Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nosy neighbours, nerve and not losing it

I’ve written quite a bit about rage recently. Road rage, parking rage, inspector rage, supermarket rage, pregnant rage, dentist rage and when I find the time I will share with you the joys of the little one’s Naptime Rage but it all pales in significance with the rage I experienced today. Nosy Parker Rage.

Over the last two weeks, my brother and I have been driving two hours (each way) to our parents home to sort through their things as they’ve now both passed away. Packing up, not just a houseful of stuff, but a home full of memories is hard work. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically and it’s an absolutely HUGE fucking task. It was our sixth full day at this.

Somewhere around noon, a woman I’ve never seen before in my life and who I will name Busybody Betty had the nerve to walk uninvited into the kitchen of my mum’s house, where I was sitting on the floor going through the contents of a draw and have a go at me for throwing things out.

“Excuse me, but I hope you’ve been taking things to the Op Shop.” She said in a tone that was completely condescending. Quite stunned and not sure whether this person wasn't slightly unstable, I got to my feet. I smiled and nodded as I ushered her towards the door.
“Oh yes, 10 or 15 loads*.” I said sweetly, stepping into her so that she had no choice but to exit out of the house.
“She had a lot of very good things, all her patterns, wool, sewing machines. We’ve been absolutely crying over the things you’ve thrown away.” (I’ve not thrown away any such things).
“It’s under control.” I said still smiling sweetly. “Thanks for stopping by” and just as I was about to swing the door shut I heard her say something about going through the skips. Whatever.

I stood in the kitchen for a few moments wondering if I’d just been the victim of a very poor taste practical joke. Once I was sure she’d left I ran out to the backyard shed where my brother was dealing with a white ant situation and told him what had just happened. My brother, who is forever telling me to calm down when I start to get stabby and who is always urging me to avoid confrontation was completely outraged!

“What the fuck?!? Is she still here?” He charged down the driveway with me in toe (nothing’s really changed since we were kids) but Busybody Betty was long gone. “You should have told her to fuck the hell off!” he said and then ranted for a few moments about the absolute nerve of the woman. “Wait, what did she look like?” he asked suddenly and we soon realised that Busybody Betty was the same woman who had had a go at him on our first day there for taking so long to sort out the house. “Finally some action. It’s been sitting there empty for too long”.

So, it seems we can’t leave the place as is but we can’t throw anything out either. Her unwanted intrusion into my space pissed me off so much I was physically shaking. Who the hell does she think she is? What business is it of hers? Who walks into another person’s house and starts lecturing them on what they are doing? Seriously, what could she possibly be thinking. How is that OK in any world?

When my mum died in December I was 6 months pregnant. While she had been ill for about a year prior, I did not expect her to die that day. I was with her at the time and her death was sudden, horrific and traumatic. It has given me nightmares on more occasions than I care to remember. Not long after the funeral my brother, the only other member of my family of origin, returned to New Zealand where he was working.

Pregnant, orphaned and grief stricken, the last thing I even wanted to think about was trifling through my parent’s house. I needed my mum more than ever before and every time the baby moved I felt just a little bit heartbroken, scared and alone. It’s no easy feat trying to reconcile the grief over the death of a loved one and the sublime joy of being pregnant with your first child.

Fat Cat
So I put it off. I focused on the happy stuff. I put my energy into the little person that was about to join us and took comfort in Fat Cat (my mum’s cuddly 15 year old cat who came to live with us).

Not that I owe anyone an explanation. If we choose to sit on the house and contents for 6 months, 6 years or 6 decades that’s our choice to make. If we choose to throw out, keep, sell or give away the contents of the house, that is also our choice to make. There is no right or wrong in these situations.

I’m kind of proud of myself for not losing it with her and for giving her the least satisfying response that could possibly have been given. I can guarantee that when she brings it up with her sewing circle (or who ever she gossips with) and they ask her “What did she say to that?” Busybody Betty wont quite be able to recall and when they ask about the stuff she mentioned, Busybody Betty will realise that I didn’t actually give her any answers. That will no doubt annoy and infuriate her, albeit not quite as much as a punch in the nose would have.

*I should also mention that BOTH of the Op Shops in the town told us after several full carloads of things that they just couldn’t handle any more stuff. Plus I completely filled one of those clothing bins. They also can’t take electrical goods, bedding, furniture, baby stuff, mattresses or intimate apparel**.

**I don’t even want to know who buys second hand skivvies.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Car park rage and profanity.

I have been privy to some fun and games during my Infliximab transfusions. Never with the transfusion itself, that’s always easy, but I do seem to encounter some interesting characters. It could be because the hospital is on the edge of Fitzroy; a stones throw from Smith Street and the conveniently located drug rehabs, or maybe I’m just lucky.

