Monday, July 13, 2009

Dreams, ambitions, hollow balls to spin round...

I had a dream last night. It wasn't 1ne of my more vivid dreams, since I was loopy on ennui and little purple Lemsip pills stacked up on the counter like medicated temptresses, imploring me to take the siren song between meals. It had tangents and as many pointless scenes as a DVD of Weeds, but in the main, there was a windowless, airless Grade 12elve library room. There was for some reason lemon madeira cake on the table with a gently sloping carving knife beside it, but the madeira cake was fractionally out of reach unless I produced a significant and aggressive reach across the table. There was a guidance councillor across the room from me, shimmering with hope for me. It was the September of my youth, when I still had promise and hope and a youthful vigour, and I was wasting it in the first forlorn hopes of a lustful pursuit doomed to failure and angst. In my dream, I was squiggling on a notepad, listening to the hypnotic thump of the clock while the guidance councillor rhapsodised an unwitting eulogy for my youth. She had plans for me that lady, although like the air in the room I was probably a little stale. The lemon madeira cake was more enticing than her plan for me, this dream lady, as was the girl outside the glass tomb, doomed as it all ended up being. Someone was doing a blowfish on the glass window, and I was giggling because it was funny to the overmedicated. And it was funny when our ballcrushingly gritty realist librarian carted the blower of fish away, dooming him to an hour of stamping books and stamping away his spirit. Then she shows me her notepad, this guidance councillor full of professionally trained hope, a mapped out chart with arrows and lines and she smiles a hypnotically entrancing smile, not an attractive one, but a functional one, a smile of re-assurance, a smile that says she's on my side, and will keep in touch after Grade 12elve. I don't want to show her my notepad of course, it's just got 2wo drawings on it now, 1ne of me eating a slice of cake and the other an immature savaged love heart with lines and squiggles and more badly constructed imagery than the 1st Hole album. And when she goes to complete her plan for me with a simple, wrapping it all up question, something simple to just ease me out and let the female equivalent of me in for a similar chat with more flowery language, something like who is my hero, I can't answer, and I have nothing more to say - I want to scream something about things happening too fast, but I'm too shy shy, and I wake up in the present, underneath a flowery doona with an alarm clock hissing a staticy cry in my ears, and a strange desire for some madeira cake...

It's lunch time where I work. I'm washed out from the flu, the bitter acrid taste of a long sucked Strepsil is running amok in my throat, and I'm far too tired to even peep in the hole of the rapidly constucting book shop, another corporate chain created in the space where independence 1nce stood. Naomi Klein books just stay in your head I guess. I'm sitting at a table with my paper spread out in the international symbol for no disruptions, because there's a girl on the rampage, handing out little sachets of free Cheese Vegemite, like a Bicardi girl in a nightclub except without that little awkward moment where there might be a chance the guy might think she's genuinely interested...I had a talk with 1ne of the Bicardi girls 1ne night in Syrup, which was very strange because she liked the fact I wasn't hitting on her and I liked the fact that I had shut her up about Bicardi for a minute, so it was strange, and she liked Billy Joel which was even stranger. I don't think my interaction with Cheesymite girl is going to be so interesting - she's all eyes and teeth, eventually locking intellectual horns with a man in a Hawaiian shirt, who is incongruously sunburnt in the midst of a horrible Hobart winter. He puffs his chest out and takes as many Cheesymite samples as he possibly can - they fit into his hands neatly but the conversation falters when the stage school graduate sees a motherload of potential clients, a harassed family with a pram, and like that she's off in a cream coloured blur of activity. Not that our fricassed friend seems to mind, he's got little samples of spread to savour - I would hope he didn't want for something more out of life, but he seems happy enough, and wanders off with his thongs flip flapping across the tiled floor in the direction of the skill tester machine, while I continue to munch idly on my sandwich in the middle of a suburban twister, sat in the brace position until all the wreckage had passed, and someone at the safe haven said the coast was clear...

