Friday, November 23, 2012

One or Two Things About Mitch

Underneath all the insults and punching there's a real love.

"You looked really nice tonight."

"What?" I asked through an obscene amount of lamb burger. Probably two mouthfuls' worth in one bite.
"You looked nice tonight Rebby." Mitch repeated, balancing the one-litre stein I'd stolen for him under his arm while he shoveled chicken nuggets into his mouth.
"Oh? Oh! Thanks Mittens, that's sweet of you to say."

With that comment, a genuine compliment given at a civilised volume and not littered with abuse (for instance: "You didn't look like shit tonight, dickhead"), I suddenly realised that Mitch would be leaving Melbourne to return to Perth the next day. Through the last few bites of my burger, I felt incredibly glum.

Some obnoxious birds began chirping, as the morning sun began to make itself known.


A large part of the blame for my having been AWOL from blogging activities for a such a long time recently can very easily be heaped on ol' Mitts and his long-awaited return to Melbourne. Perhaps my dearest and closest friend in the world, my darling companion through the mountains and the canyons, and certainly one of the few people who I can trust to always be brutally honest with me, having Mitch come to visit was definitely a big deal, and Cause for Major Celebration.

If we're being blunt, it was something akin to a ten-day bender.

Mitts spent his Melbourne sojourn sleeping in my living room, turning the heart of Castle Mega into what resembled a junkie crack-den oasis in the middle of a desert of leafy inner-city suburbia. The few nights we didn't head out into the night to make nuisances of ourselves, he'd be sure to burst into my room, knocking on the door with a "Reeeebbbbyyyyyyy...". After not bothering to wait for a response, he'd proceed to tackle me. Then he'd breathe on me, demanding I guess what he'd been eating and drinking over the course of the night.

"BEER. You were drinking BEER, MITCH."

Of course, when I wasn't being punched out of near-sleep by Mitch, I was being a menace to society with Mitch. Dinner, drinks, drinking with pals, hitting the cinematorium, and throwing a (literally) very messy party. Suffice to say, I didn't get a full night's sleep during the entire time he was over.

Mitch arrived at my door a bruised, battered and newly-tattooed corpse, straight off the plane after a sleepless few days at Bar Week in Sydney. Haggard and with a leg covered in fresh ink, he staggered into Castle Mega to the strains of my shrieking delight. Even if he lives on the other side of the country now, and even if our busy schedules and propensity to be easily distracted means we don't get to talk as much as we'd like, we immediately fell back into our familiar routine as if no time had passed at all. Honestly, when push comes to shove, there isn't really anyone with whom I can completely be myself with like I can with Mitts.

Before he arrived, I was hanging out in Alice's living room, talking excitedly about my dear friend's imminent arrival, and the party we'd be throwing, and the adventures we'd be having together.

"You guys are going to get married one day." Alice remarked matter-of-factly.

"What??" I nearly choked on my wine.
"You guys are going to end up together." She repeated. "When you're both old and you realise there's no one else better for you than each other."

I pondered that moment, mulled the possibility over for a moment.

"Why, Rebby? No one else cares about you the way Mitch does. No one else is there for you the way he is."

Well, she had a point. Mitch is perhaps the only person I know who I can trust will always give it to me straight, to always be there when I'm most in need, and to always actually find my shitty jokes amusing.
Then again...

"Nah. Just...nah."

The thought of being ... intimate (the very typing of that word makes me feel kind of gross inside) ... with Mitch now fills me with a kind of repulsion. It'd border on incest. It'd make everyone involved vomit profusely. That's the sort of relationship that we have now. I said as much to Mitch the night he arrived back in Melbourne. He threw is head back in loud, cackling laughter. Agreement laughter. It's an idea too absurd to contemplate.

We met in 2008, at our friend Tim's nineteenth birthday. We were at Bang, or Switch, or Poo, or whatever the fuck that awful night at that awful club was called back then. I don't know who spoke to who first, but I do remember a red bandana and a Top 5 Films list that must've been at least slightly worth remembering. Certainly it was worth a phone number request from one of us. The rest, as they say, is history.

One from yesteryear, of us obviously looking our best.

