Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Starting The Day With A Walk

The last two mornings we have gone for a walk early, as it was predicted to be hot and the bulldogs are much happier in the cool.

The morning air is fresh and crisp and new. The sun shines. We could be setting off in the outskirts or Rome, or Milan (looking up at the Brunswick Street flats) for a day’s adventure. The day has that feel about it. I just need the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread and I’d be instantly transported.

There is something nice about being out and about early. 7.30am, I guess, isn’t so early, but early enough to see the day getting going.

We get to see quite a few of the locals, some walking their dogs, some heading to the office. It was what I liked about lockdown, it kept the tourists away, it was just the locals in the streets. Sometimes I don’t recognise them without their dogs. (sometimes I don’t recognise them without their cute husbands)

There are plenty of people sitting outside at cafes eating breakfast and drinking coffee.

We really just do a big block, heading to the dog park on the last stretch for a drink where we saw a friend and his two dogs.

Then home to sticky rice and fresh mango and coffee.

Then it's back to work. 

I’m listening to Marcia Hines sing Tapestry.


Monday, November 29, 2021



Let's put it bluntly, more bullshit announcements, that will never happen, from our full of shit Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

I've read that it is Scott Morison's way of stopping dissenting voices against him, which wouldn't surprise me, Scott Morrison has leanings toward authoritarianism. It is more and more the conservative way.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Omnicron

Look on the bright side, maybe Omicron will wipe out the 30 year old anti vaxxer grandmothers, their 20 year old daughters and their pregnant 10 year old grand daughters. Cross your fingers.


(I walked up Bourke Street the other day and inadvertently ran into all the protesters, it was like straying onto a Mad Max set)


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Going for Ice Cream

We walk down to the shops. It was hot. We went for ice cream

Some guy with two fluffy white dogs was up the side street just a bit looking in the shop window that goes up the side street just a bit. I call to Buddy as we walk passed as there was broken glass all over the footpath and I didn’t want him to step in any of it. As we keep walking the two uncontrollable fluff balls come barking at Buddy. The guy holding the leads of the two aggressive white powder puffs tells me I should put Buddy on a lead.

“Don’t worry, my dog won’t care.” Buddy has continued to walk on.

“But my dogs do care, so put your dog on a lead, mate. It’s the law.”

Seriously, I think? “My dog is really laid back and he won’t care about your dogs,” I repeat.

“You have no right to have your dog off a lead, especially a fat arsed dog like that. Put it on a lead.”

Fat arsed dog like that. “Maybe you should try some training and then maybe you’d be able to control your dog’s better.”

He continued, but I walked away. In the five years I have been walking Buddy off his lead there has only been two guys whose sphincter I have actually heard shutting tight when they have been talking about leash laws. It never fails to be proven again and again, dogs are aggressive if their owners are.

Moments later, we’re at the ice cream shop buying ice cream. The sun is shining.

Boysenberry for Sam and salted caramel for me.

People stopped and asked if they could pat Bud, as is always the case. Bud and Bruno line up for their pats. Some people take photos of them.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Shopping

It was late afternoon, and it was time to go shopping. First of all we head to Aldi for fresh meet for the bulldogs.  Buddy, Bruno and I are waiting out the front in Johnston Street while Sam shops in Aldi. The sun shines its long afternoon rays and they warm us with their gentle heat.

A guy with a beefy arse wearing Birkenstocks and his female friend in an extremely short, figure hugging skirt cycle passed, I’m not really sure how either one of them was managing.

A cute guy with a sweet face in black shorts with sexy legs comes passed with a black Italian Greyhound, I think its name was Tim. Bruno tries to play with it. I smile at the guy, kind of instinctively. He smiles back. I watch him walk away.

A guy in western boots walks passed, like some gay cowboy all decked out in black from his fancy hat to his tight jeans, with fancy white and green boots up to his knees. I listen for the clink of the spurs. His eyes are semi-closed, I am pretty I know what this cowboy has been doing home on the range.

Sam appears again with shopping bags slung over each shoulder. He hands one shopping bag to me.

Next, it is people food from Woolies.

As we approach Woolies, a 30 something chick with dark hair and an obviously red flush to her complexion, walks towards us on Smith Street exclaiming loudly, seemingly to whoever will listen,

“I do huge fucken business for everybody in this fucken world, who wants my fucken business now! Woo-hoo!” she wails. She does a victory hand gesture by punching the sky with both her fists, one, two, smiling more than broadly. If she’d thrown her head back and brayed at the sun, she didn’t, I wouldn’t have been surprised. With barely a tooth in her head and what teeth she did have were black. I keep walking, I don’t look back.

She starts singing, “I Will Always Love You,” at the top of her voice, somewhere in the back ground.

Buddy, Bruno and I waiting out the front of Woolies while Sam shops.

