Wednesday, August 15, 2012

~ on a rubbery black floor

An evening full of teary eyes, projectile vomiting, hands grasping out of pain and fear, and an enema bravely endured. A night walk past looming piles of shadowy hard rubbish, the little black cat following in complete trust, as is her way. Two loads of faecal laundry drying now on the adapted frame of a play-pen. A simple dinner on toast: egg poached in a cyclist's trouser clip, mild salami, mayonnaise, salt and cheese...

And apple juice. Apple juice because apple juice is said to free you up down there. So much apple juice that her meagre dinner was scarcely touched - though I had sliced it into alluring sixths, though it had sprung from the wizened cloaca of sweet, sweet Boofhead, who has chosen this night to sleep, brooding, on eggs in the abandoned guinea pig enclosure – rather than on the shit-caked end of a branch that is her customary and cosy night habitat.

Ten minutes narrating The Owl Service in my poor Welsh accent – as decorative lacquer owls fly from their dinner plates, transmute into paper and thence to spectral flesh. While a strange non-corporeal will of ancient provenance makes a wife of meadowsweet, broom and oak. While the child, swathed in doonas, fades into sleep, clutching the little black cat who, having abandoned all hope of escape, has begun to purr.

Now I'm an isolated man in the suburb of Mt Waverley, caring for a mortal girl these past nine years. We are a happy, though chaotic household, but if it wasn't for my daughter I would never find the contact lens that regularly falls to the black rubbery floor of the bathroom - as I attempt to reconfigure myself at eight each morning.

I've a great deal on my plate – and because I can only concentrate on one thing at a time – difficulties often arise. My various helpers – of the social and psychological kind – encourage me to make use of iCal and the calendar on my phone and I obey with diligence – the organising, the planning – but I still forget important things. I still fail to hear phone calls (the child is useful in this regard) and consistently I muddle the various facets of my knotted, jumbled life. But the child must always come first, and tonight I felt like a legitimate father...

(And, at assembly on Monday, the child was named Student of The Week. As soon as they used the word 'smile' I knew it would be her. She also danced, with her quirky friend Megan, before the whole school, reinterpreting the choreography of a song the name of which I can't recall (though I've heard it a hundred times).)

For a little while I could forget the final touches I have to make on my play Ambergris which has a public reading at the Courthouse on Sept 1 – and also the difficult job of pinning down actors for the event. I could forget my ongoing war with the PERIN Court. I could forget all the many and varied jobs associated with Déjà Moo, the Ears live mini-album which is nearing release...

And for a little while, I could forget that I'm swatting wildly on the subject of methamphetamine (ugh) and the paucity of treatment options for the problem user. Though I have edited the past two issues of Whack (the official organ of the Harm Reduction Society of Victoria) this time it should be easier. I am only responsible for the words, while my looming replacement is governing the lay-out and design. Whack #29 will be available in a couple of months at all good needle exchanges and places of last resort. The theme this issue is 'Stimulants'. Ugh

A few days ago, as I and the soon-to-be-editor worked together at the HRV office, I initiated some small talk. L had been a stranger to me until recently. I knew he was based in the country and asked where exactly.

East Gippsland.

Oh? Like Bairnsdale? 

Yeah – he was surprised I'd guessed this – a town just near there 

What? Like Brufen? 

Yeah, Bruthen. Good guess. 

I used to spend time out there. I like Bairnsdale. 

It's where I'm from, he said.

I used to visit friends there. Don't suppose you know T? 

Yeah, I know T. 

 Really? Wow. That's amazing.

 I was closer with the daughters...

Not E? 

I went to school with E! 

E? Really? We know each other well.

Small world, is it not? I went on to describe how I used to visit a house in Clifton Creek, on a property run by a slightly paranoid survivalist type who stored weapons and built concrete bunkers.

I know that house, said L.

It's where I fell in love with my daughter's mother, said I.

That's where I spent my childhood. I grew up in that house.

Two near strangers in an office, discussing the layout of a magazine. What are the odds?

Enough for now. Suffice to say I'm determined to keep posting. I know I've said it before, but I mean it this time. I think.

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Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you have finally written. I checked patiently for months. Student of the Week -congratulations! I grew up in Mt Waverley near Damper Creek. It's really beautiful out there. I love your discoveries of the natural world - the slugs and birds and things. I really think you could write a book on it. You write so beautifully.

sam sejavka said...

Thank you for the kind words. I know Damper Creek. The reserve there is beautiful - it was structured by someone famed for his talent in such things. I've been lobbying (sluggishly) for something similar near me on scotchman's creek.

faloonery said...

You know it - fantastic. I love the duckies there too, you can see the whole life cycle - the baby ducks turn into teenagers who skid and divebomb. Who was the guy who designed it? I'd love to know.

There is a giant stone there, from memory, just near the bridge, it is kind of like a cave man's table and chairs with a plaque that says there was a working group in 1969 that resisted development and saved the creek. The website says it was market gardens until WWII and then was covered in rubbish.

Good luck with your lobbying! I think your story on the lone duck was exquisite and absolutely profound.

ps I also remember stories and the shrill screams of the Redhead (?) gang from the 1970s who hung out there, but maybe it was a myth, but there was a mattress and a few empty cans.


faloonery said...
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deli-cut said...

What a nice surprise to see you are back. I hope you've been well. I really enjoy following the blog.