So ensued rollicking number of months of hungover mornings, uni days and beer-filled nights. Much of it was spent in apartment Sevin-Oh-Eight, an inner-city shoebox with stained carpets, and always a body or two passed out on the couch or in the hallway. I'd sneak in through the back of the Chinese restaurant underneath the apartment block so as not to buzz the slumbering boys into the rude world of the waking. Looking back, it was a romantic relationship that was essentially just a great friendship, one that feigned at boyfriend/girlfriend-dom by the trips back to familial houses, and a bit of sex. He gave me a crash course in the world of skate videos, I brought him the occasional morning hot chocolate. He'd wake me up in the middle of the night to make me watch some awesome long-take, I'd store film equipment in his living room. He'd forget my media screening, I'd write passive aggressive verses on his scripts, then we'd make a night of shooting nerf cannons up a stairwell. He was a superb partner in crime through the world of parties and the cinema, but all too soon it became clear that our skill sets (when it came to each other) were better suited to being a great friends, not attentive and loving partners.

Years have passed since that stage of our relationship. Some were puzzled at first that we were attempting to remain friends, which I suppose is understandable. But as we both rampaged our way through new relationships and overseas adventures and intensely fluctuating hair length, we remained constants in the others' lives, and I guess everyone around us kind of just got used to the fact that we were still as close-knit as we'd ever been. In fact, we were probably closer. Even my mum's view of Mitch morphed from describing him as "that Mitchell boy" to excitedly asking after a Skype session, "Rebby, how's Mittens going? Give our love to his family!".

Perhaps it's because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Perhaps it's because we've both shotgunned roles as Best Man at our respective weddings. Or perhaps it's because at this stage, we know far, far too much about each other for us to find the other remotely attractive in that way ever again. Without the pressure (for lack of a better term) of attempting not to be a shitty partner to the other, somehow we'd crossed a line into the most non-judgemental, honest, laid-back friendship imaginable. Frankly, it'd take something tantamount to mowing down a village of puppies with napalm for us to lay down any negative judgement on or think any less of each other. Our relationship has seen one support the other through everything from depression to infidelity, from overseas adventures to potential parent-dom, from junkie exes to existential crises. With the absolute and all-encompassing honesty of our friendship so too has come no-holds-barred brutal honesty, albeit the kind of brutal honesty that's always been devoid of judgement. So far, nothing's been devastating enough for our opinion of each other to have been altered.

Put it this way: we've seen each other at our absolute worst, at complete rock bottom. And we haven't been repulsed at what it looks like. I've thrown up in Mitch's bathroom sink and left the evidence. In turn, Mitch has almost thrown up on me many a time. Mitch has looked after me after I've broken my arm and after I've had my heart broken. His family's let me hang out at their place (multiple days in a sleeping bag suit) while I scowled my way through the post-holiday blues. I've written jokes for Mitch, put up with dozens of flaky moments, and guided him (read: laughed at his shitty decision-making skills) through any number of ridiculous sexual and romantic misadventures. He listens patiently to my stories of woe, and tells me when I'm selling myself short. I call him out on his shit, and high five him when he's victorious. Mitch has forgotten to return phone calls for what seemed like aeons. I've disappeared off the face of the planet for months. Frankly, I'm a little puzzled by his newfound Western Australian persona of "Rummy". He doesn't hold back when it comes to assigning sarcastic nicknames to the guys I see. We're completely aware of the absolute worst things the other has done. And all of that has been completely okay.

So, Mitch came to Melbourne and kept me awake for ten days. Almost immediately after he arrived, we threw a party. We wrestled on a living room floor covered in the remnants of tropical punch. There was passionfruit on the walls, chairs were broken, and a breakdance battle occurred on in the living room. We were probably completely obnoxious and I'm sure at no point did we communicate in anything less than a yell. We laughed hysterically and skidded across the floor in a punch bowl, and I woke up in the morning on Mitch's junkie mattress on the floor with Krispy Kreme carcasses all around us. Bleary-eyed and still wearing shoes, I awoke feeling elated.

I was fully aware of the hangover that lay in store for me, but I was also incredibly aware that the next week or so would be spent hanging out with one of my favourite people in the world. Mitch is also one of the more infuriating, frustrating and exhausting people I'll ever know, but perhaps that's why I've never come close to becoming bored or sick of his company.

