Tag Archives: writing

sunday stalker – the turtle (part one)

She reminded me of a turtle. Slow, purposeful, reclusive. Like she carried an invisible load on her back which made her move very slowly to bear its weight.

A turtle is somewhat of an enigma – who knows what it does once tucked inside its shell for the night? What does it think, with such surplus time for contemplation in a world of perennial slow motion? I couldn’t help but wonder the same of her.

I first noticed her in the city, the world about her frenetically charged and moving at speed; like a tribal beat urging my heart to speed up, to match its pace, to become part of the rhythm. To contribute. But she was set apart from this scene by her very stillness.

Like a breath caught in lung, suspended.

But she wasn’t inert, far from it. Her eyes noted everything. They didn’t dart about, exactly. But were so large, her peripheral vision must have stretched beyond her forward gait to include her left and right, and what now lay in her wake – as if her conciousness could magically pirouette and tally this town in a split second. She was drinking it all in, as I was drinking her in.

She had smile lines at her eyes, which felt strange to me. I wondered if ageing had any effect if the person existed in a vacuum of anti-motion. She had long, artistic fingers. Longer than a turtle ought to have, if she were to shrink sudden inside her shell at the sign of first strife.

She crossed the street. I held my breath, waiting for the lights to change  and the cars to punctuate her progress. Somewhat disappointingly, she made it across with seemingly endless nanoseconds to spare … as if the world marched to her beat after all.

It was in that moment I decided to follow her, though I’m not sure the choice was mine. It was as if she pulled me after her, as she slid around a corner and out of my sight. Her sudden absence was like being woken from the quiet of hypnosis.

Unwelcome and overly bright.

stay tuned for part two …

The Polaroids are, uh … in my other coat.

I still exist.

Poetically. Philosophically. Physically.

Yes, faithful Wuckers. I’m alive and advancing. Dwelling in ye Old Blighty. Enjoying a rather tepid summer and yet another Phoenix rebirth!

You see, following the attempted annihilation of my character ‘n’ career by the most recent in a long line of Vaders, I boarded a plane bound for London, set for a month-long holiday …

Soon, I was in Paris.

Sitting at a sunset rooftop bar with a pina colada in one hand, bread ‘n’ olives in t’other, and a view which stretched clear across Paris to the Sacré-Coeur. Around me sat tourists holding American, Australian and French conversations over wine, beer and cocktails (respectively); opposite: a dude with a bright red mohawk reminiscent of Frenke Potente in Run Lola, Run.

It’s the little things.

As I waited for a friend to arrive so we could begin our time in Paris … a time filled with flea markets, a tower de Eiffel, and giggle-filled train rides … I pondered that it may be this visit where I finally fell for Paris. Perhaps ’twas my frame of mind, my frame of past, or the fact I was without ties … but the sun on my skin made promise of possibilities. Much like the sun of Italy and Greece had made promise (and delivered on) before.

Bien sur, the first thing apparent of Paris (aka apparisent) was how succinctly it shone back at me mes inadequacies.

Behind the bar was a beautiful, tanned, lyrical French man. Tousled hair. Golden beard. Wearing a throwaway t-shirt likely plucked from the floor of a sparse, sunlit loft which spoke (in French, no less) of youth and freedom. A worn guitar no doubt sat expectantly propped against a wall, open shutters nearby, a winding Blonde tangled in sleep nearby. This was the kind of man every woman imagines falling in love with; the projected trajectory of said relationship easily fitting into every romantic comedy ever promised.

Across from me: an ordinary looking geek avec acne and polo shirt, bent over laptop.

My story held neither, of course.

But travel is akin to physically walking onto the 5km-square blank page of a giant sketchbook, where characters and roads are drawn before your eyes, unexpected and inspiring. Infinitesimal. Suddenly you remember what life can hold, if you have the courage to stand up and demand joy. It suddenly stretches out before you, not as a threat, but as a playground.

And so. Mon ami et moi traversed Paris, climbed the Eiffel Tower at midnight, made videos of us bouncing along the boulevards, swept along on good times and endless laughs. Indeed it was the trip where Paris and I became friends; or, as the French say, “tell me whom you frequent, and I will tell you who you are”.

Then we set fly for Malta. Backward in modern amenities, yet forward in beauty and scope – it proved equal parts stunning and maddening. We jet skied on the Mediterranean, zooming out to sea at 40km per hour, jumping self-made waves and getting seasprayed, as the whitewashed square houses of the shoreline whizzed by. We laughed til tears ran down our faces, and drew the eyes of sane folk who knew not of the wonderful secret of whimsy.

