Monday, January 28, 2008

Packing Pains

Early tomorrow morning I'm leaving for Queensland.
This has happened so suddenly yet so gradually too. I don't how that works, but that is how it feels.
Today I began packing. Which for me, is just a process of grabbing all the shit you think may serve some small purpose in the future and stuffing it into bags. Once the bags are full you put the shit in boxes. Once they are overflowing, the loose crap you're certain you'll have some use for at some stage is just thrown into the back of the ute along with your bike, boogie board (I'll be two hours from the coast, but I'm sure I'll use it), tent, esky and dog that will eventually clamour her way up onto the mountain of crap to dose as the ute flies north up the Newel Highway at 100 kilometers an hour.
Right now bits of pieces of things I'll need still lie discarded in numerous corners of the room. Things I'll eventually need to find and find some place for amongst my 'coming with me' pile.
But, I prefer to call them 'loose ends' that are loose for a reason while I lie on the couch watching ET News and complaining to Mum about my sunburn.
Dad is on the phone every bloody half hour telling me how this whole expedition is a 'wild goose chase' that'll kill my dog, wreck my ute, fuck up my education and destroy my chances of ever becoming a journalist. And I wonder whether he means in that order.
I'm trying to find that fucking thing or this fucking thing that I accuse Mum of hiding just to further aggravate the shit outta me.
Occasionally I wander outside to find my dog for some kind of comfort, but she looks at me with eyes that make me feel guilty for once again taking her halfway across the friggin' country away from Dad's dog Brandy, who will probably have a nervous breakdown after just one week of Maggie being gone. Shit shit shit.
My friends are ringing up on the phone saying they'll be at the pub tonight for farewell beers. And it'll be the last time I ever see....... him. What will he say when he finds out tonight I'm leaving early tomorrow? Will he care? Fuck, I don't want to think about it.
And Mum has just cracked it, "It's going to be fucking 32 degrees tomorrow! Why aren't we leaving today!? This is the last time I ever do this for you! You can't wear those boots working! We are leaving at 7am tomorrow or not at all! Get off the fucking computer!".
I just sit here and wish that I smoked....anything.
The time is ticking by and I'm staring down at my bloated gut that was flat a few days ago and my sunburn hurts. And shit! My Ipod is fucking broken again! Ohh, fuck where's my Cold Chisel cd? My Ute still hasn't been given a once over and Dad went and got me some new work boots that I can't wear because they are the wrong sort, even though he knew what the right sort were and had seen the right sort sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THE ONES HE HAD FUCKING BOUGHT!
Fine don't come Mum, you pain in the arse. I never asked you to come anyway.
"Shut up Mum!"
I wanna find a brick wall and smash my brains against it.
I wonder how pissed she'll be when I stumble home from the pub drunk at midnight.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another night at the local

When bored shitless- go to your local. Goes the custom of this country.
Last night I called a 'Lana will you finally piss off to Queensland' thingo down at the local. It's only a 2 minute bike ride (and that's with a flat tire- stupid fucking bike. Was pumping the thing for ages before I realised) from my house so I go there more than I'd care to mention to my more respectable mates.
Last night was a Friday and when we normally go there on a Tuesday the Rednecks are considerably outnumbered by my own lot. 15-20 of us will rock up, the average age being 20 years old, while the 5 or so Rednecks are forced into the corner to snigger about what they'd like to do to those of us resembling the female species. But last night there were close to 35 Rednecks loitering in the front bar.
Then there were us- three 18 year old chicks drinking bundy and playing pool, (and without wanting to sound pretentious or brag about my looks) and looking like our mothers shared purely platonic relationships with their brothers.

Some memorable moments included;-

*telling the fat chick screaming directions at Roger Federer on the tv screen that recent studies had proven the he couldn't actually hear her.

*Having the nightly regular Kirky tell me to 'stop looking gorgeous!' (to which I returned the compliment, 'Ohh yoooouu stop being gooooorgeous!' batting my hand in the air), before pinning me against the bar with his beer gut with the circumference of Uluru to assure me he was well aware of his age being the same as my grandfather's and he wasn't trying out some new pick up line but merely commenting on my 'magazine-cover looks'. I was trying to manoeuvre myself back around the gut without spilling my beer, thinking 'Babes and Bores' was probably the rag he was thinking of, with me not being the former.

