Friday, October 31, 2008

Sinitta, Soundwave, Sad Silences, Serenity...



So a friend of mine lost her job today - although the word friend, with it's implication that if you were in trouble they'd come save you true blue arm around the shoulder conotations, may be a tad extreme. She's a girl I know quite well, although our conversations are entirely superficial and based on things like she knows Soundwave from Transformers (she has a Soundwave T-shirt you see) and so do I, and I leant her a Bananarama album once upon a Venus, so it's a very Grade 2 kind of friendship. Anyway, being that she's one of the few people who's able to call me darling without me wanting to deck them, I guess I do feel some kin to her, although not enough kin to really offer sympathy in cases like this. I sometimes think that unless you know me really, really well, this is the kind of friend I am. If you need cheering up, I'm your man, since I'm trained by all Scottish reasonableness not to pry or discuss emotions. Anyway, she lost her job because her shop got new owners and they fired everyone to rehire people they knew - which is a bit harsh, but all I could think today was, maybe if that happened at my work I'd get off my arse and do something. I was actually in quite a good mood today though - not just because some advert about seasalt actually managed to conjure the greatest radio jingle of all time. It's probably because I have two days off next week to waste blogging and drinking juice on my deck, with the time on the clock irrelevant, the meetings unattended and the stereo blasting unquestionably uncredible pop songs, sitting in my lovely Hamilton Academicals retro shirt, listening to something maybe something from the Sinitta ouevre...ah, Sinitta, in her own mind, the first ever black pop star. I'm looking forward to it immensely. I also have to brave the wilds of Cyber Hair to get my hair cut, braving the wilds of amiable chit chat about my weekend and the massed ranks of school leavers in amusing novelty polo shirts gathered around drinking shakes from Wendys, too high on malt to care about the future...and some of us, like me, just never get round to such concerns...we just take the malt...

Speaking though of the kind of friend I am, it always makes me think of my trip to Launceston about 4 years ago. They, being the monolithic company I work for, decided that my future would benefit from sitting in a windowless conference room in a big wooden chair drawing concentric circles and making lists of my 100 favourite songs that start with F, and they would send me on a two hour drive and make me stay for a week up there just for the hell of it. I never pay attention in training courses, my mind is too active to play the what TV show are you type bonding sessions that make up day 1, and too dis-engaged to play the lets be company people game that makes up day 3-5. Being let loose in Launceston is hardly the kind of treat you queue a lifetime for anyway, even with a mildly endorsed company credit card to pay for snacks. I remember sitting in the Launceston mall, with my corporate cup of coffee, and wondering how it all came to this, but still enjoying the coffee nonetheless, as well as Launcestons amiable service providers hustling me into buying the wrestling figures I was looking at. I'm sure that my contributions, when called for, in the training course were crisp and amiable, but I wasn't entirely convinced, even then, that this would be a course with listening to. I'm sure the course moderator knew that I wasn't interested, but he was very nice, and since he invented the entire job interview process for the whole of Tasmania, not a bad person to know. I'm sure that if I really thought about the course, I might be able to remember something useful about it, but I can't. The only other thing I can remember about the whole trip was a particularly depressing and horrible quiz night at the local pub where the questions were horrifically difficult (ie. they weren't about Sinitta) but from what I can gather they were pretty repetitious to ensure strangers never one. Having attended pointlessly as a group to try and bond, we left in the face of the double immense difficulties of 6 dollar beer and questions about Wittgenstein (which AFL team did he play for?) - I left my group standing in the middle of the street, having made my excuses to go back and get some sleep when I wasn't being zapped by the nylon sheets, and the last I heard they were plotting to go to a 3am seance. I can only assume they were desperate to conjure up the ghost of Wittengstein, and see if even he knew, as apparently five regulars suspiciously did, what his middle name was...

At night, I would retreat to the budget travel lodge with the nice foyer (never judge a lodge by it's foyer) to drink mini bar whisky with Travis, my travelling companion who's driving nearly killed me about six times on the way up to Hobart. I like Travis, but his once cheerful belief in human nature was fractured and broken by a marriage breakup, which was the elephant in the two bedroom with basic cable and nylon sheets room we had been randomly assigned by a computer based system. To the disinterest of my prying knowledge, it seemed like he'd come home from work one day to find all the mutual stuff in the house had been moved out, including the family dog, and even worse, the TV. While he didn't talk about it too much, his face betrayed a thousand emotions, especially as someone who had been renowned for his love of life had suddenly developed a taste for calling everything fucking rubbish, including, oddly enough, the pile of fucking rubbish the cleaning ladies at the travel lodge forgot to clean up every day. The major problem as it happened was that one of the girls who worked in Launceston, a girl called Amanda, also had just broken up her marriage, and once particularly gruesome night, while I was trying to watch, I don't know, Steve Bunces Boxing Hour, they let loose over some rapidly congealing pizza and fortified wine from a bottle, about how horrible marriage was, and how horrible the pizza was, and then a bit more about how horrible marriage was. It was like being trapped in some horrible play, and I don't know why I didn't get up and leave, as the conversation was as acrid and bitter as the receptionist at the front desk, and the language was ripe. I was completely depressed and wore down by the relentless, relentless downbeat life is terrible someone get a Morrissey record conversation, but it got a lot worse when they asked me what I thought - I was put in a no win situation - even though my reference point being a horrible break up caused by lamingtons could have helped me join in the slough of human despond that was engulfing our little room, no doubt it wouldn't have been enough to be on the level of human suffering they believed they were on. We sat for an eternity in a sad silence while they waited for me to look up from the New Idea and contribute. So, I did what I could - I said I wanted to go to sleep, Amanda left the room, and then I suddenly woke up and decided to take Travis out on the town to cheer him up. It was about all I could think of to do, and it wasn't a bad idea...

