I knew making it as a dancer would be hard. I wasn’t prepared for something like this.
Okay, so I’m not the strongest person in the world. I’m petite. I have wiry strength, but don’t expect me to lift a tree trunk off a dear friend or family member if they should happen to get trapped underneath one, because that’s not a service I offer. I dance, and I do it really well because I’m light. And I act, because there are plenty of roles for very petite people, even if I’m pretending to be a tradie who knows about tool box central locking and…gas bottles. And I’m happy to be part of a major debut production, really! Maybe one day we’ll be as big as Bats, Fandom of the Oprah or that other one that came out a few years ago. The one about the witches who start their own encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Wiki, I think…argh, see how I lose my grip on even basic theatre stuff I should know!
It’s all because of last night’s rehearsal. The director had us swinging around aluminium toolboxes as part of a routine. That might have been difficult to begin with, but they insisted that we carry an entire set of tools inside because it makes things more realistic. Right, whatever, tell that to my dead arms and aching quads. All my years of dance training, and I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’m taking painkillers, but this thing is making my soul ache. Will I have to drop out? I’m just not cut out to be a workman, especially if it involve performing complex toolbox moves that make me feel like I’m going to put my back out.
No…I can’t continue like this. No way. I’m going to ask the director for another part. They won’t be happy, probably, but there are people around Melbourne who do aluminium toolboxes on a regular basis, and I am not one of them. I was born to dance.
Do you know what would be even more difficult than getting a fancy car on stage??
A giant monkey. Or ape, or…whatever Kling Klong was. I never quite understood all the hype about the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. What, the curtain opened and there was an ape all chained up? Where were the musical numbers?? Where was the actual entertainment value beyond looking at a thing for two hours? That’s why, if I ever get myself a gimmick or wonderful item, I won’t waste it by surrounding it with tat. Just last week I won a free Melbourne stretch limo hire session, courtesy of a theatre company who I’d done some work for in the past, editing their adaptation of the musical Violin Player on the Balcony. They didn’t like the fact that it was set in communist Russia because it could’ve been a trigger for some people, so they wanted me to edit the entire thing and make it so that it was set in Argentina during the Gulf War. I also made some alterations to the main characters to make them a bit closer to their adopted nationality, plus I rewrote the ending because the previous one was kind of a downer. Basically, I can now have three free limo rides.
I don’t have anyone to share this with, which is a terrible shame, but more minibar goodness for me! No, I’ll ask some of my friends. They’re the ones who helped me get this far, those who’ve whispered to me jobs of editing, told me about dance troupes that desperately needed someone to rework their choreography. We’re a team, and I think a fancy limousine ride should be the perfect reward. That, and we can discuss my upcoming project while we sit their in the limo and sip expensive beverages. I need actors, lighting people…this will be a business meeting of productivity and change. In a limo! Perhaps engaging the services of Melbourne’s limo hire is causing the glory to go to my head. I’ll have to calm down before I send out the invites.
As a teacher, it’s always strange to see a student who has a particularly defined view of what they want to do when they grow up. You can’t help but think where on earth they picked that unusually specific profession, what possessed them to choose that above the multitude of other career pathways out there in the world. Sometimes, more often than you’d care to admit, you’ve already formed your own ideas of what they ‘should’ be doing and it’s a bit of a shock to find out they’re thinking of something radically different. But most of the time, you keep that to yourself. After all, they don’t necessarily want their teacher prying into their business, but sometimes, particularly when they’re a favourite of yours, you just can’t help yourself.
Recently, a quiet but thoughtful boy told me he wanted to go into property conveyancing. We were having a one-to-one meeting, going through an essay he’d recently written (I’m a history teacher), the conversation manoeuvred onto a tangent about his future, and he let it slip. In my bewilderment, I exclaimed ‘but why?’ He’s a shy kid, so I’m sure he thought my tone was accusatory, but it wasn’t as such. With a quick apology and a bit of further cajoling, I wheeled him into talking about it further.
As it turns out, he’s moved house a lot, probably more than I have, and the whole process has always fascinated him. I can see how his sharp mind would be attracted to property law, but I just don’t know whether I can see him doing property transfers in Melbourne. It just feels like he has a much more academic mind. Ultimately, however, that’s just my opinion. In any case, it was heart-warming to see his face light up as he talked about it. To help and inspire was the reason I became a teacher, after all.
My love of flowers has gotten me this far, at least. In fact, my adoration for all things that grow has informed many of my decisions, but mostly I’m hoping it’ll win me the Great Australian Make (Up) Off crown. As in, I’m REALLY hoping. The other two girls are so good, I’m not sure I can do it.
Whenever we’ve had a challenge, I’ve just imagined my little planter box on the balcony outside: my daffodil varieties, growing tall and strong. In fact, that was what got me through week three. I did terribly on the technical challenge- completely failed in mixing my own blend of foundation and gave my model a persistent rash- but I managed to turn things around with my final glam piece: a feat of stage makeup inspired by bright yellows that I called ‘Sun-Kissed Celebration’. I just closed my eyes, thought of daffodils and let that guide me. My model was thrilled with the look and I saw plenty of people online replicating the look, with my title!