I punched Mitch in the side.

"Dick cheese."
"Love you."
"Love you too."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tram Attack.

This happened on Tuesday.

True story, guys. I began giggling hysterically when I saw the chubby, dotted culprit and immediately messaged Mitts. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Safety on the Toilet

When I was a kid, I would wake up in the middle of the night and suddenly be convinced that I was about about to die. The reason for my certain and imminent demise would often change, but I do remember often jolting from sleep and being CONVINCED that a spider had bitten me and the poison was coursing through my veins and all I had to do was go back to sleep and BOOM, I'd be dead.

Obviously, I had it together even as a child.

My method of dealing with my predicament (imminent death) was this: I'd hang out in the bathroom. Namely, the toilet. To you, that probably makes no sense whatsoever. At the time though, I didn't think of "GO TO THE BATHROOM" as anything less than a perfectly sane thought process/safety plan.

Firstly, throughout most of my childhood I shared a room with my little brother. Even in my state of panic and anxiety I didn't want to wake him up with my ridiculous anxieties, so I'd bail from our bedroom. Basically, I was being a good sister by fleeing to the bathroom to make sure I didn't die. Bro, don't ever say I don't do anything for you.

Secondly (and more importantly), I had somehow convinced myself that if I was in the bathroom, I could not die. I'm about 70% sure this is how that particular episode of my life played out:

I vaguely remember being in the bathroom, and for some reason I was freaking about something or other. Who knows what. Something. I was freaking out about something. Next thing I remember is a responsible adult in the vicinity reassuring me that I wasn't about to die and that there was no reason for me to be freaking out so, for "you're not going to die there in the bathroom, kiddo!"

"Have you heard of anyone dying on the toilet, Rebby? You'll be fine. Now, calm down and come on out of there."

That's not the kind of thing you tell a kid with as many weird-ass idiosyncrasies as I. To me, that instantly equated to:


Which of course, is laughable.

But! I was a kid. So whenever I woke up in the middle of the night with the nagging feeling that my short life might be over very soon, I'd grab the book I'd always read to stave off imminent demise (Sense and Sensibility, weirdly enough) and I'd head to the bathroom, because I felt like I'd be safe while leaning against the bathtub, or sitting on the toilet, or lying on the floor. After an hour or so, I'd inevitably stayed alive for long enough to be convinced that I could return to bed, and sleep the rest of the night safe in the knowledge that I'd wake up in the morning.

Look, I never said I was a normal kid.

So anyway, that went on for a while, through a myriad of bathrooms through a number of years, to and fro over the border of Victoria and South Australia. Eventually, I stopped waking up in the middle night, terrified that particular night would be my last. Which was just as well, because I eventually learned how many people have in fact died on the toilet. Do you know who's died on the john? Lenny Bruce! Edmund II of England! And of course, my dearest beloved Elvis Presley. It wasn't quite as traumatic as when I learned John Lennon had been dead the entire time I'd been alive, but the mental image of Elvis Presley dying on the loo was almost too much for my still quite young mind to bear.

And you know what else I soon learned? Bathrooms are dangerous places in popular culture. Watch a few horror movie, and you're BOUND to realise very quickly that all bad things happen in the bathroom. Shit son, don't ever open a cabinet behind a mirror, because after you close it I GUARANTEE that some long-dead ghoul or monster WILL be behind you. Thinking of having a bath? BAD MOVE. As soon as you close your eyes, the bath WILL fill up with blood. Just look at Black Swan. Bad bathroom vibes all over.

Like this.
There's just something about how blood looks on clean (or dirty) bathroom tiles, and the vulnerability of a naked body about to get into a shower that has made the humble bathroom one of the more popular death locations in the horror/thriller/murder mystery genres. But for the ten-year-old Reb, it was my weird sanctuary. Sometimes I'd take a little radio in while I made sure I didn't die. Oh, and just for the record, I'm not entirely sure how I made sure I didn't die. Maybe I thought if I concentrated hard enough on being alive, I'd make it through the night.

Anyway! So it was just as well that I'd realised that there are much, much safer places than the bathroom, and it was just as well I'd grown accustomed to sleeping through a full night. Because obviously bathrooms are dangerous, dangerous places.

