We're friends, yeah?

I just deleted seven “friends” from Facebook. Okay, let’s be honest, they’re not real friends. If they were, we’d be hanging out together. Or at least swapping e-Christmas cards.

For clarity, let’s put them into the following categories: 

  • Men I’ve slept with but no longer talk to (2)
  • Partners of friends who are annoying or negative (2)
  • A former work colleague I haven’t spoken to in two years (1)
  • My old personal trainer (1)
  • A random I ‘facebooked’ but have no idea why (1)

Most of us go through this culling process at some point.   You might notice you have ‘too many friends’ (whatever number we deem that to be) or that there are people sitting idly on your profile doing nothing.   You’re not sure if they’re even on Facebook anymore.  If they are, do they only log on to stalk you and check out your updates, or are their lives so boring they have nothing to put on their own page?  Either way, you decide that these are not the people you want in your cyber world.

The last time I did a FB cull I was outed in the office for deleting a guy I worked with.   At the time, I had a rule that if I worked with you but we didn’t hang out socially, then we wouldn’t be Facebook friends.  I really don’t want my workmates to see what I get up to on weekends – how are you meant to pass off a hangover as gastro if your work colleagues see photos of you doing vodka shots on a Sunday night and dob you into the boss?

I was surprised he even noticed that I’d deleted him.   He had over 400 friends and given I’d never written on his wall, nor he on mine, I didn’t think he’d really care if I dropped off his list.  I’m more popular than I thought. 

There was a mini intervention (partly in jest) with other people in the office.  “Tan, why did you delete Daily Male?”  “How come you’re friends with Tyles but not him?”  “Is it because you think he’s a cockhead?” (well yes, that’s part of it, if you must know).   It felt like I was back in primary school and I’d chosen Deanna over Michelle to take to Pizza Hut and the movies for my 13th birthday.   (Deanna had a pool, there was no contest).

Why do people take the Facebook delete so personally?  It’s not like it equates to anything in the real world.  You’d never call up a mate and tell them they were ‘unfriended’ because they bored you with mundane chit chat (I just had the best cheese sandwich ever) or you were sick of them showing you photos of their baby three times a day.   But on Facebook we can – and do - do that. 

God forbid, you’d ring up a random you haven’t um, seen, in three years to find out what he’s been up to.  Oh, the hot tradie got married, did he? The Balinese honeymoon looks great.  They’re having a baby together?  Lovely.  With a bit of Facebook stalking it’s amazing what you can find out about your um, previous relationships. 

Maybe that’s why people get upset when you delete them.  You’re not only telling them you don’t want them in your cyber life anymore and that you’re not interested in what goes in in their world, you're also taking away their opportunity to sticky beak into your life.  To see how much fun you're having. How amazing your life is.  Without them.

I debated deleting this small group. They’re not bad people. I just didn’t need to see the smiley face of my ex personal trainer anymore.  How will my current trainer Dani feel when she sees I’ve been cheating on her? 

Sure, I’ll miss the whingey whiney status updates of a former work colleague who hates almost every person he comes into contact with, especially the homeless. “Hey stinky old lady, don’t sit next to me, you smell like vomit. Catch another train home.”  What a Saint. 

I’ve always surrounded myself with positive people so I want my Facebook friends to be the same.  Ones that make you feel good, support your dreams and actually care about what’s happening in your life – good and bad. It’s a two way street and I hope I’m that sort of good friend too.  If I’m not, feel free to unfriend me.  I promise I won’t take it personally. 




Fruit Market Turf Wars 

I went back to my favourite Greek fruit and veg market today.  I’ve not been there in years, even though they have amazing produce which is cheap and lasts much longer than the stuff you buy from the supermarket.  They also have a bakery, continental store, butcher and fresh fish place.   Every time I go there I get inspired to eat better, cook healthy meals or entertain.  It’s foodie heaven, even for a non cook like me.

So why do I not go to this place every week to stock up on fresh food?

My ex Heroin has dibs on the place.  (His nickname is Heroin, not because he was a rancid junkie, but because that’s what being with him was like – on or getting off Heroin.  Or so I imagine.) 

