Wednesday, 26 March 2003

do you ever feel as though you've lost your centre? your emotional home? i'm feeling displaced.

two of my best friends went to live in england on monday. i am only just realising how much i miss them. people keep disappearing off to the northern hemisphere - that's at least four of my closest friends now. is this a hint of some sort?

Tuesday, 25 March 2003

she wakes to the sound of another day, blue and white and swarming with dust and apathy. bombs dropping on the other side of the world and the ticking of the everyday in her little pocket of the universe. she picks up the newspaper off the doormat and glances at the khaki photographs, the headlines in heavy bold black proclaiming the latest, which is the same as yesterday's, which was the same as the day's before: "we know nothing! but we want you to be afraid!" it seems safer to read the lifestyle supplements, so she sits down with her breakfast and reads about bottling tomatoes, although even that seems like too much effort. she goes to work where the everyday continues to tick, above a bus interchange and beside a chinese acupuncturist. she watches people crossing the park, old women from the housing developments limping slowly along the paths with their canvas shopping trolleys, young kids skiving off school in their plasticky tracksuits, someone late for work in a suit, eating something unnourishing and disposable in place of breakfast. the park grows at a slower rate than these people traversing its surface; it cares not for war or buses or tomatoes. it opens up under the sun, stretching languidly and assuming today will be much the same as yesterday, just like the headlines. she doesn't want to be in the park, but is grateful for the flashes of green in her peripheral vision as she eats her lunch at her desk. she leaves as soon as she is able and drives home along choked industrial roads, squeezed in between trucks and semi trailers and hoping they notice her when it's time to change lanes. the radio spews out trivial froth, the announcers doing their best to sound upbeat and nonchalant while wishing war victims well and introducing the next song. skipping from station to station she starts to feel like her multiple personalities are coming out to play, so she switches off the radio and drives in the relative silence of car engines and white noise. she cooks a tasty meal when she gets home and watches the news despite her better judgement. it washes over her in wave upon wave of hyperbole and dumbed-down rhetoric until she just focuses on what the newsreader is wearing and thinks how attractive blue is on some people. in between promises of up-to-the-minute news and flashes of unpalatable and unconvincing seriousness, regular programming resumes and she finds herself slumped in her chair, hours later, with hardly any memory of what she has watched, but suspecting it was not worth the investment of time. she switches off the television and loses another hour or two to the internet until it is a respectable time to admit defeat and go to bed. she lies awake in the dark, imagining footsteps in the hallway, until sleep curls its fingers around her face and pushes her into a dreamless slumber.

Wednesday, 19 March 2003

and within a day real life has again encroached...

went to look at a new place to live today. i've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now and looking at the place from the outside and longing for it to be lovely inside. they were asking a bit more rent than we're paying now (which isn't exactly cheap, although i'm starting to wonder whether we're actually doing quite well...) but we figured if the place was perfect then neither of us would mind paying a little more. the way i see it (ideally) if you're renting and you can afford it, you have the choice, right? you ought to be able to say where you want to live and what kind of place you want, right? ideally, if you don't like a place you should be able to pack up and move somewhere better with a minimum of fuss.

yeah, i know. in what reality does that happen?

anyway, back to my parallel universe just for a sec. we went to look at the lovely house/unit thing. it was advertised as being a 2 bedroom plus study, gorgeousness personified, blah blah. even i am not completely gullible when it comes to real estate speak, so i was expecting it to be a little less than perfect. the place was indeed beautiful. the agent had already told me that there was no dining room so i wasn't perturbed by that. it was full of light, well-maintained, and felt like somewhere we could call home quite easily.

but as we were walking around i said "isn't there another room?" and the agent replied "yes, that's it", pointing to the large living room. "and the study?" i asked, my heart sinking. she opened a door to reveal what was basically a broom cupboard with two cots in it, which is where the children of the house had been sleeping (the most disturbing thing was it had a deadlock on the outside of the door...was that to lock the children in or keep the bogeyman out?).

so, basically, for $40 more rent per week than we're paying now for our terrace you get one huge bedroom, one small bedroom, a broom closet, a bathroom and a kitchen. if you have people over to visit, i guess they'll just have to sit on the bed. if you have people round for dinner you should serve finger food everyone can eat standing up. i suppose you could watch TV in the was actually quite spacious.

the thing that pissed me off is why can't people be honest? why couldn't the owners say, okay, we've got a lovely one bedroom apartment here that someone will pay good money for, instead of blatantly lying about it? why are they so greedy that they have to squeeze every possible cent out of a place instead of being fair? why are they keeping their children in a broom cupboard? why did the agent ask us to take off our shoes because the carpets had just been shampooed when the place had floorboards and a rug? why am i so disappointed at missing the opportunity to be ripped off by a couple of yuppies?

i do love our little glebe house, and now i appreciate it even more. i'm going to go home and take photos of all the things that are wrong with it (like the mould, like the paint peeling off the walls, like bamboo growing up through the skirting boards) and then if the agent does something about it we won't have to move. because for what we can afford to pay, it's unlikely we'll be able to get anything as decent in this ridiculous, property-obsessed city.

Tuesday, 18 March 2003

all i can offer are hypothetical questions and futile wailings and sighs.

this whole thing is a bizarre, unlocated contradiction - the concept of war horrifies me. the thought of military leaders throwing their weight around and squashing normal people trying to live their lives and stay out of trouble. the thought of the money being spent and the anger on all sides and the killing involved and the struggle and the hatred. and yet, despite feeling sick and upset about it, it seems so far away from the every day, from sitting here at this desk, wondering whether i'm going to move house soon, thinking about my thesis, listening to bjork, looking out at the pure blue sky. it seems as though war can be played out on television and in the newspapers and online and it will be like any other event, mildly interesting, occasionally thought provoking, sometimes emotionally affecting, but nothing that really impacts on my day to day existence.

and should it? should people run all the way to baghdad just to make a point? or go and stand in front of a bulldozer on the gaza strip? aside from us, who sees it? do those aforementioned hefty military leaders notice the person standing underneath the bomb as it falls? "oh, wait, call it back - that's a white person!" somehow i don't think so.

but this cynicism and the feeling that i'm watching wag the dog again surely isn't a helpful response either. and i don't know about vandalizing the opera house being a good way to go either (although i suppose that did get noticed...kind of hard to ignore). everyone has an opinion and most of them i can't be bothered reading. i'm sticking to satire and humourous ranting.

Wednesday, 12 March 2003

ta da! Australasian Stories

you know, i'm published in this anthology and i still don't know what it's all about. suffice it to say, i have a huge following in nepal and my last single went platinum in belgium.

i'm all for keeping it real, though, you know. like, i only take the limo if the press are going to be there, and i'll settle for dom perignon if there's nothing else on offer.

Monday, 3 March 2003

a moment - alone, sitting on a small wooden platform at centennial park, my feet hanging out over the water, drinking strong black coffee and being warmed by the sun.


but you wait a moment too long and it gives way to something approaching melancholy. still, it's hard to be sad around ducks. i saw two rabbits on my way back to the car; that also cheered me up.