Friday, July 3, 2009

Melbourne The Interlude Part 2w0 - A morning when ZOMG is just un-necessary

It's a cold morning in Kingston town, my Dad is driving me around in a community car, since mine is at the mercy of grease mechanics and the whimsical fates of a spanner. A romantic way of saying the car might be stuffed, but you know, someone has to provide the romance around here, since the car park is empty, the familiar haunted woman in the garage is there 1nce again staring pained out of her glass petrol scented prison, and the only chat up option available to me is a toothless woman in a tracksuit who seems overly aggressive towards 1ne of the trollies, as if it has personally jilted her in the same way denistry and life in general has. I don't think she's my type. I'm in my occasional pattern, where I have to get my hair cut in Cyber Hair - the hairdressers of the future, with robotic patter somewhat appropriate. The girl who collects the combs seems inappropriately retro however, she seems like 1ne of those Beatles fans you see in old films screaming outside the airport, with a swept up 60tys beehive and a devil may care hippy attitude towards sparkles, spangles and bangles. It all seems strangely at odds with her youthful face. I'm sure that my stock standard chat about the evolution of the Walkman isn't going to play with this young audience, and I'm too sleepy to test my material. The girl who gets the honour - if you can call it that, for I think the Cyber hair people consider themselves artistes, and my head is somewhat of a blank canvas - of fixing my bonce seems positively East German however, austere with big shot putter hands. That's unfair, it's me who feels clinical, my own conversation is not up to standard, but it's not entirely my fault. Confronted with a giant up personal size of the room mirror - which disappointingly isn't the slighest bit futuristic - I can't help but notice one of my eyelids isn't opened right. It's positively napping on the job, and I get completely distracted by it. The hippy girl isn't distracted by anything, she's gleefully setting up combs like Woodstock is picking up steam. The herrdresser meanwhile is using her East German charms to measure by sideburns with a ruler to make sure they are even. I can't even begin to imagine how they get on in the same tiny building, in this faux futuristic hairdressing wonderland. At least I have the knowledge of having perfectly even sideburns, and escape with my conversational dignity intact, having betrayed none of my weekend plans or said anything stupid. If my old hippy hairdresser in Burnie could see me now...the things I said in that chair...

The only growth industry in this shopping centre appears to be skill testers - it's getting to the stage all the shops will close, and all that will be left is little machines that make you pick up milk and juice with a tiny unworkable claw. I walk past a sad, unloved empty building with a dirty concrete floor, and to my disappointment I can't remember what was in the building when it was open - some hopeful small business maybe, sat next to the optometrists, which has a magic eye style eye test in the wall, taunting the bored and idle who walk past and take a 2nd look. In the supermarket, as seems to always happens to me these days, Coldplay are playing on the PA system, like a tinkly piano playing soft rock siamese twin. There's a father pushing a trolley in my direction, loaded with fizzy drink and 20ty different kinds of biscuit. My kind of trolley really, although mines is a bit feeble at the moment, just yoghurt and unfulfilled culinary dreams. Oh and a sponge cake. The father has a big bushy beard, the best kind of beard, and has a motorcycle jacket on, with a twisting, venomous snake hissing from it's back and some no doubt fiercely named motorcycle gang pressganged onto the pocket in suspiciously unfierce gold leaf stitching. It seems a little incongrous that this man of rebellion would inflict his hissiest cobra as he strolls down an aisle of tasty snacks while Coldplay tinkle aimlessly in the background, but his kid doesn't notice the juxtaposition of light rock and dark jackets, since she's pulling his denims in a constant bid for attention and Arrowroots. That's if kids still eat Arrowroot biscuits, maybe I was just unusual. Monte Carlos, no thankyou. I'm txting a friend of mine some nonsense - she's trying to get me on Twitter and I'm ignoring the question as I txt, and our trolleys nearly collide in our mutual male inattention. We're both in an alien world, out of our comfort zones, but neither of us really notice our near collision really, and I like to think we shoot each other a mutual look which suggests empathy in our weariness, but he maybe thinking what's with that guys eyelid while I'm thinking I wish that kid would shut up and stop screaming about Samboy chips. We shimmy around each awkwardly as he ambles towards fruit and veg, leaving behind from our chance meeting on this big planet the faint smell of early morning ennui and the faintest sound of tinkly elevator rock humming in the background...

