Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Shit Mum

Kiki had been alone in the car all the way to French on Tuesdays and I remembered her friend from school also lived in France when she was little so I asked her parents if she'd like to come along. They said yes so today I drove them the 40 minutes there and the 40 minutes back. The friend has a little sister and the noise in the backseat was something I have not yet experienced, as the mother of a single child. Kiki will typically sing along to the French songs, we'll discuss something, or she'll doodle in one of the countless journals littering the back seat. Today it was loud. They were having fun - the whole way there and back. Giggling, pulling, pushing, playing, yelling, teasing:

'Mum! Say 'I eat poopoo'.' 

'I eat poopoo.'

'Hahaha!! Say 'I am a poopoo'.'

'I am a poopoo.'

They were really giving me the shits, with their playing and having fun. I realised this must be what it's like to have a family, not just a kid. Separating quarrels, telling them to pipe down, pulling the car over, leaving them in the Rob's Restaurant car park. 

I imagined these were both my kids, and this was my life. Then I dropped the girl off. And all was quiet again. Kiki, true to her usual form, brought up exactly what was on my mind.

Let me preface this by the fact that at nearly 6 years old, Kiki has pretty much let me off the hook in the baby brother/sister stakes. If she had started hassling me at age 3 I surely would have been unable to withstand the guilt. But she never did. She seemed born to be an only child; happy in her own world, in her own words 'glad to have all the attention.'

But there it was:

'Mum, why don't I have a baby sister or brother? I want a little baby sister or brother. There's only me. And my toys.'

My heart crumbled and died. 

'I don't know honey, I might be a bit old now.'

'Can't you and daddy just have another big kiss and make another one?'

Flashback to Paris. It's two years ago, Kiki is three, we are riding to Fnoo's house with her godfather Lukie. It's a balmy night, she is calm on the back seat, all is well. As we stop at a set of lights on the Avenue Voltaire her little voice pipes up:

'Mum, how did I get in your tummy?'

I took a breath. Did she have to ask that now? Luke was a wordsmith, a poet. 

'Umm... well, Daddy and I made you sweetheart.'

'How did you make me?'

Luke didn't look at us but I knew he was listening. 

'Well, we had a beautiful big kiss and cuddle. And then, there was this incredible explosion of love. And that created you!'

I was rather proud. I felt I had given it enough abstract power for her to feel she was both magical and real. Luke seemed to nod a silent approval. 

That she remembered this description tonight made me dizzy. She listens to me. She hears me. I am a mother. 

We pulled up at Springs Beach and I looked around at her.

'I will try, but I don't know if I can make another one my love. But what I can promise you is that even if you don't have a little brother or sister I will fill your life with people, wonderful people, all around you, and give you adventures, and make your life awesome.'

I thought I nailed it. But she just sighed and looked back out the window. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Doing the Reverse Kondo

So, you did it - chucked out a whole lot of (latent) shit, put shit in bags, held a garage sale. You made 20 bucks at the garage sale (not that it was about that), then took 80% of your remaining shit and left it outside the Salvos at 3.57pm on saturday, before they shut at 4. Then there was the 20% of shit that made it back into the 'unsure' bag - the shit you shoved back into the too-tight second drawer hoping its practicality could be justified so it could reenter your world, though you know it has moved into that Kondo purgatory already (once tainted with the brush of Kondo, forever lost). You had whittled down your wardrobe to the small built-in one in your bedroom and felt proud of yourself, though the doors wouldn't shut. Now, Sunday, you put your shoes back in the drawers under your bed, because you couldn't bring yourself to let the empty drawers go, they still sparked joy, especially in their new-found lightness. The shoes are back in the drawer, so why not the old pair of 'knockabout' pants retrieved from the garage sale, plus the faux fur coat causing the 'narrow' selection of clothes jammed into the one wardrobe to appear permanently nudged to one side?

There. Good. 

It's The Reverse Kondo. Clothes re-appearing in drawers, donated items recalled, the once-narrowed selection of objects fattening and starting to heave again with new old, dead weight. Yesterday you fossicked around the pots and pans cupboard for twenty minutes looking for that little square cake tin you knew one day you'd need - Damn. Kondo. You now have just one wardrobe (no more heaving clothes rack or overstuffed under-bed drawers) but the doors won't shut and why, oh why, did you think that black pantsuit didn't 'spark joy'? You hated it, but the fact you could put it on for yesterday's casual-yet-something rainy lunch sparked fossicking-for-a-half-hour-fuckety-fuckballs! KONDO!

Backwards Kondo going strong, a Mary Poppins interlude in my kid's room; broken toys, torn costumes, worn-out animals and crapped-out pens flying backwards to their original homes, happy, singing, sailing in reverse to where they were oh so content until Kondo.   

Little Edie loves Kondo

Friday, February 17, 2017


We were going to watch Manchester by the Sea last night and I found I physically couldn't. The story of Casey Affleck's sexual harassment suit was irking me on a cellular level - no amount of interest in the subject matter or Academy Award nominations could take the bitter taste away. It was a man-tired feeling, a feeling of exhaustion at how much men can get away with, are getting away with, still, their reputations intact, getting acclaim, even after settling two sexual harassment cases that read like textbook shit-man-behaviour, stuff that's happened to so many women I know, so many times, throughout our lives. It's bred into us. It's so familiar we've almost come to expect it.  