Then back to London to visit my cousin for two weeks before (supposedly) returning home …

Cue: Flashback.

Three days before I departed, I made the sudden decision to give notice on my flat. This way: I wouldn’t have to pay rent while away and could extend my holiday if a wayward whim did sidle up (as they are want to do). Consequently, my last two days were spent in a hive of hustle – cutting off bills, organising movers, madly packing and cleaning. I put the entirety of my life into two large storage lockers which drove off to an undisclosed location (presumably my subconscious) the day afore I flew. Headlong towards oxygen and a large question mark made of puffy white clouds. My decision half drawn and left unfinished as I boarded my flight to London, I had effectively released my last tether like Bullock of Gravity lore.

Who says you can’t make and execute a major life decision in two days?

And so, flashback over … when it came time to return to the life I left, there was nothing tangible to return to; and instead, I stood in England – possibility and curiosity before me.

That was a year ago.

So! Now I live in London. With office work officially, squarely in my past. Because, dear Wuckers. I did it! I landed a contract on a long-running television show. Not at entry level, oh no. But as an assistant director – on the floor – where the ACTION! happens.

Can ya fucken believe it?

 

I can’t fucken believe it.

I’ve been in the job eight months and it has indeed been a baptism the likes of which Joan of Arc has never seen. The majority of staff have been there from the start and navigating the resulting factions has been akin to attending a high school designed by Tim Burton on a particularly virulent acid trip. My average day is 13 hours, which is physically fairly nuclear. But I’m in it, Barry. Oh so innit. And I have credits! An actual motherfucking profile on IMDB, which makes me finally, formerly, established in the industry.

I know this all sounds annoyingly Disney but in truth, it’s been much like stepping into a tornado with farcical faith it’ll drop me off in Oz miraculously in one piece, like a kindly windswept taxi driver … my ruby slippers placed nearby. Indeed I am in Oz, but my ruby slippers are up the arse of an unlucky munchkin and the yellow brick road is closed for repair.

But, in my high stakes game of Tic Tac Survival, I am indubitably surviving. Nay, expanding. And no, not like Mr Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. 

But in outlook, dear friends. In trajectory.

A wrecking ball… is something else entirely.

It’s come to this: I sit with a glass of red, my emotions in a rage.

Love. Crippled hope. Fear. Futility. Exhaustion. Defeat.

A daisy chain of disquiet. Tumultuous seas confined to the teacup that is my chest cavity. A kaleidoscopic sideshow only I am privy to. Yep, that about covers it. It’s the first emotion which inspires all others, ironically. It breeds like a Freudian rabbit, springing from one to another. Singular pain is multiplied. Worry becomes fact. Fear becomes a fait accompli. Or is it the fear that it isn’t fear, but knowledge of what is to follow?

Riddle me that, ubiquitous joker.

Either way. It feels just shy of impossible to live within my own skin today.

Ad and in nauseum, I have marched behind each minute, magic marker in hand, attempting to erase the wake each thought awakened. There were too many. They piled upon each other and now, I can only wait for the day to end and bring with the next a differing doctrine. Til then, they have my heart in a death grip. And, among all other fears is this: the grip prevails because of the truth it holds.

Decryption: I think I might love him. Having only ever been enamoured and not en love, I aint sure. But I feel sure. Which inspires panic in turn. For with that uncertain knowledge is this certain one: he’s unattainable. And, following that fucken rabbit down the warren hole, comes this conclusion: I think I’m in a tragedy.

As per the dustily droll definition of Dustin’s Hoffman in Stranger Than Fiction:

The last thing to determine conclusively is whether you are in a comedy or a tragedy. To quote Italo Calvino, ‘the ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.’

Tragedy, you die. Comedy, you get hitched.

Ipso fuckto: tragedy. Or tradge, as my brother would say.

Which is not to say that I will die, my friends. Moreso, it’s the destination of an exhaustive journey which dies and leaves me perennially trekking. In vain. Towards what? Perversity? Exhaustion? Fucked if I know. So. At an impasse. I share my tumult with you.

And a new thought. When grappling with such a mood, I feel fresh sympathy for those who struggle with drug or alcohol addictions. What must it be like to have the option to escape such thoughts for a time; or years, should the addiction strike you? Irresistible, I imagine.

I’ve never had that option open to me, though I can’t say why. Luck, at a guess. Where all emotions are absorbed into my bloodstream with a readiness which breeds failure and fortitude in equal measure, drugs have nil effect. So, I’ve been left with philosophy and film to quiet my hurting heart; and here is where you find me.

