Saturday, November 8, 2008

Of Kith and Kinsey

When you live alone, the grievances you develop are really strange. Today I was yelling at the smugness of the guy on Setanta Sports who says "There's a lot of football on Setanta Sports!" before realising that I had developed a solitary grievance over time simply from watching the same show over and over again. It was then I decided it was time to go for a walk, before I started yelling at the High School Musical trailer. When I played basketball, kids weren't singing at me, they were trying to throw the ball at my head. The only really good thing ever about basketball (apart from obviously Space Jam and that Double Teamed movie with the blonde twins and Poppi Monroe) was the time I hit a three pointer from about half way down the court, only to find out the teacher had blown the whistle for maths. I used to live entirely for the weekends but my alcohol consumption has gone down with age, after all the last thing I wanted to me was the sad 60 year old in high pants jigging to the latest tracks at a nightclub. Well, that'd probably be OK actually, if I could dance. Highpants would just add to my restriction. My biggest annoyance today though was with the bubble head in the bakery - she was OK, but one of those girls who has had five kids by thirty and thus looks about 50 even though she's thirty five but is clinging to the faint notion of youth through the over application of hair gel, lipstick, corsets and wonderbras. I can't remember what she said to me, I was blinded by the (capped) teeth, but it got a laugh, but not really. It was a fake laugh, I think she even said "tremendous" at the end of her laughing, like she'd just seen a special school kid do ten minutes of stand up about what did the special school kid (and don't get me started on special childrens Xmas parties) say when he crossed the road? I didn't fancy engaging in any more discussions, but as I went to go away with my individual fruit cup and low calorie rye bread, I saw someone down the road I really didn't want to talk to. So, for some stupid reason, I went back into the bakery, and she was going to swoop on me and make more tremendous conversation (probably on corsets) - I had literally nowhere to go, until the person I was avoiding walked past the bakery, so I perused the many flavours of milk in the fridge (chocolate or...oh...) until all had passed. At which point a third, unseen person came up and gave me a hug and started talking about their children. Naturally, I just wanted to scream that I wanted to eat my individual fruit cup (it's got vitamin cup!) but I didn't, I was trapped, and I waited until I inevitably got asked, sigh, how work was...and my mind began to drift by the time she wanted to show me how her kids had grown (upwards usually) to people I just didn't want to see...

So this one time anyway, when I lived in Scotland, we went to Falkirk to watch St Mirren play - St Mirren were awful, and got relegated, but we still had a faint hope when we played Falkirk, an enlightened ground with no womens toilets and some wee weans threatening to batter us. Falkirk didn't really seem to be my kind of place, what with all the grey and the drizzle and the impending violence and the collection of moustached girls in anoraks (who, rather sweetly, also wanted to batter us). We had just signed this player called Steve Kinsey, who was completely and utterly useless. What he did have though was an undeserved sense of massive accomplishment, and he always looked well turned out in his fancy training top and adjustable pens in his pocket to sign autographs, hair blow dried in the drizzle (fo' shizzle wasn't an invented term in 1992). As he warmed up for the game, taking shots at an empty goal and missing, he rather smugly began to scan for crowd for autograph hunters, at which point some kid behind me yelled "I'm no wantin yer autograph Kinsey ya dick" - our man was not to be deterred, and continued to pose pen in hand, waiting to strike some poor kids blank page with the power of Kinsey. He had no takers, and at the last minute, he began making a beeline for me, deliberately aiming the ball right against the part of the fence where I was standing, because I looked the most eager. I certainly didn't want his autograph, so I began staring really hard at my pie, hoping he wouldn't make eye contact, although obviously I didn't eat the pie but it was from Falkirk and full of razor blades and gristle, and eventually he went away, but he seemed really angry - he was still missing the empty goal, but at least the ball was moving a bit harder. Eventually, with a swing of less than mighty but startlingly expensive Puma leather boot, he hit the first heckling kid right in the nose with the ball, the only thing he hit in six games for us. Everyone was really quiet, after all, Kinsey hitting something he meant to hit wasn't likely, but there was definite intent in his swing. Pride suitably restored, he jogged off, at which point the kid he hit with the ball stood up, and gave him the finger in that scratch your nose but give someone the finger kind of way....it got the biggest cheer of the day...

