Friday, February 13, 2009

2001 - a self help journey as long as you don't have a bus to catch (I am a Miley little man)



I mentioned a few steps ago that I'm having a recurring nightmare, which is fine when I'm asleep and thoughts can formulate and weird things can happen and no one can explain where I'm dreaming about an orange seagull or strange relationships with Megan Corkrey, but I have the 3am guilts as well. These can be partial fragments of regretted conversations, lost loves and friends drifting off down my driveway in their car never to be seen again, or something as simple as not taping episode of Paramount City so I could sit and watch it. I am a terrible sleeper - which is fitting since the band Sleeper are terrible - and I was a lot worse when I was going out with my girlfriend, because the pressure that sleeping in a double bed brought on was just horrible, and I really didn't want to disturb her, not with her nasty year long headache. Anyway, back to when I'm not being Rodney Dangerfield, I had this one panic attack on the floor of someones house once, when I was a sleeping bag. We were crowded into this room because we were staying over after a party, and I suddenly at about 4our in the morning realised I had no idea where the door out was. Under normal non, er, substances I would have been fine with this and gone back to sleep, but it became paramount priority #1A call the FBI that I woke everyone up to work out the configuration of the room and where the door was. As it turned out, the door was right next to my left shoulder, and as the party goers wearily went back to sleep, one of them thinking I was back asleep muttered that it wasn't a good idea to let me drink. So I regret that, that I actually had a panic attack like I was Rebekah Emaloglou on the set of Home and Away. Although Dad has a kid at school who is a selective mute, which is awesome, as she can do her speech in class but then can't answer questions about the speech. There aren't many people stirring at 3am, the funky drummer that used to live next door to me a notable exception, and moments of regrets, and lets be honest here, fleeting fractions of blog ideas, strange insane thoughts, they all stir briefly through my subconscious making me just as likely to wish I was nicer to the fat kid at school I used to pick on as remembering the name of the third Chantoozie. I have an alarm clock with glaring angry angular numbers that mock me as they hang in the air, the three of three 3am curling around my brain and making sure I'm painfully aware that I'm hanging between sleep and having to get up, and my brain never switches off anyway. It's always on, it's always working, a perma conscience that never goes out. If it wasn't like this, I think a lot of things would be easier, and my writings would be Youtube clips a go go. If these fractured thoughts become fractured sentences, then I have to get up, go and make a cup of tea and try and work out just what it all those words mean. Music helps, Steve Burns here, Liz Phair there, but some things are just too strange to make sense even now...

So it's 2001 - a year briefly lit up by a trip home to good old Ayrshire, but mostly dull and boring, although a lot better than my previous year. The year 2000 to me was like John Howards dystopian vision for Australia being like the 1950s - nothing happened, I was perfectly safe, comfortable and relaxed, I lived in a sealed off gated community where I knew all my neighbours and said hello but secretly hated them and thought they there communists, I wore a lot of bad jumpers and I had absolutely no sex at all. As a rough guide, 2001 was the final of my lost triangle years, which started in 1999 when a friend from school never turned up to take me to the Hobart Show the same month my girlfriend and I had what you who love air quotes might call problems, and ended in the New Sydney Hotel in 2002 with drinks, Irish bands singing songs about hating The Yenglish, new friends and oddly me holding a steam cleaner I'd bought Mum for Mothers day. My trip to Scotland had been the first one that felt like a holiday rather than a homecoming, the only baggage I brought on the trip a nice green suitcase rather than anything emotional. It was the last time I saw Dads Sisters Kids, on a nice night out in Paisley, and there was the Geri Halliwell story to enjoy, but as a holiday it was nice, rather than over dramatic like the other couple. Above all though, there was a strange moment of zen when I skipped on a date with my family, which would have been rubbish, tense and involved the sharing of tepidly cooked chips, to take my independent self - and no, I didn't throw my hands up at me, though I thought about it - off to Manchester. As I skipped down the streets with my own credit card and my own ambitions, it felt oddly liberating and quite fantastic. Naturally the natural ambience of the Mancunian shopkeeper found the broad smile on my face utterly disconcerting and I had the swagger back in the pocket quickly, but it couldn't be suppressed for ever. I made one of those self promises people always make that when I returned to Tasmania I would be a different person and do more things and get involved in the community...luckily an old lady in the street had the presence of mind to yell at me for hogging the road as I stood stock still, which was sweet of her. There was no place after all for dreamers or those have moments of self realisation on this particular street, and certainly not for her. In her world, there was only the bus home and things that were impediments to the bus home. I was clearly the latter, and she walked off muttering something about another dose of national service as she took her shopping onto a rickety looking double decker. I find it rather sweet that today I would be that woman, after all, there are impediments to me every day - if I try and look at a Weeds DVD there's always some bogan in a white T-shirt directly in front of it...I'd love to tell the old woman my world view has changed, but she probably has a bus to catch, and I'd just be in the way...

