Friday, April 15, 2011

Looking Back, Dragged Forward, Still

{Image: Lady In The Water 1947/Photographer: Tony Frissell/From:}

I used to be a 'people person'.  That laughing, friendly, moderately attractive-yet-non-threatening woman, saying hello to various people at exhibition openings, Halloween parties, comedy gigs, etc?

Yeah, that used to be me.

Then I quit.


Melbourne tonight.  It's a beautiful city.  Laid back, but with good bones.  European flair, but not Eurotrash.  Antipodean, but not loudly so.  Like a confused Autumn day when the sun is on your back and you're grateful the good weather held out - something to be noticed and appreciated.

Tonight her pavements feel like the decks of a softly rolling cruise ship.  That's because the meds I'm on screw up important things, like balance and concentration, they set my internal gyroscope on "walking, drunk-like".
Also, the only thing I've had to eat today is a cup of coffee and a hot cross bun.

This isn't a good way to meet The Boyfriend's workmates.

The shindig is at a popular Oriental-themed bar in the middle of town.  It's all dark wood, loud conversation and Buddha statues.  The Art of Zen disguised as interior decorating.  I walk in, smile, sit down on the seat that's been politely cleared.  The floor is still unsteady and the room lurches to the left a little.  I chat to two people I've met before - Amanda, a quiet blonde lass from the outer suburbs and Zelle, a boyish, business-savvy Ethiopian lad with a broken leg.
There's a story behind that leg - one of late nights, girls and bar fights.  He's still smiling, though.

The Boyfriend introduces me to other workmates.  I remember their names, smile at the appropriate times, and generally Make Nice.  All the while, I'm thinking about the sushi bar next door and how I really, really need to eat something that's not mainly carbs.

The Boyfriend and I eventually leave, do the dinner thing and then grab some Japanese crepes for dessert.  They're delicious, something Sailor Moon would eat while riding a unicorn to Disneyland to hang out with Cinderella.  Mine has Nutella, custard and strawberries, the Boyfriend has one with strawberries, cream, cheesecake (yes, they actually put in a small slice of cheescake) and berry sauce.  Ridiculously good and on the fabulous side of wrong.

On the way up Little Lonsdale street, we pass cafes, bars and restaurants.  It's Friday night - people are glad to have finished for the week, glad to have a glass of wine in their hand, a buddy to bitch with and a fine city to do it in.

We pass a bar which is hosting the opening of an art exhibit - then I remember the world I used to belong to.  This world; as an active participant, not a crepe-eating, drug-addled ghost of bone-bleached judgement.

As it used to be, the past life - music playing in the background, cat's-eye liquid liner which would make Katy Perry jealous.  Yeah, I know the artist, she's super-smart and is a derby girl to boot.  Yeah, I know the DJ, he's my boyfriend.  Yeah, that's my burlesque troupe, wanna hire us?    
Always. On. The. Hustle.  The good guest, the good host.  The 'people person'.

And for what?

I met a lot of nice, interesting people.  But they aren't here now.
I met a lot of leeches and narcissists disguised as nice, interesting people - I'm glad they aren't here now.

It's through these streets I see those meet-and-greet scripts, through the windows of it's bars, restaurants, colourful laneways and alleys full of promise.  But all the roles have been played and the storyline exhausted.

Dreams are dreams no longer, some just experiences, some experiences resulting in fine successes (someone order me a parade!), some broke embarrassingly like a latte cup on stone flooring.  Oh, and lots and LOTS of stories.

So where to from here?  


  1. Ah, Japanese crepes. I had one of those in Harajuku in Wednesday, walking down a street filled with shops and stalls selling second-hand (sorry, "vintage") clothes, Hello Kitty accessories, and T-shirts with cutesy manga versions of Darth Vader and Boba Fett on them.

    I don't know where to from here, for you or for myself. As you say, there are a lot of people who aren't here now. Like the line from "Hurt", so wonderfully covered by Johnny Cash goes "Everyone I know goes away in the end.." Nothing makes the truth of that statement more obvious than living in Tokyo, where people appear and disappear on such a regular basis. All I know is that, given that everyone goes away in the end, we ultimately have to figure out a way to be self reliant. Any other option seems to be setting oneself up for disappointment.

  2. We probably don't know what to say, and we can't despite our desire to empathize imagine how to reach you in your world. But that isn't to say we don't listen, hoping for a stroke of insight.