*An American Redneck the same age as my Dad (a real Redneck and the ugliest fucker you ever saw- which says something with the ugly bar for Rednecks already being extremely high) getting his Aussie mate to approach me (because we spoke the same language?) to ask for a buck to play pool. Upon discovering I had no buck for him the mate tried to persuade me to play with them. Upon getting my refusal, saying my mates and I were just practising, they sauntered off sulkily to spend the rest of the night leering at us and trying to peer down our shirts whenever we walked past. The Yankee feral finally finding the confidence to sneer 'Nice boobs' at me a few hours later.I kept the pool cue handy all night.

Sorry kids, that's all for now. Gotta go get the ute packed for my weekend in Bell's Beach. My mates are due to arrive in .....ahhh, shit any minute.

Toodles and happy Australia/ Invasion Day!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gran's garden

And now on a completely irrelevant note:
This is the yard around our farmhouse. It used to be an award winning garden before my 93 year old grandma was banned from going outside to keep maintaining it after she fell over too many times and had to lie on the ground till help eventually came..... which was often hours because the closest town is 10km away.
It was actually ALOT worse a few minutes before these pictures were taken, thanks to the old man charging through armed with a shovel and ripping up all the scrub for the sheep.
The fluffy little buggers gobbled up every last blade of grass from Gran's once precious garden with the 'rich, fertile soil'.
I do feel pretty sad and guilty about this, but not enough to start gardening. Sorry Gran.

The blood isn't thick.

Two years ago my cousin died.
My family, including his mother and father found out about it last September. Which they wouldn't even had discovered had my other Aunt not been researching into any family unclaimed Superannuation or something along those lines.
Ross's name had popped up; further investigation told how he was not only deceased, but deceased for two years and a coroner's report suspected it was suicide. He was 35 years old.
Ten years before he along with his sister had packed up and walked away from their parents and completely disconnected themselves from every relation they had (not that they had any reason to contact any of us anyway- I have never even met them) over some 'trivial argument'- My Old Man said.
When Ross died, even his sister didn't bother contacting their parents. She still hasn't.
Upon discovering this, nobody in my family shed a single tear. Nobody felt sad. My dad told me about it in the most casual, 'Oh by the way' note.
It was an unimportant family affair (only by blood), that stirred nothing but feelings of complete indifference in us.
He was my cousin, and he died two years ago, probably leaving no bigger ripples in the world than when he first entered it.
Today sitting at the kitchen table I was looking out the window, watching a fly slowly crawling over the clear surface, occasionally hopping through the air to a different spot. I wondered if his final weeks before his final decision had been slow and thoughtful like this. Whether he'd just sat still taking in these tiny things and thinking how this was life......asking whether he thought it could possibly change and get better soon? How had he wanted life to turn out? Were these tiny little moments so dissatisfying he just eventually decided to give up?
No, it was bigger than that. I was just searching for answers, only caring because he was technically my cousin.... yet I felt nothing but slight curiosity.
What if my brother were to walk out the door tomorrow and i never saw him again, than 10 years later I hear he had died?
Ten years is a long time. What I feel for him now flirts with hate....alot. Ten years is long enough to stop caring, move on, forget.......than one day I hear of his death. Would I calmly listen to the news, nodd, feel shocked, but feel no other emotion?
I think I already know the answer, yet don't feel shocked or even sad over it.
Blood isn't as thick as we've been led to believe.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I should just note that my New Year's Resolution was to fear only fear itself.

Geeze, that's obviously working out great so far, eh?





Still Gutless

Ehhhk. I'm pretty seedy today so my brain is nicely mashed up enough for me to foolhardily write and maybe even type vomit something that I will maybe want to re-read.
Who the fuck am I fooling with that though?

I finally got onto Queensland (aka Deb......who lives in Queensland.....hence the imaginative nickname that took hours of brain sweat).
Every time in the last few days when I've tried to get onto her, after spending hours (I kid you not, I am that gutless) working up the confidence and chewing on the shit that's eating me, I haven't been able to and had to awkwardly speak to her boarder Marc.
Where the very short conversation usually consists of me making stupid sheep jokes (he's a Kiwi) and him chuckling boarder-line pissed off.
The other night: "Ohhh, heya Marc.'s Lana..... from down South."
"Ahhh yehhhh. How ye goin'?"
"Not bad....... heard you went home for Christmas." I stutter.
"Mmm, yeh, had an awesome one."
"*snorts with laughter* you...ahhh *snort* caught up with all your sheep than?" I say while kicking myself as hard as I possibly can.
"Yehh... just so many of them, you know. Hard to keep up with them all, so it took a while. Just millions of them"
"*snorts* ....aha, I bet there are" I choke out, barely audible to even myself.
After hanging up I punch myself in the head and throw my phone across the room with "You fucking dickhead! What the fuck is wrong with you!?"

