The Long Dry Wait

We are told by political spokespeople that there is a terrible lack of jobs for young people in Australia. Generally the spokespeople are trying to get us to vote for their candidates – to give them employment with a hefty salary. As so few of us have the statistical resources that the political parties do, we are frequently inclined to believe them.

And then we encounter trade languishing for lack of employees and are left hanging on the outside of counters trying to catch the eye of the overworked retail or hospitality staff. Sometimes we wait out the time and sometimes we just slope off unsatisfied – but in both cases the problem could be remedied by engaging more workers and training them more extensively.

I’ll give some shops praise – Bunnings, our local hardware store – has a wide variety of workers there who can operate the tills, fill the shelves, find the tools, and move the pot plants. You never languish at Bunnings and the tills ring pretty merrily all the day. Same thing in IKEA.

I went to a tavern in our city yesterday, however, where the exact opposite occurred. The Belgian Beer Café serves good beer and reasonable pub food, and occupies a central position on a major street. It seems set to coin money with the hungry and thirsty of Perth – particularly on a sunny summer lunchtime.

The staff would make it so if they could, but there is only so much that three people can do when there are dozens of customers. Bless them, they tried, but the 15 minute wait at the bar finally got to me and I elected to leave, come home, and drink a glass of water rather than a $ 12 pint of beer.

It’ll be management, of course, and the attempt to save money on wages. But how will they persuade me and the other dry throats to come back and try again? We might occasionally see signs that say ” Under new management ” but I’ve never seen one that says ” We actually have enough staff. ”

Perhaps the idea would be to bring an esky into the front bar and offer stubbies around to the people waiting…


Desperation Is The Snarky Auntie Of Invention

We have often been told that necessity is the mother of invention. That’s fine as far as it goes, but like most copybook maxims, it never goes far enough. It doesn’t provide much of a clue as to what prompted half the stuff that you find in a gift shop. If the shop is an arty or trendy one in Melbourne, it provides no clue whatsoever. Nothing in there for sale is necessary.

That doesn’t prevent it from being sold, mind, but you get the meaning anyway.

Desperation, on the other hand, can provide some very good decisions. If there is nowhere else to turn, anywhere you do turn is a good direction. It doesn’t matter if the eventual outcome is disastrous – doing nothing would have been disastrous anyway. At least you get your disaster fresh and if you survive, you will have learned something. If you do not survive, we all learn something.

Despair is defined as the complete loss or absence of hope. The dictionary almost makes this sound like a bad thing. That’s a mistake – in a number of situations, it is the most useful and refreshing state of mind that you can be in. Such as:

a. The enemy is all around you. They are merciless. It is your final hour.

Fine. That removes all the doubt and uncertainty. You need never be plagued again with moral qualms again. Whatever weapon you have by you can now be used freely and with a real delight. Go ahead – treat yourself.

b. You have been caught. Your guilt is evident to all. There is no way to hide your sins.

Fine. Revel in them. You wanted to do them anyway, and now you can finally admit to yourself that you did. And you don’t have to footle around with anyone else’s good opinion, either. They don’t have one that applies to you.

c. You have lost everything. Nothing is left. No possessions whatsoever.

Fine. There are lots of possessions all around you. You’re in a perfect position to select the ones that you wish to have and then just go take them. In most cases, you will succeed. In the cases where you do not, society will eventually have to provide you with the basics – food, shelter, clothing. So it is an overall win to you.


‘Twas The Night Before ( Insert Holiday Here )…

And all through the ( Insert dwelling here )

Not a creature was ( Insert activity here )

Not even a ( Insert vermin  here )

The ( Insert item of clothing that can hold objects ) were hung by the ( Insert fixed furniture item here ) with care

In the hopes that ( Insert generous mythical creature ) soon would be there.

That oughta do it. The people who want to alter all holiday traditions should be pleased and the people who get irate at the first group will be pleased to have something to be outraged about. Everyone wins.

I should be grateful if it all works out as per the original poem, as we definitely have a mouse who stirs about the place. We surprised him while cleaning out the pantry for the new kitchen vinyl flooring and he shot into the crawl space under the cabinets. I’d grant him a lease there if he would agree to stay in one spot, but I see now that he visits other portions of the house – including the top of this computer desk.

I’m not anti-mouse per se…years of Tom and Jerry cartoons have had their effect…but I do recognise the dangers if he commences on an active social life and makes close friends.

The fact that he has been here for some little time…and is still here…points to a serious flaw in the cat. The great hunter will range the neighbourhood and bring rats back to place on the doormat, but when he is inside the house he apparently ignores the intruder. Perhaps it is laziness, perhaps it is job demarcation. Perhaps he has a pay-off deal going with the mouse. As the cat often sleeps on the bed with us, I am wondering if the next occupant will be the mouse. I am far enough over to the edge as it is right now.

” Fix Not That Which Doth Not Need It “

” For verily, I say unto thee, that thou wilt be sorry. That which hath not been put asunder up until now need not be fiddled with.  For lo – things will shoot out of the inside of the mechanism and roll under the fridge and thou shalt curse the heavens.”

