Sydney Park

A few weeks ago, some of my faux-family were visiting from Canada. Liga is my brother-in-law’s sister, so strictly speaking, I can’t be all ‘This is Liga, my sister!’ but I count her and Drew’s other sister Nina as extended family anyways.

We went to Sydney Park, which I’ve never been to in my time living here. It’s kinda rad. Lots of shade and grass and dogs. I find dogs so funny. They have much more expression than cats. Dogs can look worried, and really excited, and naughty. I especially like it when they look naughty, and you can tell they’re coming up with some devious little dog plan, which usually means running away really fast, or stealing their owner’s food. I wear the same expression when I do either of those things too. Except that I don’t have an owner. So really, I’d be stealing my own food. Which I guess is a really big flaw in my devious plan.

Anyways, I decided that day that seeing as though I live redunkulously close to the park, I would revisit, so yesterday I took the paper, and a book, and some apple and strawberry juice [which everyone knows is the best combination of juices ever] and jumped on the train to St Peters.

There’s also a really awesome Indian shop, a block away from the park on King St, so I grabbed a vege samosa, parked myself under a tree in the park and spent two blissful hours reading and watching the world go by. It was honestly the most relaxed I’ve been in ages and I’m going to try and do it every few weeks.

Bliss.

Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta – Chuck Klosterman

One of my best friends is a gay rock writer named Ross Raihala, and Ross once told me that he always suspected straight midwestern teens looked at Axl Rose the same way closeted gay teens looked at Morrissey, the British vocalist who fronted the intellectually penetrating and eternally melancholy band the Smiths. When Raihala first mentioned this, I did not really understand what he meant (or if it was supposed to be a compliment or an insult). But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Rose did mean something more than his glam peers, especially for people who lived in the middle of nowhere. For rural kids who were too smart for where they were, but still very much a reflection of rural culture – a “redneck intellectual,” if you will – Axl wasn’t just another cool guy in a cooler-than-average band. He was an iconoclast (in the truest sense of the word). He didn’t speak for us, but he sort of represented us. And in a weird way, Rose slowly evolved into the first artist of my generation who showed glimpses of an (ahem) “alternative” to the larger-than-life fairy tale of poofy-haired metal that was the template for all my favourite bands (including Guns N’ Roses – at lease initially). In a few years, flannel-clad grungers would turn that alternative into an art form, and Rose would subsequently become a ridiculous recluse. Nobody got fucked by the Age of Irony as much as Axl – Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta, pgs 36 – 37.

Love, Poverty & War – Christopher Hitchens

The Hitch, on his visit to North Korea:

In the basement of my hotel, a casino had been opened by Chinese riffraff from the gambling capital of Macao, who once tried to stop me from playing blackjack because I was wearing peasant sandals and was thus improperly attired. In a karaoke bar in downtown Pyongyang, while I regaled customers with a spirited rendition of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “La Bamba,” and, as the night wore on, “Proud Mary,” my Korean friends preferred the soothing banality and individualism of “Yesterday” and – a solid favourite – “My Way” … One night I snuck off for a sauna and massage … As I took my aching joints back to the hot tub, I saw one of my guides materializing, naked and glistening through the steam. When our eyes met we conceded unspokenly that we’d both gone above and beyond the call of duty – Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty & War, pgs 158 and 160.

The ‘T’ Word

Today an article on smh.com caught my eye. It was an article about how to deal with being a tall, young female.

Against my better judgement, I clicked the link and read the article.

You see, I was once a tall, young female [to avoid any possible confusion, all that changed is that I’m now a tall, late-20s female] and I thought maybe someone had an opinion worth sharing on the issue, because I have some beefs with the topic.

Beef number one: The question [usually from strangers] ‘How tall are you?’

First, I would never ask how much you weigh, mostly because I have much more interesting things to think about. Like giraffes. Giraffes blow my mind. How the hell did ANYTHING evolve to look like a giraffe? Everything about a giraffe is blows my mind. Proportion, colour scheme. Everything. I still wouldn’t ask a giraffe how tall they were though. Okay, giraffes were the worst example possible for other things I might be thinking about rather than other peoples’ appearances, especially height. Ibis. Ibis also blow my mind. Hello living dinosaurs!

Having said that, it’s not that I get always get offended when people ask, because normally, it is strangers and when I look at them, almost every single time, I’m all like ‘Dude, you want to go toe-to-toe with me over personal appearance. STEP OFF!’ 

It’s more, let’s have some semblance of social graces people!

My actual beef with that question is: maybe I’m missing part of my brain, but it’s so illogical! Surely me standing next to you and being taller than you is the best indication ever of my height. Why do you need a number? Do you have some sort of space aged computer program in your brain that makes a little graph for you of your height compared to mine? YOU’RE STANDING RIGHT THERE! LOOK UP! THAT IS HOW TALL I AM!

*cough*

Moving on.

My second beef: tall people who talk about how tall they are all the time with huge sighs and sad eyes, like they forget that it’s not a disability. And before anyone jumps down my throat and says ‘Yes, but you are only six-foot something, you don’t know what it’s like to be this much taller!’, stop, breathe, and then think about people who really have it hard. Now let’s go shoot some hoops.

STOP RIGHT THERE!

Shooting hoops. Mostly old white men say ‘You must play basketball!’ and I say ‘No, I am afraid of balls and I have been told by two people that the way I run is the funniest thing they’ve ever seen’. However, once, a very tall African American man asked me if I played basketball and I was like ‘…’.

The point being that the smh.com article was really superficial and stupid [and short, ho ho!] and I rarely think about height and am often surprised when I realise how much taller I am than a lot of my friends. And then I shrug and get on with my day, which usually involves rescuing my shoelace from whatever it got stuck in that made me trip over.

I am the Clifford the Big Red Dog of tall females.

In the last 12 months, I have witnessed two people with terminal illnesses discuss their experiences online. And I have watched people respond. In the first case, said person was told by an atheist that they couldn’t pray for them because they didn’t believe in God. In the second case, said person was told by someone that they were disappointed said person put so much faith in modern medicine.

To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens: people with illnesses like these find themselves suddenly, and unexpectedly, much closer to the finishing line. I can’t help but think that in such circumstances, the person has the absolute right in their last days, weeks, months, [hopefully] years, to be in a situation where they are surrounded by those they love, making the most of the time they have left, unhindered by further burdens, like being forced to defend, or consider, how they chose to deal with their illness and/or spirituality.

Even if I stretch my imagination as far as possible, I have nothing more than a dulled sense of what it must be like to live with an illness like that, but it seems so blindingly obvious to me that each second would be precious, and doesn’t need to be spent defending one’s choices. No matter what our views are, and how strongly we feel about them, surely there’s a time and a place to discuss them.