Sunday, November 9, 2008

Educating Dodges (at 3am)

I don't know that a painful slow crawl reversing up the driveway before spending a day watching old Mystery Science Theatre and heel Trish Stratus (I miss the chick kick) clips on Youtube counts as a weekend, but at least there wasn't a morning meeting involved. Incidentally, there was a kid at work who said to me in genuine awe "how did people live before Youtube!", which is a fair question, but I tried to answer by saying we rang the Rage 1800 number and hoped for the best, in that sort of weird three month triangle in 1992 when you could ring up and request a video even though it was a total scam and they would never play it and while it seemed really cool at the time eventually you realised it was a scam and got back to watching Dinosaurs. No one remembers that but me. Anyway, the alternative was sleeping and waiting for Jason Krezja to do something at the cricket. My Mum and Dad were in Devonport but were palpably short on anecdotes, since it was a humanitarian visit to see how one of the friends is doing in life. Mum tried with her story of Penguin market, but it was all a big bust. I'm dreading going into work tomorrow, what with all the meetings in the airless room, which break spirits and hold everyone to individual account. My last boss was inert and lazy and sometimes you had to prod her with a stick to see if she was awake, and this ones in dire need of meeting based Ritalin to calm her down. I don't trust anyone with such a fascination for marker pens and numbers. Plus, when I go shopping now, there's an elaborate display in Big W set up to advertise the Iphone, and every time you walk past it, Jason Mraz starts tootling away with his white boy reggae, and it's bad enough they call Justin Timberlake urban, which is even more offensive than the black guy reggae of Sean Kingston. It's a dying art I tells ya...all I want to do is look innocently at eight dollar DVDs and read the tag lines, I don't need Mraz in my grill as I do so...ah, the gripes of the stultified white middle class male...someone should write a book about them...if it wasn't for the really pretty girl with the panda eyes (not blue eye shadow girl but still), the overwhelming sense that you could steal anything and not get caught, and the fact that it's the only place still selling wrestling figures, I swear Big W, you'd lose my ten bucks of business a month so fast...

I had to go and visit a friend of mine last week in a place called Dodges Ferry, essentially a kind of rough and ready Southern version of Penguin with less teeth, about an hour away from where I live. In that quaint Tasmanian way, anyone an hours drive from where you live might as well be on Mars and you spend a lot of time whinging about having to travel so far. I don't mind Dodges Ferry, but I've had some strange experiences there. Last week, I had to pull into the local store to make a phone call. I'm terrible at parking a car, because it freaks me out to begin going where I don't know where I'm going, never mind pulling into the general store. As it happened, I decided to venture inside the general store, and I had a Snoop Dogg hat on (yes, yes, he's had a go at white boys being black, and now he's going to say Fo Shizzle, the irony isn't lost on me) because, I'll be frank, if I wear a baseball cap I look like a Make a Wish Kid. No, I do. Anyway, so I'm in my Snoop Dogg hat, and in that kind of local store that time forgot way, there's ice creams and lollies you don't see anymore, and rather wonderfully the extinct art of Cherry Coke in a can. So I load up a bit, and go past the 8 items limit, and I'm standing around conscious of the fact that I'm attracting attention because of my hat and because, I don't know, I've brushed my teeth or something. The girl behind the counter is really attractive, and I'm conscious of the fact that I'm in a gigantic queue of single men with individual fruit cups making embarrassing small talk to get attention (again, irony not lost on me) with her. In fact, one guy actually starts a Grandpa Simpson style story about his mobile phone and the fart jokes that are on it (I suspect she likes fart jokes, but I think we've constructed her on an intellectual pedestal for illuminating the Dodges store more than even the Cherry Coke could). Thus began my dilemma - do I wait to make pathetic inane meaningless conversation with the pretty girl, or I do scoot across and be served by possibly a Kabuki actor at the end, who's beauty is matched only by the soft hint of over compensating perfume and the elegant grooming of her moustache. Speed decided the day, and so I went and got my basket scanned by Moustacha. As she scanned my individual fruit cups, she looked right at my hat and said, without blinking, "Ne-Yo has a hat like that!"...Ne-Yo? NE-YO? Who wants to be told they look like Ne-Yo? Suffice to say, if you don't know who Ne-Yo is, to me she might as well have said I had leprosy...and I was so close to saying Ne-Yo has a moustache like that...so, so close...so close, I thought it in the car on the way home and was mad at myself...should have taken the inane conversation really...

Hats that don't suit my race aside, I've said before about how Dodges Ferry played an important part in my life. To cut a long story short (again, irony not lost) I was invited to two parties on the same night, a naughty school girl party and a cocktail party, and going to the cocktail party meant I chose one group of friends over another. It was the right choice too, those schoolgirls weren't Poppi Monroe. I ended up eventually getting this massive crush on a girl called Piper, but only when I was drunk, so it all fizzled out with a tedious sense of inevitability. When I did go up there this one time, a guy at the party got really aggressive on, I don't know, lime cordial, and was challenging people to a fight. He was basically showing people nude pictures of his girlfriend, and when they looked, well, he'd threaten to punch them, and if they didn't look...well, it's more predictable than wrestling these days what happened. He ended up trying to beat up my friend in a steroid rage, and so there was a dispersion of the party. For my part, I decided that the counterweight to violence was essentially to do something even more dramatic, so everyone would feel good about themselves and get back to enjoying the party. Alas, the house was devoid of lampshades, so all I could to was announce to everyone that I was going to go out and explore Dodges Ferry. Even though I was drunk, I had a vague feeling that it would get a laugh, maybe Piper would be impressed, and we'd all move on, but no, I was told that it was a great idea, and to go out and see what I could find. Drinking just makes people think things are a good idea when they aren't, and so I did, I announced again that I was going for a wander and everyone said do it, and I said, are you sure, and they said oh my God would just go the narrative pacing of this story depends on it, and as soon as the door shut behind me, I instantly tought that it was a completely stupid idea, especially as it was three degrees, and I couldn't help but sober up as my teeth were chattering...but onwards I went, off on an adventure...

