The Perry Bible Fellowship is a comic strip I used to read way back…which has nothing to do with religion. Narie gave me the link, once. I think they’ve stopped updating it, but it definitely had its moments. Going back through them this holiday made me chuckle.
Click ‘Random’, or each of their comics in turn down the list.
It’d been a while since I’d been to Bennetts Lane. I think I must have been there last with Amy, over a year ago. We’d sat on the back step with wine and watched a woman sing a song for her dead father. I still have that song on iTunes (So Many Stars).
Jazz is such an emotional experience.
Drenched, like some wet miserable animal on Russell that but I didn’t mind. It was warm out, and it didn’t seem like malicious weather. I felt happier in the rain than I had in the sun all week, a sort of break from things.
We actually - I kid you not - found a patch down some alleyway where it wasn’t raining. Or rather, Simon found it. The building overhead hadn’t a shelter or eave. It was a semi-miracle, or a glitch in the cloud. We had a mad giggling fest, just frolicking in this 1x1m patch of unrained on pavement in an alley between Russell and Little Lonsdale.
We got drenched again Saturday, when torrential rain found us with only one umbrella between three. Simon and I looked like drowned rats, both of us with a duty of care to Athena and letting her take up the majority of the umbrella. Rain soaked my jeans up to the knees and refused to dry out all night, and it was intensely uncomfortable. I could feel the water in my shoes every time I moved — a sure sign that I needed new shoes very soon.
The three of us ended up in the upstairs of a Peking Duck Palace in Chinatown — the same place I had gone with Meng when her mother came to visit us. It hadn’t been very good — that much I remember. Just that sometimes you just get a craving for certain foods, and going to a place that’s named after a food you want seems to be the logical thing to do.
This past week has been full of the past, people we know now, people we knew then. I found out a lot of things that had been too hard for me to hear back then, being involved in it all. You know you have distangled yourself when you can listen to someone talk about something, then reflect on it, and put it away without any drama.
Time and distance heals so many things.
I miss high school friends. The kind you can just go back to at any point in your life, and continue as if 4 years haven’t passed, and changed you both.
Athena doesn’t know this, but friends used to talk about how it was hard for us to imagine her with anybody because she knew so little about compromise. Seeing her with Simon is really a pleasure. They are so good for each other. =)
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”—William Clement Stone (via kari-shma)
Rick:[is drunk] Uh-huh. I saved my first drink to have with you. Here. [Passes her a drink]
Ilsa:No. No, Rick, not tonight.
Rick:[Pours a drink] Why did you have to come to Casablanca? There are other places.
Ilsa:I wouldn't have come if I'd known that you were here. Believe me Rick, it's true I didn't know...
Rick:It's funny about your voice, how it hasn't changed. I can still hear it. "Richard, dear, I'll go with you anyplace. We'll get on a train together and never stop - "
Ilsa:Don't, Rick! I can understand how you feel.
Rick:[Scoffs] You understand how I feel. How long was it we had, honey?
Ilsa:I didn't count the days. [On the verge of tears]
Rick:Well, I did. Every one of 'em. Mostly I remember the last one. The wild finish. A guy standing on a station platform in the rain with a comical look in his face because his insides have been kicked out.
Ilsa:Can I tell you a story, Rick?
Rick:Has it got a wild finish?
Ilsa:I don't know the finish yet.
Rick:Well, go on. Tell it - maybe one will come to you as you go along.
Ilsa:It's about a girl who had just come to Paris from her home in Oslo. At the house of some friends, she met a man about whom she'd heard her whole life. A very great and courageous man. He opened up for her a whole beautiful world full of knowledge and thoughts and ideals. Everything she knew or ever became was because of him. And she looked up to him and worshiped him... with a feeling she supposed was love.
Rick:[bitterly] Yes, it's very pretty. I heard a story once - as a matter of fact, I've heard a lot of stories in my time. They went along with the sound of a tinny piano playing in the parlor downstairs. "Mister, I met a man once when I was a kid," it always began. (laughs)
Rick:Well, I guess neither one of our stories is very funny. Tell me, who was it you left me for? Was it Lazlo, or were there others in between or... aren't you the kind that tells?