Inspired by this holiday and some self help books read at the airport, I briefly flirted with a get up and go Sanitarium inspired motivational phase. I ate Weetbix, I started jogging, I only watched sensible ABC programs and I worked a bit harder. I also decided that self enlightenment would be achieved through joining things, and not just one piece of a jigsaw to another. This lead to an insane 6ix weeks trying to play soccer with Kingborough which was a complete disaster and lead to a game where I was knackered after 5ive minutes and had to come off again, and me watching a carpark fight between our star striker and his WAG about how she had spent her Yeltour voucher. This didn't stop me from living my own self help manual, and within days of this out of puff setback I had signed up for a drama class in North Hobart and was puttering my car into the deserted car park after work for no real reason at all other than I thought this was what normal people did, go off on whims, have adventures, maybe put on a character voice or two. It's so unlike me normally, I can only conclude I was swept up in some sort of post holiday madness. I am a reasonable thespian at a local level - I mean I've played Jesus convincingly twice despite being a pasty white Scot, so give me something. The second time I was on a skateboard going through palms. Or was I piggy backed by a fat kid? I can't remember. The improvisational exercises were like shooting fish in a barrel to me, after all I had studied at least 3hree episodes of Who's Line, and suddenly I was the star of the community hall, the prize student, although I think the teacher wished I had more movie star looks - I told him Sick Boy from Trainspotting was a movie character, but he didn't look impressed. The teacher was restrained camp rather than flamboyantly rich as a character, but the sad thing for him was the number of people who turned up when the class was free compared to the number who turned up when it was 5 bucks. He looked genuinely upset to see all his prettiest students leave (or not see them I guess) because they would rather buy a skinny latte. I can still see him looking a bit dejected as her stared around the room getting a class that more looked like Rob Brough than Rob Lowe. He took it on the chin though in the end. However, by the time he had foisted on us a terrible 1960s script that was supposed to be witty and urbane but which felt like a Comedy Company sketch, I figured it was time to quit the class myself. I still went through the motions of putting on a play in front of a paying audience though before I quit, and they were kind enough to laugh tepidly at the jokes. Sadly for my future aspirations, there were no agents in the audience, and if there were, they'd just be real estate agents anyway, without the power to cast anyone in a major Hollywood picture...even if they were looking for someone to play Jesus...

However, the most significant part of this 11 week course in the hall was that I made a friend - I can't remember his name, but lets call him Neil. He looked like a Neil. And when I first saw him, he was kneeling because he had just fallen over. Neil was a nice guy, and I was happy with the prospect of having at least one friend again. We talked a bit about his girlfriend and mix tapes, and it was all good. At least it was until I gave him a lift home one night. Caught up in the exuberant mood of the truly self empowered who have watched too many episodes of Ricki Lake, I began a quite nonsensical conversation about my goals and ambitions - it was far too much to lay on someone who was just being essentially pleasant, and I was embarrassed to bring it up when I realised what I had started, but I still jumped in boots and all. It was a feature of me in this triangle, mouthy ambitions and really weird interactions with people where I would just talk nonsense like I was in a therapy session, and as I tailed off, Neil said something incredibly profound...that I was driving in the wrong lane. I thought he was really onto something, what a deep thing to say about my life...until I realised he meant it literally, that I was on the wrong side of the road and had to fix it before I ploughed into a truck. Obviously we aren't friends now, and I certainly don't blame him for that. In fact, the only person from that drama class I ever saw was a girl called Anne Maree or something, who I hugged for an hour in a pub one night. Yes, an hour. In the end, the whole get up and go phase fizzled out with minimal damage, coming to a spluttering end before I did something really crazy and starting having a motto or something. In fact, at work the other week during a moment of acute poignancy and attempt to motivate me, I quoted the lyrics to S Club 7s Bring It All Back and people took it as gravitas. My only ambition these days is to find a local to grow old in, and worse, on my fridge circled in red pen is a series of dates that I'm expected to be a happy little Vegemite and get out of bed, and I can't be bothered getting faster faster on my feet...one of the things I'm supposed to go to though is some play, somewhere in the sticks, and I wonder if there's someone there, some awkward friendless kiddie just struggling to fit in hopeful it can bring him someone to talk to...it's too painful to think of, and thankfully, all of that need to try and self improve is behind me...I'm happy with who I am...

Unless you know someone who needs a Jesus...my speech against the tax agents is particularly impressive...mighty even...

10 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

Miles, my witty young man, you are hereby tagged to write ten things about yourself beginning with the letter....M

sparsely kate said...

Sometimes I just want to give you an awful big hug.

The third Chantoozie was Tottie Goldsmith who apparently thinks she's too good for the band because she was totally a no-show at the Sapphire Coast Australia Day concert at Merimbula racetrack the other week.

:)

Miles McClagan said...

Er...can all of them be that I'm mellow! I'm struggling with that!

There was Tottie Goldsmith, Angelica La Home and Away Mum and the other one...that's how I remember them, the Ally Fowler years seem like a mystery!

Mad Cat Lady said...

mellow, matured, mellifluent, mellifluous, melodious, meditative, melancholy, museful, musing, mouthy

Kath Lockett said...

...Just cracked open the accompanying video - Steve from Blue's Clues has aged remarkably well but should stick to his green-striped rugby top.

Miles McClagan said...

At least one of them isn't miserable, although I was on the weekend, due to tiredness and a lack of ideas! I'll get to M People next, I had summat to get out!

I LOVE that song so much - I suggest finding the alternative video clip, Dancing Gabe is a star...used to love Blues Clues...used to play along...

Mad Cat Lady said...

I am more a bear in the big blue house kind of girl. When he does that sniffing thing at the start and then says something like you smell like a pine forrest on a summers day or maybe you just smell this good all the time.

I does things to me.

Miles McClagan said...

Was there an episode where Twitter thought everyone forgot her birthday or something? And at the end everyone sang a big song?

Awwwww....

Jannie Funster said...

Hey, that IS the Blues Clues guy. He's an ... an ... adult!!

And he's wearing a normal shirt.

Who knew?

Miles McClagan said...

He's quite the alternative rocker these days...he's very trendy. That's his best work though...it should have been huge!