The stick thin homeless chick, I call her the whippet, who always talks to me comes and sits right on top of me, saying hello, stinking of alcohol. She is like a desolate jockey always wrapped up in a hooded puffer jacket, seemingly many sizes too big for her. She pushes her belongings up against the shopping bags I have leaning against the buildings front wall, as though she is not completely aware of what she is doing. Yay! I like her and all, but seriously, boundaries. She spills her bottle of red wine she is carrying in a paper bag everywhere as she goes to sit down and has to move to the wall on the other side of the supermarket doors due to the red lake that has formed next to my right leg, right where she was attempting to sit. It is like being hit with smelling salts when you are unconscious (I have never been hit with smelling salts when I have been unconscious, I have never been unconscious, but go with me) such is the strength of the aroma.

Our soloist, around the corner just out of sight in Smith Street, follows up I Will Always Love You with Band On The Run, off key, again at the top of her voice. 

The Whippet asks me if I had any change? She always asks me if I have any change, which I never do. (I never bring my wallet when we take the dogs for a walk) Then, I thought she asked me if I wanted to go into a raffle, just out of the blue. It seemed like the oddest thing that she would ask. I wasn’t sure I’d heard her, as she has never asked me anything like that before, and I make her say it again.  “Do you want to buy some acid?”

She’d never asked me anything like that either. “Oh, no thanks,” I say. “May be 20 years ago.” I laugh nervously.

I slide down the wall and start to write my journal on my phone. (I write a lot of my journals/blog squatting in front of shops with the dogs)

Sam gets some amazing deal on fresh chicken legs, 70 cents a kilo, so he heads back to Aldi to return the chicken he had just bought from them.  I say they won’t let him return fresh meat, and he says, “Watch me.”

An old man stops to chat. The poor old guy has a stick and looks the worse for wear, with his alabaster legs covered in blotches and dotted with scabs. He moves his mask to speak and as he is spitting somewhat, I stand up from my squatting position so I am out of direct aim of his spittle. He tells me he had a black pug named Mabel, long since died. He tells me the bulldogs are magnificent. He just stands and gazes down at Buddy and Bruno and I am pretty sure he is lonely, so I talk about everything that comes to mind and when I run out of things to say, he eventually smiles and says that it was lovely chatting.

The toothless chick around the corner is still belting out the numbers.

It looks like a social worker stops to chat to the Whippet. He crouches down and chats to her. I wonder if he is not a social worker at all and in fact Mr Big supplying the acid?

But then, Sam appears back having successfully returned the chicken to Aldi. 

Sam hands me my bags to carry, and takes Bruno’s lead out of my hand. I am loaded up like a pack horse, again. I got one of those granny trolleys with wheels in which we could wheel our groceries home, but Sam won’t even entertain the thought. I bring it up again, as my shoulders hurt under the weight of the purchases, but Sam shakes his head and walks off in front of me.

We’re home just in time for 6pm misery hour. Must watch that.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Working the Bar

I always had a notion that I wanted to be a barista. There’s something romantic about being a barista, I think, maybe it’s just the smell of the coffee, ha ha. Is it the creativity, is it seemingly being boss of your own small universe, is it making people happy, there is romance in making people happy?

Is it because coffee is my very favourite thing?

Standing there, smiling, everybody coming up to you loving you, warmth and joy and happiness, being a barista is happiness. He spreads happiness to all the people that come to him. 

It is a sexy job, a barista boy. (I’m sure there are sexy female baristas too, but I never notice that, you know, for obvious reasons)

I did some work for an advertising company once that had a barista that came in every morning to make the staff coffee in the gorgeous office kitchen, there were a number of really cool girl baristas who made the coffee there.

I kind of nearly made it being a barman, there is kind of an equivalency there, you’re still making people happy, although there can be a slight desperate element to being a barman, which a barista doesn’t have, seeing a barista is just joy all the time. Working a bar can sometimes involve attending to people’s anxieties, failures, disappointments, where serving coffee is always about spreading good cheer.

My favourite blend of coffee bean was always half mocha half Ethiopian mix. Do baristas get to play with different coffee mixes? There is a café in Abbotsford which does offer an assortment of different coffee beans.

Coffee, art, happiness, there should be more of it in the world.

 

They gave us a coffee machine in the bar where I used to work and told us to make coffee for the customers… with no training what so ever. We made a lot of bad coffee. I don’t remember anyone complaining, maybe right at the beginning, maybe once.

We had fun working the bar, Matt and I. We had a third barman, Scott, who was really cute, I remember being taken with him.

Our Bourke Street Bar. We were only open in the afternoon and generally closed at 11pm, although Friday nights and Saturday nights we stayed open until midnight.