Ilsa:[Tearfully and silently leaves]
Rick:[Face falls in his hands sadly, knowing he said all the wrong things].
I’m woken up with a phone call which I scramble to catch. This involves an awkward tumble from bed and onto the floor in order to get my handbag, which has been dropped by the door from when I came in last night (late, as usual for this past week).
Athena, Simon and I had been at the night markets last night. I’d never actually set foot in Victoria Market myself, day or night time. Athena and Simon seemed excited. There was a really large motorbike gang parked at the edge of the foodcourt, and on our way past a few walking back from the toilets, Athena excitedly asked, “Are those people what they call bogans?”
I laughed. “We don’t call those people anything, in case they beat the crap out of us.”
On my way home I’d met Michael and Ann as they came back from Eddie’s place. It turns out that they’d all been to the markets too, and had bumped into another crowd of med students wandering around. Weird. I suppose I had been there a little later than everyone else, because we’d gone after dinner.
D. called me yesterday to…ask me to go to dinner on Friday. It’s been 2 years and I’ve avoided meeting up for food with him, but I just feel petty now. When we were flatmates he sort of…asked me to be his girlfriend. Bluntly. Not even a date, but bam — hit me with the ‘let’s go steady’ line. I don’t think he’d even been there a month.
I’d been confused. I walked around the house in giant sweaters and sweatpants all day, I always look like I’ve just rolled out of bed (which I have), I hadn’t really talked to him much. The only thing I could think of was that I spoke fluent English, which would be beneficial to him. Also I was the only single girl in the house. What a sales pitch for him. “I like you because you speak English”. I managed to distangle the both of us from that potentially awkward scenario gracefully and we were cool. He’d moved out soon after, but he keeps trying to catch up.
I know he’s probably not asking me out every time he asks me to dinner, but I just feel so awkward going. He asked in such a formal way too, that it made me uncomfortable every time. As if it wasn’t just a casual catchup, despite reassurances that it was. I don’t actually know him all that well. We never talked much to each one-on-one while we were living together and most conversations on MSN since there are him asking me what some idiom means in English and me explaining it patiently in Chinese.
Actually, my Chinese rather sucks so I always try and liken things to common scenarios— which make no sense. Try explaining “she’ll be right” to someone like that. The questions “Who is this woman?” and “Why is she correct?” inevitably come up.
And what is up with the random phone calls half a year apart that start of with me saying hello and if anything was up, and him saying “I was just missing you.” Also very awkward.
Sorry. Ranting. I don’t mean to be mean, but I really just… feel unattractive, awkward, horrible, right now. I shouldn’t take it out on D. Just that I felt a bit cornered into this dinner, having been asked constantly when my exams end and, when I didn’t reply to his MSN messages (I wasn’t even online there in the exam period) I would get phone calls asking if I was ok and why I hadn’t responded.
I hate it when you’re friends with someone, and they are asking you to do things that you feel are slightly suggestive of other things. Except as friends you technically should go.
Sorry, only girls make it this complicated, I’m sure. If I were a guy, I would have said, no sorry. Or even, my favourite line, Sorry, I’m busy. Some other time? When they hit you with ‘some other time’, you know it means ‘No way, ever’. Because if they meant to they would have thought about a time when they were free in the near future and rescheduled right then.
Actually someone did that to me today, and I suspect it’s for the same reasons I keep doing it to D so I sympathise. The accidental ‘let’s do coffee’ that sounds like a date when it really just…isn’t. I only realised afterwards why it got so awkward on the phone.
Sigh. Whatever. Summer holidays drive me crazy, I really need to do something. After Athena and Simon leave, I think I’ll just kick into my research early, book some tickets home for a week at some point, come back early January, and just.. mm. I don’t know.
Simon and Athena had wanted to see the large flame balls along the river last night, so we ended up outside Crowne last night, waiting.
Sitting by the turned-off water feature (the one that use to spray jets of river water up amidst changing lights) gave me a sense of nostalgia. I’d come here once in first year, unable to stay in the house. I’d wanted to be alone, and I’d missed the sea, oceans, bodies of open water that marked the place I grew up and was restless. Back then the water feature was still on. In the midst of winter I’d been wearing a slight dress, shivering. Then the fire show started and warmed me. I remember being so grateful for that momentary thing, just a flash of heat. I went home afterwards and never told anyone about it.
