Thursday, 21 August 2008
Any thoughts? Lemme know. Read more!
Care to leave a comment? Read more!
I'll set up dedicated posts if anyone feels the need to comment. Read more!
Monday, 18 August 2008
'I don't really identify with the label "bisexual", nor does it feel like it accurately describes me... I see myself as queer, since queer to me is not just about who I love or lust, but it's about my culture, my community, and my politics. The truth is, even if I were with a heterosexual guy, I'd be a queer dyke.'
Amen to that. I love this woman. (And here is her NSFW site) Read more!
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Bee Man’s Diary
Friday, November 16
5pm - Appointment with Dr Shrover – Get letter!
The Doctor’s office smells like wet dog wrapped in phonebooks. I wait for him to finish his phone call. The closed-back red vinyl seat strains under my stinger.
Dr Shrover puts down the phone and gives me a level stare. There is a dead bonsai on his desk. He sighs.
‘Well, David, why don’t you tell me why you’re here’. Resigned, as if he knows what’s coming.
‘I need another letter. I… stung someone on the train again.’
He looks at me, exasperated.
‘It wasn’t my fault! It was peak hour, the train was packed!’
‘I can’t keep writing these letters excusing your behaviour.’
‘But if you don’t, he’ll press charges. He’ll sue me for medical damage! It’s not my fault that I have this… thing.’
‘Calm down. Now, don’t you usually wear a sting guard nowadays?’
‘Well, yes, but… this man was really rude, pushing, jostling… AND talking really loudly on his phone! It wasn’t my fault that my sting guard… accidentally… slipped off, and when I bent down to pick it up, he started screaming “you stung me, you stung me!” the train was delayed because we had to get the paramedics.’
‘This has to stop…’ he takes off his glasses. ‘You know about that new procedure. Now we’re able to remove your stinger altogether.’
‘Yes, but... well, I quite like it, is all. I can pierce tricky cans with it, I can hook my shopping on it when I’m opening the door to my flat, it can, um, uh… work as a makeshift sundial if I forget my watch…’
Dr Shrover opens his mouth to speak, but just then the vinyl cover on the seat finally gives and my stinger pierces it with a muffled POP.
‘Sorry,’ I mumble.
Friday, November 16
6.30 – Meet up with Tony for dinner/drinks
I arrive at the pub at 6.42, so I can be settled and have a hassled look on my face for when Tony inevitably arrives 15 minutes late.
At 6.46, Tony walks through the door. Spotting me, he strides to my table.
‘Hey, sorry…’ He points to his watch and does a thumbs-up like a malnourished, remorseful Big Kev. ‘You weren’t waiting long, were you?’
‘Well, we did say 6.30…’ As my oldest, dearest friend, Tony must deal with my Occasional Ungrounded Huffiness.
We go to the counter and order two mixed grills and two pots from the prissy he-bitch waiter, who tosses his hair like a teenage girl as he looks at my stinger and raises an eyebrow. Fuck him; at least my pants aren’t so tight they’re giving me a mock castration. Bloody hospitality queens.
As we sit back down, I carefully arrange my stinger so it pokes to the side of the high-backed chair.
Tony takes a breath. ‘I’m gonna do it.’ He states.
‘Good’, I say, discreetly sniffing my beer before taking the first sip.
I assume that’s the end of this puzzlingly minimalist conversation, until Tony nods his head. ‘At Chelsea’s. Tomorrow night, nine o’clock. It was a spur of the moment thing, but I’ve wanted to do it for ages.’
‘Right you are, then’. I say, putting down my beer and wiping my mouth. ‘So, what exactly is it you’re doing, and do I need to care?’
Tony looks at me, grinning. ‘Stand up comedy. Chelsea’s has an amateur night on Saturdays. People are always telling me I’m funny. I reckon this’ll be the start of something huge’.
‘Who tells you you’re funny?’
‘You know, people. Girls.’ He adds, wiggling his eyebrows so they look like hyperventilating black grubs.
‘They only say that so they don’t have to fuck you. “Funny” has platonic connotations. It’s your beard. Women don’t like it. Shave it and you’ll get “charming”, which is either “you intimidate the hell out of me, let me put your man-parts in my mouth”, or “you’re creepy and I want out”.’
