%)



So yesterday (which I think was when I logged into Blogger - it's only just logged me in after 60 hours of waiting) I went into Banjos (I know, I know, corporate bakeries still suck, but I wanted a sandwich because I'm on a health kick) merrily listening to Adam Green on my IPOD, and there were no sandwiches in the whole shop. So I went instead to get some sausage rolls, and there was none of them either. Pies? No pies. So I'm standing there, thinking really frantically about what I'm going to buy for lunch now and where I'm going to get some food, and getting a bit philosophical about it, because obviously we're Western consumers, and people are starving in the world (they don't even have a home, when I can't live without my phone, as Mel C would say) and I...luckily, this tedious inner monologue was jolted by a girl in giant blue sunglasses who said, I think without irony, "OH MY GOD! It's like a FAMINE in here!" - indeed it was, Bob Geldolf was going to write a song about it. I was going to go and write a slightly poetic post about this at the local library, but I forgot that it's school holidays, so the computers are filled with 15 year old boys trying to look up pictures of boobs without the librarian telling them off. One thing that has changed, librarians are a lot more timid than they were in my day. The old dears at the Penguin library used to tell you to shush up if you ate a chip too loudly - now they tiptoe around, they even wait until the homeless man has got out of the way before they put a book on the shelf. So now I'm on my laptop at home, sitting on the deck, wondering what I'm going to do to fill in the day. I'm certainly going to be on the lookout for local issues to complain about when I go for my walk a little bit later, but for now, I'm just watching funny cats on Youtube. I wonder if I could find a stray cat and train it to do something hilarious so that Shelley Craft can give me a prize...as you can see, it's not the most productive of Saturdays so far...

As it turns out though, according to our local paper The Mercury (taking a rare break from terrifying stories of gangs, Asian gangs, and home wrecking Asian gangs) 31% of Tasmanians hate being boxed into statistics...no, actually, 31% of all Tasmanians live alone. Now the Mercury made this out to be a terrible thing, that anyone who lives alone will die like Benny Hill (the comedy genius of the 1970s who died alone in his armchair watching Teletext) but it's a long bow to draw that people who live alone are all vulnerable weirdos penning manifestos against the government. However, it did scare me, because dying alone and undiscovered used to be my #1 fear in life - prior to it being "stabbed and eaten on the bus home by a mental Chinese bloke" (and now it's "being stabbed 48 times by a crazy bloke at a supermarket"). I realise this is an irrational fear, because obviously you'd be dead and not know that you were slumped in the couch for two years, being discovered as a skeleton in a De Graafschaap top. Incidentally, my auntie, she sometimes likes to pretend to be dead in the armchair when people visit her to see if they care (most people are onto her now, and jab her with a stick). It's one of the reasons though that I want to get more involved in the community - so people actually know who you are, but preferably they miss you from a distance so they don't come and clog up your weekend too much (I've got valuable sitting in the spa time to kill). I'd much prefer to die alone though than be put in a home - that scares me a lot more. Being dragged out of bed to go and play bingo, watch old movies with a group of people whinging because you got the special chair or put in a sailors suit to sing My Boy Lollipop in the old folks talent home, just kill me now. I had this discussion with one of the old boys I had to go and visit during my Grade 9 visitation, and when Renee the missionary who used to tell me off for my lack of commitment because I used to go off and play pool wasn't looking, I rather pompously and somewhat against the spirit of the adventure, took my paints and asked the old bloke what he was doing in an old folks home and how depressing the whole place was. He stroked his wily old beard and pointed to an old woman in a shawl rocking underneath the window - "it's worth all this painting shit, cos I'm shagging her brains out". Fair enough I thought, and went back to the painting shit, trying to paint a cat on a window (mauling Renee)....