It was a similar experience this time, but I marvelled at myself. My, how I’d grown up since then. I can’t say I’ve changed much, but I’ve certainly grown up. I mean, I still suck at defining the things I want. I still have this profound dislike of feeling like I’m coercing/making people do something they don’t want to do. I do anything to make sure everyone else is happy/ok. I expect people not to give a shit about my viewpoint and feelings and I find it hard to talk about myself on an intimate or personal level.
I can say that a history of bad relationships are probably the cause for a couple of those things, but the sucking at defining things and doing to make sure others aren’t upset or things won’t be awkward is definitely something that I’ve been all along.
Still, my coping skills are apparently terrifying these days… as Athena remarked yesterday. Because she knew me, she knew that what happened would probably be akin to the most out of character thing I’ve ever done. She kept hugging me as if I’d gone through the most traumatic thing ever, but I just…felt nothing. No distress.
Just…tiredness and grateful to be comforted, though I swore that I was fine.
Last night, more than anything, I envied my friends. Everything seemed so easy for them. Simon is meeting up with an ex-girlfriend on Thursday while Athena is at a conference; we talk about Alice (another ex of his). Athena talks about Ernest, that boy she became infatuated with while we were in high school (the only other person she thought she might have loved) and Simon looks surprised that I know the details.
"Were you on this trip to China too?" he asks.
"No, but boy did I hear about it," I smile, remember the days under the climbing vines at school when I’d wish Athena would stop with the descriptors of Ernest’s great features.
I remember Athena telling me once when they were still starting up how it scared her that she loved him too much. And how she wanted to know everything about his past, even the other lovers he’d had, even though it hurt her to think he’d been with other women. Especially A., another girl who we both knew he never quite got over (she went to our school, and we knew him through her all those years back).
And now look where they are. I’m so fond of them.
I want that kind of relationship. One where nobody feels threatened by anything or anyone.
Or even the kind of love my parents have. They’re independent but supportive. Everything and everyone is forgiven at all times. They always apologise to each other in front of the kids. And they don’t need public displays of affection to prove something. No handholding or hugs, or kisses — they just know. I’ve never actually seen my parents kiss each other, except on the cheek.
To be honest, I’m not really that ok. But I think back to Year 1 and 2, and everything just pales in comparison. I am fine, along that continuum.
It’s been a perfectly gloomy Sunday, the kind that you don’t mind spending inside. Everywhere, there’s signs of burnt out medical students — another case of ‘night before exam’ unease, but on a grander scale.
I can’t concentrate. I feel like I’m about to sit some kind of quiz, get a ‘thanks for participating’ certificate, and toddle off to my summer break while people like J. have been steadily developing an addiction to caffeine and contemplating benzodiazepines these past few days.
My revision has consisted purely of dissecting the ADAM man over and over again, reviewing 4 years worth of law and ethics notes, doing a past Year 4 paper and some Year 3 papers, trying to remember some psychoactive drugs and eating a lot of Indian food (with Ann, Michael and Josh).
Thank goodness I had the sense to do some work revising during the semester.
If anything, the administrative backlog I’ve somehow gotten myself into is more stressful than the exams. I haven’t actually sent off my police check, I owe Frankston hospital a hell of a lot of money in library fines (having left a 3 books in my locker overdue at a dollar per book, per day), I need to contact my supervisor, defer my year, book a flights for week back in New Zealand , make sure I’m not homeless next year… catch up with the people who have been calling me thinking I’ve finished my exams already these past few weeks…
The slightly antisocial person in me just wants to sleep in all summer.
I’m pretty excited though. December’s coming (my favourite month of the year). It’s weird — The whole holiday season used to make me happy because it was a family thing … you know, loved ones and all. Ever since moving to Australia it probably doesn’t matter as much. But I’m still happy. For no good reason.
Or not. I admit I’ve had other things on my mind these past few days.
Thoughts the night before the “final exams” of medical school?
'Fuck I should have studied'.
Can’t wait until tomorrow night. Dinner with Athena (visiting for her Engineering Without Borders conference) and Simon, then off to find some alcohol with people very happy to be in the home stretch of a 5 year degree, hopefully, like me.
