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Wednesday
Sep132017

We're done

 

I’m a pretty patient person.  I’ve been called flexible, strong and resilient.  Right now, I feel none of those characteristics. I’m at the end of my tether.  I am done.

For the past few months, I’ve tried hard to stay positive but I really can’t fake it anymore.

I’m over Winter.  So over it.

As a girl that usually loves the coldest months of the year, I feel sad to have turned on my old friend.  Unfortunately this old friend has stayed too long.  Way too long.  I need it to go.   Now.

My favourite season is usually a time of joy for me.  The opportunity to wear layers of warm clothing, wrap myself in coloured wool scarves and pull on thick stockings and boots.  Every day.

Waxing and shaving and pedicures aren’t as important.   At least not if you’re single.  (If we’re dating and you’re reading this, I’m talking about a friend.)

You can rug up in a giant coat, head out and catch up with friends, either sitting outside under giant heaters or in a cosy bar that has exceptional heating.  There’s spicy curry and piping hot pho … hot chocolate and red wine …  giant bowls of pasta or steaming sticky date pudding.  Warm food fills your belly and because you’re wrapped in layers of baggy clothes you don’t notice a few extra kilos from constant carb overloading and comfort eating.

Everyone looks good in puffer jackets.

When it rains you count your blessings for an office job.  Your trusty umbrella becomes a constant companion.  On the weekend, it’s a great excuse to stay in, drink coffee and binge on Netflix.  Uber Eats means you never have to leave the warm cocoon of your house.  Winter can do its thing outside as you watch it in awe through rain soaked windows.  

Beanies and gloves give you more reasons to accessorise, even if it does take you a few extra minutes to take everything off when you arrive at your chosen destination … then another ten minutes at the end to put it all back on again.  In Winter you don’t care.  It’s a ritual we all enjoy for three months.

Except this Winter hasn’t just rolled in and out in three months.  It feels like it started in March (supposedly Autumn) and is still here now …. allegedly Spring.  We’ve endured seven long months of Wintery weather – and as much as I’ve just highlighted all the great things about that time, I’m very much done.

It’s almost become a joke. The one thing every conversation is started with.  “God, how cold is it?  I’m SO over Winter.”   We nod in agreement.

Except for those lucky enough to escape for a few weeks to a warmer climate overseas.  Europe.  Bali.  Fiji.  Anywhere that has sunshine and blue skies.   The rest of us scroll through their endless post of Instagram photos, jealously wondering why we weren’t smart enough to book a holiday and get an instant injection of Vitamin D.   We sneer at classic hotdog legs on a beach photos as we turn the heater up a notch.  Done.  We’re all done.

No more grey skies.  No more temperatures in the teens that ‘feel like’ single digit figures.  No more storms or showers or rain.  No more of that bitter wind that cuts you in half with icy sharpness. 

I love you Winter, I really do, but you’re making us all depressed.  It’s too cold and wet to exercise outside.  I need fresh air and nature to be a better human being.  Sunshine makes me happier.  I want to eat salads and drink more water, but come on.  Would you be shoving lettuce in your mouth on a 9 degree day?  I don’t think so.  

So how about this?  You go and visit our cousins on the other side of the world, and once they’re done with you, say in nine months, you can come back and we’ll hang out again.  Deal?

Sunday
Sep032017

Happy Snaps

It’s been an interesting week.  Lots of fun events, a stack of meetings and a few things that went wrong.  Work is busy as always, the weather is cold and wet, there’s a weird energy in the air.

Thursday started off with early morning meetings (my idea of Hell as a Night Owl) including a WIP with my boss, the best dressed man in our office.  It was a good chat, as usual, and we nailed a few things that I needed sign off for.  I left  his office feeling a sense of achievement.

I made a coffee and as I was walking back through our open plan space, I noticed six text messages on my phone.  Six messages is a lot.  That tends to mean a family emergency or something has gone to shit.  I hit the tiny envelope button to find one was from Speccy Beccy, currently traveling through the bush with her parents.  Can’t wait to hear how that’s been going.  I miss her.

The other five were from The Train Driver, a guy I went on three dates with at the start of the year.  I quite liked him.  We talked a lot, drank some wine, texted back and forth in between.  Then we had dinner and he ranted about not wanting a woman to change him and how wife was too dominating.   After I paid for our curry and pad thai (my turn) I kissed him goodbye and never saw him again.  We both agreed that something had changed and the spark wasn’t there.  And now here he was.   I wondered what he wanted now.  

I clicked on the bundle of messages, expecting to see a funny note about trains or my VIP life – a private joke.  But no.  There was nothing funny in his message. 

I saw a giant penis with a man’s hand wrapped around it.

And then a second photo, but from a different angle.

Both shots up close.  Both torso only, no face.  Both graphic and real.