‘That’s total bullshit. Who told you that theory?’
Tony stiffens. ‘Oh. Well then.’
‘Well what? You do that every time I mention her. For the six-thousandth-cunting time, don’t you like her?’
‘She’s fine. Anyway, what I think is of no consequence as long as you’re happy spending time with her. So as I was saying, I’m on at nine tomorrow, you should come, give me some moral support.’
‘Cool. We’re doing wedding stuff in the daytime, but during the night we’re free.’ Tony again bristles at the use of ‘we’. ‘Fucking what?’ I say in frustration.
‘Your mixed grill, Sir’ huffs Queenie the Waiter, who has come up next to me.
‘I’ll put that in my act’ Tony sniggers.
* * *
We end up celebrating Tony’s upcoming debut by drinking too much and going to the cheesy rock bar across from the pub. Tony claps and shuffles to ‘Run to Paradise’ as I… do seventies dance moves and wag my stinger around. Tony plays air-guitar with my stinger during a Bon Jovi song. What can I say; we do stupid things when we’re drunk together. It’s the reason you have mates, isn’t it?
Saturday, November 17
More Wedding stuff with Trisha
I wake up to the crushing feel of a stack of magazines hitting my bladder and groin through the doona. I cough-moan pathetically and open my eyes.
‘Morning!’ Trisha kisses me. ‘Sorry I was so late last night. Jess and Peter are having another crisis, so we all had to go round to Jess’ to watch her eat pudding and cry.’
Tiredness bitchslapping me into an awkward shuffle-limp, I stagger to the bathroom. I misjudge the width of the doorway, and catch my stinger against it, which partially spins me and makes me hit my elbow on the other side of the doorway. I swear loudly.
‘What is it, Sweetie?’ Trisha calls from the bedroom.
‘I caught my bloody stinger on the bloody doorway’.
‘Don’t be such a sook. You don’t even have any feeling in it!’
‘Yeah, but my…’ it’s too much effort. At the toilet I stick my crotch out so I can no-hands it while I cradle my elbow. Owwww.
When I return to the bedroom, Trisha has the magazines spread out on the bed and opened on bookmarked pages.
‘So Tony’s decided to do stand up comedy, and he wants us to go to his big debut tonight.’
Trisha purses her lips. ‘Fine’. She snaps.
‘What’s wrong? You like Tony, don’t you?’
‘Yeah, he’s charming. Anyway, what I think is of no consequence as long as you’re happy with spending time with him.’
‘OK, cool’ I say, kissing her. ‘It starts at nine.’
‘Ok. As long as you don’t drink too much and do that stupid dancing thing you guys do.’
I give my best ‘innocence-wronged’ look. ‘Hmph. So! Where are we?’
‘We’re at groom and groomsmen’s tuxes. I have a few I think you’d like…’
‘That one’s nice… Jesus, Trisha. Look at the prices. Why don’t I just hire one?’
Trisha gives me that look. Where she stares at me blankly, looks pointedly at my stinger, then looks back to my face. Self conscious, I grab my stinger with one hand and a pillow with the other. I place the pillow on top of it. Trisha frowns and takes my hand.
‘Sweetie, I talked to Dr Shrover last week…’
‘Why were you at the Doctors’?’
Her hand flies to her stomach. ‘Just a check-up. Anyway, he said he was going to talk to you about… removing it.’
Hmm. Doesn’t that infringe on patient confidentiality? Well, I guess that’s what I get for going to a Doctor with an ‘every 11th visit free’ frequency card programme. Trisha takes a breath.
‘Why don’t you get rid of it? I’m sick of having to take your new pants to be altered. And buying backless chairs. And… I want to cuddle up to you in bed, without having to check if you’re facing me or not. And think of how nice the photos will be at the wedding, if we can take side shots without, you know…’ She flicks my stinger. She hardly ever touches it anymore.
It wasn’t like this at the start. When Trisha and I met (we were both drones in the same boring, soulless office) she loved my stinger. She’d scream with laughter when I’d wag it in front of people to freak them out. I once wrote ‘I Love You’ in the sand with it when we were on holiday at the beach. And she would caress it when we kissed. I loved that; even though I couldn’t feel it, it made me feel like… she accepted me.
