Wouldn’t have wasted my time
It was a party with a bunch of my old school friends and related folk. As well as being completely babe-a-licious, many of these girls are sharply sexy dressers. I started comparing myself to them. This cotton flower dress you’re wearing, the one that you thought was sweet…it’s actually dowdy. I wondered what they might be thinking about me. Why is she still wearing that daggy peasant shit? She could do more with* –
But I then had this vision of myself growing old: wrinkles, spots, a stoop. I imagined approaching the end of my life, looking back on this little moment, and realising how unnecessary it was. That those were pretty much my last days of being classed as a young person and supposedly in my physical prime, but I couldn’t just enjoy it – all I could think about was my small imperfections in comparison to others. That if I’d understood then how quickly beauty fades, and death comes round, I wouldn’t have wasted my time.
Not so perfect after all, are you?
We were at this excellent Laksa restaurant. This couple came in; they looked like architects or town planners. Him: a cosmopolitan Tibetan guy with a classy shirt and suit pants and his hair in a pony tail. Her: cool and classy, with little ballet slippers on. They seemed the perfect urbane couple. You could imagine their apartment; minimalist, with really nice silverware and a few classy decorations. A very calm place.
They sat down. I was checking them out. Then realised they weren’t really talking. They were just staring at each other. I don’t know whether they were just naturally subdued like that, or they were having relationship issues. But I was pretty certain they were unhappy. It looked like a very uncomfortable dinner. I then realised that I got some kind of satisfaction out of their dysfunction. I was thinking, ‘Not so perfect after all, are you?’
That’s ironic, isn’t it?
Today on Australia Day, my friend and I both injured ourselves on Metro Trains. We had our bikes and took them up the back to the reserved seats, as there weren’t many elderly and disabled people around. They were those flip seats, the ones you have to press down before you sit on them.
An older man came over, hobbling with a cane, wearing a classy hat, and carrying a Melbourne University diary. We realised that my bike was in the way, so moved it to the other side of the carriage with my friends’ bikes.
He looked a bit frail so I held the seat down for him while he sat down. It was slightly awkward, and I’m not sure whether it was a bit patronising, but the seats are hard to get down. He said something to us like, ‘Worked it out now have you?’ I couldn’t discern his tone.
My friend got up to get some sunscreen from her bag, but I said she could have some of mine. Forgetting that the seats flip up when you get up, she tried to sit down again and landed arse-end on the floor. Not hurt at all, she started laughing.
Then the train moved the older man’s bag forward, and he reached to get it. I went to help him but he told me he was OK. I sat back down on my seat, rushing at my effort not to patronise him.
My seat had flipped up so of course I had exactly the same accident as my friend, except I actually banged my shoulder and hip really hard, so it took me a few minutes to see the funny side. Once I got over my pain, the older guy started chuckling too. ‘That’s ironic, isn’t it?’ he said.
Interesting that those seats are supposed to be for the elderly and disabled and yet us able bodied can’t even use them without hurting ourselves. Maybe we are just extraordinarily clumsy! The seats are actually a bit stiff to push down though, which can’t be easy if you’re frail.