Hey Tan, can I ask you a question?” yelled one of my staff as I walked past her desk, jolting me from my shocked senses.

Ohmygod, I’ve got two dick pics on my phone in clear view of everyone.  WTF.  I tried to hit the close button but the shots would not disappear.  I could feel someone walking up behind me.  I turned my phone over and tried to look casual.

I answered her question and she walked off.   I should say I think I responded properly, because all I could feel was a red glow on my face and the vision of someone’s hard penis.  Burnt into my memory. I wandered into the safe refuge of my office to try and work out what was going on.

I read the messages again. Slowly.  Trying to make sense of it all.  

Hey babe, do you still have today off?           Smiley face.

I’m up if you want to hang out.                     Winky smiley face.

((Shot of man’s shaft with hand wrapped around it.))

((Second shot of same penis (I’m assuming) with hand wrapped around it.))

WTF

SO SO SORRY.                                             Embarrassed smiley face.

Please delete!!!

Was that even him?  Had someone hacked his phone?  What was going on?

I turned my phone off and stood, shocked at my desk. 

It’s only 9.30am.  I haven’t even had my first coffee yet.   Who the f*ck sends a dick pic at this time of the morning?

At first I was grossed out.  Did not need to see that at this time of the day.  Or any time of the day.

Then I got angry.  Why do guys think that sending a girl a shot of his throbbing manhood is going to get her in the mood?   Like I’m going to stop eating my Vegemite on toast and jump in the car to come see you and your hard on.  If you can wait that long, as we all know how bad peak hour traffic is.

After that, I was disappointed.  I really didn’t think the Train Driver was like that.  I thought he was a nice, normal guy.  Hmmmm. 

Then I felt violated.  To receive a graphic photo like that – unexpected – unsolicited – it turned my stomach.   It was imprinted on my brain.   I felt dirty and tainted.   It was not okay.

I texted back.  Please remove my number from your phone if that’s how you communicate with your current partner so I am never subjected to that ever again.  Ever. 

He still hasn’t replied.  I’ll never find out how or why I got a photo of his morning glory.  Part of me hopes he accidentally sent it to his whole phone book.  

Imagine how bad his day would be after that.       

Tuesday
Aug152017

Strange Connections

I connected with a total stranger on the other side of the world – and then he broke it off with me.   Whatever ‘it’ means.  And yes, I know this all sounds a little weird.  It is.  But that's what meeting people online is like. Trust me, I was on eHam for years.  

We ‘met’ through a poetry community on Instagram.  It’s a space where writers share their work, support each other and give advice.  It’s a great forum and full of interesting people.  Everyone has a different story with individual writing styles. Some writers are really popular and a few starting out.  I’m somewhere in between. 

DG writes angst filled poems about pain, death and sometimes, sex and drugs.  His posts are dark and he talks about poppies (heroin), evil fairies and wanting to die.  Fun stuff, eh?  I was drawn to his work because, although some of it is pretty macabre, there’s also a sense of sadness in what he writes.  He sounds tormented but his poetry can also be quite beautiful.

At some point he wrote that it was his birthday in April and how good Aries people are.  I commented with “Yes, We Are!” and he private messaged me to ask when my birthday was and what was I doing to celebrate.   We chatted (online) about music, parties and cake. He said he has decided to eat cake every day if he wants to.  Because life is short. 

I told him I’d noticed his poetry was quite sad and thought he was grieving someone or something as he often wrote about nightmares and demons and losing the love of his life.  He confirmed that his fiancée had been killed in a car accident two days before their wedding day and he was still struggling with it.  Well fair enough, that would be hard.  No wonder he wrote the way he did. 

He then went on to tell me that he didn’t have long to live.  He had three massive brain tumours.  Stage 3, grade 4 brain tumours.

Whoah.

I don’t know this guy.  He lives a million miles away.  Maybe that’s what made me ask.   “Are you angry at the world?”

He went on to tell me it was the exact opposite.  That when you don’t have much time left you appreciate it more. 

We chatted a little more and he said he needed to catch a flight to LA but that he’d enjoyed talking with me and would write again.  He was heading to the hospital for a treatment and would be offline for a few days. 

I burst into tears.  I sobbed.  I’m not sure why. It might have been that I understood how debilitating grief could be.  The thought that he was going to die soon.  The harsh reality that sometimes life sucks and slaps you in the face with more bad shit than you can imagine.  He got under my skin and I couldn’t stop thinking about this total stranger on the other side of the world. 

I continued to follow his page, commenting on the pieces I liked or could relate to (not that I have a brain tumour or dead fiancé).  He responded most times.

One of his poems had a country song feel to it.  It was rhythmic, rhyming and rolled along like a song.  I remarked that it sounded a little John Cougar Mellencamp to me.

Suddenly he private messaged me.  The first time in weeks.