I continued in this way, sleeping well and only occasionally sending myself into the throes of anxiety. I kind of forgot about my nightly bubble of bathroom safety, until one slightly delirious afternoon of salmonella-induced violent vomiting.

I was in Peru, and even if it hadn't clicked in my head that I should take myself to a medical professional after a week and a half of nary a solid emerging from either end of my person, after this particular incident I immediately dragged my sorry ass to the nearest hospital.

I was sitting on the toilet, while vomiting into the shower. On a side note, you haven't hit rock bottom until you're vomiting into the shower while sitting on the toilet. I hadn't eaten a full meal in almost a week, and after barely having the strength to stagger up the hill to the Spanish school I was attending the past few days, I'd woken up that morning thinking something was about to eat its way out of my stomach. I lurched into the bathroom, and as I vomited into the shower from my vantage point on the loo, I began to giggle hysterically. In between violent chunks, I laughed and laughed and laughed and thought about bathrooms.



I found myself longing for any of the bathrooms from my childhood, as well as my copy of Sense and Sensibility. I wondered if I'd be found like Elvis Presley, found dead on the bathroom floor. And I cackled even harder. That would've been a ridiculous sound coming from my room. Hysterical laughter in between the "EEEUUUURGHHHHHHHHH" of epic vomiting.

But you know what? I'm pretty sure the Power of the Bathroom saved me once more, because obviously I DID NOT DIE. No horrid toilet ghoul appeared from behind me to cut my throat, no murderer jumped out of the shower, and no malevolent force that had plagued me as a kid had me convinced that I was about to cark it. Instead, I staggered to school and declared,


And that's how I dealt with my nightly anxieties as a kid. Pro-tip: don't tell your kid that no one ever dies on the toilet. They might just think it's true, and spend the next few years spending far too much time in there.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Further to my last post...

After I posted a link to my last blog post on ye olde Facebook, I received a comment/message/email avalanche from like-minded grammar Nazis and phrase pedants. It was not only hilarious, but also really, really satisfying. 

One pal in particular sent me this video. Which is the best. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You COULD care less?

I won't deny that a well-placed comma, or a full sentence used in a text message sends me into a surge of happiness. I won't for a second deny that I value proper use of grammar. I also am prone to fits of anger when the following are used:
  • "Irregardless"
  • "Much of a muchness" 
  • "Preformance"
  • "Your" in the place of "You're" 
  • "Thusly"

But that's old news, no? Old, oft repeated news. 

I come to you tonight not to gripe again about the same old boring words that send my into a flying rage, or about the fact that I judge people incredibly harshly on their ability to use a full stops and capital letters appropriately. I come with new news, with a brand-spanking shiny new phrase, the latest to incur my wrath. 
"I could care less." 
This is how I feel when you say that.

Really? Really? You could care less? What the Sam Hill is that supposed to mean? WHAT is that supposed to mean? Do you mean what you're saying? DO YOU EVEN REALISE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?

When I hear someone say "I could care less" about x or y, their tone of voice will usually imply that they actually couldn't give a shit about whatever the hell they're saying they could give a shit/a care/a hoot about.

So you say that you "could care less" about the Melbourne Cup? Well, that must mean that you actually do care at least a little bit about the Melbourne Cup. But check this out: your Facebook status updates repeatedly declare the myriad ways you think the Melbourne Cup is a giant waste of time. So, are you saying that you do care about the Melbourne Cup, or that you actually hate it and couldn't care less about the race that stops a nation?

"I could care less" = You obviously care at least a tiny bit. Because you could actually care less about it. 

"I couldn't care less" = There is no way for you to care less about whatever the hell it is. Which means you don't care about it at all. 

Think about it. Please, for the love of all that is holy, think about what it is that you're saying and what it means. Because if you're don't, there is a (large) chance that you're Doing It Wrong.

