Saturday, March 22, 2008

Suburban Surrealism

Thursday was a collection of surreal experiences.

The day began with Kindy – as it does every other Thursday. Dylan was ridiculously excited about going for his first sleep over that night. I was a little trepidatious about him going – the old angel and devil fighting it out on my shoulder so to speak. I still feel a little odd when I drop Dylan to kindy – there’s that moment where I get a kiss and a hug, then he wanders over to sit on the mat with the other kids, his picture on the sticky board ready for his day … and I feel obsolete. For the past year I’ve been yearning for this time and space, and now that I have it, it feels odd. I also dreamt the other night about the deep regret of wanting him to grow up, and realising that he had, and all the things that I had wished away … but I digress!

I had my own excitement levels building as well – not just over the dinner date I had booked at a local restaurant for that night, but for having lunch with my friend Rachael. It was the first time that we had been out for lunch, just the two of us. No interruptions from small children and all of that.

Before lunch I took a run to the flower market (which seems to be growing into a weekly routine) for roses, and as it turned out carnations and sunflowers. I think I needed the promise of sunshine, after a week or more of grey, overcast weather here in Brisbane. At home with all the flowers, I took great care and delight in breaking open the bunches, creating new ones, clearing out the old vases and wishing I had another so I could have bought from tulips (next week perhaps!)

Once done with the flowers, there was enough time to indulge in a little Magic Alex through MySpace and I flirted with the fact of joining up to eMusic so I could download their album ‘Dated and Sexist’. This seems a very bizarre juncture for me to be at. Firstly to have found a band and music that I like, through a crazy collection of internet diversions (all which have their beginnings in ‘that dream’ last week) and secondly for me to be contemplating the (legal) download of music.

I’m a philistine … a traditionalist and I REALLY resist the idea of buying music as a file. I want vinyl, I want a CD, I want cover art, notes in the sleeve – you get what I mean. I feel that downloads are horrendously impersonal – that it bastardises the whole experience of music. But the thing is – I really want this album and unless I have some luck in persuading a friend who lives in the UK to try and track it down, I’m going to have to get it online, as a download. The juries out at present, my application for eMusic is only half filled in and instead I’m dragging around my computer listening to the five songs on Magic Alex’s MySpace site instead.

As I’ve decided that ‘Dated and Sexist’ is the writing soundtrack for Script Frenzy I guess I’m going to have to take the plunge, join eMusic and download. After all – I do actually own an MP3 player now. It’s time to take the next plunge.

So 11am arrives and I decide that I will just fritter away the rest of my time before lunch on YouTube and associated sites (doing research is what I call it!) if I don’t actually leave the house. With computer in tow, and a copy of my 3am Epiphany exercise I go off to the local café, the Rare Pear, to write and wait for Rachael. The exercise is a challenge – and every three sentences I write, I find I’m having to pare (so I’m actually in the right location!) back to one – each sentence needing to be an island of an idea in itself, but somehow connected though disconnected. I am finishing it as Rachael arrives … and we spend a blissful few hours, enjoying amazing food and conversation. It’s been a while and there’s lots of catch up on … and I’m still on cloud nine from my publishing success during the week.

When it comes to pay, I realise that I’m cutting it fine. There is a long line up to pay, and not a lot of action happening in the line shortening, and its after 2pm. When I get to the head of the line … the owner hands over to one of the waitresses who has been looking after us. It turns out that she’s new and has never used the till before … and then she’s never used the EFTPOS machine. In a very strange turn of events, Rachael and I as the customers, teach the waitress how to put the EFTPOS transaction through?!!

At Kindy I’m late – but thankfully Dylan’s not the last there to be picked up. I apologise and tell the story about the EFTPOS machine. Dylan, without prompting, wishes his teachers a happy easter and I hear about the non stop monologue about Morgan, Spiro and sleepover. I’m heartened (and a bit embarrassed!), but it seems that Dylan’s ready for a sleep over.