Were you trying to say I copied some poem from John Cougar Mellencamp.

First of all I’m not that old.

And secondly I don’t copy anything from anybody.

Before I had the chance to write back and tell him I was only joking and that I thought the imagery was similar and I really liked the piece, bang, he had blocked me.    

WTF?

I’ve never been blocked on social media before.  It’s weird. You try logging into different accounts to see what’s going on like a person knocking on the door trying to get back into your house.   Yes, he’d blocked me.  Yes, I was annoyed.  Yes, I laughed. 

Now I follow him on my personal account.   He’s still writing the same dark, pain ridden poetry and has more followers than ever.  He talks a lot about dying and I wonder how long he has left.  I’ve thought about sending him a DM to say how hilarious it is that he blocked me because of a comment about an aging country / rock star, but really what’s the point.  Little Pink Houses and Hurt So Good are lyrical benchmarks so who am I to coach him on John Cougar Mellencamp’s legendary status?

Sunday
Jul302017

Holiday To Do List

I’ve just had ten days off … Heaven, right?  Sure, the first week was pretty awesome.  I headed to Perth, hung out with a stack of my besties, drank too much red wine, ate too much dessert, slept a lot … and fed my soul with all the things that make me happy. 

The weather was a bit crap in Perth.  I had been bragging about flying over to get some sunshine so imagine my disappointment when the average temperature was 17 degrees.  Plus rain.  Lots of rain.   Oh well, I’m on holidays I thought.  It doesn’t matter about the weather.

Off I went, having the time of my life.  I probably poisoned my body with too many carbs and a stack of sugar – but you’d think the antioxidants of that much red wine would counteract most poor food decisions.

Apparently not.  On my last day, I woke up with a sore throat, stuffy nose and achey body.  Oh God, here we go.

Thanks to my buddies at Qantas I was sitting at the front of the plane and could curl up in my big comfy seat, drink a stack of Ginger Ale and black tea, and work my way through a pile of throat lozenges.   Off to bed I went on arrival back home. 

Four more days of holiday joy up my sleeve and I had plans.  Big plans.  Stuff to do.  A list of shit to get done.  The final hoorah of getting my life on track before I headed back to work on Monday.

The Universe had other plans.  I’ve been sick for four days.  Housebound, except for a visit to salt therapy and a chemist.  My long list of grown up chores thrown out the window.   Here’s what it looked like … and how it went:

Exercise:  Every day.  Lace up those runners and walk for at least an hour and maybe start to get back into running.  Throw in some stretches and maybe a bit of yoga.  Oh and don’t forget PT with Anthony on Saturday = then a 6km run / walk on Sunday at Run Melbourne.

Reality:  I walked for 20 minutes and my head pounded so badly I went home and slumped on the couch. 

Cook great food:  Head to the markets and stock up on lots of fresh vegetables, fish and superfoods that you can turn into healthy salads, curries and meals.   Freeze stuff so that you have delicious nutritious food to take to work each day.  Impress your new flatmate with your cooking skills.

Reality:  I’ve been living on soup (out of a bag with the occasional home made bowl) twice a day for four days.  Tonight I burnt my Mediterranean Cauliflower soup in my Soup Maker, something I’ve never done before.  My new flatmate tried hard not to laugh.

Massage:  Indulge in a relaxing massage and take time out for yourself.  Maybe add a facial too, so when you go back to work you look relaxed.  Fresh even.

Reality:  My body aches from coughing and blowing my nose.  I couldn’t lay on a massage table for more than five minutes without my body kicking into coughing spasms … or worse still, a non stop runny nose.  I’m two boxes of tissues down. 

Declutter:  Finish reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying.  Unfortunately I forgot to take it to Perth with me.  Never mind, I can just get started and donate items to the Salvos, take photos of the books I want to sell and check out the second hand clothing place around the corner. Decluttering makes me feel in control.  I will transform my space and my mind.

Reality:  My house resembles a Bric a Brac store.  

Writing:  I will write blogs.  Every day.  I will finish The Painter chapter of my book (it’s only taken seven months).  I will find my writing mojo and spend hours writing, happily tapping away on my Mac.

Reality:  I retweeted a Happy Friendship Day video of Elmo dancing.  And wrote this blog.

But it’s a really really cute video.  

Sunday
Jul232017

Sex doesn't always sell

 

It takes a bit to shock me, but a recent event left me insulted and thinking WTF.

Marina and Jane, (work friends) and I were looking forward to spending time together at a hotel launch.  The invitation offered nice wine, a relaxed dinner and the opportunity to enjoy their five star facilities.   A good chance to catch up.

We were greeted in the foyer by staff who offered us wine and canapés.  A delicious spread of arancini balls, smoked salmon and meat things that are of no interest to me lay in abundance.  We chatted about our day before being guided into another room by a woman dressed (cheaply) as Marilyn Monroe.  She whispered and pouted and seemed uncomfortable in her role. 