We got really good at what we did, specialising in cocktails, which we were all really good at. I remember how confident we were, when teenage girls came in and asked for black label and lemon squash, we’d simply say, “No. Sorry, I’m not making that for you.”

Girls used to flirt with me, which I always found really weird. Matt used to pick up girls, being a good looking Greek boy.

Matt and I used to hang out a lot after work.

Friday night was crazy’s night, always on a Friday. 

One night two old drunk guys were sitting at the bar, they didn’t know each other before that night. We were just about to tell them they’d had enough, when one of their wives came in who was Asian and clearly much younger than him. The other guy called her a his write away bride, well, drunk husband took offence and head butted the other guy, splitting both their foreheads and liberally spraying both their blood all over the bar.

When it was all over and the police had taken them away, I remember several people coming up asking for new drinks as theirs had blood in it.

We had stools which were bolted into the floor, and one Friday night some guy, for reasons still unknown, did his best Hulk impersonation and ripped one of the stools clean out of the concrete floor. We had no idea why.

There was the guy who came in with the hand grenade. I headed over and asked him what he was holding, after a couple of girls told me.

“It’s a fucking hand grenade, what the fuck of it?”

“Well, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” I can still remember trying to stop my voice from quavering.

His buddy grabbed it out of his hand and unscrewed it, or unclipped it and screamed at me, “The fucking pin is out of it, so you don’t have to fucken worry about it.”

“I’m still going to have to ask you to leave.”

There was the girl who was left in one of the booths at closing time buy the guy she’d come in with because she’d OD and stopped breathing. We got the ambulance and they injected her with Narcan and she spluttered back to life and wandered off into the night. Those Ambulance guys were simply angels, they couldn’t have been nicer to her. She wanted to know if they could drop her home, after she refused their offer to take her to hospital.

The life of a Bourke Street bar. Funny how you only remember the bad times, when mostly is was fun and we had a blast every night working there. It was my favourite job, even if it was a part time uni job.

But, you know, I don’t reckon all of those things would have happened in a coffee bar. Maybe? I don’t know, as I never worked in a coffee bar. I reckon a coffee bar would be a very different proposition.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Summer is Here

It is a beautiful day, summer is here, where it was winter just last week and we even had an open fire, unheard of for November. (Nah, climate change isn't a thing) But today is gorgeous.

The doors are all open, the air is summery warm, and I am running around with a bulldog mouth wiping towel swatting the flies like a mad thing.



What are they saying? We’re having a La Nina year… um… er… El Nino… um?

·       In December-February 2021/2022, the odds shift to 60% for La Niña conditions, 30% for ENSO-neutral, and 10% for El Niño conditions.

Anyway, the prediction is for a cooler and wetter summer, which  suits me just fine, if the alternative is a really hot summer. We’re going to have enough really hot summers into the future, the very near future at that…

… still with no plan to reduce emissions from the Morrison/Liberal Govt. Still a handful of fossil fuel financed, National Party troglodytes holding the country to ransom.

Shaking my head in disbelief.

Still, it's nice to have warm weather, it's nice to have all the doors open, it's nice to leave winter behind.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Tuesday

Tuesday. Nyr. Don't you hate Tuesdays. Wednesdays get the bad wrap, but really, Tuesdays are worse, as they precede more of the working week. At least Wednesday is half way to something, Tuesday isn't anything to anything. Just an appendix to Monday, an addition, an afterthought. And we all hate Mondays, so much so that they wrote a song about them. But Tuesday doesn't even have the agro of Monday to differentiate it. Nothing, that's what Tuesdays are, nothing. Not even worth getting upset over. Just settling in for whatever is to come. I bet nothing interesting has ever happened on a Tuesday? Pancakes is about the best you can say for it. At least Mondays sometimes morph into a day off. The only holiday Tuesday ever had got cancelled. 

Tuesday is the Jan Brady of the days of the week.

It turns out that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for getting things done at work. According to a recent survey by human resources managers (that’s like insult, you HR manager you!), that's the day when most people are working at their peak and accomplishing the most. 

Like that is going to endear it to anyone. Way to go Tuesday. I mean, let's face it, anything HR likes has to be loathsome.


Back Working From Home

Happily ensconced back working from home after the nonsense of yesterday. I think it is just Boris’ misunderstanding of what Tony said about coming back to the office. Or, Tony is changing his story depending on who he is talking to, which is not beyond the realms of possibility, of course. But, unlikely, I feel. He's not really like that.



Monday, November 22, 2021

Lunch with Boris

I headed into the office at lunch time. I rode my bike in. I try to ride my bike everywhere now a days. (my two cars are just sitting there gathering cobwebs and dust) There was no one in the city, the CBD is dead. No, really it was. I thought it was some kind of exaggeration but it is true, the city really is deserted.