I'm not sure I ever had that conversation - not sure I had anything I wanted to be when I grew up. Maybe famous, maybe in movies. I had short term goals - the first Big M of the day, the final football card that made up the big picture on the back of the SCG at night, the newest Transformers, a VHS tape of that episode of Punky Brewster where she spoke to Buzz Aldrin...each goal achieved, more time passed, but I'm not sure I ever got to a point where I wondered where I was going. Maybe we had the conversation on 1ne of this mandatory hippy afternoons my primary school pushed me into, where we lay on the ground and picked cloud shapes. Maybe I spoke about it to Pippa, on some sunny day when she wasn't shimmering by the monkey bars speaking in short mystical sentences. I had this boisterous mate called Nick, he had a face like Mr Toad and he was the 1st person I knew to understand the rules of Grade 2wo comedy, just saying words like booger and putting them in a sentence. I could never re-concile that in the 4our years I was in Scotland he drifted into petty criminal activities. It just seemed strange to me, but then I left as a shiny intellectual hope who attended all his classes and came back a smart mouthed cynic with a cheeky attitude and found a girlfriend who was older and pashed viciously and gave me cream buns for nothing, so who was I to judge from the moral parepet that was the school fort? He came screaming up to me 1ne day while I waited for a Caramel Big M and told me he knew, he positively knew that I was going to be a fireman. He never explained his rationale but he was confident that was what I was going to be. He knew as much as I did I guess, but maybe the fire he lit in the science block some time around 199four that got him expelled was a test for me and his instinct, 1ne that I failed due to a lack of preparation, a lack of available water due to restrictions, and the fact I was asleep when he did it. And when I found out, it was definitely a where did it all go wrong moment, and 1ne that had to be mused over over the munching of a Golden Rough, while aggressive fire marshalls picked bits of glass up from ashphalt, swearing in a manner which didn't make my predicted career path seem attractive...

I think I tried to explain this to the Bicardi girl, I think I tried the myriad threads of my own life, the ups and downs and oscilliations of hope and what might have been. She smoked a Malboro Light and talked about her own dreams, a modelling contract dangling before her, once she had sold enough Bicardi to clear unspecified debts. It was late at night, the club was scarcely full, it was a miserable Wednesday night, positively airless, and she was smiling smiles a hypnotically entrancing smile, not an attractive one, but a functional one, a smile of re-assurance, a smile that says she's on my side, and will keep in touch after our conversation. Actually that's unfair, she was just as cynical as me, she didn't like her job, and she seemed far too young to seem so old, eventually getting up to dance to a Billy Joel song with an accountant from Natone, giving me an opportunity to exit gracefully a conversation spiralling into maudlin territory from both sides of the sofa. She came back to say the accountant had bad breath, and we parted company when she saw a rube in the corner she could sell Bicardi to. The rube was someone I went to school with, someone who should have known better. He positively radiated success, but it was false, the sharp suit tattered a little bit in the corners, the smile more nervous than he would admit, the emptiness of his table depressing. I'm sure he flashed me a smile that said a relatively attractive girl with positively shaking hips was coming his way, that was the epitome of cool and style, sitting in this club, music pumping, joint less than jumping, the only girl in the club with teeth heading his way. Fates had smiled on him, so he thought, and I left quietly before any kind of realisation he was being played yet to hit him. After all, last time I saw him, he was scooping a slice of madeira cake into his face, spreading the crumbs all over the window as he did a blowfish, and was so full of the joys of life and so full of optimism, I much preferred to remember him that way, rather than just as a fat bloke with elbows hanging out of his suit...

Another day ended, another dream was out there hanging in the air...bit like today, with less cake...

3 comments:

Samantha said...

"jumping, the only girl in the club with teeth heading his way" - lol

You were particularly great his time - you should get the flu more often :)

Kath Lockett said...

But did you and the Bacardi girl stay in touch?

Miles McClagan said...

Anytime I think I have the flu, my Mum actually will yell at me it's a cold, but this time it was the flu...only purple pills and verbose literature can help!

As far I know she went to Perth to fulfil some kind of modelling commitment and I never saw her in Syrup again. She was...interesting...