After a brief presentation with no substance we were corralled to another area – another lobby – with more hors d’oeuvres and champagne on offer.   As we stood awkwardly wondering why we needed to check out a long hallway, ‘Marilyn’ invited us to head down to the bar for “a very special treat”. 

In the bar, a vivacious bar tended mused with enthusiasm that we were about to try the hottest thing around right now.  An espresso martini.  Ah, I’ve been drinking those for about ten years thanks to the Hot Barista.  You’re a little late.   Glancing at the bar lined with cocktails, I noticed their insipid colouring … and guaranteed to my friends that they would be bad versions of my beloved espresso martini.  I needed to try one.  Just to check.  Sipping nervously, my fears were real.  They were made with a coffee essence.  One taste and I was done.

I noticed the same canapés from two previous rooms on display.  Recycled hors d’ouvres ?  How very eco-friendly.  WTF?

One of the hotel staff suggested we head upstairs to check out the penthouse so we wandered back into the main foyer.  She went back into the bar, presumably to find more guests, and after waiting for 20 minutes in front of the cold open door, we noticed her drinking cocktails with her workmates.  WTF?

Finally another staffer lead us to the penthouse for a tour.  These can be fun, as I like to see how the other half live.  There’s no penthouse version in the cheap hotels I stay in.  You’re lucky if they have a hair dryer.

We snaked our way through the room and I noticed Marilyn draping herself over a king-sized bed while a photographer took shots of her.  WTF?  Does she come with the room?  Is she the one who delivers room service?  I was a little confused.

Marina, Jane and I climbed the polished spiral staircase with our hosts and found ourselves in a giant tiled room with a large spa bath, front and centre.   My OH&S brain kicked in as I worried about how to get out of the bath on such a slippery floor without castrating yourself.  Not a bathmat in sight. 

As we waited for the others to join us (still sculling their cocktails) we chatted to two boys who ran an entertainment company.  They were funny and cute and also slightly confused as to what was going on.   We agreed we wanted things to hurry up so we could get to dinner as the second hand canapés weren’t cutting it.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, sorry to keep you waiting but we have something very special for you”, sing songs a male staffer. 

By this time the room is packed and we are all jammed into one end of the giant bathroom.  My back is pressed against the bubbled tile wall and I can only just see over the shoulders of the crowd in front of me. 

Suddenly there’s a muffled cheer and Marilyn enters the room clutching a bottle of champagne.  She sashays around pouting and blowing kisses at everyone as they take photos.  Sure.  Whatever. 

Marilyn stops in front of the spa and does a little shimmy before turning her back on us all and kicking off her heels.   She then drags the long zipper of her sequined dress down and steps out of it, letting it drop to the floor.   What’s going on, I whisper to Marina who gives me a puzzled look.  Marilyn turns to face us and we find she’s wearing tiny nipple covers and a flesh coloured G-string.  WTF?

A girl next to me has her phone held high in the air so I can see the charade clearly on her screen.  We both gasp at each other as Marilyn climbs into the bathtub and kneels in the water.   She then splashes around briefly while a few take photos and video.  I press myself further into the wall, praying it swallows me up.  Jane and Marina look dumbfounded.  I feel the same.

Marilyn then stands up in the bath, grabs a bottle of champagne and clutches it with her thighs as she pops the cork dramatically.   She lets the liquid flow down her breasts as she wriggles provocatively making little moaning noises.  I feel dirty.  Am I at a buck’s party? Surely someone is going to yell “Surprise, you’ve been punked!”

Finally, a female Manager suggested everyone head to dinner.   A few guests followed her down the staircase while others posed in front of Marilyn.  Still in shock I see her lick the champagne bottle like someone on heat.  WTF?   As the boys pose for a photo I sneak one (from the back) to prove to myself – and others – that this really happened.  

I wondered how much this actress / model / promo girl got paid for that gig.  I wanted to give her $100 and tell her to put her clothes on and get an Uber home. 

We declined the offer of dinner and left.  I was in shock and disgusted at the stunt, fearing that perhaps Marilyn would be covered in food like a human buffet at our next stop.   Excuse me, can you please move your right breast and pass me some of that smoked salmon?  Thanks.  No thanks.

That night I was still wondering how a Marketing team could think that was a good idea for an upmarket hotel.   Any hotel.  It was tacky, salacious and pointless I noted to the hotel manager in my complaint (finding lots of big words to use to describe my disgust).  I talked of my horror at the objectification of women and wondered what sort of image they were trying to portray.  To her credit, she followed me up and we had a good conversation.  She invited us back to the hotel another time for a better experience.  Do you think Marilyn will be there? Let's hope she got a new gig somewhere.