I could've fired a gun down Collins Street, no, not a gun (we don't want to encourage the gum nuts), a laser, I could've fired a laser, pointer, down Collins Street and not hit anybody, that's how deserted it was.

Only Boris and the Big Pooh Bah were in our office. (I only call him that for the benefit of this blog, I don't really call him anything like that at all, he's really easy going) I chatted to him for a bit, telling him that I didn't want to come back to the office, he pretty well agreed that I didn't have to. Woo Hoo.

"Well, you live close by, we can always call you in."

"I got here in 10 minutes on my bike today," I said. "And that was stopping to buy a muffin on the way too."

He told me to be careful riding my bike in the city. He said he'd see me at the Xmas party in a few weeks.

So much for stressing about going back to the office.

I told Boris what Tony had said, as she has been stressing about it. Apparently, she thought he said we had to start spending 50% of our time in the office. It wasn't the impression I got. 

Boris said the company was in real trouble, as are all the other countries to, I presume, as nobody wants to come back to the office. The workers have had a taste of the good life and they don't want to lose it.


Boris and I went out for lunch and we had to search for a place at which to eat, as all the usual places have closed down. Too bad really, but none of us want to go back, so I guess it means the businesses will just have to relocated to where the people are over time. That's how the world works. No use feeling sorry for them. (maybe they shouldn't have cut worker's over time and people might feel more empathy?)

Boris and I chatted away, we ate and drank coffee. We haven't seen each other since March 2020. That is quite a while, hey?

I chose a calamari salad thinking it would be healthy, but when it came the calamari was crumbed and deep fried, oh well. It was nice though.


Boris told me that the people in her ethnic group seem to be anti mask and anti vaccine and anti lock down. She said how she had to piped up on their WhatsApp group that she was vaccinated, after which a few people thanked her and some of them even went and got vaccinated themselves. She said that just amp each other up with miss information. So, we chatted about the new pandemic laws because she wants to set some of the people straight on those too. She said that how I explained the legislation wasn’t at all like the information being spread around amongst her friends.

 

She told me her oldest son who works in construction went and protested against mandatory vaccines for the construction industry. She said there he was in amongst it all protesting in the street in hi viz.

“But darling,” she said. “You are double vaccinated.”

“So, what does that have to do with it mum,” he son said.

“Well, you probably should keep that to yourself if you go and protest again,” she said.

I’m not at all sure people know what they are protesting about, she said. I think they just want to protest.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Protesting

Midday we leave for the city. (I can’t help but think my days off have been spoilt by this talk of me going back to the office on Monday, I really don’t want to go back to the office, but I try to put it out of my mind.) Saturday is a day for going out to lunch, and I am concentrating on that.

We pass the Italian guy outside the gourmet organic grocer doing demonstrations with olive oil and bread out on the footpath with all his produce around him. He is clearly flogging olive oil.

I hear him say to a captive customer, “It’s a medicine.” With a sweeping Sale-of-the-century hand gesture

I think, how Italian can you get. I comment to Sam. “Cures what ails you.”

“It’s a miracle,” Sam replies. “Nectar of the gods.”

The sun is shining. We walk up Gertrude Street to Nicholson Street.

We catch the tram because Sam was hungry. The tram sits at the intersection of Nicholson Street and Victoria Parade, for 4, or 5, sets of light changes, maybe more. We haven’t paid, one stop outside the free zone? I’m not paying $6 for one stop. And the way they have taken out the stops now due to privatisation, it is three blocks if you walk the one stop. So, it is stressful siting there. It finally turns down Victoria Street to go down La Trobe Street, redirected away from Spring Street, its usually route, because of the protests today in Spring Street with the anti vaxxers and the anti everything brigade. We get off at Elizabeth Street. We see people carrying signs. Mother of 3, pro choice, marching for freedom. Marching for freedom? If you don’t want to follow the laws of the state all you have to do now is classify your illicit behaviour as a bid for freedom, apparently.

Why do they all seem to be of a ‘certain’ type? The disenfranchised, the left behind. (A year, or so ago, I was going to buy an investment property and I hesitated and I didn’t buy it and now, to a certain extent, I feel left behind, so I can’t imagine how the people who don’t own property must feel) Those who have lost work during the lockdowns. Those who see their situation going backwards.

What are they protesting about? I can’t help but think it is about the greater inequality that has been promoted by 10 years of successive Liberal/conservative government. 20 years, really, of conservative policy that is government for the rich and not for the disadvantage. (And yet they will all still vote for the Liberal Govt who will offer tax cuts purely for political purposes)

We peel off at Melbourne Central, away from the anti’s.

12.25pm. We’re at Chilli India eating lunch. Goat Biryani and Chad Dosa. Cute waiter, with an engaging manner. Smiley, appealing. And a twinkle in his eye.

