Friday, April 10, 2009

The Leaving Of Brashs

There's this kid outside the library on Thursday, a big dopey looking kid with his hat on backwards. From a distance I can see he's trying to show up the library visitors to impress some girls, and when he gets to me, I see his schtick and raise it, subtly, for his joke is to shake hands with the visitors and say his name is Borat. Hilarious you'll agree. When I say back to him, yeah and I'm Bruno, he pauses a little awkwardly, and laughs in this hollow loud voice as if he's really got me good. I don't mind, if he gets a pash out of it, whatever. I used to get really sensitive about people trying to play pranks on me, especially the guy at Central who was trying to convince me that to get into the pub there was a cover charge and when I fumbled for my wallet laughed uproariously. I was so close to telling him to grow up like some camp sitcom character it was embarrassing. There was a huge lumbering fat guy behind me anyway that the big dopey kid was desperate to try and prank anyway, so we parted ways very quickly. Roadside Jesus is still around showing off his sign and making sure everyone knows the true meaning of Xmas isn't licking a Creme Egg or watching a Goodies Marathon on Foxtel, and everyone was in hustle and bustle mode as they finalised their Easter shopping. In the case of my Dad, this involved a last minute trip to Kingston shopping centre to buy my Mum some Rocky Road, his thanks generally involving some sort of quaint Glaswegian phrase like who did you steal that off or what happened to my egg? I just feel old though, not just because I've now got to an age where kids are playing pranks on me rather than the other way round, or because I can remember specific episodes of the Goodies and which TV dinner I was eating in Penguin when I watched them, but because I'm tired, I just feel mentally quite old at the moment. I know it's just because it's Good Friday, where nothing seems to move and inner reflections come in hammocks that sway even gentler than normal, but I feel like I'm spending far too much time lately talking to people pining for the 90tys. Perhaps I spend too much time thinking about Grant Dodwell and old TV shows, but I quite like now, I quite like my life now, and such meanderings on the phone seem to just age me more than I would like. Then again, I have a pet panda that's sitting on top of my TV, which is the other extreme - that makes me feel too young. There's nothing in my house that feels like balanced stuff to have for a 30ty year old. And on my phone, so proudly sold to me by a bogan chick in Big W Kingston as the phone Big Brother winners get, there's a long text pining for 1997, ah, such a good year, when I was sober enough to enjoy it...

When I first moved to Hobart in 1997, I wasn't one for playing silly youthful pranks or games - well apart from one late night game of statues that got out of hand. I spent my first few weeks getting used to the variety of flavoursome treats that North Hobart had to offer, adjusting to the little things like trying to find a milk bar that was afraid of experimental milkshake flavours, and spending my meagre allowance from John Howards government on un-necessary items like The Incredible Sound of Jo Whiley CD and a rugby league jersey. You know, I could have studied or bought books, but the Gold Coast Chargers live on through my jumper. For the first 6ix weeks I lived in Hobart, I would stalk around the local record store, a store called Brashs. I don't think we had Brashs in Burnie, I think we had the 7BU Record Bar for a while, a massive scam, and that shop in the mall next to Coles where the girl smelled of milk and was a bit too much of a fan of Lisa Loeb. There was a girl who worked in Brashs who I liked because she was personable and wasn't screaming about Shania Twain liked those pushy 7 Habits of Highly Successful Sales readers at Sanity. She was about 2ty 3hree, and didn't smell of any dairy products that I could discern, and our relationship never got to the stage past casual conversation where I'd either make an arse of myself, or she'd have a boyfriend, which were my main 2wo dating responses in 1997. Our nascent conversational relationship about orange vinyl floundered though when Brashs closed in a flurry of financial trouble and bad business decisions, and the girl who had seemed so cool and interesting suddenly got quite sad and wistful as the closing down sale whirled around her head, and the last conversation we had was interrupted by a burly man who shoved straight past me to haggle about the price of a U2 album. It seemed apt I couldn't find anything interesting to say in our final conversations, because she had an adult problem, losing her job, and in the first flurry of freedom from home, all I was doing was wasting my time with immature decisions and time on swings and conversations about Snagglepuss. It was a shame that I couldn't empathise, but we'll always have our chat about vinyl. An interesting discussion it was, until I realised I probably should have been in class - oh well, plenty of time to catch up I guess...

