Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Misandry.

One afternoon last week , after a long day inside with the kids, I put them in the double pram and walked down to Woolies to get a few things. I used to hate pushing the pram round the streets in the early baby days with P. We live in a new estate and back then it was all dust, sun, no trees, no paths, tradies everywhere, no paths and did I mention no paths? P also used to scream like a banshee in the pram so there was that too. These days though the streets are more pleasant, it's cool weather at the moment, and the kids like a jaunt round the burbs as much as the next preschooler. It's more enjoyable all round.

So anyway we went and bought our stuff at Woolies and B fell asleep in the pram so I took the opportunity to pop into the new Dan Murphy's that has opened. How excitement, I mean it's walking distance! I selected an affordable bottle of French bubbles as my inaugural local Dan's purchase and lined up to pay. As I rummaged around in the pram to find my purse,  I said to the high vis-wearing guy behind me to go ahead if he wanted to.

"You sure?" he said, as I ferreted around fruitlessly.
"Yes, Yes sure, I'm trying not to wake the baby, go ahead!" I repeated.

There was a bit more of that sort of exchange but he did go ahead, I found my purse, paid and went on my way.

As I walked down the main road outside the shopping centre, I suddenly heard someone beeping as they approached. I turned to look, and could see someone in a 4wd beeping and waving at me as they drove past. I didn't wave back, they went by too quickly, but thought to myself " Oh, who was that? Someone I know?". The car turned off to the right and  drove into the distance. I wondered who it had been, maybe the husband of one of my friends?  I could see he was wearing a high vis top. 

I kept walking closer to home, and crossed into the street leading into our little estate. Suddenly, there he was again, turning into the street in front of me, beeping and waving. I felt embarrassed, like I should recognize him. He pulled up as I walked past.

"WHO IS THAT MUMMY! " P was yelling.

"Someone who thinks they know me darling, they've made a mistake I think! " I told her.

I kept walking, thinking, maybe he was visiting a display home? Was he a neighbour I didn't recognize?

And then he appeared  again. He'd turned around, and he'd  followed me. He beeped and waved and stopped in the middle of the street.

"Need a lift?" He called. I was still too far away to see his face properly but I remember thinking it looked red, flushed. I half stopped and turned his way. Did he have a hat on? I can't even remember now.

"No thank you!" I smiled and waved politely, still worried he was someone I should recognize.

Then, he smiled, leaned further out of his window and called out ,  "You single?"

Almost before the words were out of his mouth I'd turned on my heel, practically  running, pushing the kids through a cut away in the fence,  an easement that leads through to the cul de sac next to my street.

My heart was beating like a thousand drums. Did that just happen?

"WHO WAS THAT MAN MUMMY WHAT WAS HE SAYING?" P yelled again.

"Nobody,  darling.  He was just saying hello."

I didn't look back. I kept going until I was at the top, almost on my street. My heart was freaking pounding like it was going to jump out of my chest. As I came to the corner I suddenly thought,  what if he was there? Could he still see me?

I raced inside and locked the door.

I replayed it over and over. I rang M and told him. I thought of the guy in Dan Murphy's, with the high vis shirt on. Was it him?

I'm still thinking about it, sort of second guessing myself. Going over and over the details in my head.

Maybe he was just being friendly?

But he followed me. In his car. And yelled out his window at me, asked if I was single, in front of my little kids. Who the fuck SAYS that to a strange woman pushing her kids in a double pram?

But maybe I misheard him?

But he still followed me. In his car. He doubled back to find me.

Was he someone I knew?? Maybe someone from the gym?  I'd had another weird interaction with a gym dude a while ago...was it him?

No. I saw him three times. I'd  have recognized him.

It's weird how at the time my body knew what to do before my mind did. My dumb apologetic second guessing brain wants to think the best of everyone.

M and I laughed about it that night, because, well, you know. I said, maybe he saw me buying the booze with the kids in the pram and thought, now that looks like a single Mum who needs some company!

Which is funny, but also deeply unfunny. Because WTF,  dude. Didn't your mother tell you not to follow women in your car?

The next morning I wanted to walk the kids to kindy.  So I did, even though that guy scared the living shit out of me.  As I walked the streets, I scanned every car for his sand coloured 4wd.

Wasn't there of course.

It feels like a sort of weird dream now, a funny anecdote that I could laugh off. But fuck me, it's this kind of casually sinister shit that women put up with all the time and goes on over and over again . Why? WTF? 

Like that time, years ago, when a well dressed middle aged man in a bright red Commodore screamed at me in rage, as I pushed my newborn baby across the road outside the Mater hospital, that I didn't "own the fucking road!!!!!!!". That time, I cried, already fragile. People stood around. Nobody said anything to reassure me. WTF

Fucking men.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Confessions of a non flosser: a cautionary tale

Hello.

Um.

So this is awkward. You look good. Keeping well. Lost weight?
No, me either. More's the pity.

Well, I've been really busy and popular and attractive since I last saw you, in case you were wondering.
Life's never been better.

Apart from my ghastly wisdom tooth gum infection dramas that are slowly being rectified with two different types of antibiotics of course. Hashtag agony hashtag so sick hashtag frightenedofdentaljudgement.

I've been Googling gum disease like a crazy person. Apparently there's a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease which has cheered me up no end and has contributed in no way at all to my fevered gargling of apple cider vinegar and desperate flossing and sudden and hasty purchase of coQ10 enzyme something something. I'm eating that shit like it's candy. Except I don't eat candy any more because you know tooth abscess gum ulcer infection thing who knows haven't actually gone to the dentist yet but it's sure to be dire.