But over the last year or so, she’s been more and more negative towards it. I told her to love me as I was. She told me I didn’t respect what she wanted and she was just trying to make me a better person. We didn’t talk for two days; I was scared of losing her. Then, on the third day of our fight, I found her in the kitchen, kissed her and turned around. There was an engagement ring hooked on my stinger. She laughed and burst into tears at the same time.
Ever since then, we’ve been at a stand-off. She tells me removing my stinger will make me a more successful person. I tell her it’s a part of me, and I like it. I used to turn it back on her, and say things like ‘Well, I don’t tell you to get bigger boobs’ or ‘If I get my stinger removed, will you start doing yoga?’ (She’s not very flexible). I had to stop doing that, though, because every time I’d make counter-accusations, she’d start to cry, and talk about how insecure I made her feel. And I’d feel like the biggest bastard in the world, making my beautiful, fragile little orchid so sad. Now I just say this:
‘I’ll think about it’ even though we both know I’m never, ever going to get my stinger removed.
Saturday, November 17
9pm – Tony’s Début!
Trisha and I arrive early to get a table. But Tony has obviously spread the news around: we spot Jess and Peter (more Trisha’s friends but Peter and Tony work together), at a table near the front, off to the side. Jess waves us over and I go join them while Trisha goes to the bathroom.
I’m nervous, since I’ve only met Jess a few times, and I’ve met Peter just once, briefly. But I try to make conversation. ‘So…’ I begin, ‘it seems everything is sunshine and roses with you guys again…’
Jess frowns at me. She’s one of those people that look like they’re always frowning, though her eyebrows lower even more and her eyes squint to little perplexed lines.
‘Well, since you had a tiff, and…’
‘No, we didn’t…’ Jess and Peter exchange looks.
‘Oh, it’s just that Trish said…’
‘Ohhhh’ says Jess. ‘Yes, yes, we did have a bit of an argument. But we’re fine now.’ She gives a heavy look to Peter, who doesn’t seem very fine.
Trish comes to join us. Peter keeps staring at my stinger, but then trying to ‘not’ stare. I poke it out of my seat a little more, so it’s ‘pointing’ at him. Hehe.
‘Well!’ Says Jess, turning to Trisha. ‘You would not believe what this one did last week!’ She flicks her head to Peter.
‘I worked late, so he said he’d get dinner. I thought he meant, like, he was going to get some Chinese or something. But when I got home – ’ she shakes her head and giggles. Trisha starts to giggle in anticipation. ‘He had the cookbooks out! Turns out, he wanted to “try” this chicken recipe. It was an absolute disaster; we ended up getting pizza!’ their giggles tumble into laughter. Peter smiles in a sheepish, ‘look at me, I’m so silly’ way. Jess kisses him on the cheek. ‘But bless him for trying’. They laugh some more.
‘You don’t mind me “trying” to empty the traps whenever we get mice!’ Peter says, all jolly good humour. ‘You should see her, David; she hides in the bedroom till all the traps are out in the bin!’ He puts his arm around her.
‘At least he tried to use a recipe book!’ Trisha tells Jess. ‘David tried to “wing it” making a stir-fry a few days ago… I ended up taking over; he had no idea, poor thing!’ She cuddles up to me and everyone laughs, playing that old Battle of the Sexes cliché. I want to join in.
‘Yeah, but when the ring came off that can of water chestnuts, who used his stinger to pry it open?’ I laugh good-naturedly, but everyone else is silent. I’m about to speak again when the lights go down.
Tony’s on first. The MC, a pedestrian local comedian, does some tired material about what would happen if his dog got drunk. Then he introduces Tony, who has abandoned his usual ‘shirt and pants’ look, and is wearing very light stonewash jeans and a white t-shirt. He thanks the audience for their applause. He looks confident. Perhaps he’ll surprise me.
‘So, have you ever noticed that, like, every food label has “may contain traces of nuts” on it? Like, what’s so special about nuts, hey?’
There’ll be no surprises tonight.
I’m about to do a big, supportive laugh anyway. But I’m distracted – a man’s voice from somewhere towards the back shouts out: ‘It’s because some people are extremely allergic, and even trace elements of nuts could kill them’.