The transfusion takes the best part of the day so I always park in the hospital car park, one of those cramped high rise jobs that require even the most skilled driver to do a 5 point turn to get in (or out) of. As I stood waiting for the elevator, I watched as a guy in a Falcon that was as large as it was old, attempted to back out of a very tight space.

On about his 5th attempt to reverse, with the arse end of his car sticking out about a meter, three pedestrians walked directly in front of (behind?) him. Despite the moving obstacles, he continued to back out at a slow crawl. One of the pedestrians stopped to thump the boot of his car with her fist. She was dressed in trackies and a T-shirt with bleach blond hair displaying about two inches of dark regrowth. She looked pissed off.

“Oi! Watch out, Dickhead” Ms. Angry called, pausing directly behind him to give him the finger and stick her tongue out. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw somebody poke their tongue out and even then I sincerely doubt they were over the age of 8.

The guy threw the door of his car open and jumped out, rage oozing from his every pore. He was obviously over it. I don’t know how long he’d been trying to get out; he was there when I arrived so I can only imagine it was at least 20 minutes.

“What’s your problem? You can see I’m backing out. Would it bloody kill you to walk on the other side of the car park?” He bellowed. Ms Angry, who’d started to walk away, stopped in her tracks and spun around. The look on her face clearly communicated her outrage.

“YOU have to give way to ME!” she yelled using that finger she loved so much to point in illustration of her words.
“YOU are on the wrong bloody side of the road. Keep LEFT.” The old guy said, pulling out his own finger.
“This isn’t a road. I don’t have to keep left.” She actually put her hands on her hips at this and I had to stifle a laugh.
“Well if it’s not a road, I don’t have to give way to YOU.” His face was red and he was spitting as he yelled across the car park at Ms Angry.

Some say...

Ms Angry’s companions, a man who looked really irritated and a younger woman, who just looked embarrassed, had stopped walking and were waiting a little further on. At this point the elevator arrived with a loud clunk.

“I wish I had hit you, you little bush fart. It might have knocked some sense into you!” With that he got back into his car, reversed out in one motion like he was The Stig and peeled out of there. It seems rage improves driving skills.

I had the good fortune to ride in the elevator with the trio. As we all got into the lift, Mr Irritated punched the ground floor button so hard I thought it might break. Ms Angry told him to ‘settle, petal’ and he took a deep breath and quietly said “Why do you have to get into a fight with someone every time we go anywhere?”

“I can’t help that people are dickheads.” She replied simply.

“I manage to get through life with relatively few confrontations with strangers, so do most people. You have them daily. Maybe it’s not everyone else who has the problem.” This was met with a brief silence and in that moment I wished I’d waited for the next elevator. Fortunately for us all, the comment was lost on her and she raged the whole way down about the dickhead who nearly killed her.

It really does beg the question though, what the hell is a bush fart? 


Friday, August 5, 2011

knives, chocolate cake and the zombie apocalypse.

There's a knife in my kitchen that scares me. I never use it and if I accidentally grab it out of the knife block, I very slowly and carefully place it back in it's spot and then take a deep breath. It's got teeth on it like a crosscut saw that are razor sharp and is easily a foot long. I've only used it twice and both times I almost severed a finger. It was a bloodbath. It came as part of a knife set and according to the information book it's supposedly a bread knife.

A BREAD knife!?!

All I can wonder is: what the hell kind of bread are they cutting over in Denmark that they need this monster??? I could be wrong here, but generally bread (even the crustiest of varieties) doesn't need a hacksaw to slice pieces off. Usually, I manage to cut through even week old stale Vienna bread which has started to morph into a bread shaped rock with just a regular bread knife.

How would you even eat such bread? Why would you want to? If your bread is that hard and tough that you need a serrated knife on steroids to cut it, it might be time to consider switching bakers.

There was a time at work when a colleague brought in a chocolate cake she'd baked herself to share for some poor bastards birthday. This thing was rock hard, it's quite possible she mixed up the icing sugar with concrete mix. I remember trying to cut it. I had to put my weight into it and it didn't so much cut as snap open. This knife would have been handy that day.

Hey Mick, that's not a knife! Forget the Ginsu crowd, if you were ever trapped under a vending machine and needed to saw through rubber tubes, a pair of leather shoes and an aluminium can in order to get out, this knife might just be your guy. In the Zombie Apocalypse, this would be handy to have in your backpack. If you wanted to do some impromptu tree lopping, you wouldn't go past this bloke.

For everyday kitchen usage, this knife is a ridiculous example of overkil. Even if you're incredibly coordinated, a master of the slice & dice and a knife wielding sensei, the use of this knife is only going to end in tears. Stories that involve dinner time rushes to the A&E dept and end with the phrase "and then they reattached it" start with this knife.