Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Deunited And It Feels So Good

I got unfriended recently. I was facebook unfriended, instagram unfriended, unfriended by friends of the original unfriender. I’m sure I would have been untumbled, detweeted, pinned-off and exmyspaced if I had any of those things. I was seriously, hardcore unfriended. I bet she even removed me from her phone. Or at the very least changed my name in her contacts to DO NOT ANSWER THIS CALL like she was in the film Confessions of a Shopaholic and was trying to avoid her creditors.

“But what would warrant such callous removal from all social media channels?” I hear you gasping in horror.  I know, I was shocked too. I mean, the first rule of not liking someone is that you keep as many windows into their life open as you possibly can. How else can you judge everything they do from a distance and truly know that you’re better than them?

This particular friend was one of those flaky friends. Never able to come to anything, always crying poor, too busy, too tired, too far, not enough advance noticed, scared of sushi, cats etc. But strangely enough, she was constantly posting photos online of her ‘making it rain’ with her other friends; buying herself treats, hanging out nearby, spending up big and posting her haul on instagram moments after she’d told me payday wasn’t for another two days and she couldn’t afford dinner – basically countering all her excuses in a public forum where I could screengrab her lies.  Now, I fully acknowledge that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I understand that people may get to know me that little bit better and realize that they don’t actually like me that much after all. But when I tried to tell her it was ok if she was a little over my constant Mazness she’d only come back with renewed fervor that we must set a date to have dinner, to see each other, to have a girlz night. And then would, of course, bail on these plans.

[Insert confrontation, presentation of evidence of aforementioned poor friend behavior and a few uncomfortable questions here]

After said confrontation, I received what can only be described as a Dear John letter stating she would no longer be my friend and that “i [sic] can honestly say with 100% conviction that I tried [to be my friend]”. Obviously not a major loss as she wasn’t a particularly good friend, but the thing that has stuck with me is that she chose to end our friendship with an untruth. Upon much reflection, a look in the dictionary and after consulting my own personal annals of friendship I’ve decided that she had not, in fact, “tried”. I did find numerous definitions of this little three letter word and unfortunately, she satisfied none of them. I was however, delighted to discover a myriad of examples of other friends and I trying hard in our respective friendships.

Try /trʌɪ/
Verb. make an attempt or effort to do something, exert oneself.

Example: One sunny Saturday my buddy Nicole and I thought we would be adventurous and go kayaking. This particular day we decided to head up and around a little island, near where we had procured our kayaks in Brooklyn. Paddling with the tide around the little land mass was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We stopped to pee swim amongst a grove of mangroves, basked in the sun and sparkly water, swished past bridges and boats and rounded a corner – only to find that the island was not actually an island at all, but was connected to the mainland by a very thin strip of land covered in railway tracks. While we could see our start point, tantalizingly close, it was physically impossible for us to kayak to it. The thing is, I love the outdoors, I love the water and I love some exercise. But I get tired super quick and don’t want it to go on forever. The notion of kayaking back kilometres around the island, working against the tide, did not appeal. I don’t know who saw the “simple solution” first, Nicole or myself, but minutes later we were dragging our kayaks (full of water and weighing probably about 60kg each) past a large family of bemused Chinese tourists, across a road, onto the station platform, up a massive flight of stairs, over a bridge, down a massive flight of stairs, onto an abandoned and dilapidated wharf, casting them into the water six feet below and then sliding down a bank covered in rusted metal and broken bottles to leap across slimy and rubbish strewn water back into our vessels. While we achieved our original goal of circumnavigating the island, the incredibly lazy slob within me is still haunted by the question of whether or not it would have been less effort just to kayak back.

Try /trʌɪ/
Verb. subject someone to trial

Example: When I was in year six we went on an overnight excursion to… the snow? Bathurst? I don’t know, some place. Anyway, like any excursion we were buddied up on the bus with our best friends. Lucy, always ahead of her time, had bought a Dolly magazine to keep us occupied on the hours long journey. Amid the usual features on How To Kiss With Tongue (practice in the mirror first!), How To Tell If A Boy Likes You (his feet point in your direction when he talks to you – this sage piece of advice kept my self esteem pretty high for a large chunk of teenage life - turns out it’s actually a lie) and late nineties fashion tips, were some free postcards. I am still unsure as to who you would send these postcards to as they featured hunky guys, muscles shining and bulges, uh, bulging in their tightie whities. Lucy and I gazed at them prepubescent and horrified, only to have our terrifying, red-headed, banshee of a teacher come across us at this exact moment and snatch the cards out of our hands. We were reprimanded and told that, upon returning to school, we would most likely be suspended for having pornography. Nothing ever came of it, but I spent two sleepless nights at the Goldpanner Inn wondering what I would say to my parents.