Oh if only I had heeded the holy text. I would not have attempted to cure the floor lamp of its permanent lean and I would not have destroyed it in the process. We would still have light, if at an angle. Now we have an even and oppressive darkness in the corner…and the prospect of an equally oppressive journey to the furniture shop to get another lamp.

It was not an expensive thing…and the internal construction of it was in keeping with this. The lean was caused by the base crumbling, and really there was no cure possible…but it could have kept on leaning for months had I not commenced treatment. It was well enough and needed a dose of leaving alone.

I shall take the hint. There are a number of little things that have been niggling at me around the house and shop. I will look very closely at them now and see if they really do need human intervention, or whether they are just a natural feature of the landscape…

Postscript: The lamp was replaced by a similar item from IKEA – to my immense satisfaction. But I am still not going to attempt to retile the sofa myself…


The Movie Superhero

The real movie superhero is not the one with the cape – or the sword, hammer, shield, trident, lasso, or cyberarm. It is the adult who pays $ 25 to sit there for 90 minutes and endures gasoline explosions and puerile dialog to please the rest of the family.

It’s not like there is any real choice these days. If the motion picture is not about a franchised line of plastic toys, a 15 year-old’s angst, or a thinly disguised leftist conspiracy, it is devoted to sports. Even the art cinema has reduced itself to hours of French people sitting around café tables smoking and sneering. In most of the cinema complexes the best chance for adult entertainment is watching the popcorn machine in hopes that it will catch fire.

I miss the cowboy movies – and the bedsheet dramas – and the dashing war dramas by people who had actually been involved in the real thing. I miss the frothy Hollywood musicals with the pin-up girls and the bright colours. I miss Donald Duck and Wily Coyote. I miss entertainment.

It’s not all gone. I can still get a laugh out of an Aardman animation…and a few of the Pixar ones as well. I can actually enjoy Bollywood movies – even though it is all nonsense – it has the colour and froth that is missing from a lot of stuff. I can even stand foreign historic dramas, as long as they are reasonably believable in the sets and costumes – what i lose in not understanding the plot is made up in the visuals.

Perhaps the mainstream fare is just too overblown – or too juvenile. Perhaps literature has spoiled me for cinema. Perhaps the thought of $ 25 a ticket – $ 85 if you include a chocolate ice cream cone – is too much for the old wallet.

” Do I Look Like An Idiot? “

This is one of those questions – like ” Do I look fat in this? ” – that is a test of many things.

Your sense of honesty…your timing ability…your commitment to a relationship… There are just so many things that you need to do, that you you need to consider and plan for, long before you hear it.

To start out…the answer that the person asking the question wants to hear is ” No ” – and then as many supporting statements as can be drawn from you. They want to hear that answer in very quick time, accompanied by the feeling that you are admiring, apologetic, appalled, and anxious  – all at the same time. They want to own your mind, for free, and have you provide a 2-year warranty with the transaction.

Do this if you wish. If you can see trouble looming on the horizon; dismissal from employment or withdrawal of conjugal conjuggling, and want to avoid it, say no and then squirm around in the mud as hard as you can. You might avert a fight, or only postpone it. You’ll find out eventually…

Or tell the truth. Say ” Yes “. And then be prepared to say either nothing, or a very great deal more. You will suffer for your honesty – make no mistake about that. And it may be more suffering than you really want to do at any given time, but you will at least have had the pleasure of speaking your mind.

Note: the consequences of saying your mind in a court of law may be more than you would wish to bear. If a legal tormentor succeeds in cowing you through threat of sanction, you can console yourself with the thought that even the highest of High Court judges is eventually removed.

Note: ” Heretofore, no. ” is not really going to work. It may be correct and literate, but still…no…

I Need A Scold

I’m sorry to be bothering you…but could you please tell me off? I need to be criticized as soon as possible.

It’s after 6:00 AM and no-one has told me that I am wrong for voting for someone who they do not like. No-one has suggested that I am a bad, bad person for thinking different thoughts from them, eating what I like, and living my own life. I am starting to get very nervous.

I tried self-criticism, like they did in the cultural revolution, but all I go was an earnest encouragement to smelt more pig-iron and march for total electrification of the Ukraine. It’s just not the same as someone browbeating me on social media – I miss the memes.

Of course I can always get a sort of low-grade fix by going down to the local train station dressed in a kilt or a Marie Antoinette dress. People will stare and snigger, and as long as I’m prepared to imagine them making cutting remarks, I can sustain quite a decent level of self-hatred. It gets a little fraught in Pride Week when they start to applaud and/or hit on me.

The dog is no help. Dogs always wag their tails and want to be patted. The cat is a bit better because cats can sneer…but the smell of a can of tuna buys their affection and I’m left bobbing about in a sea of self-congratulation…and what good is that to me when I have a full Goth wardrobe and a poisoned dagger.

I’m hoping for a toothache or boil on the neck next week to cheer me up. Or down.