Tony stares out into the crowd. He giggles nervously and clears his throat. ‘Well, that sucks, hey? Allergies suck. I mean, I mean…. I’m allergic to the latex in condoms, so whenever I meet a girl our first date’s always romantic. I take her to get a pill prescription and an STD check-up!’
This is grim. He’s not actually allergic to latex, and he’s told me this joke before. Again, I’m beaten to a laugh, this time by another voice around the left.
‘Why don’t you try vinyl condoms, then? You can get them shipped from Germany.’
Oh, this is bad. Bad, bad, bad. But he still has two minutes of his three-minute set to go, and I plan on being his own personal laugh track.
‘Germany, don’t get me started on Germany. I mean, do you know what the number six is in German? I was at this bar in Germany and…’
‘Excuse me,’ I whisper to Peter as I slip passed him and creep towards the bathrooms. I told Tony this was a bad idea.
Tony spots me getting up. ‘Hey!’ He says, squinting into the audience. ‘Look! It’s my good friend David McCrossin! Does anyone remember the Bee Boy? This is him! Everybody, let’s hear it for the Bee Boy!’
I look around and give an awkward little wave. I’ll kill him for this. When I was born, I was obviously a bit of a curiosity. Sixty Minutes did an annual feature on me, Bee Boy’s Journey, till I was about six. By then, I was going to school, and the kids called me Bee Boy till they got sick of my abnormality and started teasing another kid whose left arm was visibly longer than his right. Every so often, people remember me. I usually don’t mind, they’re always polite. But I don’t like Tony using me as a distraction. Especially since this means I’m going to have to sign some autographs ‘with my stinger’ later on. That’ll get Trisha all embarrassed again. Which is crazy; because even if she had, I don’t know, three extra breasts, I wouldn’t care. I would love her the way she was. Who cares if people stare sometimes? Strangers mean nothing.
Plus, three more boobs? It’d be kind of hot.
‘Anyway, people, I’ve gotta go. I’ve been Tony Motwill, and you’ve been great!’ Tony waves and runs offstage to the sound of scatter-clacky applause. I shuffle to the men’s toilets. At least if people accost me there, Trisha won’t see.
Sunday, November 18
I wake up after some… weird dreams. Mostly about chainsaws, lawnmowers; buzzing, scraping things. But I always have weird dreams after a big night. See, we had to take Tony out afterwards, buy him alcohol, and make sure we never spoke of the show again. What? You would have done the same.
I roll over and Trisha is on her side of the bed, sleeping peacefully.
Then I see it.
In the middle of the bed, between us, is my stinger.
But… it’s not on me. It’s just laying there. I feel my lower back. No sticky blood, just a flattish, jagged rough patch where my stinger used to be.
I let out a scream. Trisha wakes up and turns around. She sees my stinger. Then the horrified look on my face.
‘Sweetie, this is wonderful,’ she says. ‘Not only do you not have to make a decision about whether to keep your stinger or not, we’re finally rid of that… that inconvenience! I feel like we’ve made a huge jump forward!’
‘We have to go to the hospital.’
‘David, you’ll be fine. They said it wouldn’t get infected or need dressing. I mean, I don’t think it’ll get infected or need dressing.’
I pick up the stinger, tears in my eyes. ‘I’m going to get it reattached’. I say. For a moment, Trisha is silent.
‘No, no, David, no you’re not. Look, this is the best thing. You’re normal now, and I can look forward to my normal life with my normal husband. Think about it. No more stares. No more ripped sheets and clothes… no more walking around with a sock on your back when it’s laundry day and your sting guard’s in the wash.’ She gets up, staring down at me on the bed. I’m determinedly cradling my stinger. ‘This is all for the best. If you get that reattached, then you’re going to lose me.’ She starts to cry. Oh god, I hate when she cries. It makes me want to do anything to take away her pain.
I get out of bed and give her a hug.
Monday, November 19
Schedule Appointment for Stinger Reattachment (Keep stinger on ice)
And I couldn’t be happier.
# # #
Thursday, 7 August 2008
This was a piece I did in Creative Non-Fiction class back in 2004. I'd already done a few elaborately-researched pieces on Islam and Autism, so I felt I could rock out lazy style. And it worked: inexplicably I got top marks. Woo... hm. Also, I submitted it in a sans serif font. GOD.