I come from a house where we never really played any pranks or practical jokes. My Mum hates them, plus she has a vicious streak of revenge. Her favourite motto is you have to sleep sometimes, and some of my childhood games of tag were vicious affairs. It's probably not surprising that when I lived in Ayrshire, I never tormented the old woman who lived on the corner. Due to her busybody nature and bolshie Ayrshire attitude, she would often come out and claim to all the kids she was going to call the police no matter what was happening, even if it was just because she didn't like their face. The kids, in the middle of this eternal stand off of kids vs the man, only the man was an old woman in an apron, would respond by knocking her door at 3hree in the morning and getting their dog to perform sinful acts on her lawn. It came to a head on water balloon Sunday, when all the neighbourhood kids decided on an assigned time to throw water balloons at her door. Except for me. It wasn't that I wouldn't have done it, my exploits in knock door runaway were semi legendary, I just didn't see the need to harass an old woman who hadn't done anything to me as far as I knew. And anyway, I had confirmation class to attend, in a nice part of town called The Village, and as I got off the bus, I saw a parade of flying balloons hitting the door and a confrontation beginning. I lingered around the back out of sheer curiousity, and learned a lot of words I didn't know. In fact, I saw a lot of people who really wanted the nonsense to stop and looked really weary, but didn't quite know how to back down. It was then though the old woman looked at me and said something about how come all the kids couldn't be like me, mature and sensible. It's amazing to me that I wasn't instantly beaten up, on account of being a swot, and I had to shuffle off embarrassed past policeman who had lost all respect for me and my immaculately pressed shirt. I almost for the sake of my self respect got up at 3hree in the morning and lobbed a water balloon through her window, but of course, I couldn't be bothered. I probably even got up, put my jacket on, and then saw something on Eurosport and sat back down again. I couldn't bring myself to hassle someone just for the sake of it - I still couldn't do it. Mind you, I had to do something to redeem myself, and when she brought round some Easter Eggs the next year, I didn't enjoy them...much...yeah, that showed her...power to the kids....

I've been immature and mature in the same sentence sometimes, said just the right things but not shown the right actions. However, I'm more than happy with the peace that Good Friday brings me, and don't feel the need to beat myself up. There's a perfect stillness to the day, until the phone rings, the only sound I hear all day. The sound disrupts my mood, and I notice that I never got my paper delivered and get upset that I had to move out of the hammock. Good Friday most people say is the most boring day of the year, but I appreciate the respite, I appreciate the afternoon nap and the way nothing is opened. I hope Roadside Jesus was still out there though, plugging his Xmas message. I've made some mistakes in my life, but today is not the time for reflection. It's a time for peace and quiet, and as a result, I'm going to give you the best gift of all - a short paragraph...

It's not an egg, but it's not too shabby...

4 comments:

Ann oDyne said...

The Lisa Loeb of Hobart Coles is something I wish I could see.
She probably knows (from reading MUSCLE magazine) that Goldman's Gyms is now owned by Aussie Bev Francis, who may have worked in Coles long ago, before LA.

On Thank Good It's Friday, my house rumbled as hundreds of Fundies dragged a stuffing great crucifix past it to get to the biggest hill in town.

Anyone who has ever sunk a fence-post, must wonder about that drag-your-own cross thing.

Dig a big hole,
insert 2m redgum post (about $30)
fill with some screenings mixed into cement powder ....


(just sayin. I would not dare ruin a good Christian story)

Kettle said...

"...the way nothing is opened." Nicely put, Miles.

The quiet of Good Friday is quite unlike any other day, hey. Everything's closed on Christmas day too, say, but the whole day feels restless. It was so quiet on my race-track of a street on Friday I could hear birds. Birds - image! In a suburb where there are 100 times more people than trees.

Baino said...

A short paragraph indeed. Glad you relaxed. We went to the show with a gazillion other people and my feet still hurt! Today is my relaxathon! Hope you had a good weekend! Thank you Jesus for four days off and a short paragraph!

Miles McClagan said...

As long as you only saw her, and didn't have to smell her! She smelled of milk badly. Did you see John Safran get himself crucified? The hell was that? I could hardly lift my beer this morning, never mind a big post...Roadside Jesus's might just be made of cardboard!

Oh Xmas is awful! Boxing Day is the only day I have that comes close to Good Friday, but even then it's got all these sales on...Good Friday has so much time and space to sit around, it's kind of cool isn't it!

Roadside Jesus made me type a short paragraph - it's my treat to you all! I'll never resort to Youtube clips though...maybe next Easter!