Well, it would have been a good idea, had we made to the end of the street. I had plans in my head of some sort of supportive group endeavour in which perhaps Travis would pick up and realise life was worth living (or at least shut the fuck up, either or) through an entertaining night out at the Saloon. I wouldn't leave a slice of pizza and a stick of garlic bread served by the hottest girl in Launceston (no jokes) back in my hotel room for just anyone, I considered it a genuine act of friendship. I didn't really want to go out after all, let alone in Launceston, but hey, if there's drinking to be done, I step up (someone grab a lampshade). As I patted myself on the back though, I noticed that I was patting alone (matron). Travis was still at the top of the street, illuminated by a neon street light for some store that had a malfuctioning S. I figured perhaps there was some outdoor moping going on, but when I came back up the street, he in fact was pointing to something in the window. A slide night. A slide night of someones kayaking holiday. And he wanted to go. So, I did what any true and dedicated friend would do in a situation like this. Left him to it. There isn't any part of me that would want to go and see kayak slides, no matter how exotic the locale. So I went back to the pizza and curled up asleep. I had a wonderful moment of pure blissful serenity, so quiet and still, that I still remember it, at least until the nylon sheet sent out a shocker to my funny bone. A lot of people think friendship is being there for people, but in Scotland you learn it's also about leaving people alone - sometimes. I sat on the little balcony bit (a generous description) and watched Launceston go by, while Travis, for what it's worth, enjoyed his kayak slides and probably made some new friends. The next morning over a breakfast of lumpy bacon and surprisingly crisp and fresh toast, we didn't say much, but we knew that we had done the right thing, leaving each other alone for the night. Travis dug into his scrambled eggs, and began to tell me all about his night, albeit in truncated sentences, which was good, as I wasn't listening...at least until he told me until the end of the slide show, the guy hosting began rolling big giant joints...

So that's the kind of friend I am - if you want to talk, I don't listen, but if you want to smoke joints, I let you...in return, all I ask is you let me enjoy my pop...and of course, my cheesy pizza...

11 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

Frank Mills (Rado+Ragni)
Fever (Bobby Troup?)
Falling In Love Again
Fame!
Flaming Star
Fascination
From A Distance ...

what was the question?

Megan said...

Well, Soundwave is better than Star Scream. Too bad about your friend losing her job. That's happened to me quite frequently in the last few years.

But does she want hugs or does she want to be left alone?

Enjoy your days off next week...

Bimbimbie said...

Space, the secret to every great friendship*!*

Miladysa said...

She dated Brad Pitt for a while -- Sinitta.

"A lot of people think friendship is being there for people, but in Scotland you learn it's also about leaving people alone - sometimes."

It takes some people a life time to learn that little pearl of wisdom.

Have a great weekend!

Jannie Funster said...

Tasmania, "Island Of Inspiration," estimated population of 494,520.

Launceton, population 99,675.

Thus sayeth Wiki.

Launceton: First city in the Southern Hemisphere to use of anaesthetic.

I like that you remembered the freshness of the toast. Was it white or wheat brad?

I agree the best friends know when to leave you alone.

Miles McClagan said...

Mines is probably Falling by Candice Alley/Giacarelli/Hackett - but I will have to upgrade Fame! on the list (songs with ! are always high on the list!)

I was a Grimlock fan, ever since the day one of the Decepticons tried to confuse him and Grimlock punched him in the head and said "Me Grimlock, me dumb, but me punch hard"...I'm not sure what she wants, we'll see, maybe just some cake!

Yeah, definitely Space, hopefully not the lame arsed Liverpool band of the late 90s Space though...no one needs them...

Miles McClagan said...

Wow, did she? I found out she gets to approve biscuits for sale (including Wagon Wheels) and she dated Brad Pitt? What a life...and trust me, you learn it in Scotland really quickly, people get sick of you real quick sometimes...

I didn't know we were the island of inspiration - I know we're the Apple Isle. It was white bread, with proper butter (not packet crap), and by the way, Launceston, First city in the Southern Hemisphere to use of anaesthetic - if you lived there, you'd know why they need it!

ThePopGirls said...

You are just too good, that's your problem...you make me feel like giving on writing! Stop it! By the way, Sinitta rules!

Miles McClagan said...

You gave up a while ago though young Y, I can't be blamed...start again! Start with Sinitta stories (about Wagon Wheels)...

Baino said...

Only in Launceston would you find nylon sheets!

I hate being left alone. I want to be swanned and fussed over, coddled and empathised with . . never happens so I talk to the walls.

Miles McClagan said...

And several airport hotels in and around the Ayrshire area...I must admit to real contrary feelings though, I want big parties with a million guests, then for them all to leave, then come back...I'm not as bad as my Mum though, she used to go to sleep at 8pm at her own parties...