Last night I rang again and tried to be as nice as possible to Marc who probably thinks I'm some sort of pompous pretentious tart. I also unbelievably refrained myself from the sheep jokes.
Deb wasn't there, so nearly choking on my own self-contempt I asked the normal pleasantries before going to suffocate myself in my pillow.

Deb rang back only an hour or two later while I was at a friend's BBQ and well into my drinking.
"There's a job up here all ready for you, if you want it." she said.
"Ohhh...really? Great"
"When you reckon you'll head up?"
I put my beer on the ground. A sure sign of shit getting serious. "Umm.... I.. ahh.... how much notice would you need?"
"Mate, if you rocked up 'ere tomorrow you'd have a job the next day."
"Ohh wow.... umm...."
"I'm about to head off for about a week, but it'd be fine if you came up while I'm not here"
"Ohh, you're going away? What date will you be back?"
"Ahhh after the long weekend....the....ahh 28th I think."
I bit down hard on my lip, "Ohh wow, ok. Umm..... well I reckon I'll come up after that. Just need to get my arse into gear, you know." I force a laugh while dropping my head, thinking the blood going that way will work in some sort of helpful way.
"Yeah, no worries. Well let me know what you're doing mate."
"Yep cool.....I will. I'll speak to you soon."
As I hang up I whine bitterly looking at my white knuckles.

And that's how it ended, with the ball in my court. Actually no, it always was there.
I've got no more excuses. I've got the ute. I've got the laptop. I've got the job. I've got the accommodation. I've got nothing here holding me back.
Ohh bloody hell!

Just bite the bullet.

Just bite the bullet.

Just bite the bullet.

Bit fucking hard.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Big Hat Theory

There are alot of mysteries I wish to uncover in my lifetime.
One of these is why blokes in boots, jeans and big Akubra hats are so bloody alluring to me.
They themselves mightn't even be good-looking! Yet I can't take my eyes off them. The situation is always made worse when they have that swagger.
You know the sort, the slow amble of the hips and the slightly bandy legs as though they've never left the saddle.
I think this stupid lust couldn't possibly be more Red-Necked. And it shows that despite the books I read, the diverse range of people I know, all the places I've been- my Red-Neck grains will always shine through when some annoying bloke in tight Wranglers and scuffed boots walks into the room. What is that!?
And the really weird part is, if I had to name the top 10 arseholes I've met in my life, 7 out of 10 of them were those stupid Akubra hatted and, tight-jeaned eye-gluers. Hello, logic, where are you!?
My most recent run-in with such a creature that brought the mystery to the surface all over again was not yesterday, but the day before- on Wednesday.
We hired some contract harvesters to come out and harvest our crop. They were a big group of people who hailed from South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland and every year they met up to work their way down the harvest trail with all their huge machinery.

