Tuesday, April 28, 2009

He needed to create a specific blog post at this time to seize the moment. And he has done that! Steve



It's Saturday morning, the weary traveller sits idly in a speciality restaurant eating with vigour, wipes sleep from his eyes, stares blankly at the unbending corpse like figure in his way, on guard as airport security, no wrinkle on her face remotely betraying emotion, and goes back to his book. It's a jarring juxtaposition of thought and non thought, as he reads a book about The Baader Meinhof Complex while dressed in football colours, a strange mix of Andreas Baader and Jaxson Barham if you will. He never claimed to be predictable. As the syrup dribbles down his chin in a somewhat precarious man dangling off a cliff kind of way, he's aware of a worker pushing a succession of boxes into position out the back of the Airport McDonalds. There's no one else in the airport but the odd child with absolute surety that their Dad has lead them in the right direction to support the right football team. As the sounds of sweet chart based music fill the ears, it becomes increasingly apparent that the pushing of the boxes is a mundane, Sisyphus like task. Of course, should you not know the legend, Sisyphus was compelled by the Gods to roll a huge rock up a steep hill, but before he could reach the top of the hill, the rock would always roll back down again, forcing him to begin again. Oddly, this worker, with a pony tail that seems to be painful and a T-shirt with a jaunty corporate logo on it seems condemned to live her life pushing crate like boxes from one end of the airport to the other, then pushing them back again, then stacking them, then unstacking them...maybe she's hiding from more difficult responsibilities, but her repetition is engaging to watch, and when later, our traveller finds himself stuck behind an old woman, rugged up from the cold with just the right amount of ginger hair dye in her scalp to hide the grey if you don't try and pick it out, who can't work the automated ticket machine for love, nor money - well certainly not money, it's not taking the money, and she sounds short on life. The traveller hops from foot to foot in eternal frustration as the queue of people who have chosen wisely to be served by a person purchase tickets with no problems at all. He may be the only person in this queue thinking of Sisyphus, or indeed any kind of legend, as in the mid morning air, a football song breaks out, with swear words and everything, causing the old lady to hold everyone up even more as she glares down the line, heart on the line for morality, as she blindly swipes her Visa card everywhere but the slot, and the traveller puts his hood over his head, turns his thoughts to Ladyhawke on the IPOD, and waits eternally for the bus, praying that day will provide him with proof that his sporting heroes care about his team as much as he does, and as much as the boy with the autographed shirt cares...

It's the next day, the football team has been vanquished, but the traveller is not concerned. He has had a night of rock and roll excess, a smashed glass at the ESPY, an 18teen verse version of Gloria, a pash from a cute girl in glasses, vomit on the floor...an interesting evening, he reflects, and a true test of sporting loyalty, as he saw one of his so called heroes out on the dancefloor dancing not caring that they lost and almost went and told him what he thought of him. Tis only a game Greavsie. Blind 3am panic as to where he was fades, and simpering hotel staff are making him feel uncomfortable in 5ive star luxury, as they call him Sir and pamper him with free bottles of wine, betraying his working class roots, and he looks too shabby for such treatment anyway. To balance the universe out, he decides to shuffle through the night air, to leave behind a silly woman on TV who is entrancing the nation with her refusal to show her haircut, and wanders down to McDonalds for a late night snack. The air is cold, the IPOD is loud, the pace quick through small big city gaps in the pavement, gaps between large crowds of people that appear slowly. He disappoints some Americans with his lack of geographical knowledge about Melbourne, but he knows where McDonalds is. He stands in a fast moving queue, the poorly paid staff working overtime and desperately to provide the late night lost and hungry crowd with salted chips. As he fiddles with his IPOD, time stands still as he wanders, and he notices the animated chatter of a well dressed couple behind me. Trendy clothes, trendy haircuts, clear eyes, hands held tight. They stand out next to me, rocking shabby chic but feeling good about myself. In an oddly poetic moment of quiet as mein hosts go off to get chips, or at least have a break in the midst of a stressful situation, she looks at him and says softly so how do we do tell our friends about us? There then follows silence, and no one in the couple seems to know what to say. He's not really in a position to help them out. The small Japanese lady behind the counter has located the specific type of burger he requires to help him cope with my working class guilt, and he puts on his IPOD as the male in the trendy clothes puffs out his cheeks in moral imperative disquiet, and the traveller has to turn up Ladyhawke really loud just to shut out the awkwardness and the taste of the late night chips...

It's the morning, and it's cold. The traveller is distressed, it's a hot and sweaty Internet lab, and the pace is just too much for his tired soul to cope with. He's happy, he's having a good holiday, but there's something about the way the Indian owners of the store keep trampling over his seat to fix the computer in the corner that makes him uncomfortable. So he leaves, and against all his judgement is back in the same fast food emporium, just because it's quiet and no one needs a reason to be here, no one is trampling over his shoes to poke and prod at a wire. There's a plumpish girl behind the counter, with a skirt with a split up it and bad Susan Boyle skin, and she's in charge, it says so on her badge. He's reading his book idly in the queue, flicking through it idly, as a Korean manchild, with a bumfluff moustache and a bad corporate uniform fiddles with the register like a drunk trying to catch a balloon. Lest anyone forgets thigh split skirt girl is in charge, she begins a process of complicated hand signals and motions, as if hoping by the pure power of manifesting that the drawer will open. It's then that she slips her hands underneath the arms of bumfluff boy, and they exchange the most bizarre but potent look of sexual tension I've seen since...well, the ESPY probably. It's so jarring, the traveller looks around to see if anyone else noticed it. When life continues on apace and a poorly displayed sausage muffin is presented, the universe is back in order. His book won't keep him fully from retreating from the world however, as a troupe of mentally ill patients out on a treat of a day to the Telstra Dome come in for something to eat, and one of them throws a pickle at the wall, nearly pickling a grey haired old man who is doing Sudoku in the corner. As he beats a retreat lest he become the victim of a pickling, the traveller takes one last look around, just to try and see if he can see another look of sexual tension he can store in the memory bank next time he wants to describe lust in a piece of writing, but alas all he sees is the thigh split skirt girl mopping what I hope is mushed burger up with a mop, chunky thigh hard to the floor. It probably wasn't the image he was hoping for, so he turns back to his book and his IPOD, ducks under a low flying bun, accepts an apology from the carer, and shuffles off into the crowd, un-noticed by the masses, in peaceful solitude...

