Wednesday, August 12, 2009

3hree short stories about rainy days

I was walking around today with no real purpose. It was far to gloomy to cast a shadow on the pavement, and my me time in the library was interrupted by a glaring corner bound laptop wielding Santa Claus alike in a tracksuit. He had his own laptop plugged into some kind of illegal port and spoke in short breathy defensive grunts, as if anyone was going to penetrate his nylon forcefield and steal his ideas. He discombobulated me so much just with 1ne raised fuzzy eyebrow, I had to leave, and he looked pleased to have seen off a challenger to his corner bound entitlements. The alternative was to wander around in the rain like an orphan in some sort of depressing musical with my hands in my pockets and my despair somehow metaphorical and meaningless to the wider world. I walked briskly instead to the book store - the new 1ne with the little seats and the pleasant Irish lady who comes up with a pun on the title of every book you buy - and as I walked to get away from the milling crowds, a girl behind me began to look up at the sky and let out a curse that the Gods themselves would wince upon hearing. Her curse was caused by the rain, and the fact that it meant that her netball game on Sunday would be cancelled. She seemed incredibly agitated by this, while her John Stamos a like boyfriend walked with a stoop and an attitude which suggested he didn't care either way as long as his hair was in place. I lost them somewhere around KFC at which point John Stamos had put his hands into his leather jacket and had the temerity to begin a sentence that evolved into his problems being spelled out. She cut him off of course, her lack of co-ordinated ball sports more important than what sounded like a genuine emotional problem on his part, waving her hand dismissively in the hasty search for fried chicken, the only proper way to ignore whatever cracks there are in your relationship...

Creek Road, as I've mentioned before, was where my girlfriend used to play netball, a collection courts in Moonah filled with girls running around bumping into each other and learning the power of bullying as far as I could tell. She was really competitive my girlfriend, and would be the 1st girl there, despite the alleged social nature of the competition she was in, to set up and practice and I would wander down and yell encourgaging things like good hustle and things that really showed I was a good attentive boyfriend. I knew nothing about netball apart from yelling the phrase contact centre a lot. When netball was cancelled - and to be honest it was cancelled as many times because their goal keeper was drunk or stuck in some boys house as it was because of rain - we would have to negotiate a far greater peril, grocery shopping, so I would certainly hope the game was on. Anything but a 1ne hour tour of the melon stand. Especially since there only 1ne melon to look at most weekends. Sometimes they would start the game anyway in cyclonic conditions which would just mean I always that ended being 1ne of 3hree people in the stand, me, the wing attacks girlfriend with the big lips, and this pervy guy who always thought he was a chance to score with 1ne of the girls and claimed to have been an ex boyfriend of Kathryn Harby. And always, every time it rained, he would say just 1ne thing over and over again like a vinyl record tattered and torn by his own ennui...

"How wet does it want to be?" - it was undefined. Perhaps it was just a pervy come on line to the lesbian. Since I never had a definitive answer to the question, an ice age would occur in between him saying his catchphrase, realising I was ignoring him, and him turning with the self assured pose of the totally deluded and yelling something that could only be described as a single entendre in the direction of the flooded netball court...

On reflection, I just liked it when they played, it was sunny, she won, and I got to use the ATARI and had a sandwich made for me...I think that happened, oh, maybe 2wice...

Although being an 80tys child, Noah had to float on top of the football oval before any sporting activities would be even considered for postponment, rain did deny us on more than 1 occasion the chance to partake our hippy school idealistic afternoon stare at the clouds. This was always upsetting to me, as it was not only an outlet to get out of the classroom box, it also meant I didn't have to play board games. I wasn't opposed to board games, but the mixture of claustrophobia, condensation and the likelihood Georgina would stick 1ne of the dice up her nose didn't exactly look like an enticing prospect. Those afternoons were aimless for a thinker like me, and they were all the same, the only thing that was different was who fought with who once Smithton syndrome - like Stockholm Syndrome with less teeth - kicked in. It came pass 1ne rainy day in the mid 8tys I was discussing the career of some cricketer in my psuedo intellectual way, a shock of blonde hair as obscure as some of the terminology I used, when Georgina, a sort of gurning toothless child with shaggy blonde hair who inevitably grew up to be the best looking girl in school, handed me a note with a gurn and a grunt and a gammy limp away. In purple crayon was written "Guess who likes you?" - with likes spelt with an x...

