Monday, November 10, 2008

The road to redemption passes through Kingston Car Park

Whenever I see an ambulance outside a cafe, or in some incongruous place, I do tend to feel a little morbid - I've mentioned before my complete terror of dying, and I can only hope that's where I die is not in a cafe where the quiches are questionable at best. Actually, the ambulance outside the cafe probably meant nothing, as once my uncle told me he saw a fire truck screech to a halt with sirens blaring, but then realised they had screeched right outside the local chip shop, and got out for a tasty haddock and Irn Bru treat. In spite of that, and the fact that blue eye shadow girl was again somewhere else today, my main concern today has been what to do when someone you don't like at work is doing it tough. When Mum broke her ankle (and leapt onto the stretcher, they breed em tough in Pollok) my arch work enemy (more on whom later) was actually genuinely nice to me, which was appreciated (for a moment). Today, my boss, worn of face and aged of word, said that something had come up, but she looks frazzled, tired - she didn't say what it was, but I was initially way more concerned with the picture in the Herald Sun of the kid and the horse (which was so cute - although my favourite thing ever is still when a dog and a cat are friends) but now I think, do I be a bit nicer? Try a bit harder? Or play up and make her crack? It's not that I don't like her actually, she's just way too intense - and I'm usually off in a dream thinking I wonder who would win a race out of Rihanna and Leona Lewis. There's a bit to be said for our different lives though - she earns more money than me, she goes out with a bloke who looks like Mark Ridgeway, and she has a horse, but to get it, she's insanely stressed and under heaps of pressure. I own my own house (kinda sorta) but I do very little work, own no horse, am defiantly single (I don't know who the female equivalent of Mark Ridgeway is - Bronwyn Eagles?), but at the end of the day I know that I sit on my deck, Zero 7 playing on the IPOD, and drift casually off to sleep. As it happens, both options, the carefree drift of the disconnected and the stress free, horse riding lifestyle of the more determined, are valid lifestyle choices, mines just has more time in a hammock...

Of course such carefree worries came after a horrible struggle through life, well, not really a horrible struggle, nothing I can write an abuse-lit novel about, more just the casual passing of time until I could move on from one failure to something a step up tracked through the purchase of different Britney albums. When I failed uni I had to scurry around many a car park and invent many job interviews just so I could avoid the disappointed wrath of my Mum and Dad, and play the ATARI 2600 (which oddly now, being able to say I have owned an ATARI, is somehow the coolest thing I can say to certain kids of today) in my girlfriends attic without getting told off. What I really wanted to do was probably go away for two years, and come back a millionaire, but life isn't like that. I'm quite lucky in some ways my parents even cared, I could have been cut adrift, and I've only played Street Fighter, I've certainly no attempts to live the literal interpretation of the games name and forage for scraps in a bin. When I lived in North Hobart, we did a test to see how long we could sleep in the mall without cracking, and I think I got up to about two minutes before needing sheets and a blanket. I own a hammock for gods sake, how tough could I be? When I was 5ive, I said to Mum I was going to run away, and she said fantastic, put my coat on, packed me some things and put me in the driveway, bawling my eyes out. Had I been more savvy, I would have simply walked round the corner until they came and got me, but I hadn't had to surive four years in Ayrshire schools and learn these little tricks yet. Lacking direction, I basically hid for a while, laying low in a series of inevitably disastrous parties, including one that ended up being everyone watching the X Files while I passed out from too much cask wine. If the truth was out there, I didn't want to know, unless it involved an e-mail from Triple J or some kind of ATARI related conversation. For some reason, the good folks in job interviews never really seemed to ask my opinions on these matters...they must have preferred the Caleco Vision...