Now, I've been lonely, not lonely enough to write an abuse-lit book about my terrible childhood, but I've been the kid eating his cheese sandwiches on his own at the blue park bench looking over at the cool kids. I've also been desperately lonely in big crowds - you should have seen me when I went to see Wolfmother, and was so bored my head started to ache. I was pretty lonely then, because I was the only person going "It's just a Led Zep tribute band! Come on!". Anyway, just because I live alone, doesn't make some sort of sad mental gimp. It's all relative anyway. I thought I saw the loneliest person I'd ever seen at Melbourne airport at about 2 in the morning - this quite tired and emotional girl in an orange T-shirt, with a Red Star Belgrade hat on. She cleared customs and barged through the doors, to find precisely no one waiting for her, and she was obviously expecting a turnout. She slumped against the wall in some kind of dejected state, and I felt really bad for her, because she was close to tears, just a picture of desolation. At which point, about two hundred people charged down the stairs and carried her shoulder high out of the airport. I hope they weren't kidnapping her. Anyway, the point is, people who live alone are mostly OK. I just realised as I type this for instance that I've spent the last four minutes swearing really loudly at Chris Brown and threw some Dairy Milk at the TV - I used to live with this girl in my share house who used to listen to Bob Dylan all the time, and because it was in a share house, you kind of have to grit your teeth and go, wow, that's, er, great...no, really, 18 verses to go...if it was my own house, he can get some Dairy Milk in the head. I got in a taxi once with this cab driver talking about how Bob Dylans the Hurricane was the greatest song of all time because it was a poem set to music with 28 verses - for giggles, I told him The Veronicas were better than Bob Dylan...let's just say, there was nothing to giggle about from his point of view...

I don't think I'd be a good person to live with anyway - my share house flatmates got hooked into me for my lack of cooking abilities, my girlfriend used to say when I sort of lived in her attic that I was lazy and spent all day playing ATARI, and my parents...they used to give me a round of applause if I made them a cup of tea. I also engage, Ed Kavalee style, in a slow process of alienation based around me criticising everyone elses musical tastes while blasting a playlist of Britney and Portishead at them. If I did move back in with my parents, I think that would scare me the most. Nothing against them, but they like to talk about how my day was, and I'm not good at that. Yesterday, this woman was telling me at work all about her zany adventures on the Tasbash circuit, and I literally left my body out of boredom, I couldn't listen a minute longer, it was like on the Simpsons when Homers brain quits on him and you hear a door slamming. It's about three times worse when people ask me how work is or expect me to talk about myself. If I had to go back to live at home, it'd be like I was back at school and sitting on the couch going through my miserable report cards. Mind you, at least they are supportive, Dad told me one of his friends was 14 and his Dad and Mum split up and his Dad said to him "Oh, I've got somewhere to sleep tonight, dunno where you're going" (he should write an abuse-lit book). I knew though I was destined to live alone very quickly when I lived in my share house - not just being robbed, not just having people use my window as an alternative door to the house, and not just being told to turn down Blur at every single moment that I lived there. I realised I was destined to live alone when the fat girl we lived with (who not only stole my money, but a pair of jeans twenty times two small for her and a copy of Jagged Little Pill off my best friend - quite the crimewave) cooked us a casserole that was the most horrendous thing I've ever eaten, a mixture of bird seed and shrapnel to my palate, and she busted us feeding it out the window to unsurprisingly reluctant birds and local dogs. She absolutely cracked it at that point, virtually smashing her own plate on the ground in annoyance, and yelled like a three year old "WELL WHAT DID YOU WANT ME TO COOK!" - I resisted the temptation to say "something edible would be a good start", and was genuinely stumped. I looked up quite innocently and said "Well, I'd have quite liked a Redskin Split"...the reasoning behind this was that our freezer one day had about 2 million ice creams dumped in it which were meant to go to charity, but the bloke never came back for them, so we started eating them - she stomped her hoof on the ground and squealed "A Redskin Split! THAT'S POISON!"...

That's why I'm happy living on my own...I'm representing for the Redskin Split y'all...