I'm terrible at small talk, and go out of my way to avoid it, even if it's just avoiding the autograph of some benny with a gold tooth and fancy boots. I went to school with this girl called Angela, and I thought we were really good friends. I guess we were, but oh Vitamin C, the lies you weaved in Friends Forever. There was some unpleasantess towards the end of Grade 12 where in she jumped off one of my friends (it was a slow leap, she was a big girl, big heart, big lungs as my Gran would have said) and onto another, midway through someones 18th birthday party (the one where I was talked out of killing myself for an hour). She was a peripheral figure of fun after that, although she was always trying to get us back to the way things were, she did some drawings of us all, she organised outings, but the high horsed moral outrage of a teenager, who believes what is happening in front of them could only ever happen to them rather than just being a tedious derivative of the same scenario being played out in every school in the world is hard to shake. That and we liked the guy she dumped a lot better, so we took his side. I can't really remember, but the last thing I heard of her, she had called me a troublemaker because I, if I'm honest, was pretty mouthy and stuff when I was eighteen (my opinions on the position of the British pound being de-centralised caused quite the stir) especially when I was drunk, plus I rather amusingly fancied one of her friends and made an idiot of myself, that's always very funny isn't it? I didn't think though that I was an especially troublemaking figure, I never jumped on anyone (I was bad at sports so I'd have missed) and I took some slight umbrage (my Mums umbrage was far more, er, braged?) but I respected her viewpoint and moved on with my life, as she did hers. I figured anyway, as I do now, that I wish all my friends from school the best, and no one the one who made it, made it, cos she was ac...no wait, that's a Jill Sobule song...no, I actually do wish everyone I went to school with well, but I have nothing to say to any of them other than platitudes...oh, and do you like my Zaire top, isn't it the best...

As it happened, one day I was sitting in the Hobart Mall reading my copy of the Herald Sun (Jon Anderson represent y'all) and casually drinking some Mount Franklin water, when someone tapped me on the shoulder - I had my usual default positions of "I was just sitting here officer", "I don't wnat a pamphlet" and "I don't have a wallet" but when I looked up, there was Angela, smiling and saying hello. She was still big in the lungs, and looked exactly the same, but there was something different...ah, yes, the creeping slight sense of awkwardness. She sat down next to me on one of Hobarts lovelier circular green seats (I miss the days when you could sit on the pig) and began talking to me...sigh...she was just talking through me...I was feeling quite awkward because I didn't really have a lot to say to her, other than picking stories out of the Herald Sun ("I see that Michelle Leslies in the news again!") and...it was just going nowhere. This would be where my Mum would say she was just being nice, but it was a bit weird because it was tremendously one side conversation (I didn't even get to Michelle Leslie if I'm honest) and...I don't know, but I got the feeling that since she'd left school, it wasn't like it was all downhill, but it was like we were the best friends she'd ever had, and she'd blown it, and nothing would ever be like that again. She just had too much affection for those days, there wasn't a lot of references to the present day. I felt that way too sometimes, but not now, so my responses were, oh yeah, Grade 12, remember that 18th where that girl jump..oh wait, that was you, awkward. Eventually, I had to excuse myself and go to work, and she gave me a bearhug, and put my number in her phone, and said she'd call, but she never did, obviously, and I've seen her in about two jobs now, she almost had to sell me my Series 2 DVD of Weeds. I think it was sort of her proper farewell to me in some ways - the farewell she'd never had. I hope she wasn't just wandering around waiting to give people one final hug and walk off, but her conversation was just so rooted (careful) in that year, that time, I felt bad, I felt like she hadn't moved on...and when she gave me the bearhug, she actually said "Grade 12, I miss it..." with such tenderness and awkward, bizarre breathy pauses, I felt really bad, and would just have taken her back there if I could...

I wouldn't go back though, the quality of individual fruit cups was staggeringly low...

6 comments:

rhubarbwhine said...

OK, so I have read a few posts, and I have a whole lot more to go, but I am enjoying my visit and so glad I found you. I'll be back :)

Quickroute said...

ou have a gift for the gab - no doubt! - yer not Irish are ye?

Ann O'Dyne said...

Thanks for your visit to my place.
And re "foxy Lolo" - thanks also for clearing that up - I had been thinking it was YOU.

Miles McClagan said...

Thanks for visiting, I really appreciate it, although the first few posts are pretty bad...it took a while to get going! Now the word count makes up for it!

No, Scottish...although my Dads family heritage is from Innishmore...a place that takes about 7even ferries to get to...

No worries, always happy to visit - and no, it's not me, it's Foxy Lolo (Jones) the hurdler...my pout, though boss, isn't up to her standards...

Baino said...

FFS am I being moderated or deleted? I waded though this post, posted a less than succint comment and pfwing! (erm sounds better than it looks) I'm gawwwn.

Miles McClagan said...

There's moderation, mostly to stop people selling me Nigerian Royal Family Viagra...I blame society for your missing comment, but god bless the effort!