We go to JB HiFi afterwards in Melbourne Central. Sam looks at and buys games. I look at the CDs and the DVDs. I chat to a cute Asian shop assistant with a chunky arse, black shorts running with active wear leggings underneath, about the miniseries Feud. They don’t have it. I don’t buy anything.

Then we go to JB HiFi in Bourke Street, right into the middle of the protests so it would seem. They were walking down Bourke Street from parliament house. They are a fairly subdued bunch. Lots of signs. Quite a few are holding up Trump signs, which I just don’t understand. I see a guy with a red Make Australia Great Again cap on. (I guess that’s what happens when the major economic power in the world votes Satan into power)

After JB HiFi we walk home up to the top of Bourke Street to protest base camp. It looks like a bikie and bikie moll end of year Xmas picnic. It has a touch of the Mad Max’s about it all. There really aren’t that many people there, a few hundred, perhaps.

We were walking up Parliamentary Reserve and I commented about all the Trump signs I’d seen to Sam.

“I don’t get why people like Trump.”

A passed-middle-aged woman sitting on a park bench piped up. “Trumpy, Trumpy, I like Trumpy. Do you like Trumpy?”

“But we’re Australia, not America,” I said.

She looked confused momentarily. (now I do wonder if she understood the distinction?) “It doesn’t matter to me, I like Trumpy, do you like Trumpy?”

Honestly, she sounded like a 10 year old, and not a smart 10 year old at that. If she’d bounced up and down in her seat and slapped the park bench with her hands on either side of herself I wouldn’t have been surprised.

“Why? He’s a racist and a liar,” I said. (I immediately regret saying that. I wished I'd said, Can you tell me why you like him?)

She looked away dismissively. “I’m not going to go into it with you.”

I turned and walked away. She said something else, but I was no longer listening.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

A Big Garden, A Little Lunch

Into the garden bright and early. It is time for the annual creeper prune. When I look at it at this time of year, I always say to myself, did we prune this last year?

It is a Climbing Fig that has taken over the side wall of the house, and then some, as opposed to the rampant potato vine which I have recently hacked back on the back fence.

The creeping fig needs to be pruned annually to stop it taking over the suburb. Today was the day. Actually, I started it a few days ago, when I trimmed it back from a monster to one of those romantic Tuscan vines on a century old brick wall, but this morning I finished it. Actually, I filled the garden bin and then I was done. There is still some to do next week to finish it off, but that will have to wait until the bin man’s been.

Sam got up on the roof and cleaned out all the gutters on the back of the house from the falling leave from the macadamia tree and the giant gum tree. Nice that it is all nearly done.

The sun shone.

Buddy took to his kennel and saw out the whole process from there. Bruno chewed everything he could wrap his mouth around, and then some.

Now we are off to the CBD for a spot of lunch. Indian, I think.

The sky is blue, the day is warm.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Slowly the Quiet Morning Unfolds

Friday. It is grey skies outside, but quite warm. The light is brittle. Outside seemingly not a soul is stirring.

Sam has today day off too, he had some sort of crisis at work Cup Day and had to work, so today is in lieu of that.

Sam makes us mango, sticky rice and coconut milk for breakfast. Yum, yum. I manage the coffee machine.

We’re sitting around with Buddy and Bruno on our screens. Our breakfast library. Clearly too quiet for Buddy as he barks at us wanting more attention.

Bruno rolls over on to his back up against my left thigh with his legs in the air, I rub his tummy as I contemplate more coffee.

Ah, it is a dog’s life. I want to come back as a pampered bulldog in my next life. 

Oh course, I say this purely as a figure of speech, you know, as there is no next life, that is just deluded thinking, mostly from people who haven’t got over their childhood. Heaven, Father Xmas and the tooth fairy, all stuff we should get over as we become adults.

My mate David believes such nonsense, which gives us hours of discussion. 

I was telling him how a friend of mine wrote on Facebook on the second anniversary of her father’s death, “Thank you dad for all your love and guidance since we lost you.” And how such ridiculous thinking tests my resolve not to make comments on the deluded’s Facebook posts.

There was silence on the other end of the phone, momentarily. Then there was David’s careful and considered voice in response, “Oh yes, I can see how that would go down in the Christian Fletcher play book.”

“Oh yes,” I replied. “You always lull me into a false sense of security about you being a sane and rational person.”

If he heard me say I want to come back as a pampered bulldog in my next life, he’d say

“I know you believe it deep down, and you are just too stubborn to admit it.”

“Dust,” I’d say. “That is what awaits us after death.”

“And yet you just admitted to a belief in an afterlife.”

“It’s a figure of speech.”

I gazed off out into the garden as I rubbed Bruno’s tummy. I closed my eyes at the thought.

What we all believe, I think? I guess it comes from our parents, mostly. So, if you have uneducated parents, I guess you will believe certain things. 