My voice has changed a lot in the past four years - here, I often found my younger self grating. I think I've become more self-depreciating, and just... better.
Also, I never got the puppy.
‘You learn something new every day’ Usually a trite remark uttered by someone who’s sheepish about being in their mid twenties and not knowing where Cuba is.
But is it true? I mean, how could your brain handle learning something completely new, every single day of your life? I wrote down everything I learned in a week, and found that it was. Go Team Brain! Here’s some of what each day taught me…
A Mother’s Love May Be Finite.
My mother recently sold her shop, which was on a busy, inner-city road. I was renting the residency upstairs. The shop’s sale happened pretty quickly, so I proposed to my Mum that I move home for a month or two, so I could check out other share houses at my leisure, post-essay season. I haven’t lived with my parents for about two years, so I thought they’d snap up the offer. More time to dote on me, like in high school! Yeah, well. They said that if I move in with my suicidal, black-clad Greek grandmother, (in lieu of moving back home), they’d offer me my own private phone line.
And a puppy.
Despite that weird feeling in my stomach that harbingers a knowledge that my parents may not love me as much as I think they do, I’m not made of stone. I’m taking the fucking puppy. And I may even call him Gruselug, or ‘Groo’ for short. Puppy! They played me like a fiddle, my damn firstborn-hating parents did. But I’ll have my revenge. I will not be using my new phone line to call them. Ever. Hah!
Never Get Into It With an Old, Greek Taxi Driver.
I’m running late to a friend’s party and decide to take a taxi. The driver then proceeds to argue with me about my friend’s address, Vis, ‘It can’t be number 512 if we’re turning left, the numbers go the other way on that well-known street.’ I politely explain that my friend has lived in his house for three years. I have visited his house dozens of times. I have sent mail to his address. But no. You, Mister Taxi Driver, you know where my fucking friend lives, because you think the numbers go the other way. Even when we stopped, and I showed him the street number on my friend’s door, a stately gold 512, the taxi driver shook his head as if it were an elaborate scam. What the fuck? I get the last laugh though, since, you know, he drives taxis for a living.
Apparently, a Human Female’s Ovaries Are Quite Low (as in, below the bellybutton) and They’re, Like, the Size of Almonds.
So… not roughly where the kidneys are, and not the size of 20-cent pieces. Don’t ask. Suffice to say, I’m an ignorant humanities student, and I’m never going to that gynaecologist again.
Some People Really Hate the Word ‘Cunt’.
Which, judgmental little cow that I am, really frustrates me. Because, like fuck means sex, and shit means excrement, cunt means vagina. It’s expletive slang for vagina. Yes? Yes. And what’s expletive slang for penis? Well, mostly ‘dick’, or ‘cock’. Now, the word ‘dick’ is used in playgrounds, in semi-polite conversation, even on TV. But use the female equivalent and it’s Holocaust: the Sequel. Whenever I say ‘Gretel Kileen’s a complete dick’, people laugh at how topical I’m being (well, except for Blair McDonough. He just dobs). But if I were to say, ‘Gretel Kileen’s a complete cunt’ I’d get, as always, one or two women getting all pernickety about ‘ooh, I don’t like that word’. I mean, Jesus. It’s infinitely better than ‘pussy’ and all the derogatory puns that implies. If everyone were to use the cunt-word as freely as the word ‘dick’, wouldn’t that be equality? And as for it being misogynist, oh, fuck off, you dick-wad cock-head. Do you get my point?
Suburbs – City – Suburbs = Not a smooth transition
I thought I was still a suburban girl at heart. I’ve lived in inner-city area share houses for two years, where a taxi fare from the city is still in single-figures. I’ve had over a dozen cool cafes in a 1-k radius, and three pubs but a 4-minute stumble away. But, whenever I heard Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’, I would always cough and discreetly turn up the stereo. Now, after moving back to the suburbs this week, I’ve realised it takes more than a guilty pleasure in 80s hair rock to be a suburban kid again.