Of course, week seven was easy…flower week! I breezed through the classic challenge, where we have to use our own faces and a mirror. We were supposed to make a flower-inspired look, which is most of my looks already. The judges said they’ve never seen a hyacinth so accurately represented in a person before! Then the practical had us actual using makeup on flowers, and finally my glam piece was a combination daffodil cross tulip look, to be used in the ballet of Goose Reservoir. Naturally, that week I was in no danger of elimination.
And here I am in the final. Me! Flower-obsessed old me. Have to keep it together, even amongst the stress. Just imagine your tulip bulbs, so peaceful and full of potential. Think of swaying daffodils, reaching up to the sunlight…and everything will be fine.
I’m a very level person, I think. Only a few things actually make me angry, chief among them when a film that I was really looking forward to doesn’t even come close to living up to its potential. Like in Z-Men: The Stand Before the Last One where they completely mangled the story from the original comics and disrespected the characters. THAT made me mad. And on a similar topic, I also get angry when things just don’t happen the way they’re supposed to, and it’s totally not your fault. Last month I planted some daffodil bulbs, looked after them just like the guide on the internet said, gave them water and sunlight…and now they’re gone. Dead. No longer of this world. I did nothing wrong!
And when my friend Sandy came over for our Wednesday dance fitness class, she told me that I’d over-watered them. I trust Sandy because she worked at a florist for three months a few years ago, but that’s crazy. I actually measured the amount of water I was giving them, down to the last millilitre, and there was nothing wrong with that. Maybe the guide I followed was wrong? Thing was, all the daffodil guides I read said slightly different things, so I tried to even it out. Maybe next time I’m going guide-free and just doing it all on instinct.
Oh, and another thing: cooking. If you follow the recipe perfectly and your cake or brownies or cupcakes come out wrong, I’m sorry…that’s the recipe’s fault and you need to fix your stupid recipe. Cooking is not the same thing as rocket science, where one tiny calculation throws off the whole thing and causes an explosion. So long as you measure correctly, it’s not your fault if your cake ends up looking like a nuclear testing site. Same goes for those daffodil varieties that didn’t quite make it. How about next time I give you NO water? Because that’s the only thing I can think of that makes sense at this point…
Alright so I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch but I think it’s safe to say I’ve landed a good gig. No no no, good is too bland an adjective. Excellent. This is probably my dream job and when you’re straight out of uni, landing a thing like this is the best you can hope for. Hell, it’s the best anyone can hope for. And, bizarrely, it feels like they really want me. Not like I’m one of thousands (which I definitely am) but like I’m special. Valued. They’re making a hell of an effort to meet me halfway, to throw in a couple of perks. At the moment, the major point under contention is whether I should have a novated lease here in Melbourne or a set 5 o’clock knock off.
Don’t get me wrong, knowing that no one’s ever going to ask you to work past five is pretty sweet, but so is a car. I mean, I’ve had to use public transport to get anywhere and everywhere for the last ten years of my life. Saying goodbye to all of that and saying hello to the luxury of driving myself around sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The problem is I’m not really sure how car leasing in Australia works, exactly. Of course, I understand the foundations of a lease, but I’m not clear exactly how that ties into work or whether I really want my car tied to my contract. A small part of me feels like that’s a bit of a recipe for disaster. But then, everybody else I’ve talked to about it is pushing the ‘go for it’ line, calling me crazy to even be second guessing a great deal like this. Sure, maybe I am crazy, but my success and desirability up to this point has come from the fact that I trust my gut. I think I’d be a fool to stop trusting it now.
Seriously, I don’t know why people even bother dreaming, because the real life is a harsh place and there’s no real way to achieve them.
Okay, we’ve started off a bit nihilistic…I didn’t really mean all that. I just get so frustrated at the property market. You have no idea how many Saturday mornings we’ve burned through in trying to get our foot on the property ladder. So many wasted, when I could’ve been sitting in the coffee shop drinking caffeine and maybe working on my screenplay. All that wasted time.
So anyway, we’ve got pretty much every professional you can think of working on the case, though I’m really looking at the conveyancing services that Melbourne has. Not that I’m expecting them to be out there pounding the pavements and doing our searching for us, but I really think they could come in handy when we have to do our transfers and all that. You don’t want to get all the way to the end of a sale and find out that you’ve been dealing with a shady private dealer who just sold you a house due for demolition. I mean, the police could probably deal with something like that, but it’s just so much paperwork. Buying a house is enough paperwork as it is! So no, I really don’t want to get myself swindled. I think involving a conveyancer just adds a whole lot of…legitimacy to the whole thing, I suppose. I don’t want to get this far and not get anything for it.
Still, there’s so much more left to see. There’s an auction this Saturday, I can take time off work to make it to another one on Wednesday afternoon, and now I have to devote a bit of research time to finding out of there’s a conveyancer in Brighton, presumably one who can deal with a whole lot of stress. I’ll try to stay calm, but no promises.