I'm wondering if this has been lurking in my mouth for ages now, contributing to the general malaise and unwellness that has been thoroughly documented in this here blog aka whinging diatribe.

Now that the antibiotics have kicked in I actually feel remarkably energetic and better than I have for ages so maybe I'm right. Anyway I'm stealing myself for the lecture I'm bound to get from the dentist because I haven't been for about 2 years I think and am a sporadic flosser.  Dentists hate non flossers. Which I think is counter intuitive because I'm putting their kids through school so they should be thanking me really.

I've learned my lesson though.

In other news, I'm going to the ProBlogger cocktail party this Friday as Amanda Cooker and a Looker's date which is rather exciting. Will be less exciting if I've just had a wisdom tooth extracted but we shall cross that dental bridge when we come to it. The theme for this party is Ahoy.  So, nautical. I'm pretty excited by this concept and have been internally workshopping a potential outfit that I'm hoping will make me look like this...





...but will probably make me look more like this...





So, do you floss? Enjoy smoking a pipe and eating spinach? Flounce about in Culottes?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An anthropological study on the effects of gender on computer game choice, including observations on Gen Y social interaction in educational settings and uptake of cigarette smoking.

So my job at the uni library is weird.  I already mentioned that hanging with the youth of today makes me feel old as the hills, but in its defence working here does provide a relatively high level of entertainment.  I while away the hours on my late late shift (the library is open until 1am, can you BELIEVE IT!) silently observing the HUMAN INTERACTIONS around me and by God it's fascinating.

Some of the more enlightening observations, in an ANTHROPOLOGICAL sense (just call me Margaret Mead) include the following;

-  one of my main tasks involves issuing X box controllers and X box games to students so they can procrasti-game instead of performing legitimate LEARNING TASKS. Frankly, I think that this is what is wrong with the Youth of Today and I occasionally tell them so in no uncertain terms because I FEEL LIKE IT IS MY ROLE.  They find me terribly amusing I can tell you.  Also they often ask me for technological things like HDMI cords or something and blah blah syncing the controllers blah blah something and everytime they do this I have to ask them to tell me which thingie they are talking about by holding them up so they can point to the correct one. If they can't find a book, I say "Goodness me what is wrong with the youth of today!?" and if they can't use the stapler I say "Goodness me what is wrong with the youth of today!?" and it gives me no end of pleasure.  Anyway, back to the observations re X box thingies. I have documented an interesting phenomena that I believe speaks in a profound way to the possibility of INNATE GENDER DIFFERENCE. Basically it has come to my attention that;

         a) 9/10 times it is young chaps who borrow X Box games and
         b) when they do so it is ALWAYS either Call of Duty or FIFA that they borrow and NOTHING  ELSE even though there is an ENTIRE COLLECTION OF GAMES TO CHOOSE FROM and
         c) sometimes, if the rare girl borrows a game, it could be any one of ALL OF THE REST OF THE GAMES.

 Isn't that interesting? Do you see what I am saying here? Significant, no? I find it so and muse on it endlessly. There are definite ramifications for the nature vs nurture debate in that one, make no mistake my friends. *raises one eyebrow in a meaningful way*

- the university library is a hub of AWKWARD social interaction for PEOPLE IN THEIR EARLY TWENTIES and frankly if I have to witness another conversation such as the following I am basically going to go postal or call shenanigans on them or call their mums or something;

Guy [walking one way, to girl walking past him the other way] Hey! I know you from somewhere!
Girl: Yeah! Yeah....I think I know you from somewhere too!
Guy:  [pauses, staring at her meaningfully, leans back and points his finger at her] I know, the beer garden!
Girl: [looks blankly at him]
Guy (less confident now): Ummmmm....yeah it was you wasn't it?
Girl: Ummmm...
Guy [rapidly losing confidence]: Oh...no...I know...the other night...at the casino? You were drunk.
Girl [showing some signs of remembering]: oh yes! Yes! You work at the casino?!
Guy: No. No I don't work at the casino. Remember, we were all "I go to [insert uni name here]", and
"Hey me too!", and then we came back here, and then...
Girl: Oh yeah, yeah, i remember you, how are you?
Guy: Good.

At this point I had to retreat back into the returns area because OMG THE AWKWARD MAKE IT STOP OMG.

- There are also PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION and I CANNOT HANDLE IT MAN I AM NOT EUROPEAN THIS IS AUSTRALIA I AM UPTIGHT AND IN MY 30s AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR YOUTHFUL LUSTY WAYS THANK YOU VERY MUCH I JUST WANT A WARM BATH AND A HOT WATER BOTTLE.

I need two new signs made for the counter top - one is to read "Get a room alley cats!" and the other will state that the lobby area is a "Social awkwardness free zone".

-  all the KIDS TODAY still smoke.  It makes me think about smoking and then I start wanting to take it up.  It becomes quite an attractive prospect.  I consider the FOR argument for my taking up cigarettes to include the following points;

     a) it would make me thin
     b) it's not like I'm 14 years old, so I wouldn't be smoking for as long and consequently I would already be old and decrepit by the time it started to kill me, therefore it is totally not that bad
     c) I would look glamorous like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction

Obviously the AGAINST argument is basically;

     a) it's smoking you idiot!

In conclusion, kids today eh? *shakes head knowingly, raises eyebrows, tsks meaningfully*

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