Saturday, October 23, 2010

Astute observers are saying there may be no more



It's a chaotic post modern kind of Friday in the shackled to my life suburban shopping centre - the shoppers have rejected the conventions of queuing and polite behaviour in a child like rush to the shopping counter. An old Italian woman simply brushes past me to the Banjos queue in Post Panini haste, and is served first, leaving me to exist in impotent middle class fury. She has so much hairspray on her head that I hope the left over smoky breath of the fat lumbering girl serving her doesn't cause some kind of combustible reaction. Children free from going to school run freely into everyone’s shins and shopping trolleys, under no supervision at all from dis-interested smoking parents who are equally dis-interested in the sign that tells them not to smoke. Someone cue up Simba. There are larger ladies swinging their flesh freely in the breeze, in hotpants and tube tops, putting a Carolee Schneemann piece of performance art to shame with their muffin tops and other analogies between flabby skin over fabric and bakery items still yet to be defined. Anarchy has descended somewhere around the Sushi bar, as two old men in suspiciously matching pullovers begin pushing and shoving each other - the impassive implacable Japanese girl behind the counter simply stares at them, her face not even flickering for a moment. I eventually get served in the eye of this bubbling suburban storm of domestic impatience by the blonde indifferent member of staff. It's a strange detail I notice that she never blinks - I don't know why I notice these things. The arguing feisty pensioners have to be separated by their wives, the cause of their argument unknown. They are simply swinging wrinkly fists at each other without words. The Japanese girl simply ignores them and wipes down her counter. The unblinking blonde disappears into the kitchen seconds after selling me my baguette, and the Italian lady returns to the counter to complain about her coffee, pushing past a harried single mother on her mobile phone. She raises the bar for middle class impotent fury by letting out a harmless tut, and then doing absolutely nothing about it...I myself take a bite of my baguette, and count to three, in anticipation of a small child crashing into my shins...I don't even get to two...

There's a tension inside my workplace when I get back from lunch. We've put the Xmas drinks list on the fridge. They are all tiptoeing around who they want to invite and are trying to keep it quiet from certain people - the girl with the mod haircut for instance. My ex ironic girlfriend isn't talking to me. I have this feeling in my guts we'll end up scrapping in the pub car park during Xmas drinks. I might have to drink Diet Coke. My workplace is also anarchic - 1ne of our workmates has gone home early and left us short. I have on my desk a card she sent me at the height of our relationship. It sits next to a bumper sticker I'll never affix to the back of my car. I still haven't figured out which of us has ended up the Regine Olsen of the relationship, but I'll get to the bottom of it 1ne day. There's a man twice the size of Everest standing blocking out the doorway. He's got 2wo giant vats of water for our drinking machine, and a stack of forms to sign. His beard looks like it could house small animals and his face heaves with the anger and stress that will 1ne day kill him. You could connect his veins and form a pattern if you so decided to. He eventually says can someone sign these forms please, emphasising the word please in a way that in this particular recap should cause me to use Caps Lock. The weird thing is his voice is uncharacteristically squeaky and camp. Maybe it was stress, maybe that's how he normally talks, but it makes me giggle out loud that this giant bearded distance cousin of Giant Haystacks talks like he's sucked the living breath out of a helium balloon. I turn to tell my ex ironic girlfriend what's happened, but then I remember...oh that's right. Can't do that. Instead I eat a Milky Way, let the little moment of poignancy pass me by, and type it into an Instant Message to someone who never replies. The silence at work is killing me right now. Still, mustn't ask how she is...can't go back now. Gotta be big...

It's Saturday now. I've mostly been putting posters up on the wall celebrating Collingwood’s Premiership and putting songs on my IPOD today. Free of emotional baggage, I've essentially reverted to the life of a teenager again. I'm even wearing a hooded top with an unidentified stain and eating Weetbix from a bowl, just like the old days. This does also mean I have to go shopping for 1nce on my own - I don't think collectible jars of Isnack 2.0 and 2wo cans of Red Bull are going to get me through the weekend. My local shopping centre has taken down the advert wall, which I hadn't notice before. Essentially next to the wonderfully named Cyber Hair - that's my local hairdresser, surprisingly free given the name of robots, but full of vapid blonde frustrated "hair technicians who couldn't care less what you are doing on the weekend but ask anyway - there was an abandoned shop. For the life of me I can't remember what shop it was. Maybe Trax, the last Tasmanian dying ember of the record shop spark. Anyway, the wall was soon covered in a strange collage of fliers, advertorials, those little rental ads or tutorial offers with the little bit at the bottom you pull of, or 1nce I saw a note that just said "Susan call me". It was on a post it note between a missing dog ad and some1ne offering adult services, as they used to quaintly call it in the Advocate back on the North West Coast. Sadly, they cleared it the other week. Sure, the new wall is sleek and shiny and futuristic - I'm sure the people at Cyber Hair approve - but like Phillip Johnsons Glass House, a tidier look doesn't make it functional. The loss of the tattered wall of scattered moments in people’s lives doesn't sit well with me, but I suspect I mourn alone as I push my shopping trolley mournfully around smoking hairdressers and bewildered pensioners eating Milky Bars. I should approve far more, having made my own life less cluttered, but somehow, I can't bring myself to applaud anything that promotes the sleek over the shambolic...

