Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Princess and The Pump

Kingston Doctors Surgery has had a refit - it has the feel of an airport departure lounge down to the hardbacked seats and the inefficient staff and over anxiety and desperation to get the hell out of here. In the corner, a TV flickers with a patronising Kids TV show purporting to show children how everyone lives and behaves in Scotland. Shortbread tin shortsightedness is not Scotland anymore. Not a ned or an unwed mother with a tattoo over stretchmarks in sight. My patience fades about the time someone in stringy Aussie dreadlocks is making haggis - try making Haggis in downtown Glasgow, see how you go these days. I'm here with the flimsy disease of exhaustion and dehydration, which isn't a manly injury gained through knocking bits of wood together or using a chainsaw. I'm just some divvy that didn't put a hat on in the sun. I try and dress down when I go to the doctors, so I've got my best tracksuit trousers on, the good blue ones with the tassles. As I look around the room, I realise I'm overdressed. There's a plain girl (plain as a bar of Bourneville as my Dad might say) harassed by lifes burdens behind the counter, typing blindly on the computer, aware that one half of the room is being looked after by Dr Speedy Gonzalez, who moves people in and out with a deft hand, while we are are being looked after by a doctor who may or may not be using 45 minutes to, well, provide a much more thorough examination of his female patient. The TV continues to flicker endlessly, a piper comes on, time passes, some bogans in a triangular bogan support network harass the Bourneville girl behind the counter, determined to see Dr Feelgood as soon as possible. She types blankly into the computer and makes something up. Fat sweaty girl from Big Ws older bigger sweatier cousin is in the adjacent office, seemingly without a responsibility other than drawing concentric circles on a medical pad. Time passes slowly - I briefly, only briefly, consider getting a magazine off the table, as minor and inconsequential celebrities jog endlessly for position as they sell their wedding to the highest bidder - and eventually the yoof TV presenters stop patronising my culture, but the Doctor still isn't available. Just for a moment, I consider a dramatic overdrawn slumping fall on the floor, so perhaps the ranga doctor with the giant glasses or the in and out and shake em all about doctor might add me to their list - but for me, there is no doubt that my flight has been well and truly cancelled, and like a desperate jet lagged traveller, I sit with my eyes rolling, my body unable to move, and stare hopelessly at the loud ticking clock, envying the outside world, and their freedoms, while the burden of time has rendered us stuck in this waiting room, across from a flapping chubby arm pit going around and around as the concentric circle grows ever larger...

As I wait, arms folded, brow furrowed, tracksuit trousers pristine, a princess comes in. She's got a grey work shirt in, for a store I should recognise and in the interim while Highland Dope raps up his summation of Scotland land of Twathearts. Just for a moment, we exchange glances. She's got her hair in a loose fitting blonde configuration borne of a days menial graft, but her eyes glint with preciousness, with indulgence. The glances are meaningless, until I realise I'm someone for her to impose her hatred of this situation, a blank canvas in her direction in which she can roll her eyes, puff out her cheeks and show how even 5ive minutes of her precious time being taken up by the burden of having to wait. Like me, she looks perfectly healthy, so perhaps it's another case of exhaustion. She draws me in again - she certainly isn't ugly, but there's a hatred in her eyes of everyone, an invitation to mock the poor with her, a casted glance towards the bogan three (like the IRA three but with more interest in Monaros) who are telling a loud and poignant anecdote about their cat being unable to control it's bladder. For whatever reason, I lose her eye contact for a moment - maybe it was in the opening part of the news, when Ricky Ponting was making the same sorrowful princess like gestures in his press conference, or maybe it was in making sure the Bogan Three weren't stealing my wheels - but when I look back, her gaze has drifted to a labourers apprentice, and they are in full non verbal conversation, her as the waiting room princess with disgusted eye rolling and a posture crying out for someone to balance a book on her head, him too dim to work out what he's supposed to be disgusted out but thinking wahey that's a nice rack. Ricky winds up his press conference, and the news is now on one of those cutesy isn't life hilarious stories, something about a crocodile and a duck that are friends. I even think his disease is more manly than mine, maybe a real manly disease like asbestos poisoning or over exposure to race car fumes. When I look back, he's gone, and she's reading a magazine about gardening. Her only action now is to cast one last disgusted glance at the bogans for elongating the cat bladder story into a tale that now incorporates the cats antics on Xmas day. With no audience though, she retreats to her plants, as I work out the grey shirt might just be from Priceline...a store which advertises that you pay less...in spite of her attitude, I don't believe at Priceline they dole out tiaras...they do dole out sponges sometimes for staff to scrub some errant lipstick off the floor...