Try /trʌɪ/
Verb. an effort to accomplish something; an attempt.

Example: Once, as a surly teenager, I skipped class with my friend to go and hang out in Hornsby. Now, I’m not saying we smoked some weed, but I’m not saying we didn’t smoke weed either. After coming out the other end of a particularly long bout of laughter over Video Ezy’s latest promotional campaign (they were giving away Video Ezy temporary tattoos when you rented Indiana Jones, so basically your incentive to borrow a really old video was to have “Video Ezy” temporarily branded on your arm. Read: I’m a bigger idiot than anyone you’ve ever met) I realized that the next class on my timetable, which I had fully intended upon skipping, was the class that MY DAD TAUGHT. AND IT BEGAN IN TWO MINUTES. Horrified, we legged it back to school and the biology lab, traveling faster than any stoned teenager has ever moved in the history of time. You’ll be glad to know we made it.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, in a roundabout way, is that while I definitely acknowledged earlier that not everyone has to like me, it sucks for you if you don’t want to try to be my friend. Because being my friend is sick dogs, especially if you love boats, porn and temporary tattoos.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Oh Wait, I Am.

Unfortunately, we now live in a world where people want to constantly tell you how perfect they are. From instagrammed pictures of dream jobs to smug assertions of infallible relationships on facebook, it seems all people want to convey about themselves is how invincible and unafraid of life they are. It’s a shame really, when everyone is so brave and eternally successful you’re never going to hear amazing stories of phenomenal swears said in front of children or messy break ups which end with a former lover begging to be taken back on a crowded train. Well, you’ll be glad to know that I am not one of these people. I fail at heaps of stuff and am scared of a whole bunch of shit and love to tell everyone all about it. So in my attempt to buck the trend of being brave and perfect please read on for my catalogue of cowardice.

Ghosts and monsters. This is just as ridiculous as it sounds, but I am more scared of ghosts and monsters than I am of rapists. Recently I couldn’t sleep and snuck downstairs to watch Candyman. Usually after watching horror movies I do my best to avoid looking out windows for fear of seeing someone looking back in at me/the reflection of something behind me/my reflection having morphed into that of a gruesome dead version of me. The thing is though, usually when you do look out the window there is nothing there and you are reassured that monsters aren’t real and you’re just being silly. On this particular night however, I walked over to the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors to reassure myself there were no monsters hanging around outside and a fucking BAT flew at the window. My knees gave out and I went flailing to the ground. That’s a fun characteristic I have, my knees give way when I’m frightened. I would literally be dead if I lived in the wild.

Greetings. Here’s one for you. Before every social event that will include people I do not know (and some I do) I stress to no end about how to greet them. The way I see it there are four options:
i) Shake their hand
ii) Kiss them on the cheek
iii) Hug them
iv) Wave from a distance
More often than not these four alternatives morph into one socially awkward hug/high five/half mouth kiss. I’ve made peace with the fact that this is one situation I’m never going to figure out, but am bolstered by something I saw last year. On set of a promo shoot for The Voice I watched as made his way through the crowd taking selfies and fist bumping his adoring fans, when one woman gleefully stretched out her arm and shook his fist. I knew then that I am not alone in the world.

Bird of Paradise flowers. I’m telling you this from a place of vulnerability, so DO NOT USE THIS AGAINST ME. I am terrified of Bird of Paradise flowers, they freak me out more than you would believe and I have been known to cry in their presence. It may seem hilarious to be scared of a flower, but the definition of a phobia is an “irrational fear” and this is mine, so if you’re judging me right now, you’re being a dick. And if you approach me with one I will think very poorly of you.

Getting people’s names wrong. Maybe this is due to the fact that people constantly get my name wrong. When I was eight years old and started learning clarinet (the king of the instruments) my next-door neighbor was my clarinet teacher. For whatever reason, she thought my name was Miriam instead of Marion. She was my teacher for four years and I never had the courage to correct her. Consequently, I don’t have any qualifications in clarinet, but Miriam Reed has a fourth grade AMEB certification. It makes sense in light of this that I don’t want to inflict the same name shame on another person, so I FREAK out about getting people’s names right. Sometimes if I have a meeting with someone at work (despite having met them two or three times) I’m so scared that I will get their name wrong I will literally google them as they’re walking towards me, frantically trying to find a linkedin or facebook profile that will confirm how I should address them. Sometimes, even despite my extensive research I'll still be so concerned I’m about to get it wrong that I bail last minute and end up calling them by a strange muffled whooshing sound.

So there you have it, now you know how to terrify me to my very core. You just have to be a monster who greets me with the wrong name and then offers me a bunch of flowers. I'm shuddering at the thought.