Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ninety

1. Old people who walk with their hands clasped behind their back

2. When people – like in the movies – are walking along with a steely expression while talking on a mobile phone and they finish talking on the mobile phone and throw it into a bin. You know something bad’s going to go down

3. The phrase “like in the movies”

4. Catching people mid-yawn and then quickly looking away so that it appears as if they were silently roaring at the world

5. Seeing lost items of clothing on the street. Especially single socks. How?

6. The way that the bald spot on bald (or balding) men is often really, really shiny while the rest of their skin is often not at all shiny, and thinking about why that might be

7. Imagining these men with really, really shiny skin all over

8. Also, just going back to the lost clothing items thing, seeing infant’s shoes lying on the street – initially creepy and kind of disturbing, but eventually leading to a mental recreation of the carefree kid kicking their bootie out of a stroller as a harried parent pushes it along. I know the parent will be pissed when they eventually discover the loss, but the kid is all: who cares? Gotta keep on kicking!

9. The person on the tram home from this evening’s production of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Ninety who was listening to a Spanish lesson on their iPod. It was Lesson 9: Coffee Break, and the album title was Learn Spanish With… and the rest was cut off. Who were you learning Spanish with, fellow commuter? Well I wonder

10. Not using full stops or periods at the end of each entry on this list, despite my compulsion to do so

11. The word “gravel,” which I have long thought is an excellent word to silently mouth when one is thinking

12. Little kids thoughtfully counting their silver coins at a milk bar and carefully evaluating their next move

13. People uncomfortably wearing clothing items that were probably unwelcome gifts

14. Pretending two people talking on their mobiles within my field of vision are actually talking to each other

15. That the fairly average play Love Lies Bleeding – written by Don DeLillo and recently presented locally by Red Stitch – included a character discussing how “gravlax” is such a good word, which in turn made me think of “gravel” and silently mouth it for a bit

16. People who take a ticket at the deli counter even when there is nobody else waiting

17. Any business with the word “Just” preceding the item or category of items they specialise in selling

18. “Trail mix”

19. Being asked the time by a stranger, which suggests said stranger has neither a watch nor mobile phone

20. Really, really old people buying trashy consumer products like Doritos or energy drinks

21. Realising that something which used to really bug me doesn’t even cause a murmur of interest anymore, and in fact now makes me a little bit happy for that reason. See “trail mix” for a minor personal example

22. Reading something you wrote a long time ago and having no idea what you meant by it

23. Watching the slowly revolving stage of Ninety

24. Recalling the joy of climbing trees

25. Seeing a stranger somewhere and then, later in the same day, seeing the same stranger again in an entirely different location. Hey, it’s you! But I don’t know you

26. Waking up from a dream that you wish was true, then feeling as if it was true for a few hours afterwards

27. People running for a reason (nobody runs without a reason, good or bad)

28. The first words of the opening chapter of Moby Dick, which I will here quote in full: “Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street , and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.”

29. Determining that there is no way I can possibly get to a 6.30pm showing of Ninety and home again on a two-hour ticket. And the financial expenditure being alleviated by the fact that I got to use MATHS

30. Thinking about how, as a child, I used to take a running leap to jump onto my bed in case there were monsters lurking underneath hoping to catch some ankle, and later hearing that others did the same thing

31. Monkeys and/or robots

32. People who say “chupa chumps,” “chumpa chomps” or some variation thereof when describing the confectionary treat Chupa Chups

33. Sitting in the park with the iPod on random and being assaulted by Billie’s Honey to the Bee before realising that it’s unexpectedly one of the perfect pop songs to lift one’s mood – any time, any mood. Turst me

34. The pretty art deco clock I bought with no hands

35. Tambourines

36. The maintenance man who looks after my house and whose name is James Taylor, and who followed up the introduction with the words “yes, the very one”

37. Wondering about how you reacted to the “Turst me” typo

38. The thumb-and-forefinger OK symbol – rarely used, these days

39. Seeing an entire shelf or rack at a supermarket or convenience store emptied of all goods – normally an indication that some stocktake or store rearrangement is in process, but also hinting that someone came in and bought THE LOT

40. The bees that carpet my backyard for an hour each morning, and the half-understood notion of pollination that it makes me think about

41. Performative tram-drivers who love to get on the mic

42. Hearing the word “longjeopardy”

43. Jose, the taxi driver with plans to be the first to install a sub-woofer in his cab

44. Star jumps

45. People who sit on the steps of the closed-door section at the back of the tram

46. The bit in Ninety where William describes the birth of his daughter, despite his absence at the time

47. Wind, which few of us understand

48. When people walking turn on the spot and head back the way they were coming from

49. Esteemed academics using lolspeak in emails

50. Leaving without saying goodbye, and knowing it will be forgiven

51. In fact, forgiving without even knowing it, because who cares, really? Gotta keep on kicking!

52. Ukuleles and banjos (sometimes)

53. Boat horns

54. Not wanting to finish a book because you’re enjoying it too much

55. Seeing a photo of yourself and not remembering the context in which it was taken

56. Imagining the four ventricles of your heart pumping consecutively, not concurrently, and realising that you are a process, not a product

