Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1ne year anniversary post - Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation

There's a new book store opening up in the shopping mall where I work, although it's hidden away behind white screens and doors at the moment - an impersonal sign is affixed on the door, stuck down with flimsy tape and promising books in fancy piles and staff that will positively burst to serve you and cater to all your reading needs. It's in a positive font the sign, so I'm sure they wouldn't lie to you. I don't remember the first time I saw a shop close down - I think it was the one in Scotland, the sports store that one day suddenly vanished in a blizzard of unpaid bills parked under the door. I'm always depressed when a shop closes, but one opening is sure to cheer my spirits as a new wave of bogan customers slowly deflating eager beaver middle managers with their insane ramblings and strange twisted queries while I hover around in a tracksuit trying to purchase a book I don't really need. I'll miss the man with the IPOD who worked in the old book store, he had style - sitting behind the desk listening to his classical music on his IPOD while rocking one of the worlds most perfectly manicured beards. I guess his demise as a storekeep is some kind of progress, but it still requires a moment of contemplation. I was in quiet thought about exactly what the anticipated new bookstore might provide when an old man flapping his arms walked past, in a pair of old man high pants and creepy crawly eyebrows muttering something about the government being to blame for everything. I'm not entirely sure what has brought about this particular dismissal of everything that Kevin Rudd stands for, it certainly can't be the people at Boost Juice, they are entirely to blame for their own shortcomings. He's looking squarely at a man in a cleaners outfit who's blamelessly eating a sandwich as he chews, but I don't think he's done anything to inspire party political comment. Unless he's chewing his sandwich with a left wing bias. Which isn't easy to do. He storms off continuing to flap his arms, before turning around to curse in the direction of the book store, muttering something about it being the corporate arm of the facist something or other. His vitriol is passionate but mis-directed and hollow, as the book store hasn't even opened yet. Maybe the staff there will hate the government too, and throw off the shackles of corporate oppression. Maybe not - he wouldn't be happy anyway I suspect, because when last I see him he's turned his attention to the perennial problem of poor bus services...bloody Rudd, what did we ever see in him...

There's a very large man who sits in the library where I work, always on the computer in the corner playing some sort of role playing game - I'd take the moral high ground of course, but my own 1999 was spent entirely competing with single mothers and a threatening Aboriginal kiddie for a glimpse of the Internet, the use of one of the 3hree computers Kingston library had at the time and now I wonder what the fuss was all about, all the shouting and all the times the single mothers pushed aside bewildered children to make a further point about how they put their name on the list first. Good times. I walk past him and he always shoots me a look like I'm about to invade his personal space or worse, take his computer away and make him stop being an elf at a critical moment of elf stress. It might be a breach of elf and safety for his mental stress. As he shifts in his seat one leg at a time, clutching the keyboard like it's his personal property, I sit down across from him and try not to make eye contact unless he gets upset. Next to me is a doe eyed hippy girl with brunette hair and sparkly shiny braces in a tie dyed skirt that's a melange of not quite matching dis-orientating colours, who doesn't appear to be looking at anything in particular. Her blackberry is about to fall on the floor, and she's 1/2 way through an e-mail or something and the cursor blinks relentlessly, which is re-assuring, because she doesn't blink once as her fringe falls casually across her face. It's sort of hypnotic watching her expressionless frozen coupon. Perhaps she's pondering the pain a whole lot of money will bring like the chatterbox kids reading the Advocate far away. It's then I notice the entranced expression of the fat guy, who seems to have taken a real shine to the blank expressionless hippy. I'm in no position to be the mutually introductory conduit to their potential happiness, distracted as I am by the perpetual question of what exactly the old woman in the glass booth in the library does. I mean she allegedly works for senior citizen awareness but as far as I can tell she sits and does Sudoku all day in an air conditioned office. I'd ponder it for a bit more, but I'm feeling a bit like a third wheel between the worlds largest elf and the hypnohippy, and to be honest, it's put me right off my Youtube clip, so I shuffle out awkwardly, having a flashback to pretty much every party I went to 1995 as I go - it only needed Alanis on the CD player and to wake up on the back of a flatbed truck...