To my own dismay, I’ve unwittingly urbanised myself. I actually tut-tutted disdainfully when I saw that the Asian foods section of my new supermarket was, like, one metre long, as opposed to an entire aisle. I despaired when I found that there were no milkbars around that stocked the expensive-but-yummy gourmet fruit juices I’m addicted to. Well, at least moving to the suburbs means I get a puppy. Maybe even a Basenji; they’re small but used to hunt lions. And they don’t bark, they yodel: how cool is that? Plus, they have a wrinkly forehead like a vampire pup. Awwwww.
Beware of Doting Grandmothers With Too Much Time on Their Hands
I do a load of washing, hang it up on the line and go to work. I come back from work, and what do I expect? That’s right, clean, dry laundry, patiently swaying backward and forward in the breeze, while an empty white laundry basket squats nearby, waiting to collect said washing to bring it inside, whereupon it shall be jammed unfolded into drawers. What do I find instead? My washing all folded and ironed. Aw, how nice of my grandmother, I think. Then I see the socks look funny.
The socks have been ironed.
So have my undies.
And – I hold them up to the light - so have my bras.
Let me tell you, wearing an entire outfit of ironed freshness is… odd, to say the least. And now my bras all have a rather creative ‘conical’ shape to them; Madonna, eat your heart out.
Next time, I’ll make laundry day my day off.
The More Hassled You Appear, the Busier People Assume You Are.
This is something I actually learnt awhile back, but it’s held me in good stead my entire working life. If you work in a busy office, and you wanna slack off a little, or you just want to walk around a bit, make sure you do the following:
- Hold a piece of paper, and
- Look hassled.
Seriously, it’s gold. If you’re just walking around smiling, well, you’re clearly slacking off. But, but, if you’re holding a piece of paper, walking up and down the aisles and office corridors with a big, put-upon scowl on your face, then you’re someone on a mission. NOTE: just use this trick sparingly, otherwise you’ll be known as That Surly Wanker in Finance.
Basenji Bitches Only Breed in Winter
Like a dingo, they’re only in heat once a year, in May/June. It’s October now, so that means I’ll have to wait another seven months if I really want that Basenji pup. Arse. Perhaps I’ll look at getting a Tibetan Spaniel instead. They have kind, wise eyes. Plus, a fun, pretentious name. ‘Yes, well I ow-en a p-yoor bred Tibetan Spaniel.’ Oh, I can hear myself now. I’m such a wanker.
Eating Meat-Based Meals Twice a Day, Every Day, Won’t Kill You
Or so says my grandmother. Although I think after two weeks of steak for lunch, rissoles for dinner, my digestive track might beg to differ. Mental note: avoid letting grandmother cook all my meals. And try to go veg at least thrice weekly.
Tibetian Spaniels Are Only Available in, erm, Tibet.
Like ‘The Customer Is Always Right’, ‘The Rostering Guy Is Always Cool’
And unless you want to find yourself working the five pm to eleven pm shift on New Year’s Eve, or the eight am shift on Boxing day, you’ll respect that, and take him to the pub often. And, when in the workplace, you’ll always ask about how his Star Wars figurine collection is going.
Most People Just Say ‘To Hell With It!’ and Get a Golden Retriever
And now I know why.
Don’t Sneeze In a Car of Stoned Parents.
Otherwise the following little scene may happen to you:
Scene: Inside the family station wagon.
Characters: Father (driving), Mother (front passenger), Lisa (rear passenger). Mother and Father are stoned. Lisa is sober.
Mother and Father whirl around, staring at Lisa. Together, they say:
Mother and Father: (shocked) Are you alright?!
Lisa: yes… I just sneezed. What?
Mother: it wasn’t a regular sneeze!
Father: No… I thought you threw up or something!
Lisa: (mildly exasperated at parents who refuse to leave the 60s) No. It was just a regular sneeze.
Mother: Are you sure you’re alright?
Lisa: yes, it was just a sneeze. I assure you I’m fine.
Mother and Father giggle.
Lisa: Um, stop the car. I’m right to walk from here, thanks.
So the main thing I’ve learnt this week? Some people will never grow up. And sometimes, that’s a good thing. Unless you’re driving; then it can be a safety hazard.
# # #
Disclaimer: My Dad is a responsible man, and actually drives quite well when mildly stoned, as that’s how he spent the better part of two-and-a-half decades. Sigh.
* * *