Georgina? I mean, she had a nice personality...

It was actually from Sarah, but of course Georgina had failed to mention that. So instead of my alloted cloud staring time I had to sit in a small room while Georgina gurned in my direction which I was worried was some kind of attempt at alluring that failed miserably when Big M came out of her nose. There was nothing else to do, I had to be a man, I had to...well, run out into the rain to be honest, to get away from her. As I huddled under the big ramp, my emotional maturity not strong on account of my lack of life experience, I looked across at the monkey bars and Pippa was standing there, in the rain, just staring out at the oval getting soaked. She looked at me, I looked at her, we both realised we were a pair of idiots standing out in the rain, and we walked back into the classroom silently together, without a single exchange of glance or any of her more prophetic statements, and believe me, if the shimmering goddess of the monkey bars was silent, I didn't want to know what was up...

Time passed, lots of rain fell on Penguin, and I got older. My Dad used to coach me in soccer. School soccer was a horrific experience for me, because part of my I'm really cool because you haven't found out I'm a dork yet experience involved a strange mythology that I didn't create that I had been coached by Pele, Hotshot style, and was some kind of god, rather than an awkward geeky teenager with gangle disease. I'm afraid once word of my gangle got around, I became another bog standard bewildered kid counting down the seconds until he could go home. So the cancellation of school sports due to bad weather was often something of a godsend, a chance to go back to bed or lie around the house stretched out on my horrible bedroom carpet staring at the ceiling wondering when exactly I could get back to Scotland for a holiday. I spent most of 1994 alternating between homesickness and nausea and never being sure which was which. My PE teacher was something of a local coaching legend, 1ne of the old fire and brimstone coaches with silver hair and short grumpy sentences. He had suggested to my Dad, being something of a weatherman when his knee injury from the 67 Grand Final played up, that my gangle be cured through a fitness program he had devised. Sure enough, when rain got the soccer postponed, that I spend my time lifting bricks in the garage. The perfect cure for gangle...

It didn't go well...

It rained all day of course, and my Dad and I ended up sitting in the garage trying to work through the fractured elements of our relationship. He was in the shock cycle because I had told him where to stick his bricks, which oddly enough wasn't in a neatly arranged and perfectly cemented wall structure, and I just wanted to go back to bed. Being male, neither of us spoke for hours, until eventually by magic, the rain stopped, a beautiful rainbow spread out over Burnie and....we argued for another 3hree hours of course. It had nothing to do with bricks, it was just the way of the world. It could rain, it could be beautiful, we could both like Clannad, and I would still be resentful that I was ripped away from my beloved Scotland and all it's cable television goodness to sit and be told by an old limping badly jumpered PE teacher that I was gangly and awkward. If I could have explained it, sat and talked, who knows, but instead, I waited until the rain evaporated to the point I could leave the garage, took my rage out on 2wo innocent bricks, and ran away for 2wo days to go and wander around Burnie, wondering where it had all gone wrong, as melancholy as the guy outside Penguin post office who used to just yell "I hurt!" to random passers by. Not exactly like him, I mean, I didn't get arrested for flashing, but I felt a kinship to him I didn't feel to my own father...

And it's still raining outside....but I'm feeling better now at least...I think it's the house...or the IPOD...or the lime spider...something like that...

3 comments:

Kris said...

I will confess that I am tiring of the rain myself...

Baino said...

Haha . .I thought hustle was a baseball term for ‘hurry up’
I don’t know what’s happened up here. People have become very precious about ‘wet weather’ games. My daughter plays soccer and is now playing Friday catchups because the powers that be think it’s too hard on the pitch. I mean, what if you lived in England and cancelled the FA Cup qualifiers just because of a bit of rain! I told one of my very young commenters that he looked a bit 'gangly' once . . he deleted me from Facebook in a fit of pique . .we kissed and made up but he's still gangly. I just don't tell him anymore!

Miles McClagan said...

I think above else, when it stops raining, my lawn needs tender care...for about a year...

I have noticed that even in "The NW" they've got really precious about cancelling sports. I used to play mini league up to my knees in slush...wusses. I was always afflicted by gangle I'm afraid. I wouldn't take offence, I'd just shrug and cry later!