I’ve had one of those “Wreck This Journal” books for YEARS. The great irony of the situation is that my perfectionism wouldn’t let me touch it. I found it while packing the other day and was about to throw it out, then realised that if I was that detached I may as well actually wreck it.
Here’s the progress on one page. I thought it looked a bit lonely with just the holes so I made a garden.
In a decidedly super-uncool move, whenever I’m angry I tend to let off steam by…cleaning things. Ferociously. It’s not unusual for me to be in my room in a cloud of dust, throwing things willy-nilly into a bin while I swear at inanimate objects and blast punk music. It’s perhaps the only time I’m able to be unsentimental about throwing things out.
Someone pissed me off the other day so I’ve been on a cleaning bender for the last week. It also helps that I’m moving house soon, so I may as well clean and pack. I found some amazing stuff in the process. Here are some pictures because I’m addicted to iphoneography, whoops.
Shit, now you’ve all read my diary. TAKE IT TO THE GRAVE.
It has stormed literally every evening for the past week. I am in my element. I love storms. I love rain. It’s been so damn long.
Here are some pictures I took on my walk home after work the other day.
HELLO, STORY TIME:
This one time (yesterday) I made a (near-fatal) error and made eye contact with one of those campaigner people who stand outside shopping centres wielding petitions for THE NEXT BIG CAUSE.
It was sort of my fault. I was checking out her hair, which was cool, and then a quick pirouette on her part, awkward eye contact, and she was locked on. “RUN!” my brain advised me, but my heart wasn’t in it. Exercise, y’know?
She comes over to me to pitch her campaign, and it’s as if she’s mind-merged with the unofficial Campaigner Bible. She does everything by the book. I know this because I’m (a) a psych student, (b) an ex-campaigner, and (c) a jaded cynic. Sadly, Textbook Campaigner does not know this. While she thinks she’s manipulating me, I’m judging her on her manipulation skills. She’s doing quite well. Power stance, inviting body language, personal anecdote to establish rapport – the works.
Things are going quite well for her (she’s almost reached the smooth segue into her Call to Action, that is) until DISASTER STRIKES in the form of Homeless Guy/Manipulation Vigilante, who approaches and starts critiquing her power stance. He then turns to me and magnanimously lets me know I’m being manipulated. “Thanks,” I say.
But wait, says Manipulation Vigilante. There’s more. He turns back to Textbook Campaigner. “Bet’cha don’t know you’re being manipulated too.”
Textbook Campaigner consults her internal textbook, decides to Diffuse Tension. “Wow, really?”
He tells her some shit about how the “power stance” is actually a technique taught to women by men who are looking to create a literal and metaphorical opening for debauchery, if we get his drift. He helpfully mimes leering up a woman’s skirt in case we are visual learners.
Textbook Campaigner closes her legs in an attempt to keep diffusing tension. I do not close my legs because as a general life rule I don’t do things because crusty old misogynists tell me to. I’m also not particularly fond of expectations ascribed on the basis of perceived gender. Now is not the time for gender theory, however, because Manipulation Vigilante is wandering off, and Textbook Campaigner is resuming her pitch.
Two seconds later, though, Manipulation Vigilante decides he’s not finished yet. He wanders back and delivers the most hard-hitting question of the day.
“D’you know what’s on the back of the ten cent coin?”
He directs his question to Textbook Campaigner, but shoots me a significant look. Given that the answer is “lyrebird”, I imagine that he was trying to make another subtle dig at Textbook Campaigner. Thankfully, it goes over her head.
“No,” she says after extensive pondering. “I probably should, being Australian.”
Now is an excellent time to note that Textbook Campaigner is a white girl wearing a bindi. Manipulation Vigilante, who apparently moonlights as a racist, seizes upon this fact with glee. Textbook Campaigner’s casual cultural appropriation and Manipulation Vigilante’s full-fledged racism proceed to do battle as he launches into a tirade about how she’s “not Australian” because she has “that shit on her head”. Slurs ensue. Other campaigners are now hovering in the background, ready to help Diffuse Some More Tension. While they’re searching for an appropriate opening, Manipulation Vigilante is still ranting.
“You know what’s gonna happen to ya? You’re gonna experience Nirvana. Bet ya didn’t think that through, huh?” He turns to me. “Do ya know what Nirvana is?” I nod, and wonder if he does. He seems to think it’s a bad thing.
I don’t get to find out what he thinks next, though, because another campaigner finds an opening to jump in and save the situation, and in the ensuing chaos I excuse myself and wander off to my meeting.
People are weird.
It’s my first ever retail shift, and I’m walking to the bins with a co-worker who’s showing me “the ropes”. It’s an inappropriate metaphor, because there are no ropes whatsoever involved in this line of employment. Tell it like it is. He’s showing me the bins.
Anonymous Co-worker is a hipster down to the neatly rolled cuffs on his skinny jeans. He has long, wavy hair, and is wearing a slouchy beanie over it. It’s the kind of beanie that aims for casual, but which has evidently been styled meticulously. He’s studying music, plays the guitar. As I said, hipster.
While he may express himself in song, Hipster Dude’s forte (ha) is evidently not expressing himself in words. It is a very long, quiet walk to the bins. A sort of solemn procession of cardboard and used-up bubble wrap. Making conversation is a little bit like playing Russian Roulette, except five chambers are filled with awkward silences and the sixth is filled with an indecipherable mumbled response, and it’s not really clear which is worse.
We take a sharp left towards one of those Employee-Only corridors in the shopping centre. Obviously it leads to the bins, but it’s sort of exciting in a vague, pathetic way, having never had any reason to enter before. Because I’m the biggest dork this side of the equator, I say as much, aiming for some lightly self-deprecating humour to break the ice.
Needless to say, the “humour” falls very, very flat. I spend the next two or so minutes of the walk trying to maintain an air of casual competence as I wrestle with the stack of boxes I’m carrying, while inwardly I’m just kind of smacking myself in the forehead and muttering things to the effect of “Why, Sam?” We wait for the lift to arrive, and it’s like every single awkward lift-waiting scene you’ve ever seen in a movie. I briefly contemplate the chilling possibility that we will get stuck in this lift together, and just end up making non-committal grunts at each other until one of us cracks. Thankfully, the lift is reliable, and this scenario does not come to pass.
We eventually reach the bins, and I briefly consider just getting in the bins with the cardboard and carting myself away. Hipster Dude, on the other hand, seems suddenly energised by the presence of the bins. He starts grabbing bags of rubbish with an enthusiasm unlike him and hurling them gleefully at the bins. There’s a good few minutes of enthused cardboard tossing before the frenzy subsides.
“Wow,” I say when he’s quite finished. “Pretty keen, eh?”
Awkward silence in response. I’m never speaking again. We finish the rest of our shift at opposite ends of the store, stacking boxes in silence.
(It may seem like this story has neither a climax nor an ending, but that’s because this is a RETAIL STORY you gronks. Much like the retail work that inspires it, it’s dry, unending and generally anticlimactic. It also may inspire sudden flashes of utter despair.)