Wednesday was boiling hot and we'd done our work in the early morning and were inside keeping cool when a great big yellow Header, a truck and ute came down our driveway in a grand entrance of noise.
Dad was like a little kid seeing a new toy as he saw them. We followed them out into the paddock in our old truck. He was a great bubbling mess and he exclaimed again and again about how big the Header was. I only looked at it. Sure it was big, but I'd seen bigger.
We stood out in the paddock amongest the flies and spoke to the contractors. They were a big family business that had been traveling down our way for over 10 years, our district being the final stop on the great Southern haul.
Dad talked to the man and this woman who was his sister-in-law or something while these two little girls they had brought with them sat in the ute beeping the horn and playing with numerous other buttons.
The Header was a few meters off in the paddock. The door had swung open and a figure in a big beaten hat, faded jeans and boots had climbed down.
Everyone was already staring at the Header and I luckily had sunnies on so no one could see what I was really staring at.
He was still too far away to make out how old he was, so he could've easily been ugly and grosse but I wanted to keep up the eye-candy illusion for as long as possible.
Eventually he swaggered over (ohhh that swagger) to be introduced. The big hat shaded half his face while large sunnies hid his eyes so the jury was still out. But I could still see a straight square jaw that always makes a positively chemical reaction when coupled with the big hat. This is the Big Hat Theory, now pay attention people.
He looked anywhere between 25 to 28 years old, but Northerners have a tendency to look older than they actually are.
He didn't have a beer gut so that was a bonus. Hahaha...
He stood before us very briefly not saying anything before returning to his Header to continue the 'fine-tuning'.
Dad and the man and lady continued to talk while I continued to indulge my fantasies.
Soon Dad said we had some jobs to do at the Woolshed so we sauntered off into the heat with my dog at our heels.
Not long after I stood peering through the broken window frames of the Woolshed watching the Header finally fire up and start out into the paddock, before returning to the house to get out of the heat.
I was back at the house for maybe only 20 minutes when Dad came back from the paddock squirming like a little boy again over the big toy, telling me how he'd been given a ride in it and how exciting it was.
I was then told that I had to experience the same thrill.
I firmly said no. Just the thought of being alone in the small cabin of the Header with Akubra-boy gave me goosebumps.
But I was ushered like a small unwilling animal out into the searing heat and into the paddock by Dad, who only succeeded because he unknowingly played on the concept of my courage. Thank you insecurity!
Back out in the paddock I anxiously shifted my weight from one foot to the other as I gradually watched the Header coming closer and closer towards us through the crop. God, why was I so bloody scared!?
Eventually it pulled up alongside the truck to empty the grain into.
And I was again ushered up into the cabin by telling myself I was a gutless wonder.
In the cool spacious cabin, sitting beside Akubra-boy I didn't feel as awkward as I thought I'd be.
As we started up again and headed out into the crop he told me how he was a stationhand/musterer/jackaroo from North-West Queensland, which was already the bleeding obvious between his clothes and lazy northern tounge. I told him about my brief stint on a station two years ago and it was soon discovered there were a couple of common grounds.
"I'm probably heading up to Queensland soon for some rouseabout work" I said trying to convince him as well as myself (the jury is still out on that- thanks to my gutless disposition).
He laughed "Yeah plenty of that up there!".
He'd only gone down one row when he turned to me "Reakon you could 'ave a go?"
I swallowed, "Ahh yeh".
At the fence line he swung the Header around and we swapped seats.
Behind the wheel I placed my hand upon the throttle and edged the machine into speed, while trying to watch the huge harvesters on the front as they spun furiously around and ate up the stalks of the crop like a giant lawn-mower. The rows were zig-zagged and ran in lines that would put a drunk grannie's driving skills to shame. I soon learnt the Header was a slow responder as I tried to steer it every which way to not miss any stalks. Akubra-boy laughing when I did.
As we reached the end of one row I turned the Header around to start on the next to see the crazily crooked lines I had left down the paddock.
Akubra-boy cackled "How much have you had to drink today?"
I grinned, "Not telling".
As we continued he told me more about himself, saying that this was probably the last crop he'd do this year.
I laughed "it's only the 9th of January!"
He nodded seriously, "Yeh, I'm sick of it. I'm going back mustering in Queensland"
I related. I suddenly really wanted to go to Queensland.
I finished off the last of the crop before swinging it back to the truck to empty the grain.
As I climbed down from the Header Dad was shocked to see me driving, but excited.
"What was it like?" Was It hard?"
I casually shrugged, suddenly the ol 'pro, "Nahh, steering was a bit shit, but was easy"
Back outside again, I was once again free to watch Akubra-boy swaggering around. Did I find him good-looking or was it just that old thang? I had no idea, but I couldn't take my eyes off him.
Later that evening I watched the big yellow Header disappear up the drive-way and I felt sad. Was I sad to see him go? Or sad to see someone go with the life I wanted?
I didn't know.
But, my feet suddenly felt itchy and I was suddenly more determined to go to Queensland.

I just need to find the courage first.......

Friday, January 4, 2008


Today is a stinker. I had the fan blowing like Paris Hilton all night and all this morning till I woke up at bloody 12pm. Which has become an early time for me to wake up at.
I can already feel your scowls and crinkled brows of disgust coming in waves through this virtual world. What? I'd defend myself saying it hasn't exactly been a choice but there's probably not much point as millions of people out there have crap jobs that they hate yet hack it every day without any spoken complaints.
So I'm paying my 'sowwwwwys' forward now.

Anyhoo....after the usual daily round of fighting words with my arsehole brother I grew increasingly irritable about how beautiful it was outside- 37 degrees, is yes, my idea of beautiful.
So I did the ol' slip, a slopper and a slapper than emerged from my cold little house into the fierce heat. As I walked along I thought what wimps people were to not be out enjoying it also.
I walked to my old man's house and got my dog forcing her to join me.