She reminds me of a Melbourne nightclub girl a long time ago the grey shirted princess. We went into a nightclub until about 4am, and there were very few people there. I believe, even though I was drunk, I could pick the distinct sounds of the Ministry 2007 Annual, which suggested the DJ had buggered off and hoped a single CD would pass the time for the stragglers. I was really drunk, and not in that oh god how drunk was I way where you tell your friends every detail because you weren't drunk at all way, I mean in that I'm susceptible to someone pretending to be a wallet inspector level of drunk. In the corner of the club danced a blonde girl who tradition would dictate may have been hot, but liquored up she was Claudia Schiffer, and in the other corner sitting on the edge of a couch was a brunette girl with an angel tattoo on her arm which in my less than wonderful state seemed to be staring at me trying to pick a fight and a pair of tights which strangled her legs into a rope around a bull like submission. I had no self confidence, hell, I had no balance to begin with, so I decided that I wasn't likely to be able to pick up either of these girls, and my loyalty to blue eye shadow girl nipped at the back of my vodka addled mind anyway. My friend though had no such problems, and made a beeline to the brunette angel who was sitting minding her own business, staring idly out of the window towards the McDonalds across the road. She had immaculate teeth that sparkled in the mirrorball, and she was receptive to my friends initial enquiries. Well, receptive to a point, the first thing she asked was what team he played for. Stumped, he stumbled over a reply and she waved him off with a wave of her unringed hand. She was waiting for a footballer, no other level of society would do, and I felt as though if she sat there long enough one night, even if it was only for fifteen minutes, she would find true footballer love. Meanwhile the blonde had left with a sleazy looking used car salesman with a falling to the ground toupee, arm in arm, tongue in tongue, not a care or standard in the world. We left the nightclub not long after, just as Sneaky Sound System came on for the 25th time that night, and brunette girl was still sitting there, the only one left in the whole club, too proud to admit defeat, too princess like to go out with a mere accountant...not that I blame her...it must have cost a lot to maintain those pearly whites...

Eventually, I get into to see the doctor. I check the female patient that went in before me to see if she's hitching up her skirt or showing signs of tiredness. It had been a long consultation after all. The doctor looking a bit tired was all that I could gleam. Such thought were cast aside once the constriction of the blood pressure machine was applied - I'm terrified of the blood pressure pump machine, so it's no surprise my blood pressure is high when it goes on. I don't feel fit, but I'm accutely aware of the fact that there's a morbid fear in the back of my mind that living alone I could collapse one day and never be found, so I want to get fit. He gives me the doctor equivalent of a Mums talk, all take more care and drink more juice. There's an old Scottish joke about everything being cured with Dettol that he seems to be reworking to me, only with juice. I leave to spend time in the company of my own insecurities, and a woman behind the desk unable to work the computer. The female patient who was in the consultation for ages is outside on the path smoking - she has a chunky buxom body poured into a black work suit but is kind of attractive if you don't pick faults. She throws me a suspicious but coy glance, and I'm not in a position to judge. The computer is proving to be like a space shuttle for the woman behind the desk. I look around and see a woman in a wheelchair being thoroughly patronised by her carer, even though the ladies mind appears to be accutely sharp - I'm sure she could work a computer. I'm terrified of this kind of care, I remember seeing a clip from an old BBC fitness show called Boomph with Becker when I was little where old bewildered men and women were forced to stretch next to a chair and dreading such awful treatment. Eventually the lady works out how to make a mouse go click and I'm able to leave the airport lounge and those penned in still waiting. The bogans are still waiting to be seen, the blonde bogan with the cleavage defying T-shirt on has her arms folded, she's muttering to the ceiling fan, and outside the girl in the work suit is still smoking, still glancing, still surely uncomfortable in that skirt. She throws her cigarette on the ground, pouts in no particular direction, and gets in an expensive car, the kind a princess would consider a weekend car. She sits down, tries to blister and bludgeon her way out of the car park, but crunches the gears and is left idling in the car park as a series of much less flash motors sidle slowly past her...if you look closely enough, you can see the tiara slipping...

That's the problem with Tasmanian princesses...in a very real sense, you can't be a princess until you leave Tasmania...the place, it kind of gets you in the end..

6 comments:

Mad Cat Lady said...

Well darn - I can't pick on you if you are not well.

I've only been at a nightclub at 4am in the morning once in my life. Out with two girls temping at my work. They thought I was gay and tried to fix me up with a friend of theirs who then left crying when it turned out I wasn't.

One of the work girls had taken something and kept falling off the one foot stage that was being used as part of the dance floor. We told her "stop falling off the stage or you'll get thrown out" and she'd nod "yea yea" at us and then promptly fall off the stage again.

Baino said...

How do you remember all this or do you take your laptop to the surgery? And you can be a real princess FROM Tasmania if not IN Tasmania. Anyway chook, get out there tonight and find yourself a princess! Party hard or go home - Happy Hogmanay and get into the Stovies.

Charles Gramlich said...

Waiting for a footballer. Now there's a goal in life.

Miles McClagan said...

That sounds like a great night out - not enough people fall off stages anymore. The club in Hobart has a pole in the middle of it, but not enough people fall off it. There is an embarrassing climb off component for girls who fail to attract a paramour...if you shake your thing and no one shakes back, it can get quite ugly...

I was there for so long this one was easy to remember...it'd be a good idea to take a laptop around with me though...like jotting down otes...Princess Mary picked up at a bar called The Slip Inn...don't think she counts as a princess to this day!

I know, it's definitely up there with my goal to marry the lead singer of Blackbox when I was 12...it was just as likely!

the projectivist said...

Baino, i think he flounces about, talking into one of those little voice recorder things - he says stuff like 'insert inverted commas, end of paragraph (says that hardly ever actually) new sentence) and clicks and unclicks the buttons whilst he does his weekly shop for fruit cup cordial at Coles.

he's oblivious to the admiring stares of his fellow shoppers as he whispers about hitched skirts and bogan princesses.

nice one miles - i enjoyed it thoroughly.

apart from the mention of:
pristine tracksuit trousers
is there such a thing?

Miles McClagan said...

I wish I did have a dictaphone, it'd save a lot of time...if I had that, I wouldn't need to stare for so long...I am really good at flouncing though...as for the pristine tracksuit trousers, there is definitely a good pair, but only by subtraction...the bad ones are not worth seeing!