“For the love of God, stop going out!” and “you have to stay away from those people, they are bad news!” isn’t what I envisaged yelling at my parents at any point in my life. And yet here we are, the class of 2020, where we’re now all reminiscing at the clusterfuck of 2016 with doe-eyed happiness. Remember when only all those celebrities we really loved died? Sigh! Stock-markets are tanking, governments the world over are foundering for coherence under the mildest of questioning, and with some irony, people are selling their ass on street-corners for a clutch of toilet paper. If that surprises you, you should see what they’re offering for the unused stuff.
The world over, the virus has struck with equal veracity. Tens of thousands of cases are evident in China, Italy, Iran, Spain, Germany, the United States and France. Yet one country stands our cleanly above the rest, with those canny Deutschlanders only having deaths in their scores instead of hundreds. Asked how they did it, the German Ambassador claimed, “Well we are all very clean people, we wash our hands very much. Isn’t that right, Hans?”
Awful puns aside, as if there are any other kind of puns, many women of course are welcoming the virus with both sweet-smelling hands, the female species seeing the outbreak of a pandemic the last-ditch attempt for men to finally wash their fucking mitts after going for a pee. Guys, letting your hands “air-drying” isn’t a thing! Go on, don’t wash your hands, I double-dare you! But before you do that, just sign this small piece of paper here . . . and here . . . and here. And date it there. And good luck!
And lo, with the world gone to hell in unclean-hand-basket, we call on the leaders of the free world to show the righteous path. Jacinda Arden, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and seemingly one of the only world leaders radiating a modicum of trust, read a message to the nation. Look how measured, composed and assured Jacinda is. Oh, and in her first ever term as leader, Jacinda has made decriminalised abortion, banned semi-automatic weapons and been seen as a beacon of light for the Muslim world under a terrorist attack. Doesn’t every country deserve a Jacinda?
#LetsGetMoreYoungWomenInOfficeCosIAmSickOfTheseUselessBastards is not trending. Yet.
Aside from coughing all over everyone, the most important thing for me was simply not ruining the wedding with anything inappropriate. Any onset of Tourette’s would at best be perceived as a wry-joke, at worst a total clusterfuck. It’s good to start off with lofty goals like that when embarking your first ever, and maybe last ever, Master of Ceremonies gig.
I had been asked by a dear friend months ago if I would MC her wedding, and immediately said yes before the fear could set in. Once you’re committed, the rest will just ease on by . . . right? I spent the next few months jotting down ideas, culminating in a whopping three tiny paragraphs. I had known them ten years and had three paragraphs – pathetic! Since preparation is key for these things, so I imagined, I expected the bride and groom to send through things like run-sheets and speeches in advance. Alternatively, I could receive the finalised schedule the night before and the one speech I was to make on the morning of the wedding. Saaa-weet.
The day continued to be full of surprises: the bride and groom were very, very relaxed and calm, which was odd but welcome; driving the bride to the wedding and learning her family hadn’t arrived, I did laps of the countryside with said a sweary bride; expecting forty guests, there were a team of ninety-strong to usher, corral and harangue; my duties would span almost eight hours instead of a few introductions and sitting-the-f***-down. And boy, did those guests need herding, like children at a party: “Oi, what did I just say? What did I JUST say?! . . . Dinner was supposed to be at 7, where have you been?! . . . You can’t smoke there, go around the side of the building! . . . Put that chainsaw down right now!” Kids, eh?
And you know what? It was great fun. Far from being fearful, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, speaking with as many guests as I could, shaking-hands like a presidential hopeful, and fully acted the confident MC I wanted to be! Pushing myself into uncomfortable once again providing worth the cost, in this case quite literally since I’d had to travel from New York to Melbourne, over twenty-five hours of flights for this event.
It did reignite though the love of writing, of crafting a joke and the need to stand up and speak, basically a want to make others laugh. When crowds aren’t a thing with coronavirus tearing the arse out of the world, laughs and public gatherings are going to be hard to come by. Maybe people can email in their mirth. Or lack of it, a stony silence being as good a measure of enjoyment levels as any. That or a cough.
Am getting back on the wagon after my hiatus: writing my book again; writing anything again; reading Tom Paine’s Age of Reason; curating my hundreds of photos taken in North America (above); gym; tennis; swimming; eating healthy; walking lots; spending time with friends and family; wrestling pasta out of the hands of families in the supermarket. Just because the world is falling over, no reason to stop pursuing your passions (the past one is a new hobby, admittedly). Apropos of nothing, on a serious note, when you do go shopping, just because you’re worried there may be little supplies, try not to be a complete arsehole: treat others kindly; share a 24 pack of toilet roll; encourage the elderly to the front of the queue. Go to it.
As you may have noticed with a drop in posts, I’ve recently struggled with balance! With a few months out in the US seeing friends and family, taking photos as much as I can to improve (the more photo you take, the luckier you get!) writing has taken a back-seat. It’s always there though, lurking in the back of the car, wanting to reach over and grab the wheel again like something escaped from the asylum. It’s a fun place, my mind!
In between all that, I made a break-through for my fear of flying. Admittedly something genuinely useful like solving world hunger, climate change or discovering the hallowed temple of lost Tupperware lids may have been more impactful, but needs must. For many years, with the slightest bit of turbulence my soul withers. Once I even burst into tears with my heart fighting its way out of my chest. That was a tough flight, especially as it was a work-trip and I need to compose myself upon landing. However, this changed in the last few weeks in the most bizarre of circumstances.
In my last post, I wrote about Disneyland. In summation, I would like to say I was brave, courageous and other positive aspects whilst everyone else cowered, but fearless eleven-year-old girls pretty much made sure I couldn’t back out of any ride with my hide intact. I don’t like rollercoasters, all the jostling, jerking and screaming, and that’s just the queue. The actual ride is terrifying! And yet . . . I survived. The experiences were far worse than anything I’d been through whilst flying, with drops of several seconds and fear taking a vice like grip on my bottom. I never knew that much clenching was possible. I could crack walnuts! (what walnuts would be doing there I’m unsure . . . think I’ve strayed from the point). With two small flights of only two hours each coming up, I thought I would try to steer away from the drugs. I wanted to experiment. I like to think it was tantamount to being afraid of snakes and then lying in a coffin full of them, but it was probably closer to eating a pork-pie despite a gluten intolerance. Danger!
Over the coming weeks I took flights from Los Angeles to Denver, onto Milwaukee, onto New York, and then three more back across the country. For the big jaunt from Los Angeles back to Australia I subjected my body to a single dose of drugs as I needed to sleep (not mastered that bit yet) but otherwise was fine, glued to watching films constantly and barely noticing the thrashing about of the aircraft through some turbulent skies. Each time I would reassure my soul, tell myself it was all right. Usually on a flight that distant I’d take three sets of drugs and be barely conscious as I ambled from one plane to the next. Improvement!
So there you go, a lesson for young players. For those afraid of flying, what do you think – a gamble worth trying? Stark raving lunacy? Next up . . . goddamn Tupperware lids!
Writing and writing...