Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kingston, 6pm eternal (the post that got delayed because of 3 weeks of flu)

It's 6ix Pm in Kingston and an idle and fidgety and restless member of the human race needs petrol. It's cold and dark and old men conforming to the old man uniform of the region are gathered around the garage forecourt discussing manly things about cars and manifolds and such like things, leaning on their cars like old men should. Things I don't think I'll ever be interested in, an overactive imagination and sense of impending doom usually keeping my attention span fully occupied. My car is now officially roaring to such an extent that NASA give me a countdown everytime I back out of the driveway. My attempt to make rum balls was a balls up, and the spectre of 2 and 1/2 Men being on every channel all the time continues my deepest non football related anxieties. There's a pile of books on my floor that I'll never read even though front covers in the book store continue to inspire me to purchase, and in the midst of my quiet contemplation of miniscule worries adding up to a molehill, the girl from the service station engages in me a conversation through her secure glass window of the night-time counter. I don't even have the time to wonder exactly happened to the manic depressive black jumpered petrol station attendtant who used to stare wistfully out of the window before she's pointing an aggressive jabbing finger at the front page of the Mercury. Her freckles and old before her time face are illuminated by an unnecessary bright yellow vest, the kind worn by distracted gum chewers on the tarmac of Hobart Airport. The jist of her conversation as far as I can tell seems to involve someone in the paper who held up a garage being let back into the community and not sent to jail. I'm not sure if the implication of her conversation is that I'm going to rob her - I'm not the type really, and judging by her arms, she'd beat me senseless - or she's projecting a genuine anxiety onto the customers out of fear and nervousness about being locked in her garage with only a KitKat and a yellow vest for company. She never smiles during her right wing style heckling about crime and punishment, building to a crescendo which suggests that boiling people in oil for double parking might be a suggested platform for her yellow vest campaign for mayor, I have to make 1ne of those gestures people make when they really aren't sure how to stop a crazy rant, a dismissive gesture of my hand ending the conversation, but when I step back to my car, she's still talking, just to the next man in line. She hasn't missed a beat. I don't even know if she knows I've gone...I don't even know if I paid....

There's an old woman standing next to her trolley when I park my car. She's got 1ne of those old women dresses on, the classic gingham look, or so I think, I just presume everything is gingham, hair immaculately combed and then recombed like an OCD patient would do, obsessively teased to the point of strain. She stands around the car park most nights to be honest, or at least a version of her is, a bewildered older woman with a bag of oranges or some singular purchase clutching in wrinkled gnarly hands, her body stooped over, the purchase on the verge of falling from her weakening grasp. This particular old woman is walking with a pronounced limp, although like my Mother with her rapidly decaying ankle the prospect of walking with a cane is as horrid as a nursing home and Friday night bingo, and is clutching a bag of frozen peas and has nothing in her trolley whatsover. It's too dark to see if she's already unloaded her groceries into her tiny car, but she has a craggy face that dares passers by to challenge any aspect of her life. If she wants to eat nothing but tiny green vegetables and loiter around near a Datsun of many colours, she'll do it, for she is old, and all knowing. What's strange about this old woman is that she has her finger tied to the trolley with string and is pushing it back and forth like she's nursing a child, or playing with a yo-yo with really terrible wheels. I don't know if she's crazy, or just knows something the rest of us don't about the importance of keeping your shopping trolley close but your enemies closer...

The teller who scans my miniscule and obviously single man pile of groceries is disressingly young. He makes me and a lady straight from a furniture catalogue in the 70tys wait while he stands awkwardly on 1ne foot, trying to put his money in the drawer and failing miserably. His little green shirt is perfectly ironed by his Mum, who has sent him out looking nice but can't do anything to iron onto him a confident personality. The lady from the catalogue has a tiny dog on a leash that stares awkwardly and vacantly out towards the bakery and some of the attractively locked away goods, tongue and wail wagging as 1ne, as if it could just get off the leash and strike out on it's own it would be happy, and I could compose some sort of analogy to some of the people around here if I could take my eyes of the spellbinding and captivating lives of celebrities glimmering from the magazine rack. The pale boy behind the counter then unexpectedly swears, loudly and in a deep voice that belies his youthful exterior. He throws his money filled cylinder down, and gets yelled at by a black jumpered supervisor who swishes through the air like a lecturing superhero, wagging a finger in his direction, the gum in her mouth perpetually on the edge of her lipstick abyss like mouth. The lady from the catalogue puts on a pair of Anna Wintour style glasses and turns towards the exit, a hostage to both Wintour and Winter, tapping a heel on the ground like Vogue isn't going to get printed on time, the dog continues it's 1ne canine want for a tasty snack with icing, and I'm left idly wondering how much of my brain is taken up knowing things like the lineage of What's Up Doc hosts...and there's plenty of time for us all to ponder our perpetual wants and flaws, because the telling off goes on so long the poor manchild doesn't even care anymore, and even he stares outward, maybe to the single mother with the ringlets carefully packing cans of peaches delicately and gently upon the shelf...

My meagre handful of groceries and slobberingly melting ice creams are taken back to the car in the drizzle. In spite of everything, I'm in a good mood I think. Not just because flu medication does that for me, but because I'm almost home, where I can pull the covers over my head and pretend that my flem filled voice is somehow sexy and Barry White esque. There's a newsagency that's been abandoned and is now coated and tarred with fliers and notices like a uni message board. There's 2wo bogans picking over the fliers as if it's part of their dating ritual. The woman has a white tracksuit that suits her like a 2nd skin, and the man is drawn hypnotically to slightly dodgy out of focus black and white photos of utes where the flaws are deliberately blocked by a glamourous housewife leaning on the front bumper. While I probably need to take a flier so I can join a course on indentifying car parts, it'd probably help. The woman in the white tracksuit is taken with 1ne of the fliers, a gaudy pink and green flier in a font that screams good taste. I have to stop and shine my bright orange shoe and set aside my meagre foragings and environmentally friendly plastic bag on a bench and hiss in the direction of any naughty kids gathering around asking if I wanted to pull their fingers. The bogan takes the psychedelic flier in her callused hands, and exclaims to no one in particular that she wants to learn Korean. Her boyfriend doesn't stir from the most out of focus ute of them all, and she initially seems a bit defeated by his lack of enthusiasm, but she puts the flier in her top pocket and smiles the smile of the truly insanely relentlessly determined, before resuming her browse through the fliers, and for all I know, she might still be there now, starting a path to fulfilment that would be inspiring to a lazy battler like me, but if Powerade hasn't been inspiring to this day, I guess my knowledge of Korean will be restricted to soccer, and it's time to wander off home...

And by 7even pm, the world has well and truly moved on...and the day has what I most like in a day...an ending...

4 comments:

Evil Overlord aka Mad Cat Lady said...

i write things on my arm, cause i lose notes :)

Baino said...

Aww Miley. Sorry to hear of your woes, I've been living with a 'man flu' sufferer for a week and it's insufferable. Hope you're on the mend.

Kath Lockett said...

I hope you're feeling better, Milesy babes.

And "a bewildered older woman with a bag of oranges" - if it wasn't Kingston, it could have been me....

Miles McClagan said...

Yeah, I'm feeling better now, thankfully. Too much flu is not good, I've lost all track of my blogging...that and about 2wo hundred books to get through...