Thursday, April 26, 2012

Waiting for my flight to London.

Smoking rooms in airports look like breeding grounds for sex pests. This breeding ground in Hong Kong looks especially seedy today. One man: grey snake-skin pants complemented by green snake skin shoes; long, greasy hair, aviator sunglasses perched on top; a half-smoked cigarette stuck to yellow teeth, its ash playing ‘chicken’ with the floor.
"Is that your wife?" He asks another, nodding through the glass at a seated woman.
"No, she is just a friend". His accent sounds Portuguese. What I wouldn’t do for a Nandos wrap right now.
Snake-skin pants’ eyes widen.
“I see.”
Somewhere in the room there’s an incessant snapping; the same noise a bug light makes when a mosquito flies into it. It takes me 5 drags to work out it's coming from an irritated man in the corner, flicking his lighter. For all I know he could have been here all day. This could be his stomping ground. Perhaps even his profession. I wasn’t here to argue, so half-way through my Duty Free cancer stick, I butt out and search for a toilet.

It’s a unique desire to shit that I feel in an airport. Part of my bowel is refusing to work after sitting on a plane for so long, but the pit of my stomach is confused, gargling the three lattes I’ve consumed already out of transit-boredom. As I reach the entrance to the toilet, I’m crippled with fear.
How many people have shat here today? How many people have had diarrhea in the toilet which I am about to sit on? How many people with venereal diseases have shared this seat? Will I be seated on the plane next to the person who catches me exiting the cubicle? What will they think? What will they smell?
It’s too late. The anxiety of holding ‘it’ in and omitting a poo-like smell from my pores proves too much.
I take the plunge.

Satisfied that I’m no longer omitting a foul smell (nothing worse than added anxiety on a plane journey), I move back toward the gate lounge for my flight to London. I sneeze into my hand, and immediately clench my fist as if someone were trying to steal my lucky marble. Then, searching the eyes of my fellow passengers and eventually holding the stare of one, I stuff my hand inside my overalls and wipe furiously. Now I’ve got the added issue of a pocket lined with phlegm to deal with. But I reason that, over the next 11-hour flight, it should dry and all I’ll have to do is scrape the phlegm crystals from my pocket with a butter knife when I get to Berlin.
I really am regretting not packing the tissues my mother was trying to force on me.

Our gate isn’t even open for boarding yet and people are already jostling at the front of a long queue. It’s not musical chairs… We’ve all got a seat number, right?
Snake-skin pants walks past me. I think he winked. No biggie.
Starting to think I took my Valium too early. After only one 8-hour flight I’m guessing the long haul is yet to come. I won’t arrive in Berlin for another 23 hours and I’m not sure watching Amelie over and over again will keep me level.
Shit, I’ve left my headphones in the smoking lounge. My flight gets called. It’s ready to board.

I bolt. Dodging a group of 40-somethings huddled over a bottle of Chivas Regal the size of a whale’s penis. Zigzagging in and out of perfume sections, copping a hit of Dior, Klein and Old Maiden on the way through. My laptop jumping audibly in my bag, angry at its mistreatment. The wide-brimmed Panama I’d foolishly brought now partially crushed under my arm, its brim wilting more with every leap. Until, finally, I reach gate 17’s smoking lounge.
Clicking-lighter-man has my prized headphones in his hand.
“Thank you soooo much. I really appreciate it. Seriously, thank you.”
“Uhng.” He replies, with a nod.

Perhaps staying in the smoking lounge was his job.

I board the plane and immediately cop a fart to the mouth from a passing hostess. Then I remembered some wise words I received after enquiring about the rules of farting on planes: “Jungle law, dude, anything goes.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

St Georges Rd Tram

He’s wearing vice-like headphones that could crush his skull. What does he do?

Scenario 1: Musician. He looks the part. Patched jacket, scattered hair, vague hint of eye make-up. It’s all very well put together. I imagine he's listening to some dub-garage band from the Middle East that I couldn’t find on iTunes or the latest Chillout Sessions compilation. I bet he sees the music in layers. Pulling songs apart on a screen in the front of his mind, like in the Minority Report. Separating the drums from the bass; then the kick from snare; analysing the inconsistency in the snare sound; then moving to a bird's eye view of the skin being hit; freezing frame, ignoring all other sounds. Just looping the sound of the snare being hit. The skin is an old one he deduces. Why would they use an old skin for recording? His mind runs wild: couldn't afford a new one? No, that’s not it. The drummer had an affinity with this skin, his 'recording skin'? Probably not that, either. The sound engineer was an idiot? Possibly. Or, and by far the most pleasing thought, was that, given the entire band including the singer were recorded live to tape in a bunker in 1983, they'd never imagined anyone would hear this take. Our Musician-man pictures them setting up for band practice, the bass player insisting they mic everything up and record a few demos, only to discover the demos were good enough to be a low-fi release.

