Conversations

Yesterday

Kid gets off bus buzzing and happy.

K. N says I’m her friend and she gave me this friendship ring. It’s because we’re friends!

M. Cool.

K. She also says I should wash my hair and conditioner it, because she said she could smell a funny smell and she thought it was me. She said I would look heaps better with shiny hair.

M. Well, you have a shower every day, and you’ve been swimming a lot, so I doubt you’re stinky. But OK, you can use conditioner if you want.

This morning

K. Mum, can I wear talcum powder today?

M. No, we’re walking out the door, it’s too late for that conversation Wait, is this cos N said you smelled bad yesterday?

K. Yeah, she said I should wear perfume, but I told her that my Mum only lets me wear talcum powder, and that’s only sometimes.

M. Ok, let’s get this straight. Sometimes girls tell one another that they should change something about how they look so they look prettier, or that they should smell different. They seem like they’re being nice and being your friend, but it’s actually called; ‘Being a bitch’.

[perhaps could have toned this down a bit, but the kid is used to this kind of straight talk chances are she’ll survive]

M. It’s a bit like bullying where someone tries to make you feel bad, but in this case they’re not necessarily trying to make you feel bad. It’s just a thing that girls learn to do to make other girls feel like they’re inadequate and that they need to do something to themselves to improve themselves.

K. But why do they do it at all?

M. There are a couple of main reasons. The first is that it makes money. Companies do this thing where they tell you there is something wrong with you when there isn’t. But then they make you think there is, and then they tell you they have a product that solves the problem. But there wasn’t a problem in the first place.

Have you got two legs? Are you tired of having two perfectly operational legs? Are the bottoms of your legs always in shoes? Yes! Well, we’ve got the solution, the new Suzuki 1000!

K. I don’t know what you’re on about Mum [exasperated but increasingly common look]

M. Look, companies tell you that something normal about your body isn’t normal. And then they sell a product that will change it. And then they become rich, by solving a problem that wasn’t a problem in the first place. That kind of thinking has become quite normal, so that’s one reason that girls think it’s OK to tell other girls that there is something wrong with them when there isn’t. Make sense?

K. Yep

The other reason is a thing called sexism. Have you heard of sexism?

K. No.

M. It sounds like sex, but it’s really just the old fashioned idea that girls should be pretty and smell nice, and play with dollies, and that’s all they can do. No science. No Operation Ouch. No maths. 

K. No maths? Whaaaat? But we all do maths at school.

M. Yeah, but with sexism girls think it’s OK to not be good at maths, because what’s really important is that they look pretty and smell nice. Imagine if you couldn’t go to the Physics Learning Labs because you were a girl.

[Look of abject horror as this freaky alternate reality sinks in]

M. Yeah, so that’s sexism. The important thing to remember is that N probably isn’t trying to be horrible when she tells you there’s something wrong with how you look or smell. It’s just something some girls are trained to do. So you can still be friends with her, but just be aware that you’ll hear this kind of stuff from time to time. What’s important is that you are aware that there is nothing wrong with you, and you get to decide if you want to change something about yourself. 

A good thing to ask yourself is; would this friend still say this stuff to me if I was a boy? Would N tell a boy that he smelled bad or should use conditioner in his hair?

K. No, I don’t think so.  

M. Ok, that’s sexism, consumerism and body politics covered. Now, try to remember to get your jumper out of your tote tray please, and have a look for missing containers. Here comes the bus.

 

Advertisements

500 words; nothingness

I know, I said I would post 500 words every day. Some days, however, are more chaotic than others. There are days when everything works, sure. Days when I write things and research things. Days when I get shit done. Other days are like intellectual fire-damp.

Today is a bit like that. Here are the things I have engaged with today;

– The rise of fashionable individualism and its effect on trade unionism

– The stochastic nature of airborne fluorine poisoning

– The budding cycle of avocado trees

– Lady Gaga being a man (hint; it’s in the name)

– Why people still listen to early Beatles music, despite its anodyne repetitiveness

– Why people enjoy anodyne repetitiveness

– The socialisation of labour market elasticity and the NAIRU and why people still talk about the Phillips curve as something that works even though…stagflation.

– KFC? Why?

– Pneumo-thorax tubes

– What to make for a solo exhibition that bumps in in one month’s time that I completely forgot about.

 

As you can see, today is shaping up into some kind of cerebral clusterfuck. 500 words can wait.

Why I don’t follow recipes

Victims of my cooking often remark on my lack of respect for recipes. I have respect for them, sure, but I can’t read them. I have recipe blindness.

Put this another way – I cannot read something that is three pages long, remember where I am up to, go back, read the same bit again, remember where I was up to, go back again, read the same bit but a little bit further, remember where I was up to, etc., etc.,.

And I’m beginning to wonder who can? Who are these rare and delightful creatures who can maintain their attention on something as endless as a recipe?

Honest to Christ, the idea of having to go back and look at the same bit of paper over and over and over and over and over again makes me want to embrace the pro-ano movement with open, wavering arms. I just can’t do it.