In the end his bag is heavy with the whims of reckless purchasing and the excesses of what happens when a luxury hotel stuffs up a room in a recession and is keen to over service every single customer, it's weighed down with massive consumption, books and wine and cheeses. His head hurts so much, he doesn't know whats right and whats left, but he's moving straight ahead through the dark and the cold, lights illuminating Hobart not yet in sight, he slumps in his chair as a stewardess goes through the repetitive routine of explaining what happens if the plane crashes. Such is his seat, he is expected to be a hero, but he doesn't even know how he feels, since he is exhausted and motionless and simply wants to resume reading his book. It's hard to read to relate to the struggle of a radical anti capitalist group while being lectured by a Virgin Blue stewardess and thinking about a bag stuffed with free wine and cheese. His brain shuts off - he shouldn't have dropped the glass, true, he should have spoken to the girls outside the bar, but they were right, he did think they were prostitutes, and he's glad he didn't speak out of turn to his so called sporting hero. Everyone, he reflects, copes with disappointment differently, and angry and frustrated, had he himself not taken himself off to get drunk and enjoy himself in a foreign city? Time has passed so quickly, he hasn't even got time to think of those lame JB Hifi Cards attached to staff recommendations - Lily Allen is Da Bomb? Silly JB Hifi people...a small boy disrupts his thoughts, shoved into the aisle to get out of the way of the drinks cart, the boy, in the football jumper of a far more potent team smiles as he tramples on my orange shoes, and I respond with blank tiredness. His Dad, with a Wilford Brimley moustache and sincere smile, nods in my direction as the drinks cart vanishes in a flash before anyone can grab an overpriced Pepsi...I'm aware at this point that I've stopped being the traveller, and I'm back to being me, and I'm going home. The Dad asks me gently what I got up to on the weekend, and I smile, say a fair bit, and throw my head back into the seat, soaking up the last pleasant few minutes before the real world crashes into view with a horrific bumpy landing...

It was, as they would say, quite a fun weekend...

9 comments:

Samantha said...

pash with cute girl in glasses = good
vomit on floor = tsk

Baino said...

Quite a fun weekend! You are the master of the understatement. Sounds exhausting . .very cross that you had the foodies paradise of Melbourne at your disposal and still resorted to Macdonalds! I'd love to see Rockwiz filmed at the Espy . .

Kath Lockett said...

You must, at the very least, try somewhere other than Maccas for your next breakfast or late night fix.

So Colligwood lost, eh? The CROWS won. Against Melbourne though, so it hardly counts.

Oh come on, my word verificiation is Chabli!

Young Ned of the Hill said...

I got lost in that post, was it the post or the paint fumes?

(They're painting the office next door and as its a Uni Campus, the air conditioning doesnt work and they only pay staff to do reno's during office hours).

Lily Allens dad is da bomb ;-).

Miles McClagan said...

She was cute...and tsk is appropriate...still, I was in a rock venue...so it feels...er...appropriate. I had a 20ty minute conversation about Lily Allen like a proper musicologist, then threw up...like being on tour!

It was definitely exhausting...I'm still knackered...McDonalds is round the corner from The Hyatte, it's just easy...I did eat better places, but it didn't work as narrative structure, when I listened to conversations and people were screaming in my ear how much they appreciated my patronage!

I nearly went to see the Crows, but how cold was it? I watched it with cocoa in the hotel (and McDonalds, ha ha)

Probably the paint fumes...always a worry innit...Keith? Not sure about Keith...his work vis a vie Blur sort of worries me...

G said...

Wow.

I didn't know that airports could be so fun to visit.

At least I think it was airports that you were talking about.

If not, then shame on you for eating at McDonalds. Even I, the semi-average Americam with two children (8 & 16), tries not to eat at McDonalds.

Jannie Funster said...

bumfluff - is that your coined phrase.

Hope you didn't get any swine flu? Is there fear of it over htere now too?

Just wash your hands

And keep off the MacDonalds.

Samantha said...

I cannot tell a lie - at the time I wrote my comment, I didn't realise it was yourself doin' the spewin' - I'm shocked - shocked I tell you - not quite as shocked as the time that boy told me he was refused service due to being very very drunk in a Canberra club, so peed on the bar

maybe next time, hey?

Miles McClagan said...

It is purely down to convenience...no other reason...it's a good place to get rid of the guilt of staying in a nice place, eating terrible food!

No, bumfluff has been around a while, I can't claim it! There was an old man and woman terrified of swine flu yesterday - it seemed to be pinning them to the wall!

Oh well, that's what happens with rock and roll! Never ends well...