Everyone will know you're doing it wrong. 
That's kind of all I wanted to say. I had to vent, because after seeing a phrase that makes NO SENSE - even less sense than "much of a muchness" - become commonplace, I get very frustrated.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Roadtrip Lessons

Welp! I'm back. Just like the near-run/bound/skip back down Mt Kosciusko, the ride back to Melbourne seemed to take a fraction of the time it took to get to our destination/chalet/couples' retreat. Maybe its because I didn't spend the first half crammed into the back seat with two other people within a tiny car. Maybe it's because we passed the time listening to episodes of This American Life. Maybe it's because I knew that soon I'd be home and showering and in my own bed. Not that it wasn't a lovely, fun-filled weekend of course - but there really is a lot to be said for one's own bed, and for being able to watch the latest offering from The Walking Dead

You know, if I had my laptop and a slightly less temperamental internet connection, I may have just stuck around. Because it was an incredibly lovely and beautiful house in gorgeous surrounds, with a large and luxurious shower. With the addition of The Walking Dead, I'm sure I would have been pretty much opposed to heading back to civilisation. But that's neither here nor there.

The weekend was really lovely. It was incredibly relaxing, it was full of delicious food, it was filled with good times. I slept enough, I read a lot, I did a bit of writing, and I unwound enough to actually forget what day it was, and to let my phone run out of juice. All in all, a successful weekend.

In any case, I realised THREE THINGS on this weekend away across the border.

1. I've been running around the shiny streets of my neighbourhood recently, and this seems to be helping. 
This isn't to say that I've become shinier, or that I've suddenly invested in a number of rabbit-fur vests and a series of botox injections. Rather, I mean to say that I have become LESS UNFIT. For someone who spent the first basketball game of the season wheezing up and down the court and damn near passing out, the realisation that death in fact is not near after a few minutes of activity is very pleasing indeed. I bounded up the mountain, ahead of the pack. Of course, it was hardly the toughest hike in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but I barely broke a sweat throughout the entire walk. And then, I ran much of the way down. RAN. Very pleasing indeed.

2. More and more, I'm enjoying quiet nights of moderate booze, amazing food, and good television programming more than Ridiculous Nights Out. 
Perhaps it was because we were spending time with a number of people ranging from about five to twelve years older than us, or perhaps it was because I had some serious George R. R. Martin to be get through. But man oh man, if you were to ask what my highlights were for the weekend, I'd reply with wild over the top descriptions of the food we ate, the mountain we climbed, the many hours I spent reading, and the stellar run of programs we watched on ABC. Louis Theroux! Q&A! Louis Theroux while eating dessert? Holy smokes, I'm in heaven.
I'd be lying if I said I'd completely deleted crazy shenanigans from my schedule, but I have of late found that I'm increasingly prone to getting major kicks from a glass of wine, doing some actual cooking, and then watching a whole lot of The West Wing. The weekend just gone only served to remind me of that interesting fact.

3. There's nothing like being surrounded by four couples to constantly remind you of how very single you are. 
Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I revel in my singledom. I enjoy it thoroughly. I am also fully aware of how quickly I become sick of people when I spend too much time amongst them, let alone if I were to spend all of my time with one person. So that ain't no thang. What I'm referring to is the feeling you get when everyone's paired up on the couch, with their arms wrapped around their significant other and you're on the single couch with a novel called A Dance With Dragons. It's not a feeling of loneliness, or of jealousy. It's more a slightly amused pondering along the lines of, "Man, I am such a leftover at this point in time."
In no way am I implying that I was ever excluded by my pals. However, the fact is that when you're away with a bunch of couples, the singles are always the easiest to put in the shitty room with the tiny bed. It makes sense! If you're a couple, you need a bed that fits two! A single person needs one! And so, the single people are relegated to the mediocre room. I tell you what, it might actually be worth pairing up with someone just so each of us might be able to taste the large-room fruits of coupledom, as well as save a bit of money on booze.
"Darling, do you want a piece of toast?"
"Piglet, do you know where my sunnies are?"
"You burnt the crumble! This might be the worst crumble you've ever made."
I adore my friends, but I think the fact that I viewed much of the weekend as an anthropological sight-see into the realm of many couples is a sign that I'm not in the right place to team up with someone romantically. Or maybe that's a lie, and I was just relieved that since I wasn't part of a cooking "team", I didn't have to tackle dinner and was instead put in charge of "cheeses and snacks". Cheese and snacks I can handle, dinner for ten I cannot.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Still on the Road

It didn't realise at first, but I'm actually in New South Wales at the moment. It should have been obvious, what with the ubiquity of NSW number plates and the fact that we're a stone's throw from Thredbo. But there you go. Greetings from New South Wales!