I guess, then it comes from your childhood and what experiences you have?

And probably, after that, and to a lesser extent, it comes from experiences you have as an adult. I guess.

The birds call from the trees outside and momentarily I am transfixed by their morning song, and the incalculable thoughts of why everyone thinks the way they do.

It is good that we all think differently, it makes the world go around, it makes it more interesting, more dynamic. But what about all the toxic people with ugly thoughts? I guess that is where equality becomes so important. Equality in opportunity, equality in living standards and wealth, equality in education. Equality is good for everyone, like all people of the world being vaccinated. If you exclude sections of the world from vaccinations, that is when you get mutations that can threaten the rest of the world’s population. Equality works exactly the same way.

I shake my head and break the trance and head to the kitchen to make a second cup of coffee.

Sam asks me, "What do you want to do today?"


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Funny The Things You Think

6am. My eyes cracked open to the day. Day off. One of three days off this week, as I have chosen to take my ‘Wellness’ day before they expire on the 1st of December. A billion dollar law firm that cut its worker’s wages by 10% during the pandemic, and then didn’t pass on the 0.5% superannuation increase, (which in my book was shameful) which hasn’t been giving its workers any sort of meaningful pay rise, since, threw the peasant workers (clearly that’s what it thinks of us) of an extra day of leave, which had an expiry date attached to it, to boot, but I digress. I lie in bed and wonder about this going back to the office nonsense? 

What am I going to say? Am I going to say I’m not coming back to the office? What if they say I have to? What do I say then? I’ve never really been good at those kinds of negotiations. Not such a good poker face.

Do I quit? My job is so easy, everything about it suits me, except going back to the office.

Bruno and I head downstairs. He goes out for a wee. I stepped outside to cut a fractured finger nail, and was immediately swarmed by flies. Don’t know why? Are the flies just waking up, I thought? There is a summery warmth to the air. I get a bulldog mouth wiping towel and swat the flies on the outside of the back door like a man possessed.

The birds were calling from the trees. Loudly calling. It is a sign of day break, I think, all the creatures stirring. Suddenly the birds call in a cacophony of sound, and then Milo appears meowing.

“The birds sure saw you coming,” I say to him. He rubs up against my calves as I open the door for him.

6.40am. I remember the mess in which I’d left the kitchen. Last night, after falling asleep on the couch. Sam cooks, I clean. I am under no allusions that I get the better deal and that I try to clean up as soon as I can, it seems only fair when Sam is tied to mealtime hours. Last night I didn’t.

I chose Nancy Wilson’s album, Naturally, by which to clean the kitchen this morning. I chuckle to myself. As a kid, well, teenager, it was my migraine cure music when I was an angst ridden teenager with a pounding head, (as opposed to being an angst ridden adult… but I no longer get migraine headaches) A couple of pain pills, a dark room, and Nancy Wilson Naturally and my migraine would go away, in an hour, or a couple of hours. The back of my hand laid on my forehead.

When we were teenagers, my Dad belonged to a record of the month club, and he used to let us kids a pick too, every three months, a month for each of his children. The record club albums came with different covers, exclusive packaging for the club members to that of the commercially produced product. 

Two of the albums I chose were Janis Joplin and the Holding Company and Nancy Wilson, Naturally.

Recently, I worked out that the Janis Joplin record I chose was the first Janis Joplin and the Holding Company album, which I already had. And I worked out which was the Nancy Wilson album, and I can listen to it on Apple Music. The internet is a fascinating thing, because with a bit of time searching I managed to bring up the exclusive album covers, and the track listings, from those record club albums from all that time ago.

I’ve always said the first album I ever bought was Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, followed by Queen’s A Night At The Opera, but, in fact, Janis Joplin and the Holding Company and Nancy Wilson’s Naturally were, actually, my first albums. And before those was a Patsy Cline record that belonged to my father on which my favourite track was Stop The World I Wanna Get Off. 

What age was I then, when I loved that Patsy Cline song, not even a teenager. I can’t find that album. Or, can I? She can’t have that many albums considering what happened to her.

So, really, when I think about it, Patsy, Janis and Nancy welcomed me into the world of music, and really, who else would a young gay boy need to prepare him for life.

Funny the things you think as you are cleaning the dishes from the night before early the next morning with your headphones on. Hey?


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Victoria's Pandemic Laws

These laws are legislation covering pandemics, where previously Victoria had no pandemic laws.

The chief health officer still has to declare a pandemic, as is the case now. At this point the health minister takes over the process of dealing with the pandemic, which could be argued as being more democratic as he is elected official where the chief health officer is not. The Chief Health officers’ recommendations must be published alongside the minister’s rulings. The whole process is overseen by parliamentary oversights committee.

So, I’m not really sure what the problem is with these laws other than political motivation by anti vaxxers and the right wing opposition.