Much later I'm in a queue in the supermarket, it's mid afternoon. I'm scouring the supermarket for the right assembly of chips, something I pride myself on. Anyone can buy Samboys, and I don't roll like that. I've got a million mundane thoughts on my mind, and none of them involve the school age child talking about how large her boyfriends appendage is. I have to turn up the IPOD pretty loudly to drown her out. I hadn't noticed just quite how many skill testers there are around the front of the supermarket. It seems to make the purchase of little mini Picnics completely redundant when you can waste your life picking them up with a claw. An emaciated guy with a turban pushes trolleys around past them as I watch - when I did it, I at least got to watch the routine of the prostitutes, see a surly Peter Brock and pocket enough 20c pieces to try and woo Kylie during a showing of Space Jam at the Burnie Village Cinema. He just isn't putting his heart into it though, so his blog must be rubbish. A taxi driver meanwhile is explaining the demise of the taxi industry to an old woman who tomorrow will be gone far away by the look of her frailty - Brighton if I'm not mistaken. A woman in a black polo neck decides to alleviate her 1ne woman queue by shuffling us all rather rudely to register 1ne, and as I look back I see she's pretty much just reading her magazine, staring and idly pointing to celebrities and chatting to the girl behind the cigarette counter about what a skank Lindsay Lohan is. After a while she really isn't even looking at who comes up to her, she's just sort of pointing to the poor junior with the tie his Mum did who's stuck doing all the work. I feel a kinship with him down to the overly big glasses he's stuck with. I want to tell him the ladies in the supermarket with the big jumpers and the bossy attitudes really have tenure, they never really get out from the lure of the tangellos, they end up marrying failed lawyers and bitching about them in the cool room, and are continually depressed about younger prettier trainees bypassing them to cushy office jobs while they are stuck on the register. Maybe that was just Burnie. He doesn't know any of this, he's patiently waiting for me to get my butt into gear and get my change right, he doesn't have time for the arm around the shoulder talk from some old man, some old man who's desperate to have a crack at the skill testers...I could murder a Picnic...

I have to stagger through one last task in the bewilderness, a boring go-no-where meeting with lots of paper and a bowl of Jaffas infinitely more exciting than anything being written on a notepad. Time goes utterly slowly as I feign the enthusiasm required to convince the meeting I'm actually paying attention while surreptitiously drawing little marks all over the face of Judy Moran. I hope she doesn't find out. I had been dreading this horrific corporate nonsense all day long, but I get out of it eventually, without need to blame the government nor take substances that make me stare blankly into outer space. It takes an age to meander and wind my way through the traffic and get the taste of Jaffa out of my system and by the time I get home, I fall asleep pretty much straight away. I have an incredibly strange dream in which my uncle yelled at me for no apparent reason, and wake up in the dark all on my own in my house, freezing to death while a petulant soccer player whinges at me from my TV screen. I still find it strange living alone - I still find the calm, the stillness, the personal responsibility quite terrifying at times, all the little jobs and tasks that go into making sure the house doesn't burn down or that the oven if off or that I remember to take the Chip and Dale VHS tape out of the video recorder...well, that last one was from the first time I ever stayed at home alone. Before I really knew about bad governments, the difficulties of talking to girls no matter how transcendantly still, about what really goes on with supermarket politics, or how horrible it is to be in an airless windowless room picking idly at Jaffas and nodding at the right moments. I would ponder endlessly about the way my life has turned out, the good and the bad, but there's some contrived improvisational comedy on the television, and the fuzzy headed emptiness of the premise is enough to take my mind off the trials and tribulations of the day, and finally, I am as still, calm and non moving as even the most bewildered of the Rosnyites...

I don't have any ice-cream in the fridge though...bloody government...

5 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

Miles Miles MILES - "be a breach of elf and safety" ????

You saved yourself bythismuch with 'bewilderness'

G said...

Congratulations on your one year anniversary. It's a good thing to have your blog last that long.

I have followers whose blogs died out after five months or so, or update them so sporadically that they might as well be dead.

Question: been following your blog for quite sometime, and one thing has puzzled me from the get go.

What do you do for a job?

Miles McClagan said...

It's an Adam Hills joke - I just used it, it cured a serious case of writers block...

It's good to make it this far - it's been a slog lately, but I do have some enthusiasm back! What do I for a job? Retail, always retail...

G said...

Retail?

Oh man, you have my condolences. I spent twenty+ years in retail, and the only thing I learned from doing it was this:

I don't deal with stupid.

Miles McClagan said...

If I didn't deal with stupid, I wouldn't help a single customer

So I don't! Hooray for Sudoku!