19 March 2010

Takin' a Chance I'll Be Respectable and Nice

Whenever Kevin and I are going through tough times, we generally opt for a bit of retail therapy, and the cost of treatment is usually a fair indicator of the degree of stress. When feeling homesick or lonely, we might go to the kitchen store and buy new counter top appliances. While waiting for Kevin to get his broken leg re-broken and re-fixed in English, we impulsively bought a house on 6 acres in the middle of nowhere. Last weekend, we went out to “look” at used cars, and came home with a brand new Hyundai Tucson. I don’t know if that is the vehicle we really wanted, but the 5 year warranty was a soothing balm to our frazzled nerves.

My personal stress levels reached crescendo yesterday morning when I closed the door to my bosses’ office, dropped a box of tissues on the desk and said “Kevin got a new job. We are moving to Adelaide in two months.” Then I grabbed a handful of tissues and used them.

I shouldn’t be too surprised or upset – after all, we’ve been in Sydney for nearly three and a half years. That is almost a record for us. In the last 22 years, we have held 14 addresses in 7 cities, not counting the 8 months we spent on the road calling a different place home each night.

Adelaide is a nice city and I am looking forward to adding a new chapter to my alliterative adventures, but right now, in the midst of the change, and having to see the shock and horror on the faces of my many friends and co-workers, I feel nothing but sadness. I know that once it is all under way, my stress will dissolve into the busyness of re-establishing my life in a new environment. But right now, lingering in that pre-move haze of anticipation and uncertainty, I am absorbed with unavoidable feelings of “pre-nostalgia”.

For those of you who have never made a big move, pre-nostalgia is that heavy feeling of detachment that weighs down upon your daily routine as you reexamine your surroundings from an increasing emotional distance. You think: “Gee, I’ll never eat there again” or “That’s probably the last time I will see her” or “Dang, I’ve been meaning to go there, but I never got around to it.” It is as much mourning the memories that are being left behind as it is a feeling of loss at what might have been but never quite fully materialized.

I know that many of you are mortified at making such drastic and constant changes in your life and are still constantly amazed that Kevin and I do it so often. I confess, in the non-existent privacy of these pages, that I am growing a bit weary of tearing down my life and rebuilding it over and over and over. Perhaps it is a consequence of age or a consequence of my lifestyle, but I find myself increasingly hungry for a place that feels like a permanent homestead, a place I can remodel and re-landscape and re-shape into something that fits MY fantasy, with out the fear of unexpectedly abandoning everything I have established - just for the sake of change.

But then, I start thinking about all the new memories that are yet to come, about all the possibilities afforded from ‘starting over’, the refreshing feeling of a clean slate, and how wonderful it feels to purge the closets and drawers of all the mossy possessions that inevitably gather whenever my stony life is temporary stalled on its downhill roll. I love to throw things out. And I am good at it too. Not only because it feels so liberating, but because then, when we are eventually dazed and befuddled in Adelaide, we can soothe our selves by filling the back of our new car with retail goods.

Oh, and with cases of wine. Did I mention that Adelaide (although unfortunately nick-named “City of Churches”) is located in the center of several of Australia’s best wine regions? Which provides adequate incentive for all of our new (and old) friends to come visit us. As my mom said, without missing a beat, “Cool. Another place for me to come visit you.”

06 March 2010

Me and Steve McQueen**

Feeling a little bit glum today, I broke into our stash of exotic imports…some mini-marshmallows, Frito Corn Chips, and a bottle of Riesling shaped like a poonanny…er, I mean a cat…then I settled down on the couch to watch The Towering Inferno on Channel 99, cuz I love me some Steve McQueen!

I know this movie was hokey even in 1974, and it is certainly still hokey today – but not only does it represent the cradle of genesis of the modern-day action adventure hero, it tackles themes of corporate and personal greed, ethics in engineering, and the perils of pre-marital intercourse (though I really don't see why boffing his secretary should have resulted in the incineration of Robert Wagner’s luscious locks.) And, it is a spectacular tribute to the heroism of American Fire Fighters.

Maybe I am just feeling emotional, but I daresay this movie is much harder to watch post 9/11. Before then, with the exception of the MGM fire, most of us had not seen real people leaping from burning high rises, and it is no less gut-wrenching in simulation.

“Ya’know, we were lucky tonight. The body count’s less than 200. Ya’know, one of these days, they’re gonna kill 10,000 in one of these fire traps…And I’m gonna keep eatin’ smoke and bringin’ out bodies..until somebody asks us how to build ‘em."

And, despite him being a murdering bastard, I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when OJ Simpson rescued Lisolette’s punanni…er, I mean cat.

**Possibly my favorite song in the whole world...

05 March 2010

Punannies on the Periphery

You know how, when something comes onto your mental radar – say for example Lime Green Corvettes – and then, all of a sudden, everywhere you look, you see Lime Green Corvettes?

Despite popular perception, Australia does not have a Bill of Rights protecting freedom of speech, including freedom of the press. And although you can say ‘shit’ on prime time television, censorship is an everyday reality here, especially when it comes to pornography. This week the sometimes insightful/sometimes pedantic/sometimes puerile television show Hungry Beast proposed the hypothesis that restrictions on depictions of female genitalia has resulted in a skewed public perception of the anatomy of a vagina, which has in turn resulted in an increased demand for plastic surgery in order to conform to the perceived norm.

Evidently, according to the National Classification Board governing soft porn magazines, graphic depictions of the internal labia are forbidden. Thus graphic artists frequently employ photo editing techniques to ensure that all vulvas have a neat and tidy appearance, which, in my opinion, makes them all look about 13 years old.

Apparently, an adolescence spent expending oneself to such images leaves one completely unprepared for the reality of all those ‘extra bits’, and somehow there has evolved a social pressure to have those unsightly folds trimmed away. How THAT graphic video made it past the censors, I am not entirely sure. However, I was intrigued by the notion that censorship can so skew public opinion that it is coercing women into acts of self mutilation. As if I need another reason to abhor censorship…

Yesterday, my grandmother saw her heart specialist and was told that she would not require another stint to repair a collapsed coronary artery. (Who needs a segue?!) Instead, she has been prescribed a vasodilator to help increase the blood flow to her ventricles. As usual, I did a little research on this medication only to discover it is currently in clinical trials to investigate its effectiveness as a ‘cervical ripener’. I am not entirely sure what that means, but I certainly do not want to think of it in relation to my grandmother.

A Google search of the word 'punanny' brought up an image of Ronald McDonald. Oh, please don’t bother to tell me the real reason. I impose my own brand of censorship to create the reality I choose, and in my reality, Ronald McDonald is a cunt.