There are some minor issues of how to deal with recalcitrants, those who oppose lockdowns, masks, and those who refuse to get vaccinated, which are the issues you may have heard about regarding lawyers and judges, but it’s a minor issue to the rest of the laws.

And the crux of the paralarva being played out in the streets.

The anti vaxxers want to be given a free pass for not being vaccinated. They are increasingly desperate about this issue because this legislation deals with them. But they should just be treated like flat earthers or conspiracy theorists who claim Martians are walking on planet earth. They have absolutely no credibility to the arguments they put forward. Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated should rightly be excluded from the vaccinated population of society. Quite frankly, the rest of the population should be thankful for these laws dealing with these misguided souls.

I’ve heard anti vaxxers claiming there is a constant line of ambulances at Jeff’s Shed taking away the injured, that is how delusional they have become. I walk my dogs around the Exhibition Buildings, arguably a bigger hub than Jeff’s Shed, every day, there are no ambulances, nobody is injured, all I see is happy people exiting the building seemingly pleased having been vaccinated.

When you hear these stories, it is hard not to think that their stand is wilful.

Maybe there is a classification under the NDIS for anti vaxxers and their mental health?

And, of course, the state based conservative opposition and the conservative commentators are playing up all the misinformation surrounding the protests for their own benefit.

The Liberal party has been a total disgrace during the pandemic relentlessly playing politics for their own advantage.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sad Face

Boris called, she wants me to go to the office on Monday. Boo hoo. Apparently, (Our department boss) Tony Rivers is asking for us to come back, at least one day a week. Boris said she would talk to me. She knows I don’t want to go back to the office, and I feebly restated to her. I love working from home and I have been contemplating this moment for some time. If I say I am not coming back to work in the office, that I want to continue working from home, I guess, I have to be prepared to resign if they make me go back.

Tony Rivers’ attitude has suddenly changed regarding all of us being back in the office. Where before, he said he didn’t really care, now he is suddenly very keen for us to return.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the government? We do work for the Victorian state government. And I am sure Dan Andrew’s is under pressure to get the CBD back up and running. We’re a multinational law firm, Maggie, June, Market, Gareth & Sophie, the govt speaks to our CEO, our CEO talks to his heads of departments, of which Tony Rivers is the CFO. We all get told to come back to the office. Our firm gets those govt contracts for which it was tendering. The govt gets kudos for getting the CBD back up and running.

Oh, it is so ridiculous. I don’t have any face to face staff contact, other than socially in my own department, all of my work is done by email. Because I don’t trust anyone not to deal with me in writing, nearly, not really, it’s an insurance policy, of sorts, but when you deal in figures everything is written down, that’s just the way my job is. I only really report to Boris, and, pretty much, I do that all by email too, just so everybody gets to process work in their own time.

I wonder if it has something to do with the planned department Xmas party? Grrr.

So, Monday…

It’s ridiculous. I get up at 5.30am, 6am, just because I do. (Okay, Sam is one for going to bed at 10.30pm, I never went to bed until midnight, 1am before I met Sam. I have fallen into the habit of going to bed early with Sam, so I get up early now) And, usually, I just start work, so come 9am, I have done 3 hours work. Then I go for a walk in the park. I’m back by 10am, when, usually, the rest of the office has got going and are starting to email me. Now, going to the office, (oh fuck it, I have to iron a shirt and have a shower and eat breakfast and take half an hour to walk there) I’ll get there at 7.30am, 8am and by 9am I have done 1 hour’s work, and I am stuck in the office.

Now, I finish when I like, usually around 4pm, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. In the office, I have to stay later than that. (Then I have to commute home for half an hour. Yes, I walk, it is still a waste of time, when I could be walking in the local park with headphones and not a bloody care in the world)

I quite like my immediate work colleagues, they often say they miss the funny things I say. Funny, I think in response, I haven’t thought about you guys all that much.

As for the rest of the Maggie, June, Market, Gareth & Sophie workforce, nyr, I can take them or leave them.


Monday, November 15, 2021

Talk Is Cheap (just like Scott Morrison)