Well, I think we've had enough. It's become more boring than ever, and tiresome, and infuriating, to see people like him so revered, so celebrated. Just seeing his face in the trailer was enough to make me churn. So tired of it. So tired of what women have to go through not just in Hollywood, but in any kind of working life. Paid less. Abused more. Trying to get a leg-up, knowing what they have to do to get ahead. Shhh... don't fuck your career. There is an actress called Constance Wu who is being brave and loud about it, and I comfort myself by thinking there is sufficient groundswell beneath her that she didn't just fuck her career. Things are changing. I won't watch Casey. But I will watch you, Constance Wu, though I only just learnt your name. 

This is Constance Wu

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Mermaids

The Mermaids were just emerging from the sea this morning as I arrived at Springs Beach. I always hope to catch them on my jog but am normally too late. Today the sun was still morning low and the sea lake-calm, and lit from behind the older women aged mostly in their 70s and above (the leader is 86) appeared like goddesses wading together towards the shore. In silhouette they were ageless, the back-lighting painting their outlines youthful and strong - grey hairs and facial lines obliterated by the sun. The sound of their quiet female chatter filled the little cove as they made their way up the rocks to rinse their bodies in the freshwater shower and towel off their skin and hair, waving each other off towards their mortal day.

At 7.30 every morning regardless of weather, the Mermaids swim (or wade, or paddle) from Springs to a yellow buoy and back. In the summer there can be up to 30 of them, then in the colder months the number shrinks. Rumour has it there is a small group that swim every single morning of the year, even during the freezing temperatures of high winter. These are reportedly the older Mermaids, which to me is such a clear indication that the older you are, the more you know the secret. And the younger you are, always finding an excuse to not get up and swim with the Mermaids, the less alive you are.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Old Story New

I think I am figuring out what writing a blog is all about. Like Instagram, it's about being in the moment. That is one good thing about this era - life, and communication, has become all about now. You can't tweet an old idea or post a picture on Instagram you took last week (well you can, but that's not the brief - ie, insta), and to blog is to log the moment.

I have been trawling through my unpublished posts and realising how mean I am to myself, and blocky. I had written this big long story back in 2014 about this butcher on the rue du Faubourg St Denis that had been turned into a hipster restaurant. For some reason I didn't publish it. Maybe I thought it was boring. But with two years of wisdom I could see the post was fine, and a story I wanted to tell. So I back-posted it, putting the date as Wednesday September 3rd, 2014. So the blog would be kept in chronological order. Thus fulfilling the brief of blogging.

Well, nobody read it. It died, because it was not current.

I don't want things to die because they are not current.

Here is the story. It's called No Tongue, and it's about a pig's head, and a stirring spoon.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Complexity of Fluffball

I don't know what to do with you, Fluffball. The breeder said at 4 months we should spay you, but someone else said 3 months was better so I took you to the vet and he said, seriously, you're too small, and besides, you don't have anyone to mate or fight with, so it may not be necessary at all. I took you home and was relieved, particularly after the image he drew in the air of your tiny reproductive system.

So that was that. It was decided, for then, but now, post 4-months, you're displaying the behaviours the breeder warned of, kicking, hiding and general antisocial behaviour. I get it, Fluffball, your only friends are us, and though we provide you with a life that seems idyllic, a backyard, nice hutch, etc, you are programmed for freedom and adventure. Also you are programmed to be devoured by a larger animal, so you are constantly in fear for your life, and you have such a tiny brain you can't remember that you are ok, that nothing can come and tear you apart, if you will just go into your hutch at night. 

Oh, Fluffball. Can't you see we only want what's best for you? 

So, what do we do now Fluffball? Selfishly, we just want you to be cuddlier, friendlier, and hutchier. We want you to be happy with us - but does that mean we have to put you under the knife? Is that the only way? Hysterectomy sounds so drastic, so mean. I don't want to, but it also pains me to think your instincts, your own desires to have babies and a family of your own, which we are most definitely not going to allow. If we are not going to give you this, is it more humane to remove the parts of you that program you for these fairy tales? Bunny sex, bunny babies, bunny species perpetuation? If I were in prison for life, no human contact permitted, would I prefer to be neutered, in order to just sit back, read and enjoy life, rather than scratching at the walls? If I know right now I definitely don't want any more babies, would I be happier doing away with those hormones and bits that make my brain tell me I do? Would life be less confusing and more ordered? Would I be nicer, less scratchy, more content to sit on knees?

Fluffball, tell me. 

Is it better to decomplexify your body, and help you lead a nice simple, garden life, or is robbing you of your complexity taking away the very soul of who you are? Should we learn to accept the moods, the floor-slides, the flips and dashes at bedtime? The weird little 8-punch combination? 

Are you happy like this?

Tell me, Fluffy. What would you do?