Scenario 2: He was a guy that used “Fuck My Life” in conversation. Ends sentences with “that is all”. Drinks cleanskin Merlot. Sneaks a flask into gigs. Pays out on local bands. Never dances. Never makes music. Complains about not having money, but despises the idea of working in retail, hospitality, or worse, a desk job. Believes he’s a ‘free-spirit’, but lives at home. The worst type of person you can be seated next to a house party.

He picks a booger from his nose and eats it. Pulls off his headphones and I can hear ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay. Answers his phone and smiles for 30 seconds. And I realise I’m the idiot. I’m the one headed to work in an office from 9am-7pm, wearing overalls, clutching Creativity by its nub. Eating a cos lettuce salad for lunch. Photos I’ve taken on my iPhone printed out and blu-tacked to my office wall. Still at my desk at 5:30pm, writing this blog, and listening to Snow Patrol through vice-like headphones that could crush my skull.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Celebrity Head.

“Dildos with Ryan Gosling’s face on them.”

“On the end? I mean, I don’t have a vagina… but do chicks really want someone’s face inside them?”


“Why don’t they make Ryan Gosling tampons instead? Less intrusive. Or maybe even Ryan Gosling pillows? For the lonely.”

“Tampons!? You don’t want to bleed on him. Besides, there wouldn’t be enough room for the detail of his face. And I reckon pillows is a shit idea. No one would be that obsessed with him.”

“Really? Dude, we’ve been going out three years and you’ve never been more rowdy in the sack than after you saw that Tumblr with him on it.”

“Huh? Which one…? No….”

“The one where he’s looking at things, or riding dogs or something.”

“You mean, Ryan Gosling With Cats?”

“Yeh. Maybe when the dildo range takes off you could start one titled Ryan Gosling With Pussy.”

“You’re not funny. And you’ve got a booger hanging from your nose. Here, let me get it.”

She got it.

“You know another thing… I’m getting sick of people saying Hey, Girl. That’s his sort of catch phrase, isn’t it?”

“You’re a genius, Coleman. Hey, Girl could be the name for the dildo range.”

“The weird looking bald dude who plays for Carlton could have his own range too. Chicks think he’s hot, right?”

“You know less about women than you do football.”

“But because he’s bald, it would… you know, be better on a dildo and that…”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“You're going to die, Pop. Most likely tomorrow. I’ve already taken the liberty of cleaning out your wine rack.”

I could feel death coming on quickly. Sitting upright, my shoulder pinned to vinyl, blood stewing.

I waited for the clarity. The one they say comes just before you die. I waited for the clarity so I could dictate that final haiku, to add to the collection of haikus I'd never written and didn’t regret not writing.

While I casually waited to die, I asked for my window to be pushed open, to sample the sweet smell of the outdoors one last time. But the smells were no more pungent than they had ever been before.

I was waiting, with my youngest, Geoffrey.

“Can you feel it, Pop?”

“I can, Geoffrey. I can feel it. But, who knows, it could be days…”

He had left his own chair and was leaning across me now; his armpit smothering the crusted mess where my oxygen mask used to be.

“Pop, where's the coin?” He asked, foraging through my pockets.

“What coin, Geoffrey?”

“Your lucky coin, Pop. From the war.”

“Have I ever told you the story of that coin?”

“Yes, yes. Her basket. A baby, other romantic crap. Heard the story. Now, do you remember where you put that coin?!”

I did remember. It was in my coin pocket, as it had been since the day Carienne had entrusted it to me. The beautiful Carienne, with her…

“Pop, snap out of it - the coin?”

“Help me a second, Son, I'll check in my pocket.”

As if I were a car he were helping start, Geoffrey pushed on my middle back. Forward now, I peeled an arm from the vinyl and began the charade of a search, like I had done decades earlier when performing magic tricks involving his infant ears. As I had done back then, I kept the coin in my hand the whole time.

“Can you feel it?”

With that, I put my hand behind my back and shoved the coin inside me.

“Yes, Son, I can feel it. I can feel it coming on quite quickly, now.”