Because I was running late, we have to go back home for Dylan’s sleep over stuff, and Annie’s chockies and flowers. He happily sits there listening to the Beatles while I collect everything up. On the way over he’s happily singing away to the Beatles. We have the Number Ones album in the car and he knows words to all of the songs on there … but knows best the early singles like ‘Love Love me Do’. At At Morgan’s house there is afternoon tea and then its off to play Spriro. Annie’s husband won a raffle the night before and they have a 6 foot by 3 foot bookcase full of gourmet food. We make coffee with these groovy sachets - there was a cup size dripolater filter that you put the coffee in and then poured the boiling water through. And on top of the coffee there was a box of chocolate truffles.

On the drive home to get ready for dinner – I had this weird sense of speeding, like I was drunk or something. Too much sugar and caffeine! It’s a good thing those two don’t show up in road side drug testing. I sang along loudly with Lady Madonna and dreamt about how this song could fit in with my script … because I can’t seem to evict myself from the developing lives of these two characters. I think that Day Tripper might be a better song – who knows??

At home I discovered the pants that fitted me when Dylan was six months old – no longer fit, not a hope in Hell. So it was into the shower to do something crazy – shave my legs! Those who know me, know that I am a first class feral in regards to my leg hair – I just can’t be bothered with it. Also accompanied by the fact that I have a terrible allergy to shaving and I can’t cope with the severe itch that comes with it. So there I am, with two inches of water in the bath, with my lap top sitting on the vanity, Magic Alex pumping out of it, hacking through the thicket on my legs when Dave gets home … wondering what the hell has happened with the other me.

It felt crazy, free and of another time to get ready to go out without Dylan around. It felt like the days before we had a child … and to wear a short skimpy dress out - I felt so daring – especially with my newly shaved legs.

The restaurant we went to was called the Suburban and is literally just down the road from where we live. I drive past it to get home from the supermarket. It’s situated on the main road in among all the car yards and we’ve always commented what a strange location for a really swanky restaurant.

In we go, table at the window and I’m sitting their pursuing the cocktail menu (because neither of us are driving for a change – Phil’s played chauffeur for the evening) and looking out the window to the neon ‘Peugeot’ sign on the other side of the road -where Dave is sitting he can see the 'Mitsubishi' neon. I order a ‘Pink Stiletto’ (which is incidentally something you would NEVER catch me in!) which has cranberry juice, vodka and strawberry liqueur but comes out with lemon juice in it (but it's nice anyway) As we’re ordering our meal, we hear a woman’s voice screaming out some rather fruity language. And they wander past the open window that we’re sat out, her mouth still going a million miles an hour and I have this moment, as she glares at me, that I fear she might stride over and give me a mouthful as well. I feel oddly disconnected from the world beyond the door of the restaurant.

The look of mortification on the waitress’s face said it all. And after a moment that seemed far longer than it really was – she asked if I would repeat my order, she’d been slightly distracted.

A little while later, as we were eating our entrees we realised that next door to the restaurant is the local Laundromat, which unfortunately I didn’t know about last week when I actually needed one. As we ate our amazing food, we watched a variety of people load and unload their washing – and their cartons of beer, as just up from the Laundromat is the pub. If we thought that location was a bit weird prior to dining there – we were convinced after we’d dined there. It is a very fitting name – Suburban.

Towards the end of our mains, a couple walked in and Dave commented that he was certain he knew the guy and from the look on the guy’s face, he was having the same moment. It turns out he was at JCU with Dave, and as we were leaving we wandered over for a chat. They live a few streets down the hill from us. While I didn’t remember this guy (I was study psych not geology!) it was another moment of life before children.

The evening ended with port at home and a taped episode of Life on Mars from earlier on in the evening. Dylan's room was hauntily empty and it felt very strange not to have him in the house. I have to say that - yes - I really did miss him, even if it was just having him asleep in bed.

All in all, one of those days that seems so ordinary in the moment, but in retrospect, quite surreal.

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