I despise children. To think I ever was one sends a cold shiver up my spine and creates wayward twitch in the corner of my mouth, creasing the lines of my face in recognisable distaste. I find most everything about children displeasing. From the harsh sounds that explode out of their mouths to the grubby marks they leave on the surface of all they touch, they are a stain on the face of the earth. However, if they must be a necessarily stain, at least they are a temporary one. They are the embodiment of a phase that’s physical traits last at most fifteen years (while the psychological traits may last a lifetime).
Having expressed to you my intense hatred of these filthy little creatures, you will then understand my horror when I venture into the world and find these monsters in my surroundings. At places such as parks and near schools, the presence of children is only natural, and thus I have adequate time to brace for it. However, when unexpected, the effect of being subjected to their vicinity is magnified tenfold. When planning a quiet day in Melbourne, ice skating seemed the perfect fun yet relaxing activity to consumer myself with. I was extremely excited and had been on the ice not ten minutes when the arena exploded with sound. Shrill shrieks of demonic delight reverberated off the walls, shuddering through me, splitting my head right down the middle. Wildly, I skated up to one of the friendly staff members to inquire why the arena had suddenly been infested with children. Through a good-natured confusion, the girl replied that the ice skating rink doubled as one of the many kids birthday party venues in Melbourne. After pressing her further, I discovered the children would be there for at least another two hours. Naturally, that was when I decided to make my departure.
My question now is this: are there no children-free zones left to us?
I’m so sick of being on the stands. I’ve spent practically my whole life here, sitting in the freezing cold, rugged up in layer upon layer and a warm parka to boot. Folding my sister’s parkas over me as a kind of makeshift blanket because, even with all these layers, it’s still cold enough to make me nose turn red. Thank goodness the staff here are nice. At least they treat me as a person, not a pack mule.
For as long I can remember, this has been my life. Driving to the best ice skating lessons Melbourne has to offer and then trudging up to the stands to wait until it’s over. You see, my sisters are world class ice skaters. They’re beautiful on the ice, perfect, in fact, while I’ve never been allowed to even try my hand at skating. I’m a haemophiliac. Basically, what that means is that I have an extremely delicate constitution. It’s a genetic problem, so there’s nothing I can do about it, but it does mean I have to figuratively and sometimes even literally wrap myself up in cotton wool for my own protection. Thing is, fun usually entails not being wrapped in cotton wool. Being free. So even though ice skating looks like a whole world of fun, it’s not a world I can take part in, for my own safety.
In theory this sounds entirely reasonable, in practice it makes me miserable. Even when the twins used the rink as one of the most amazing kids party venues in Melbourne, I wasn’t allowed off the stands. My parents had to bring the food to me. Whatever you might think, eating cake on your own is a truly depressing experience.
So I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it all. I’ve had it. I’m going to put on these skates no matter what anyone says. I won’t live my life wrapped in cotton wool any longer. I want to live.
Often I wonder how people manage to get through each day in their lives without the help of medication. It seems like most people have no idea of common sense and logic. My seventeen year old daughter for example is a prime example of this phenomenon. The husband and I took the kids away for a nice family vacation together, but being at a difficult age, my daughter thought it would be boring and insisted on staying at home. She put forward a strong case for not coming along to the family holiday by saying she had far too much homework to do for her makeup course in Melbourne. It was a solid argument and one that I couldn’t help but agree with. She had worked so hard to get into the course and it was great to see she was taking her studies seriously. My wife was very proud of her little girl for following her dreams and enrolling in a makeup artist course. I think she was excited to have a beauty therapist in the family, she loves all that kind of stuff. The beauty course was even covered by hecs support, of course we were more than happy to support our daughter in any way we can.
When we got back from the family holiday we discovered to our horror that our daughter had fallen asleep with the deep fryer on. She’d been up the really late the night before finishing an assignment for her beauty course and had crashed out. Luckily she woke up to the sound of the fire alarm and a guy next door had called the fire brigade. I was relieved that nobody was hurt but furious at the kid for being so irresponsible. The fire was localised to the kitchen thankfully and there appeared to be minimal damage. The fire damage revealed part of the roof which appeared to have signs of termite activity. It was lucky that the fire happened in the end because as it turns out there was a large termite problem we didn’t know about. I wanted to get the termite Inspectors from Mornington to have a good look through the place just in case. They quickly confirmed my suspicions, we did indeed have a big termite problem. My daughter thought the whole thing was pretty funny, the smile faded when I grounded her for three weeks. No matter how hard you try as a parent sometimes children just need time to grow up and stop making bad decisions. I’m not angry that she almost burned the house down, I’m upset that she almost got herself killed. Try explaining that to a teenagers without getting an eye roll.
I explained to the man from pest inspections company in Melbourne what we had found as I walked him through the house towards the kitchen. He assured me that it would be a problem to carry out the termite treatment, Mornington has quite the termite problem it seems and thankfully we found the problem early. A few weeks after the termites had been sorted out I jokingly asked my daughter if he could turn the deep fryer on and cook up some chips for dinner. The house fell silent. Too soon for jokes?