57. Para Para

58. Imagining that one day you will be older, and will at least be able to fake wisdom

59. Hearing a song that once meant everything to you. And now feeling nothing. And coming to terms with this. You have changed

60. And then – perhaps much later – hearing this song again and reconnecting with it

61. Flinching at a sudden peal of thunder

62. Learning that you’ve been using – or pronouncing – a word wrongly for years

63. The woman at a 7-11 today who was asked if she had a canvas bag and reacted with confusion: “What do you mean?” “Some people bring canvas bags.” Her friend responded “You know, those bags that save the earth.” Her response: “I’ve got enough on my plate, jeez.” I later saw her smoking outside the Royal Women’s Hospital, so she might well have been speaking the truth

64. Conundrum. The word itself is enough

65. Watching people picking at bottle labels as they talk

66. Lafcadio Hearn’s “Kwaidan”, with one of the best concluding lines to a short story ever: “Sonjo shaved his head, and became a priest.” Rad

67. Adzuki beans

68. An understanding that there is very Iittle in the present that bothers me, but that futurity is a source of great anxiety

69. My arcane knowledge regarding the riddance of hiccups: swallow seven times – use water if necessary – and they will be gone. Vamoosh

70. Gumption

71. Regret. The most powerful spur to change

72. There is no mystery to it, he said

73. The recruits blinked dully

74. Your heart’s desire is to be told some mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery

75. When people kick tyres on their car

76. The bit in Ninety where it is mentioned that ‘muesli’ is the ugliest word in the English language

77. When a stranger, during a routine financial exchange such as purchasing retail products, refers to you as “champ” or “chief” or “doll” or something similarly respectful/patronising

78. The phrase “refractive indices,” whose judicious use can make you sound clever in most situations

79. “This was how the novelist Philip Roth saw Nixon as early as 1960, in an essay lamenting the plight of the novelist in a country that (and this is 43 years ago) seemed to be exceeding all bounds of plausibility, making fiction redundant. The most spectacular example of this was the sight of Nixon on television: "Perhaps as a satiric literary creation, he might have seemed 'believable'," wrote Roth, "but I myself found that on the TV screen, as a real public figure, a political fact, my mind balked at taking him in."

80. Climbing trees

81. Thinking about the sciatic nerve, which I know very little about, but think about often as I remove my wallet from a hip pocket and transfer it to a coat pocket, as I did during Ninety, recalling how its added bulk can both contribute to the misalignment of my spine and the interruption of said sciatic nerve. Again, I don’t really understand this stuff

82. The structure of Ninety, which is pleasantly loose and not overly constricted by obvious narrative conventions

83. Changes in tense

84. Over-hearing the comments of high-schoolers forced to attend plays – and whose debates regarding their merits and flaws are almost entirely related to their own lives

85. Monsters

86. Watching a park ranger pull up his 4WD and get out with a screwdriver, pacing along the park pavement, stopping to check a tree before changing his mind and returning to the jeep and driving off. And imagining that trees need a tune-up on the odd occasion

87. The references – admittedly dismissive – to both Boz Scaggs and the Captain and Tenille in Joanna Murray-Smith’s Ninety

88. Not terribly enjoying a play but finding enough in it to keep me engaged for ninety minutes.

89. Lists

90. Sometimes people scream outside my window

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i do so so so enjoy your blogs. I kinda wish you saw a play/film/funny incident everyday so i could have a new enjoyable blog to read at night as i drink my nightly glass/bottle of vino to get me through that weird pre-sleep phase where suddenly every anxiety you have about the world, your life and the true nature of everything is unleashed (like the opening of pandora's box right in the middle of your head). Anyway, I'm plugging a show i have written and directed as a masters student at VCA called 'Acts Of Deceit Between Strangers In A Room', which opens tuesday 9 sep. It's kind of an adaptation of a novel of Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. I think it might be better then a Johanna Murray Smith play...but then again it might be a really bad piece of student theatre thrown under pretty lights. Which is an awful lot like a Johanna Murray Smith play, I guess. So please try and come along, I promise to keep reading your blog even if you don't mention my play at all, and even if you absolutely rip it to shreds. In an amusing and charming way.

Jess said...

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH, J-BOMB.

Thinking about how, as a child, I used to take a running leap to jump onto my bed in case there were monsters lurking underneath hoping to catch some ankle, and later hearing that others did the same thing

I did it, too.

I also reacted at "turst", and then laughed heartily when I reached 37 on the list.

x

angie said...

i also love adzuki beans

x

Chris Boyd said...

Billie is 90 today. (26 actually.)

Her middle name is Paul. Turst me.

"Because we want to, because we want to..." is a bit of a spirit lifter too.