Underthecurrent


The five day bender notes
November 28, 2011, 1:21 pm
Filed under: unrelated thoughts

“I just found out you’re not the oldest person working here. She’s almost 30. Why are old people so hot?”

-18 year old bartender

“When I’m not working, I like to meditate. I find it helps with my anger issues. “

-bouncer

“Guys talk more than girls you know. We talk about you all the time.  What is keeping you with your boyfriend anyways? “

-regular who has never spoken to me before but tips well

Me: how gym are you?
Him: pretty gym.
-throws me over his shoulder and does a quick five squats-

“Nobody is actually from there.  What, were you raised by skimpies and wolves? “
“Dingos, thanks.”

“You guys don’t say ****.”
“Nope.”
“We say it like ‘what’s up ****’ or ‘he’s a good ****’.”
“So… how’s it going ****.”
“That just sounds wrong. Never use it again.”

“I will take you surfing if you let me crawl through your window. “

-underager trying to get into nightclub

“Your name only has one syllable, but I would drag that syllable out.”



I’ve Got Love For You If You Were Born In The Eighties
November 23, 2011, 10:06 pm
Filed under: insight, runaway

I woke up calculating if it is too early for my liver to deal with pain killers, and thinking about watching the sunrise. Yes, no.

Highlights included being sung to by a table of melodious bikers, actually through the day being sung to more than ever, and drinks with some kids not born in the eighties. We talked MTV and text booty calls. Facebook booty calls.  Whether x x makes it more sincere.

On my own, I went out for coffee and a stroll around town in the sunshine. Ate nice cake. On my twentieth birthday, relatively alone in a new town I bought myself a bottle of Merlot and an Edith Wharton paperback. This year, apothecary moisturiser, a pot for my face and a tube for everywhere else. Both years felt awfully similar. I think I spent my birthday that year doing something academic, a term paper or studying for exams. I spent this one mostly working. Both years found me more or less alone in a strange place following a wild card life decision, both days relatively undefined by close relationships.

(Can I say, though, I love my twenty year old self choice of presents?)

It doesn’t really matter who remembers as long as someone does, or what the cake is like as long as there is some. I was glad to have avoided the circulated office card that feels on level with the email greeting my bank sends, and more grateful for anyone who overcame the time zone obstacles to call. Mostly though I was happy to tick the clock over another year and look out on this last one as the beautiful messy thing it was.



Small details in a big country
November 18, 2011, 2:05 pm
Filed under: unrelated thoughts

“My phone won’t play [my weekly Jersey Shore] videos.”
“Ok what you can do is turn it off right now.
“I’m speaking to you on it.”
“Ok what you can do is put your SIM in another phone, see if that works.”
“Who has two phones, why would I have two phones?
“Uh…”
“Am I paying to speak to you right now? “
“Yes , there is a flat 25 cent per minute charge. “

Oh Telstra, such a winner.

Then I spotted what may be a white back spider in my shower (personal australia rule #4: if it moves,  I move – away quickly) and continued evaluating whether an Acai smoothie I had has given me mild food poisoning. Or maybe I just have Brazzo berry intolerance.

I’ve spent the night on calculations. How much stuff I have, how I could spend my last week down under, how much I figure can be saved between now and then. 

The thing about tips is that they are pretty easy come, easy go.  I was cashing my Silver the other night and a guy handed me $20 more. On my best night I hit $280, but there are a lot of $3 nights in a non tipping culture. It seems to come down to luck.  When they do show up it feels like you may as well turn the clanking coins in your purse into stuff like magazines or coffee or chinese food.  It feels like, and sort of is, free money.

If I can get flights that work tomorrow, East coast it is. If not, West coast surf trip by bus. Either way, I’m out by the middle of february.



Perceptions
November 18, 2011, 12:20 am
Filed under: insight, runaway, unrelated thoughts, when I grow up

I have taken to scotch on the rocks to try and ease a throat infection, which finds me wedged between patrons after my shift.

Truth told, I never pay for a drink in this town, something I accept because I can attribute the offers to being in lieu of tips instead of advances.