When we were together, Heroin and I would go to the Greek market every weekend, picking out what we’d make for dinner that night (he’d cook something new or special), fill the fridge with salads, fruit and anything else we needed.  Then we’d grab a coffee and spend time hanging out, like so many couples do.  It was our weekend ritual.  It made me feel loved and confirmed that I had the great relationship I always wanted.

After a while he turned into a critical, self obsessed shithead and our relationship dissolved.  Actually it was more like someone took to it with a blunt chainsaw, but you get the idea.  We broke up.

I moved to the other side of town and found my own places to shop.  Mainly supermarkets and the occasional organic place, but they were more expensive and I missed the Greek market’s fresh produce.  I wanted to go back, but it was too close to where my ex lived.  I signed up for my Woolies loyalty card. 

One day, on my way from the airport (sporting a tan after a trip to Darwin), I popped in to the market to grab some fruit in an attempt to cleanse my bad holiday eating.  It was a Thursday so I knew it would be quiet, and  I could run in, grab some bananas and strawberries and be on my way.  

As I walked around the corner to the back of the warehouse, I spotted him.  Heroin.  I went to turn around and sneak out, but he saw me, waved and started walking over to where I was standing, awkwardly.   Could I throw myself into the giant crate of sweet potatoes before he got to me?  Apparently not.

I put on my best fake smile. Tossed my hair. Hoped I looked hot.  Surely the tan would help?  He’s with a girl.   She looks familiar.   Oh yes, she’s the one I saw him with two weeks after we broke up, sharing a giggle on the way back to his car after a drunken lunch.  They’re still together?  Poor thing.

Heroin started talking to me, asking how I was and telling me about his new job.  I wasn’t really listening as I noticed his little pixie girlfriend waving her hands around as they shared a story about whatever or whatever.  Something shiny was almost poking me in the face.  Holy shit, they got engaged?!

Yes, yes, how exciting, he says, we’re getting married next year, can’t wait, so happy .... he dribbled on at me while all around little Greek women were squeezing the life out of avocados. Kill me.

I never went back to the Greek market after that.  I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her all smug with her engagement ring – now also a wedding ring – and him all perky and in love holding her hand and choosing rockmelon like we used to.  Sour grapes?  Sure.  I’ll have a kilo.

So today, on a health kick and sick of paying way too much for gourmet lettuce and mushrooms, I ventured back to the Greek market, ready for action.  I was in my gym gear, wearing a cap and big sunnies, so he’d barely recognise me anyway, but I raced through there like an Amazing Race contestant, filing up my green bag with fresh veggie goodness like there was no tomorrow.   Then off for some fish, bread from the Asian bakery and $14 worth of fancy Parmesan.  (Fancy as in not in a tin).

As I climbed into my car, with my shopping bag of joy, thinking of the teriyaki fish stir fry I’d be whipping up, I saw a grey Jeep like Heroin’s drive past me in the carpark.  My heart skipped a beat.  Was it him?  I don’t know and I didn’t stick around to find out. I'm not sure I even care.  I’m back at my favourite grocers and on a mission to eat better in 2013.  Heroin and his pixie wife can jam it.   When we run into each other, I’ll be ready.

Ready to do a runner out the back door so I don’t have to see him, but ready nonetheless.      


You'd be great at comedy ... really?!

My pal Jokegirl is doing some Comedy Festival shows next year.  It’s the first time she’ll be doing a full gig but she’s done Open Mic nights at stacks of comedy clubs, including one in New York where she bagged out Americans.  Hilarious.  I’m so proud of her and rapt she’s following her dream.  I’ve seen some of her stuff and she nails it so I know she’ll be great.  When she becomes the next Sarah Silverman I can say I saw her first. 

The other day we were talking about how brave I think she is and how I could never do that.   She dropped this line, “I want you to open for me.”  Open for her?   As in me doing comedy for five minutes before she comes on and does her whole act?  Is she mental?  I’m really not that funny. Sure, I can drop the occasional one liner and re-tell a horrid dating story, but I’m not comedian material.  

Maybe that’s her plan. Once everyone hears my crap comedy, they’ll see her and think she’s hilarious.  Nice one Jokegirl.

I’ve had friends tell me I’m funny.  We all have.  Especially after a lot of champagne.  Them and me.  But how do you go from someone who tells quirky stories at dinner parties to a person who can do a whole comedy show.  For an hour.   Or even 10 minutes in a beginners mic night slot.