So I read the recipe, and then I try to memorise it, because I know I won’t be able to go back and read it again and again and again and again and a-fucking-gain, and if I do I will get confused anyway – did I already add the sugar? Perhaps I’m at the bit where I already put the flour in? Perhaps I’m at the bit where I lost my mind with the fucking endless fucking instructions? Did I eat my own hair already? Where is all this smoke coming from?

This is why I am good at roasts. And bread – there is no recipe for sourdough.

 

Here is my favourite recipe for everything I can cook;

Place all ingredients in the thingo together

Do the one and only thing that needs doing until it looks right

Bake 

Check it

Bake it some more

Think about doing the dishes. In the morning.

There is a prequel to this recipe, if the main ingredient used to have a beating heart.

I’d buy food at the shops if it weren’t completely comprised of paint thinner and sawdust or whatever the fuck Miracle Food Co. is pushing down the ‘human chute’ this year.

Roast it is!

Six things my mother told me…

 

  1. You can get sunburnt from the sun’s reflection on the water.
  2. Try to make sure you can always get a job. Just the idea that a relationship might be based on need is corrosive.
  3. The jandal is faster than the eye.
  4. A cup of tea is the only treatment for shock.
  5. All waterskiers should have a solid understanding of angular momentum.
  6. All children are weird

Dreaming

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-17-52-pm

Oh my God, fat hair!

I just had a birthday. And, after a lovely day of presents, delicious food and general flopping around in the ocean I went to bed and had a rather vivid dream.

I was in a mechanics’ workshop, trying to explain to a 19 year old manboy that my diesel bicycle was not hitting its power-band. (Like I said: dream).

Anyway, the young chap sighed, looked me hard in the eye and said;

‘It’s not working because you’re sitting on it. You are too fat, lady. You are a fat old lady’.

He delivered these words almost like a chore, as if this fact alone was so self-evident that he shouldn’t even need to push the foetid air past his shiny white teeth.

Of course, this is the point where I’m supposed to wake up in a cold, thundering sweat, freaking out about my pending mid-life crisis.

But I didn’t freak out. Or wake up. In fact, I kept dreaming. Here’s what happened next.

The young man turned away from me with the thinly veiled disgust of someone who spends an eighth of each day with his own, lonely cock in his hand. I reached out and yanked the front of his overalls. As he stumbled towards my sweaty face, I said;

‘Look here, you tumescent little turd. If you think getting a woman skinnier than me is going to work out well for you, then think again. I’m sure you spend your humid under-blanket moments lusting over some scrawny bint with the je ne sais quoi of a pair of tights filled with coat hangers but let me tell you, the only thing standing between her and a dish-rack is a thick coat of spray tan. At least a dish rack is useful’.

And then I slapped him on his greasy, stubbly little chin and fixed the bike myself.

My dream was unexpected, but welcome.

I have no time for the paranoid foibles of middle age. Fuck that shit. I’ve had a bloody good run, and it just keeps getting better. I have earned my aches and pains and they were worth every bleeding moment. The modern obsession with youth is little more than a fear of wisdom – we idolise inexperience and stupidity, to do otherwise would be dangerous.

Well, screw that. I’m only just hitting my straps.

NB. I’m not actually fat – but maybe my subconscious thinks I am so I’m suffocating it in a layer of chocolate.

2017

This year I’m going to deepen my practice. I will reach out into more artisanal forms of whimsy. I will engage more deeply with a sense of lightness, follow essential rhythms and embrace the cadences of serendipity.

Also, I’ll get to work on that random fuckspeak generator. It’s overdue.

Sea burials for the living

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-9-06-52-am

Doesn’t really narrow it down, Murray.

Several years ago I wanted to start an eco-burial business. We’d just gone through the plastic procedure of death via hospitals and funeral homes (spoiler alert; a home is actually where you live) and couldn’t escape the feeling that it could be done better. As we navigated the mechanical decency of the mourning industry, I thought; why are we treating this person like an expensive piece of furniture? I wouldn’t want to be shunted around in a level box. Does everyone else?

So I started to look into other options. There are companies that offer bush burials where the dead are buried, unprocessed, in the bush. I like the idea of mourning via nothing more than a GPS locator and a can of Aerogard. But then I realised that what I really wanted was to be returned to the sea, the place where I’ve spent many of the best times in my life. Also, there’s something deliciously ‘Checkmate!’ about being eaten by a shark after I’m already dead.

Sea burials are legal in Australia, but very rare. The difficulty lies in the planning – you must ‘dump’ the body far away from shore, in a manner that won’t have predictable repercussions (there goes Nanna’s suitcase burial).

You can read more about this burial option in a recent (beautifully written) piece by Claire Konkes.

Konkes tells us that sea burials are legal but difficult, heavily dependent on weather and location. My solution would be different, a kind of tuna farm approach, where the deceased is deposited in a cage dangling from a particularly rugged piece of coastline. The cage is then lowered to the deep, where-upon animals (mostly sea lice I imagine) would nibble away at the mortal soul, finally freeing their silicon tits and pacemakers to join the ever-expanding ocean gyre of rubbish. Landlubbing relatives could gather on the cliff edge (carefully) for a service, whilst their loved one is committed to marine grade stainless.

I think this has got legs (but not for long!).