With a storm that seas and besieges me, larger than my little boat of axioms, philosophy or rebuttals is ready for; but with a silver lining of sobriety in which to greet it.

Move it or lose it, Toots.

Fuckadoodledoo.

My landlord just gave me notice.

I gotta move outta my beloved abode afore the next solstice. Four years in, I could feel this day approaching – fast and furious like the errant arse of Vin Diesel. Yessireebobtail I’ve dreaded it. Now it’s nigh and, well. I’m gutted. Just quietly.

My life is imploding with songlike synchronicity. Either that or a Phoenix cannot burn in part, if it’s to be reborn in full.

Let’s go with the latter, eh. Optimism is sanity for me right now. And whilst this is indeed spurious news (of bastard origins), I can’t help but call its timing predictably prescient. For this flat is the only true anchor I own to my soon-to-be-former life; the only habit urging me to make money enough to support it.

A man’s home is his castle, and a wuc’s abode is her equalizer. In years past, I’ve amassed art from Vietnam ‘n’ Cambodia, riches from Morocco ‘n’ Peru, and treasures from Europe’s teeming troves. Layer upon layer of connoisseur ‘n’ quirk until my home became a Wuccan cave of wonderment – a place where I could look in any direction and be visually sated. It’s the first real home I’ve had in adulthood. The first place I planted feet after years of travel and fucked up flatshares. And, like one’s first love, I have held it apart from all that went before it in delight and revelry.

Not to wax lyrical, yo. But you could say its been a dear friend, supportive and steady throughout many a harem of hardship. (A friend I paid $360 bucks a week for the privilege, but still.) As my sole sanctuary from copious compromises laden in my latent life – it has kept my candle of hope alive against wayward winds and usurping upswells. And somehow, throughout, I have managed to afford this choice champion. Just.

Slowly but surely, like the breasts of Jessica Simpson, the rent has risen biannually. And I have held on for dear life, like the boulder holder whose cups cannot stay the mounting mammilla. I lived in fear of the next inevitable increase (as I’m sure does JS) but turns out, there’s more than one way to snap the strap of the most bold of boulder holders, my friends.

Nothing for it but to suck it up and ride the realistic wave.

And so my endeavor becomes double decker: to find a new home and career within the month whilst staying the stink of inner ‘n’ outer beasts (and how many there are). Feels much like learning to walk whilst planning a Himalayan hike – ill timed yet undoubtably possible (in an after-school special kinda way).

In the kindtime, I’m (re)discovering that tackling Sydney’s housing market is akin to tackling my caustically Christian grandmo’ at the height of her regime.

The meek need not apply.

Nor need logic, for that matter.

You can’t handle the truth!

I think my mojo has sprung a leak.

I can hear the soft whoosh and whine of it deflating, like an airbed long used by porcupines. Though, my hope is it’s more of a falter than ‘flater and will rise again (like John Mayer from the ashes of dignity and seldom silence).

I have applied for a multitude of jobs this past month, with a view to leaving these fuckers, this industry and (Tori Amos willing) office work entirely behind. My resolve resplendent and my direction decided, the path before me remains as oblique and maddening as the plot of any Oliver Stone movie. I have trawled endless websites in search of my escape hatch, yet only the tiniest slivers of light promise exit. With no space large enough for me to fit through, I’m left to Mary Lennox; to peek through the vignette and wistfully wonder …

‘What’s through there? How do I gain entry to the secret garden?’

I don’t suppose I’ll be granted cobwebbed key via recondite room in the downdrafts of my metaphorical mansion, but that would feel most fitting. The descent of any avid moviegoer is the expectation to live in plot rather than real life; where musical montage bears the only reference to hardship and editing is your most fair-weather of friends.

Ironic then, that it’s into film and television that I foray … at the entriest of levels whilst attempting to keep my salary sane and thus refrain from becoming one of the great unwashed. If only I knew which of these vine-covered vignettes would take me there. If only poetic rhetoric were a stepping stone, rather than a sinking one. But I suspect my missing montage aint gonna crack it. (Fuck it.)

Back to reality then, with no more a starling Sentimental’s lament!

My next attempt is to piece together a living – one part old job, one part new. Part-time flagellation to support my daydream dazing and pursuit thereof. Lego careering, I like to call it. Such is the yellow brick road upon which I set my ruby slipper, with some sense of urgency and rising panic. For, in recent days, my workplace has become home to a pack of jackals who have my juicy hindquarters in their sights. And, as my fellow comrades resign and leave me behind to weather the storm solo, I can feel the last vestiges of my fortitude slip seemingly from sight into the Lake of Shining Waters below.

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