Super Girl and I went to see Jason Byrne last week.  That man is mad.  Mad in a good way.  He tells hilarious stories about his family and weird things that happen to him, manically chopping and changing as he goes.  It’s sometimes hard to keep up as he moves from one funny story to the next, using weird props to accentuate the craziness of the story. I was laughing the whole time, often that Stop or I will let out a Wee laughter.  He’s one of the world’s best comedians and I love his chaotic form of humour.  He’s spent years crafting his comedy.

I’ve seen a lot of Hughesy’s stand up too.  He’s a crowd favourite and is naturally a funny man.  You can see it in his TV appearances, comedy gigs and on the radio.  He makes people laugh without even trying.   That’s certainly not me. 

So why is it that I am actually entertaining this bizarre thought?   Me.  On stage.  All alone.  With a microphone and spotlight, telling a story and making people laugh for just five minutes.   Five long minutes.   The thought excites and scares the shit out of me at the same time.

Could I keep a crowd engaged for that long?   Will my dinner party stories of 50/50 boy who refused to pay for a first date then touched me up, be that funny in a room full of strangers?   Do the general public really care about the weird shit that happens to me like getting picked up by an LA lifeguard on a plane and being dumped because of a Tweet?  Would they even laugh at my dating perils of the dirty talking Indian cab driver?

I’ve been to those awful gigs where the audience sits in dead silence, willing the comedian on stage to make them laugh.  But they’re dying a slow painful death – along with the rest of us.   I wonder why their mates or family didn’t give them an honesty shot and say, “Mate, you’re really not THAT funny.  Don’t do it.”, saving their ego and self esteem.  And my twenty bucks.      

I’m expecting that conversation any day now when I tell more people about this bizarre idea.  If it doesn’t come, I may just see you at the Comedy Festival.  But hey, make sure you get to Jokegirl’s gig five minutes late – you won’t miss a thing. 


The end of the world as we know it

So the world’s gonna end soon, huh?

I have to say, that’s a little disappointing.   I’ve got a shitload of stuff I still haven’t done.  Not just today. In my life.  Including adding stories to this blog and sending the link to my Mum so she can see what her daughter has been up to lately.  I’m sure she’ll be proud. 

Then there’s all the travel.  So many places I want to visit.  I’ve only seen a third of the USA.  My lifelong goal was to have visited every state before I shuffle off the planet with an upsized burger and Diet Coke in hand.  The best I’ve managed is three trips to New York, a few flights to LA thanks to a long distance affair with a lifeguard. a two day bender in Las Vegas and a stack of tiny, Hicksville cities through the deep South when Radio Nat and I did a road trip.     Plus, Eastern Europe – more of Asia – maybe even South America to eat my weight in rice and sugary donuts.    My passport sits incomplete.

What about lifelong goals of kids, two dogs, a white picket fence (mortgage) and a life long partner?   Hmmmm. Let’s get back to that one later.

If the world ends now, I’ll feel like a failure. I never did finish my Japanese themed garden and I certainly didn’t clean out the junk room and turn it into a creative writing space like I wanted to.  Don’t even think about judging me about all the crap under my bed that I was going to throw out  “one day”.  Looks like that ‘one day’ will never come.   Shame.

I’d be happy with my career of course.  I love my job – pretty much always have.  I get frustrated when people say “When you’re on your death bed, will you wish you worked another day?”  Well yes actually, because my board report is due and I hate to let my awesome GM down.  Plus, I have an office full of chocolate and VIP tickets to an upcoming dance festival.  Derr. 

If the world ends tomorrow, I hope I die with a smile on my face, thinking about my amazing life – all the wonderful things I’ve done – and the unbelievably brilliant people I’ve known and loved.   Still love.  Great friends, amazing men, a wonderful family.   I’ve been surrounded by some of the best people on Earth.  (Sure I’ve had my fair share of idiots and cocksuckers too, but as Kelly Clarkson says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.)

So yes, I may not have published an award winning book.  My film script remains unfinished (a rom com).  I will never perfect vegetarian lasagne (5 attempts and I’m done with crunchy pasta breaking my teeth).  But I know I’ve had a life more amazing than most people could ever imagine.  For that I am eternally grateful. 