Melissa:Well..my exam finishes at late afternoon on Monday, then I have a thing on Monday night. Would you and Simon like to have dinner?
Athena:That would be fantastic!
Melissa:I'm awfully sorry about not being able to meet you guys when you land. It's just awful timing, with the exam on Monday and all. After Monday, you'll be stuck with me like the intrusive third wheel.
I’ve found my law notes — the one that I was desperately trying to look for all of last week. Yeah, it was on my floor. On my 5th floor search I managed to ply it out from between 2 modules of Health Economics notes. (No wonder it was so hard to find).
By the way, I’m one of those people who does follow insane advice when nobody’s around. Like, I laughed when a friend said (sarcastically) that maybe I should look in my fridge for the notes but later at night I actually did. Seriously…I was one step off calling the Pattinsons to see if I could look in their studio (I should still though, I think my Psych notes are there).
It’s been a while coming, but I think the warm front’s breaking. With the wind screaming aroung the gap in my window yesterday, it reminded me of those summer storms I love so much.
A few days to go until freedom. I can almost taste it.
The stagnant warmth of my room greets me. I flip the blinds by the head of my bed and let moonlight stream in. The large, floor to ceiling mirror at the foot of my bed reflects a someone who doesn’t look like me — the naked curve of my back as I sit amongst the sheets, hair tusselled, face flushed, undressed, leaning to look out the window; it looks like someone split my lip — it’s usually not this swollen.
Everything appears blue at night. Blue grass, navy branches. The yard’s brutish. Nobody goes out there, except to hang up laundry.
I feel as if someone has hit me in the head — I’m so drowsy and lethargic.
Walking home earlier that night was like walking through a desert. The wind was hot on my face, making everything thicker, more turgid. It felt like one of those dreams where things around you have a textured feel. Nobody could be frightened of the dark on nights like this — unless, you were routinely frightened by dreams.
The plan yesterday had been to do nothing and command life from the comfort of my room. I cracked, however, late afternoon. I felt like I was in a sauna, despite shoving the blankets out of the way. The bed was achingly comfortable but I was hungry.
I ended up in the basement of MMC again after making myself a sandwich, lured by the promise of air conditioning. Tried to do some anatomy and fell asleep.
I keep thinking about summer. What am I going to do with myself? I want to work, I should visit my parents, and I have an obligation to visit dad’s friends here who I’ve neglected for a whole semester. Also, a high friend is coming over for a three day conference just after my exams so I want to spend time with her.
What I really want to do, if I were honest, would be to go spend Christmas in a tiny flat up in Ascot-Vale with Meng. Meng started a tradition last year and called it ‘Orphan christmas’ — Christmas for people who have no families to spend it with. It’s would be an odd assortment. Meng’s doing her Ph.D in neuroscience at Melbourne Uni and Jason, her housemate, is a ward clerk at one of the city hospitals. On the way to finding each other in a flatmates wanted ad, both of them have met some crazy people.
I remember Meng’s flat in Cardigan Street — I’ve never been in a more international crowd. “Who’s that guy passed out on the couch,” I’d say, having walked in the day after a party.
She’d shrug and have no idea. It was usually some guy from Germany or Denmark or France or Brazil — if you were European or exotic and you were an exchange student at Melbourne Uni, you passed through the halls on a regular basis.
The odd thing is, I know if I went back to New Zealand, I’d be glad I was home for Christmas.
I suppose you have to be away from home to understand what I mean. :)
I think I’ve changed. Whatever naive openess I used to write about things when I was <20 years of age has given way to a quieter person. Quiet, in the sense that, if something is really up, I keep it to myself.
Clearly that’s a logical thing to do — personal life being personal and all. Except, as previously I was writing blog posts (wow, Andrew was right…’blog’ is a horrible word) as letters to people in my personal life, it was really more of a conversation than idle chatter. Anyone else reading didn’t matter, as they would have no idea what or to whom I was referring to half the time.
But I guess it’s all idle chatter now. :)
Sigh. It’s so peaceful. What else can I say about the world at this time of morning, from this particular crook of my bed?
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”—-Ayn Rand (via kari-shma)