An adventure that didn't really have much going for it as it happened, apart from an uncomfortable sense that I had far too much cash in my wallet to be wandering the streets of Dodges Ferry at 3 in the morning. I think I sat down in the middle of the road at one point as well for a rest, so that was another thing you shouldn't do. Eventually, I made it to the football ground - the epicentre of any community of any worth - and sat down on the pavillion for another rest. There was some sort of function going on, the last stragglers of which were milling around either drunk or embarrassed to be with someone who was drunk (there's no in between at 3am) with the tepid strains of something generic and cliched for the drunks to enjoy (I think ABBA) faintly thumping in the distance. To my left, a girl were being horribly sick down the pavillion stairs, but her resillience was amazing because after she was sick, she leapt up maniacally and went back to drinking, as if nothing had happened. One of the stragglers was a kindly middle aged woman called Gai, in a sparkly black cocktail dress with over sprayed hair and a throaty laugh, who came out for a smoke. She looked at the pile of vomit and I put my hand up and said it wasn't me, and she laughed and said she had watched the girl be sick and she'd get stuck into her at the typing pool on Monday. She then said something along the lines of what I was looking for - not, as it happened, why was I here, in my cool brown chords and my distinctive black and white knitted jumper (white boy represent y'all) - but what was I looking for. It felt, perhaps, a little like a crack on line, but it wasn't, it was said in a strange empathetic way, and so I said something generic about I was looking for the heart and soul of Dodges, or something like that, and she's just smiled really ruefully and gone "I'm looking for the heart and soul of somewhere else" and walked back into the party with smoke in hand. I sat there for about an hour in the end, and when I went to go back, there were only three people left at the party, her, a male, and a woman of disrepute. It wouldn't draw too long a bow to suggest that it was wife, husband, and flirtacious man eater. Our eyes met as I walked past the long deserted club hall, and she shrugged in a what can I do motion, and went back to her cigarettes, as I walked back into the night...

Of course, my friend when he did the same thing a few weeks later, had a shotgun pulled on him, perhaps on account of his bigger wallet, but that's a story for another time...

12 comments:

Miladysa said...

"I was so close to saying Ne-Yo has a moustache like that...so, so close...so close" roflmao!

Please direct me to a post where I can learn more about the blue eye-shadow girl - the curiosity is killing me.

Miles McClagan said...

I hate thinking of things after I'm in the car...it's so annoying! I don't think there's a specific BESG post...it'd be pretty short, she's pretty, the end!

Mad Cat Lady said...

I think mentions of BSG are generally around July/August miladysa, but they mostly consist of "blue eye-shadow girl was not there/was there today".

The sense of mystery attached to BES girl is well maintained.

"I'm looking for the heart and soul of somewhere else" - What an excellent line! I never get to say stuff like that. I fully intend to find a sparkly cocktail gown to wear at one of the Melbourne Augie March gigs. I shall write this line on my arm and see if I can manoeuvre a conversation to such a point that I can deliver it with a world weary and slightly wistful air.

squib said...

By a Snoop Dog hat do you mean a trilby? Cos the only person who looks good in that is Cary Grant

Miles McClagan said...

I didn't expect this blog to need a reference key and a map...it's getting complicated...she wasn't there today though...and it's a great line isn't it? She delivered it with such elan and panache, it was completely wasted on Dodges Ferry (I want to use it one day too...)

It was the hat he had on in that clip with NERD when they were in Brazil. I only wear it because I can't wear baseball caps...I hope it's not a tribly, Ross Noble might be nearby...

squib said...

I don't know anything about NERD. You could at least post a picture of the hat

Miles McClagan said...

Haven't we established the enigmatic qualities of this blog? No pictures, of me or my hat or my deck! I could probably draw a picture though...it'd be mince, but it'd look like the hat vaguely...

squib said...

I meant a picture of Snoop Dog's hat. I did a google image search and he has an enormous range of hats

If it's not a baseball hat and it's not a trilby, then what the hell is it?

Oh.Oh. Don't tell me it's an Andy Capp hat

Bwca said...

That post was definitely driving through R.Chandler's level.
He always had a mysterious elusive female somewhere.

Miles McClagan said...

I have a feeling looking through some pictures, it's possibly a fedora? Maybe? I put it down to irony (and the problem with my baseball cap)...

I'm stoked Blue Eye Shadow Girl is now a enigma...she sure is elusive (and efficient in her job)...

Baino said...

Aww all that potential gone to waste . . .I have conversations with invisible people in the car. Re-enacting what I 'should' have said. Blue eye shadow? Fashion faux pas Miley. I'm gathering that your lack of interest in Baseball caps is because you're pale and interesting?

Miles McClagan said...

I know, it was definitely wasted, I wanted to go back and re-enact! The lack of baseball caps is entirely because I look like a make a wish kid...entirely 100% look like someones going to take me to Disney Land...is blue eye shadow bad? I thought it was quite good, in this case mostly...