There's an old couple milling around the newspapers when I try and grab my newspaper. I've been transformed from slightly scruffy urchin to army cadet in the space of one shearing, and so the local shopkeepers don't need to keep their eye on my anymore now I look more respectable. They are reading some bad news on the front of the paper - a horrible murder, everyone afraid - like it hasn't happened, as if Hobart is a haven of peace and love and the paper has made the whole thing up. I'd make reference to 10thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire, but no-one gets that reference. The old woman is eating a Snickers bar and shaking her head in sad denial, her husband so uncomfortable he's just dying for her to turn over to Fred Bassett. I've got a copy of a magazine with Lady Gaga on the cover dressed in bubbles, so I can't really join in the funereal mourning around the paper. Outside Chickenfeed there's a slightly bewildered old man in a hat nodding to passers by. He seems to be a bit simple, but he's charming the patrons with his display of mannerly conduct, doffing his hat to any lady who passes by, and basking in his mannerly superiority. He's certainly 1ne up on me given I've just collided with a slow moving nanna and am not sure whether it's my fault. The nanna glares at me and I glare back because I'm still not sure if it was my fault, and she crumbles first, apologizing and moving slowly towards the counter to pay for her copy of the Mercury. The old couple around the paper have moved on by then, the poignancy of real life having proved too much for them. If the Mercury wants to give the people what they want, they need more stories about lost teddy bears and fund raising farms, not grizzly murders. The hat doffer meanwhile has also gone, his wife taking him by the arm as if she's personally chaperoning him away from hussies and harlots trying to steal him away. That just leaves me and old Granny 2wo step, and she exacts a form of revenge on me just in case the collision was my fault by holding me up in the line, caught in a moment of indecision. Steamrollers or Juicy Fruit, Juicy Fruit or Steamrollers...an ice age forms in the time it takes her to decide...I'm sure if she was less of a lady that when she turned around after finally deciding she'd have given me the finger, but she settles for a raised eyebrow and a brush of the shoulders of her Millers cardy...I have the last word though, since Steamrollers, of course, absolutely suck...

If the East German had asked me in that rote hairdresser way what I had planned for the weekend and not been a slave to the ruler, I would have had no answer. I could have made something up, but this is a weekend for rest, and I don't think the answer that I was planning an entire weekend of getting nothing done would have really made for stimulating chat. I could have been motivated, I could cleaned mould off the bathroom wall and tidied up, I could have drunk beer like a lush, I could have danced around in Syrup like a mad man, or better yet found some out of the way bar that I didn't even know existed, but instead I'm in the middle of the local general store, cursing that I had to even get up, just for the sake of drinking bottled water. Water and a good book, it's not exactly Rocktober. I'm not even being served, no John Inman is popping out here, saying he's free. There's a guy on the phone, nominally behind the counter, speaking in loud bragging terms about the fantastic night out he had the night before. He's motioning to me like he's trying to get off the phone and serve me, but I'm not buying it, and I begin to wonder who much I really want this bottled water and ice cream treat. He's just not convincing me that his life is so fantastic though, and his store bought tales of sexual nightclub conquest are falling on deaf ears. He's got the bling, but his stories lack zing, and he seems nervous as he speaks, at least to a trained ear. After a while, just as I go to put my ice cream snack back in the frosty cell it came from, the guys dad storms out to serve me, shooting his son a filthy look and trying his best to fix my soothed customer brow. I feel like asking for a free Freddo for my troubles, but the fact his son has to put the phone down and apologize to me lest he feel more monobrowed wrath, and after money is exchanged for goods and services and an ice cream with a double entendre name, I leave them in family argument, while I pack my belongings into my bag, and wander off home, where I might have oddly shaped eyebrows and no particular place to go, but at least I am free from the shackled days when my Dad got to yell at me, and the only stories about nightclubs I had were ones made from older, much cooler kids...

The hippy girl now I think of it was singing along to the Black Eyed Peas...she's off the Xmas card list as well...

5 comments:

Samantha said...

A ruler? That just seems so ... so ... clinical.

sparsely kate said...

I thought this:


The herrdresser


was rather genius, Miles ;)


I love a family run general store, there is sort of the same type of interaction happening in the local pizza place I go too. I'm still trying to figure out who is the chef/owner's wife because there are two women who work there of his age group and they both seem rather familiar with him, but I haven't studied them enough to say for sure. He gets quite impatient with both at different times, especially when they can't run a credit card transaction through.

Anyhoo.

There is nothing wrong with telling people you haven't got much planned for the weekend and that you are going to rest. I find it stops the pretense of witty banter straight away and we can all rest easy - you've got nothing more to say and neither do they.

I miss Hobart after reading this. I think I shall go back this January.

Miles McClagan said...

I know, especially at Cyber hair, the hairdressers of the future...so communist...

I hoped someone would notice that, I liked it too! My general store is really strange. I think immigration could get involved, it has a lot of comings and goings...I had a good rest though, and kept really quiet! I just sat on the floor and learned things from books...a triumph!

Baino said...

You had a Golden Gaytime in June? I don't like talking to hairdresses, I just want them to do the job. My local store is run by Indians and they've cleaned it up a treat since the grumpy Yorkshireman who used to own it left. Problem is they've stocked it with Indian ingredients and I don't know what half of them are for? A quiet weekend is good for the soul now and then. God knows I have enough of them.

Miles McClagan said...

Oh yeah, ice cream in July, I was feeling maverick...

This one is owned by Greeks, I think it's a bit dodgy. They never get a quiet weekend. It's hustle, bustle and family fueds a go-go...