Eventually, we had to have the talk, and the talk was bad, and then my girlfriend gave me a talk, and that was worse, and then my Dad decided that I was going to go and help him wash cars with his Amnesty troupe as a quasi punishment and a quasi introduction to the real world (he didn't get the MTV reference), and I was all no way man, and then, much like the guy at school who scientifically disproved personal jinx, there was suddenly no argument, and there I was at Kingstons salubrious car park at 9 in the morning, standing next to a batch of giggling, haughty and dismissive sixteen year olds, all on my own with nothing but a song in my heart and all the soapy water God could provide. It was like a country and western song, but with more dirty Camiras and low pressure jet streams of water. Of course, my Dad, being the kind of figure he is, was flapping about showing off his chops as a community leader (not in a bad way, but he does love, or did love before the structure of modern day school systems decided he was archaic for, you know, grading kids and stuff) which left me standing around, staring up at the sky, engaging people in small talk about the filthy nature of their cars, and being of pretty much no use to anyone, standing around diffident, awkward, and despite my knowledge of the underground rap scene, totally from a different world. The girls were only about, oh, three years younger than me, but they were so energetic, and I was so grizzled, and it didn't help when, about five minutes before our psuedo business attempt collapsed in a series of foamy disasters, that I broke the tap, and sent water spinning everywhere. I'm sure my Dad to this day thinks that I did it deliberately, but trust me, I didn't, the overwhelming sense of superiority coming from the gaggle was bad enough without putting in a benny effort and snapping the tap off the...whatever you snap a tap off. Suffice to say I wasn't really around when they all had free juice and sandwiches and reflected on what great christians they were. In fact, I was trying to run away again, mostly because gosh darn it I was moved by all that spirituality, but also because I had lunch waiting for me. Sadly, my Dad decided that even though I'd broke the tap and contributed about three syllables of effort, I should be rewarded with a sandwich, and so I was stuck there for another hour, like some benny kid invited to the leavers dinner who turns up without a date and a suit three sizes too small for him...i think his name was Paul, now I think about it...

The head girl was called Melanie, a freckle faced idealist and the school good egg who no doubt eventually goes bad. She had been eyeing me all day the way a trendy English teacher eyes a troubled student. Trust me, I thought to myself, if I'm going to be saved, it's not going to be through the power of smiles and hugs. She came over to me, of course, the Highway to Heaven passing through Kingston car park as it always does, but I barely let her get her hugs and pitch out, given the fakeness of her smile, but I was utterly, utterly shocked at the venom in my voice when I told her to fuck off. I took a step backwards, I didn't even sound like me, I sounded like some old broken down crank, I put my hand up to apologize, but she was gone, back into her gaggle, the white bread sandwich a little more acrid. I was genuinely sorry, and not just because my sandwich had skimped on the scrambled egg. I shuffled off a little in sincere embarrassment, and when I looked up, Melanie was almost crying. I felt ridiculously horrible, and just to rub in the slightly Ken Loach drama feel of the moment, it started raining, raining really bitterly, a cold wind sweeping in from the general direction of Chickenfeed. Sad, I went to slope off dejectedly, when a girl, who's name was Amber, all braces and sorrowful eyes, grabbed my medium quality Canterbury jumper by the sleeve, and tugged on it hard. She questioned whether I had said that mean word, and I confirmed yes I did, and her eyes sparkled like glistening (if somewhat soapy) diamonds. She said that was really cool, they all hated Melanie, we got to talking, then she stopped talking, held her little paw up, and asked would I like to hang out at their party later on that night. I always remember this little sixteen year old, in her school jumper, holding a sponge, so seemingly innocent, telling me quite specifically that at the party, there'd be crack. Awkwardly, I said to give me directions and I'd think about it, but I never went, and I don't know if it was a real offer, if Melanie was going to be behind the door with a 2x4 to hit me over the head, if they were going to all gather around the campfire and try and save the crack seeking heathen or if it was a real offer...I never went, but the strangeness of the entire day just made me feel utterly disconnected to them, and my Dad, and to everyone but one person, so instead of possibly being bashed with a plank. I went to my girlfriends house, she made roast potatoes, we had a huge argument about nothing, then smoked dope, woke up two days later, and I had my first job interview in exactly one hour...

It felt exactly, exactly, like real life...

5 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

I can't cope with sweet and innocent-looking 16-y-o girls pitching crack parties, so I will just comment that whenever I hear a siren (cops, fire, ambo) I just think "There's some poor bastard out there having a worse day than I am".

peace and love

Kath Lockett said...

Christians and Crack does have a certain ring to it, don't you think?

Miles McClagan said...

In fairness, there's a bta (better than average) chance she said the party would be crap, and I've mis-understood, but no, I'm sure she said crack, and her hand gesture confirmed it...most of all, love the Ringo Starr ref at the end!

It does, it'd be a good title for the blog...it'd stir up great debate!

Le @ third on the right and cold peas said...

well hello there - thanks for dropping by the third ... your comment made me smile :)

and now I am here - tassie has always interested me .... never been yet but can imagine how fab it must be - I am a south island NZ fan ... even married one of them.

are they all as deep and darkly humorous as you :) I had to have a second read ... worth it - my old 40 plus mummy brain was not quite tuned in ...

anyways my best to you - le

Miles McClagan said...

Thanks for visiting, i appreciate it, and yeah, like I said, I love sizzle! Tassie is pretty boss, though you swing between god this place is beautiful and why do no major artists (ie. Miley Cyrus) tour here! I don't think many people are like me, too much pub rock and flannel!

Cheers for the visit!