Inside my local Target, two red-shirted store workers are loading wrestling figures onto the shelf. I'm reading a book about some footballer whose life I'm sure was really interesting, but not interesting enough to read about after the exchange of money for his interesting story. One of the workers is middle aged, blonde, with hair painted and dipped in blonde, lipstick attached surgically to her mouth, and a smile of genuine sweetness. The other one is young, with soaking wet hair, a frantic pace to his work, and a hatred of the in store music. The plastic wrestling figures have no opinion on any of this, lifelessly and silently placed on shelves without complaint. The footballer’s life story continues to kill a few minutes in my lunch break. He has some strong opinions on The Hangover apparently. The blonde woman isn't particularly interested in stacking wrestling figures on a shelf; she's more of a supervisory figure, putting her head around the corner any time a customer appears to ask them if they need help. None of them ever do, and she walks back to her post slightly defeated. The wet haired boy continues to stack and complain about the music, throwing the wrestling figures onto the shelf with reckless abandon. He complains so much about the music I try and identify it myself. It's some generic R&B, the type made by a singer whose name you won't remember in a year’s time. Just as I turn towards them again, to express some sort of visual glance of solidarity to his point of view, the two workers are holding hands, surreptitiously, like first daters struggling to work out how such a thing had happened. It's only for a brief moment, a little mutual smile and then it's gone. I wonder if it's a sudden realisation for them - it deserved better than to be sound tracked by Taio...Bruno...whatever one it is - but it's there. I wish them well as I walk off directly into a pram pushed by an unhappy looking Muslim woman. She offers the most insincere of apologies, and we keep walking in opposite directions - the CD playing skips erratically at that moment, violently, hissing from the PA like an angry stuttering snake. It's to my interest only, as no one else even seems to notice, let alone seem to care...

I go home to a free uncluttered life, and the obvious detriment to it - nothing to do but have a Nanna nap. I think most of you know me well enough by to know if this is a positive or a negative...

7 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

Okaaay, so you're single again but you witnessed the fleeting secret of love between two Target employees - there are far worse things to be seen in that shopfront so surely you're ending this on a positive note and the nanna nap is a good one?

Marshall-Stacks said...

re 'Cyber Hair' being 'wonderfully-named' - coiffuristes are known for this. It's thesis material.

re 'swinging their flesh freely in the breeze, in hotpants and tube tops' - you would enjoy (as I did) seeing Walmart People a collection of candid photos of shoppers in frightening ensembles.
I got it as an email, it may be Guuglable, let me know if you would like me to Fwd it.

re 'children running riot in public' -this is the unacknowledged Crime Of This Era.
libraries have become Play Groups. WTF is that?

you said at Coppy's that you have used your blog to vent - I thought that's what they were for. The psychoanalysis industry must have slumped badly in the past decade.

I can commend to you the best venters Margaret & Helen
- linked at Bwca, Boggart & Brownie, another fabulous venter dear to me.

The Ex-Ironic GF probably does not enjoy that card ('written at the height') being on your desk you know, and did you check that muslimwoman's pram contained a b-a-b-y and not a b-e-r-m-b?

Nana Naps are a good thing.
Nap ON.

Marshall-Stacks said...

Go here if you dare.

Miles McClagan said...

I think it was a bittersweet positive weekend. I had nothing to do at all, but to be able to rest, and sort of end the saga was nice. I didn't get one txt msg, and who doesn't love a Nanna nap!

Positive...a shame, but a positive...

Miles McClagan said...

Nanna Naps are awesome. No question. I hadn't thought of that card being a problem. There's a few things lying around.

I want to set up a similar site called "Cash Converters People"...

My Library is full of old men sleeping in the periodical section by the way...

And my blog was going to be used to discuss Big Ms and Local Pride...kinda got lost in the venting!

Kath Lockett said...

...and I want to set up a site called 'Tram 57'

Miles McClagan said...

I think I know that tram...