And if the world doesn’t end, expect a call to help me finish off that pathetic Japanese garden. 


Am I the world's worst vegetarian?

I just ate chicken.  A tasty, grilled chicken burger. 

And?  So what?  Well, I’m a vegetarian.

Google the word vegetarian and you will find someone who doesn’t eat meat. And that includes chicken.

I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few years, so I’m sort of new to the concept of not eating meat.  I’ve always felt good about my decision.  But for some reason today, I decided to give up my beliefs, and ordered a chicken burger. Just like that.

How does that happen?

You think you know what you want out of life and head off in one direction with your book of morals and beliefs in tact.  Suddenly you take a sharp, unexpected turn and throw that book out of the window.   For no particular, good reason at all.

I stopped eating meat after seeing a graphic video where a cow – a beautiful cow with big brown eyes – was shot in the head with a bolt gun and then hacked to bits by an abattoir worker.   The hooves were cut off, then the head, followed by the gutting of the main carcass.   Bit by bit, the cow, that was only minutes earlier standing next to the worker, was chopped into unrecognisable lumps of meat.  The newly named “beef” was ready to be sent off to the supermarket.

The vision of that beautiful cow staring at the camera … staring at me … was etched into my memory.     

Initially I didn’t realise it had affected me.   I turned away from the screen, felt a bit queasy, and went about my day feeling a little icky as you do when you see something a bit gross. Like an episode of CSI with a bloody murder scene or one of those hospital dramas where they slice open a person, slop their insides onto the operating table and then rearrange their organs perfectly.  You’re not eating right now are you? 

The next day, I was in a meeting and grabbed a bacon and egg sandwich as my boss talked non stop at me. Biting into the warm bread, I felt the egg hit my taste buds – then the salty bacon.  Suddenly I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks.   I pulled the sandwich from my mouth as my bewildered workmates stared at me.

“What’s wrong?” they asked, assuming there was something unusual in my sandwich, like those stories of people who find bits of dead rat or toenails in their food. 

“I can’t eat this”, I stammered, as the vision of the beautiful brown cow pierced my brain … “I don’t think I can eat meat anymore.”

My friend Toni leaned over me and sympathetically said, “Don’t worry, I will!” yanking the sandwich from my hand.  “I love dead animals!”

My reaction surprised me. As a child, I spent holidays on my Aunt & Uncle’s property in the NSW outback.  They had sheep, beef and chickens - all of which were killed for food or sent off to market to become someone’s dinner.

I remember my Uncle taking my sister and I to the slaughter house where I saw a cute and fluffy lamb be hung up by its hooves, slit from head to toe, and the blood drain from its body, soaking its white coat.  The red river seemed to run forever … and as I looked down at my bare feet, I saw the blood running across my toes, soaking my own white skin. 

That night, I tucked into the roast lamb and vegies with my family, without a thought for what I’d seen earlier that day.

(As I’m writing this I can feel my stomach churn and the burger rise in my throat.)

So back to tonight’s chicken burger.

Generally I’ve found being a vegetarian a great experience. I’ve lost weight, feel better, have more energy and sleep deeper and longer than ever before.  Maybe its because I don’t have a heavy weight of meat (dead animal) sitting in my gut.

I’ve also rediscovered my love of cooking, experimenting with new recipes, foods and spices.  Before I gave up meat, I would cook and eat the same things all the time.  It was easier to whip up the same meals without having to think too much.  Now, I try new recipes and most of them are awesome. Except for a lentil and broccoli soup I made once. It smelt bad, tasted bad, and created a flatulence factory for me and my flatmate.  Awkward.

I think tonight was a one off.  My friend Nat and I went to a place we used to go to years ago.  It was as if I wanted to relive the memories of when we would hang out together, eat chicken burgers and fries and talk crap about boys till we ran out of time - or food (whichever came first).  Tonight we still talked crap about men (who behave like boys), ate chicken burgers and fries and hung out. 

Not much has changed, it’s just that now I’m a vego.  Well I think I still am.

Oh, by the way, I didn’t actually enjoy the chicken burger.  The best part was the pineapple.   I only ate part of it, as it really wasn’t that great.  But yes, I finished off the fries, because potatoes can’t feel pain … as far as I know.