14 comments:

SuvvyGirl said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will definately be back, and will try to read a more of yours when it's not really late. Dear Lord, it's only 11:00pm my time and I'm considering that late?! I need to get out more. :P It's never a good sign when birds and stray dogs won't eat something. :P

JahTeh said...

Miles, now don't worry about dying alone because my sister talks to dead people so you just waft over to Melbourne, tell her where you are and I'll have to cops there in a flash. I'll come in person if you have any valuables that need looking after.

grocerystoredates said...

I've never understood this phobia of dying alone business.
it had an entire episode of 30 rock dedicated to it, in which tina fey figured pretending to be a lesbian would be the best way around it (ever happening to her)...or something...a lesbian for a week...or something...i don't know. try it sometime...or don't.

Miles McClagan said...

Well 11 is late to me now, mostly because I'm 30 and hate the way those damn kids...thanks for visiting! Yes, if a stray dog turns the schnozz up, it's time maybe get some cook books...

Thankyou for the valuable service - I think that's exactly what I need, to tap someone from the spirit world on the shoulder and get me out of the armchair. You can look after my valuable collection of CDs...those Stereolab CDs get 20 bucks at CCs...

It is an irrational fear GSD - I know it's pretty stupid since you'll be dead and not worry about it - I'm more afraid of the 10 year build up to it, when you are alone (but I'm not as scared of that as I am of crazy people on buses now). Tina Fey, or Sarah Palin?

nailpolishblues said...

A Redskin Split sounds awesome. Wish I was having one now.

The only fear about living and dying alone is whether or not the cats will wait until I'm properly dead before they start the feast.

Bimbimbie said...

Tanks for your visit*!* Did you manage to find anything edible at the bakery?

grocerystoredates said...

awwwww i keep meaning to watch the palin fey thing on youtube (after 12 so i don't fck the download limit or something i'm sure my housemate made up) but keep forgetting.
crazy people on buses are great until they decide to follow you home at 3 am (bless the sydney night ride) armed with scientology pamphlets and heads full of ideas...not scientology though

Miles McClagan said...

I actually want one before I go out - I never trusted the greenskin split. I'm a bit lucky, I don't have cats...that'd be one more thing to worry about....

Thanks for your visit! They managed after about 10 minutes to cook some more sausage rolls...which was enough to placate the FAMINE! girl...

After what happened in Canada, I am genuinely terrified of the crazy person on the bus now...the Tina Fey thing is very funny, it cheers me up during days when I have irrational fears and phobias (that and hilarious cats)

Maddy said...

My brother in law's father was a bit kookie and lived alone. He had a heart attack on the toilet and wasn't found for a couple of weeks. He'd had his three dogs shut in the house with him. I don't mind the idea of dying alone, but I always close the toilet door now.

ut si said...

Your best post yet! I like the inside of your head & happy birthday.

Miles McClagan said...

I hadn't considered the "Elvis Death" in my calculations...that would really worry me, I'd definitely be onto the mediums to come and rescue me from that...

Thankyou, the inside of my head isn't lonely - it's full of thoughts at least! Thanks too for the birthday wishes, it was a hell of a day...

squib said...

When I was a kid I used to be a bit like your aunt. I used to pretend to drown in the bath just to see if my mum would come running. I'd make all these horrendous gurgling noises and then hold my breath under the water

She never came

I think a good song for that Banjos scene would've been Geldof's 'Great Song of Indifference', maybe as a ringtone

Baino said...

Ha there's someone else on the planet that thinks Wolfmother is no more than a tribute band! (anyway,they've split up now so we're all saved until they find two new members!)

Miles McClagan said...

I'm really surprised at the number of people who've pretended to be dead to see what would happen...when we were kids, we used to lie by the side of the road to see if cars would stop (they never did)...as for Geldolf, I did consider using We Are The Children for this post, but I stuck to authentic just to give Adam Green a plug...

Wolfmother are (or were - hooray!) awful...they might as well have been called Stairway to Heaven and done covers...gee, I really miss them...