We climbed a mountain (not that difficult) and stood on top of Australoa (not that tall)!

We ate our body weight in delicious food!

Then we probably ate our body weight again in cheese board ingredients!

We drank wine and ate desserts and then watched a stellar line up of TV programming on the ABC.

We ate lunch at a distillery. We played scrabble. And I read about a third of a Game of Thrones book.

Proper post tomorrow.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blogging from the Road

You thought I'd forgotten about you, right? Hah! Think again. I've told myself that I'm going to blog every (week)day for two weeks, and achieve that I shall. Even if it kills me.

Good evening from Beechworth! And good evening from the tiny keyboard of my phone. I'm currently road-tripping with a posse of friends to Thredbo (I think), to hang out and climb a mountain of some sort (I think?) over Cup Weekend. To be honest, it was one of those things that I readily agreed to months and months ago, and subsequently tuned out of the flurry of Facebook messages that were involved in the actual organisation of the holiday. As a result, November rolled around and I realised I was going to spend five days as a single person with four couples. Which is cool, and I'm sure it'll be a blast of a weekend full of laughs and food and good times, but I also am bracing myself for continually being reminded of how very outside of a committed relationship full or otherwise of public displays of affection I am. In fact, I can hear Mike making out with his girlfriend RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW I can hear kissing noises. I don't think I've ever met a couple who kisses as loudly as they. But that's neither here nor there.

There's one other Lone Ranger coming apparently, as a replacement for a couple that had pulled out. I guess I can only hope that we get along somewhat well.

In any case, that's what I'm doing. Road tripping, and blogging every (week)day for two weeks. I feel like I've neglected y'all in too rude a fashion for far too long. I could bust out the excuses and reasons (and believe me, there are ample), but I suppose actions speak louder than words.

Gird your loins for some regular posting!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pie or Bust

I got home and wanted a pie. Being an adult person who don't need no permission to do no damn thing, I strode past my housemate and his significant other, clad in black dress paired with obnoxious Peruvian trousers. Rain, cold and any quiet night they were hoping to be having be damned, I wanted a pie. Or a box of Shapes. Or a pie.

I bought a pie, and a sausage roll. I rejoiced. I stood outside the 7-11, with pie in one hand and a sausage roll in the other, gazing at the monumental Choice That Lay Ahead, while the light from the service station shone down upon me. It was a truly glorious moment.

The pie first?
The sausage roll first?
I had wanted the pie initially, so surely it was to be a case of save-the-best-till-last? Or was it?
Eat one now?
Or do I eat both these meaty bad boys from the comfort of my bed, with the cast of the West Wing for company?

A break in traffic, and suddenly none of the questions mattered at all. For as I reached the middle of the road, from my hand tumbled the pie. It fell in slow motion onto the road. My pie looked up at me, distraught, pleading with me not to be left behind.

NEVER! I wouldn't do that, little pie. I wouldn't leave you and your crusty outside and your meaty insides to waste away here on the tram tracks. I wouldn't have travelled all this way only to leave you here to die a lonesome death.

I knelt down to pick up my dear dying pie, to reassure it that no man gets left on my watch dammit. I looked up to see a pair of headlights in front of me, growing steadily larger.

Pie? Jump? Run? Save myself and my food? Or save myself and merely attempt to be happy with the sausage roll I was to be left with?

I leapt out of the way in the nick of time.

The car sped by. I briefly high-fived myself inwardly for still being alive, then inwardly gasped as I realised my pie might have been squashed. AND I'D PROMISED THAT NO MAN GETS LEFT BEHIND ON MY WATCH. How would I break it to the pie's family? Was it really worth not being hit by a car if my pie perished?

I ran back to the middle of the road and looked down. There it lay. My pie. Alive. I picked it up, and did a little dance in the middle of the road. Call it the Pie Victorious dance. If the pie had hands, I would have taken them in mine and spun it around in glee. Instead, I stood there in the middle of the road and ate the pie in about four bites.

All in all, a winner of a Friday night. I got a pie and I continued to live, sans car lodged in my face.