Maggie normally loves a romp out in the day but, yeh, she is a dog and as I watched her panting little frame stumbling along on the hot bitumen I began to wonder whether this could be classed as animal cruelty.
We got to the oval next to the Nepean Highway and as I began my usual laps around it I tried to get her to just sit still and wait under the shade, but the defiant little beast was having none of that and bravely padded on behind me, lapping up any cold water she found along the way.
On my 5th or 6th lap around I suddenly turned my head to see where she was but couldn't find her. I stopped and saw her about 40 meters back.
She was hunched over furiously snapping at something and to my horror I could see fur flying up from her mouth and into the air. There was something small and grey on the ground trying to struggle away.
I yelled at her but she ignored me.
I hurried over to her to see a tiny little possum at Maggie's mercy.
I screamed at her and batted her off the possum. She immediately cowered away with large clumps of fur still caught in her jaw.
The little thing was lying in the dirt, still moving its' legs in every direction to try and run in vain but they looked broken.
It's fur was matted and missing many large clumps.
As I squatted on my haunches it stared at me with huge brown eyes, wide with fear. It's whole body was beating and shaking furiously.
It would die of shock if I moved it. It would die of further injury if I moved it.
It would get mauled by another animal if I left it on the ground.
I tried to get closer to inspect it and it suddenly crawled towards me and lunged in the air at me.
I hoped that was a sign of recovery but that was just stupid.
It started to crawl around, it's wide eyes always on me.
It was in a great deal of pain and I knew what the humane thing would be to do. What anyone else would do that had seen as many animals die as I had.
But I couldn't bring myself to break its' neck.
I was scared I wouldn't break it properly and cause it further pain.
It was so helpless and small.
So I just uselessly sat a few meters away from it till it slowly died.
It's heart was beating so fast and I thought it would never stop.
Eventually it's bright wide eyes began to close like it was sleepy and its' little frame began to roll over till it lay on it's side with its' mouth nestled in the dust like a peaceful little puppy napping.
Once I was certain it's heart had completely stopped I stood up and walked away before the rest of the ants came.
That's life though.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Harrrpy New Year!

Happy New Year!
And nothing seems to quite hail in the new year than the constant, repetitive question of "Is it the new year yet?" around the countdown time.
I spent these precious count down moments on the darkened beach of Rye, an hour East of Melbourne, with only the occasional illegal fire work being let off meters from our footfalls to light up my friends' drunken expressions.
Many a juvenile like ourselves had snuck off to this end of the beach free from the large number of cops patrolling the area sniffing the air like dogs for the scent of alcohol which would land the bearer of the substance with an on-the-spot-fine.
From my esky in the back of the ute we had pulled out our tinnies of Bundy and Smirnoff to hide on our persons before skittering off like rabbits into the night with cops lurking only meters away.
Once on the beach we cantered about triumphantly holding up our cans and kicking up salty water in the shallows. Once it had been established the area was cop and bogan free we began to wonder how would we know it when the clock struck midnight?
We questioned others loitering in the vicinity and they gave us estimates of it being anywhere between 8 minutes and 3 minutes til midnight.
"I'm sure we'll know" I assured Nat and Fleece, "We'll hear it"
But noises would suddenly erupt from different spots to signal in a new year at different times.
"Is it the New Year yet?"
"Nahhh" a drunk bystander (actually he was lying down) called out.
Eventually fireworks propelling skywards from numerous areas around the Bay told us it was 2008.
We danced and laughed about on the black beach that occasionally would be lit up with red or orange.
Panting we realised our hands were now empty of any liquid so in nodded agreement we decided to return to the ute to replenish the stock.

Walking back along the road we were approached by a guy who had just been in a brawl and had had his tooth knocked out who advised us not to walk along alone- crazy barbarians were on the loose.

Like everybody else we wandered about aimlessly that night. Down the street, to the beach, into the water, into the park and down to the beach again.
We went swimming about 2am with some Wog Boys from Greensborough who took a shine to my ute and to Nat, whose always had a weakness for the Woggies.

At 4am still wet and sandy we climbed into the back of my ute which had been decked out with mattresses, sheets and towels taped up over the windows.
We opened the windows and closed up the tail gate and tried to sleep while revelers out on the street tried to party on with just their systems full of drugs and grog.
I didn't sleep a wink due to drinking four energy drinks since 10pm and because I was the one lying by the tailgate so I felt like a watchdog, lying with wide eyes and listening intently to every little noise (not that there many little noises).

All up it was rather good New Years, but I've had some really really shit New Years in the past years so I don't have much to compare it to.

How was all your New Years?