Scott Morrison was called a liar by the President of France, and he just kept talking. When he was, virtually, called a liar by the US president, as well, he kept talking. When Australia was voted the worst country when it came to climate change, he just kept talking. When Australia’s climate change policies were said to be useless, he just kept talking. When he was labelled inadequate and a disappointment on the world stage, he kept talking. Australia was called a cheat and dishonest, and our boy just kept on talking. He just kept talking over all the experts saying Australia’s efforts were poor. He just kept talking saying Australia would achieve net zero carbon emissions our way. The Australian way. (I’m guessing that means increased emissions to please the fossil fuel industry?) He just kept taking about technology that we were going to use to solve the climate change problem, and he just kept talking when it was pointed out that most of the technology he was referring to doesn’t exist yet. He just kept talking about a plan that not only was going to utilise technology that doesn’t exist, he kept spruiking a plan which had no answer on how it was going to solve the last 15% of its target to achieve net zero, there was just nothing there. Morrison is the 85% man when it comes to fighting climate change. And he just kept talking, making promises of using technology, and denying the lies he’s told before. Talk, talk, talk, that is all he does, talk. Can-do Capitalism was his new catch phrase, and it would deliver us out of the catastrophe we are now facing. And he just kept talking when it was pointed out that Can-do Capitalism was what has caused the climate change problem in the first place. And then, he just kept talking, because, you see, Can-do Capitalism is code for we aren’t going to change anything we are doing.

Australia is being shamed on a world stage, and Scott Morrison continues like the air being expelled from a continuously deflating balloon.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

What Is Wrong With people Today?

David sent me a message late last night asking, What is wrong with people today?

 

So, I answered when I was sitting on the couch at 6am this morning, waiting for my eyes to open.

Oh, you know, darling, too stupid to form complete sentences, or too busy staring into the mirror looking for salvation.

I looked back at it later, once my two coffees had settled and my brain’s light function was starting to deal with the day and thought, nyr, not bad.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Can I Stay?

David rang in the afternoon, he wanted to apologise for the time I put him in the uber and sent him to the airport. According to him, he now sees how he overstayed his welcome.

He was having this week to himself. How is that different to other weeks, I wondered? CharChi is in the dog home. Yes, I know, kind of a strange take on dog ownership. Anyone else wanting a week to themselves would have their dog with them just as a matter of course. A dog usually has privileges others don’t. But not CharChi, the moment David feels stress of any kind, she is booked into the dog hotel.

When I questioned him, he said he just wanted relief from the responsibility of CharChi for this week. How hard is it to scoop a cup of chow from a bag and dump it in a bowl, I wondered? It’s not like he prepares raw meat meals for CharChi like Sam does for Buddy and Bruno. 

What? You take her to belly dancing lessons and soccer practise on a Saturday morning, that I don’t know about, I asked. No, apparently not.

Anyway, this week was going to be his. Except, his friend Smythe decided to come and visit on her way from Mullumbimby where she had been living on her way back to Melbourne. David told her right from the outset about his plans for the week, and that she couldn’t stay.

Then, she couldn’t get a flight until the following day, so she asked if he knew any good hotels in the area and he relented and said she could stay for one night. 

The following day she slept in and hadn’t booked her flight. Too busy with a face mask, cotton wool between her toes as she painted her toe nails and read her tarots, burning incense, listening to Enya. And she couldn’t then get a flight until the next day because of her sleep in.

So, we’re already at 2 nights.

So, the next day came, and David informed her early that he was going to Ballina to run some errands and she had to pack her stuff and get in the car as he’d be dropping her off at the airport, she had to leave.

He dumped her in Ballina close to the shops he wanted to go to (probably a chemist to get a script filled, knowing David. I say to him that replacing illicit drugs with prescription drugs is not really kicking a drug habit, but he doesn’t see it) and came home.

Now, somehow this related to his drug binge at our place last year, whenever that was, when I, allegedly, kicked him out. 

He had a Sunday flight to Brisbane to start some project up there. He came out Sunday morning a wailing mess (usually, the end result for David after a meth binge) “I’ve missed my flight, I’ve missed my flight.”

“Oh,” I said. “What time was it?”

“It’s not for 2 hours, but there is no way I can get myself together and catch it. It is hopeless.”

Now, I don’t know if you have much experience with Virgos, but 2 hours to the airport is completely doable no matter what the circumstances.

“It’s 30 minutes to the airport, I’ll have you on that plane, don’t you worry about that.”

I’m pretty sure he started to cry again.

I took him (by the hand) to his bedroom, stood over him while he packed his bag, taking no nonsense in the process. He blubbered the whole time.

“Where is your phone?”

“Here,” said a wan voice.

“Call an Uber.”

“Oh, I just can’t…”

“Do it!”

“What time will I say…”

“Now! Next available.”

Surprisingly the organised David who has made a great success out of his life flashed momentarily, and he handled the Uber booking with aplomb. “Akmad, is on his way,” he said. (Back to misery)

We made a quick check that he had everything, with David still teary. (good thing I lived with him, however long ago that was, and I was well aware of his come down shenanigans)

“Pick up your suitcase and come with me. And I led him to the footpath.

A black 4WD pulled up 5 minutes later. 

“Give the man your bag.”

“Huh?”

“In your hand”

“Get in.”

“Oh… er.”

“Back door’”

Kiss, kiss.

And he made his flight with time to spare.

Anyway, he apologised for this behaviour.