He was sort of belligerent at first, then we found common ground in annoyance at the duty manager, then he asked what someone my age like me was doing in a place like this.

(I had revealed my age earlier during yet another round of Guess the Ages of the Barmaids, a game that usually ends up offending most of our chain smoking staff)

It’s funny how few people put that together. My answer this time was that I had a real job and wanted to do something less serious for a while.  He asked what I would do after. I said, immediately, that I would go back to my job.

Suddenly I knew.

The same way I knew five nights ago that my favorite musician probably is Jack Johnson – I have never had an answer to this question before in my life but speeding down an empty road I realized that I can listen to that music over and over and still enjoy it and that being considered cool due to artistic predilection is, well, like being considered cool at all.

As my birthday rolls on I have thought a lot about the idea of Saturn Return.  I’m not really superstitious but after this year I can trace so many shifts in my consciousness, and life in general, that I’m near accepting the idea.

It has a better ring to it than Growing Up.



Affording la vie Bohemme
November 16, 2011, 1:09 am
Filed under: nomadisms, voyageur

Wages here for normal people are insane, which is why I’m always blown away by people who say the reason they don’t travel is financial. It is by far the most popular reason given, wistfully by people in their twenties. The irony is not lost on me that I earn twenty five to thirty percent of what they make (and pay for stuff like health insurance). Do they think I have some weird trust fund? A benefactor?  Who knows.

Everything I know about funding long term travel is ridiculously simple. 

1. Don’t own stuff.  Stuff costs money to get, keep and haul around.  This financial investment turns into an emotional one. Also, the modern world of travel is way cheaper with less luggage.

2. Expense is wildly variable. Striking a balance out of your normal surroundings is actually the same as living within your means at home.

3. I don’t subscribe to the ideas that I should see or do things because “everyone” does them in whatever place, or that “you only live once and will never have the chance to do this random thing you never knew you wanted to do again”. If it strikes me I do it or see it, but I’ve let a lot of stuff pass with no real long term regret. Who cares if I can sit around the hotel bar and have the biggest list of enviable status quo experiences? Pissing. Contest.

4. Allow time.  Most of my withdrawals from my “oh crap” fund are a result of not allowing enough time – for transit, to see what I wanted to see properly, to make informed decisions about where to stay and how to get there. Duress equals expense.

5. Most advice is bad. This included. 



Bonfires
November 15, 2011, 9:15 am
Filed under: unrelated thoughts

We had a start of summer bonfire Sunday on the beach, complete with full moon. I caught an early ride back to sleep in my own bed, others stayed until the 4 am sunrise and slept in the back of a truck.

The next day everyone except me was hanging too hard for the beach so I spent another sunny afternoon with a book and the waves to myself. 

Summer is proving just about perfect so far, all warm mornings and cool afternoon breezes.  There are still unexplored cafes, a small stack of books and unwandered paths.

Back at the office,  I feel like I don’t have much in common with most of my coworkers.  Bizarrely, three weeks have passed without hearing a single interesting conversation, let alone having one. Everyone is nice enough but the banal small talk is like public transit through a taupe suburban wasteland.  My favorite co worker is a sixty year old man who nicknamed my roommate Big Bird between making inappropriate dick jokes.

I miss people who have music I haven’t heard yet, people who make art or at least like it, people with gonzo travel stories or strange degrees.  Maybe that’s snobbery. Maybe this is yet another life lesson I need to sort out.



Waking up at the end of the earth
November 11, 2011, 3:03 pm
Filed under: voyageur

Two plans.  If cheap flights East come up, East it is. Otherwise, a backroads loop on the West coast heading back to the airport. Home, air strikes and volcanos willing, for valentines.

After a couple of weeks spent working, taking lazy trips to the grocery store and drowning breaks in good coffee, I’m feeling like it’s time to get a better feel for the town. See stuff, do things.  Work down the list.  A day off plus a decent map has my head spinning with possibilities, and I need more than the after work Passion Pop sessions to distract me from missing LG.

The worst I’ll find are ten more beautiful beaches.