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AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 26 July 2011 | Views [1131] | Comments [1]

Looking decidely upbeat as I fight off customers

Looking decidely upbeat as I fight off customers

After another 8 month sabbatical, sitting down to write is like sex with a girlfriend you haven't seen in a long time. You know its good, and you really enjoy it but you just can't seem to do it properly. You then stammer out some lame apologies about performance. You try a few excuses for the times of absence just ended before settling on a main point that falls far short of being valid. You promise to make amends knowing full well that your 'live-for-the-moment' ethos means they are just empty words ultimately.

So I'm back; my absence being noted by one person apparently, one more than I expected. It would be great to be able to say that the last 8 months has been filled with so many wonderful things that I merely haven't found the time to write. But I'm not a politician and hence, I'm not full of shit. I just haven't been inspired enough to write, and 161 words into this journal I'm becoming well aware that I'm still not. But enough interesting things have happened to justify starting up my on-going love affair with my keyboard.

I spent a week in Perth catching up with Trevor and Abbie, but was also lucky enough to cross paths briefly with my American friend Shane before he headed back to the States. Those nights were as enjoyable as ever, meaning their recollection was difficult the next day, impossible 8 months later. There were a couple of long, teary calls to Uma during this time, but she had returned to start a job as a trolley dolly for KLM airlines in The Netherlands. As wonderful as that was for her career, it meant her foreseeable future would not intertwine with mine.

Back in Broome, I started back at Matsos straight away as destitution is a major motivating force. I moved into Alex's room as the staff accommodation was now filled with people I didn't like the idea of working alongside, let along living with. Having a friend sleeping on his floor inhibited Alex's social life more than the fact he was English, so I felt obliged to find my own space ASAP.

With rent as exorbitant as feudal tax in medieval times, I secured a jungle based caravan so awesome it almost justified the price. Located on a verdant but well manicured block of tropical greenery with 3 other residences, I had a 2 room caravan and large annex all to myself. Unfortunately, it was better suited to a couple, or the King, as a dual income was necessary to ensure food was also part of the weekly budget. An outdoor shower under stars and palm fonds was so quintessential Broome in the tropics that I felt like I was an animated postcard I mailed to myself wishing I was there. That made sense at the time as I was back smoking more greenery than nature had blessed my block of land with.

I had too many big plans for the year, and munchies and cloud gazing was not going to get me to where I wanted to be. So I gave it up for 45 days wanting to beat Jesus' effort of 40 days and 40 nights. Now it's just a whenever the time is right sort of proposition, made a lot less frequent by Alex's absence. He returned home for his Mother's wedding and is currently saving up for an imminent return, or a pound of weed, whichever is cheapest.

The first big plan for the year was to sell my art work at the local markets. All fired up by grand visions and ignorant of minor details, my business plan consisted of 3 sentences. “Jackson Pollock the shit out of some canvases, loosely portraying things related to the Kimberley region. Be overwhelmed at the market trying to cram cascading bank notes into over-stuffed pockets like an 80's style game-show. Retire to small Caribbean Island with Kate Beckinsale and a cocaine habit big enough to justify a Michael Jackson style artificial nose.”

After 6 weeks, albeit before the tourist high season had really started, I revised my 3 sentence business plan to the following. “Market patrons are discerning enough to know that a $300 price-tag on a painting that took less than 15 minutes is too expensive, even by Broome standards and therefore, actual artistic skill may need to be implemented. Find other positives to spending Saturday mornings sitting in the sun talking to lovely people as zero sales equates to zero profit. Cancel cosmetic surgery on nose, lay low from Columbian drug cartel and accept that 'Underworld' or 'Pearl Habour' is as close as I can ever get to Kate Beckinsale”.

Other factors were in play when the decision was made to give the market stall up for the year. No longer being able to borrow a car was almost as big a factor as being confined to crutches, but no where near as interesting as a story. Ah golf, the least violent and dangerous game to play besides uno. Unsurprisingly, it only takes a little bit of alcohol to change that entirely, just like uno. The basic equation went something like this. 3 dudes + 2 dual seat golf carts + 9 holes = good times. Good times X 5 beers = great times. 1 dual seat golf cart containing 2 dudes – 1 long lasting battery = mild obscenities and valid excuse found for playing like shit. 1 dual seat golf cart containing 1 dude + 2 stranded, tipsy and belligerent free loaders = sagging suspension and ticking time bomb. 1 overloaded cart + 1 bump in the road = 2 force-able ejections, Mikey sideways out of the passenger seat and me forwards off the bonnet. 1 prone idiot + forward momentum of 1 momentarily lighter golf cart = a steamroller of steel axle over pliable feet, strong obscenities and alternating degrees of laughter and remorse.

Adrenaline, alcohol and defective genes combined to provide a solution in the on-going consumption of alcohol as a cure for all of life's troubles, exemplified at the time by feet that were swelling up like the pontoons on a water aeroplane. While movement between the couch and the fridge was not hampered on the night, the following morning I was unable to bear weight on either foot, let alone Riverdance. Arriving at the hospital, the nurses couldn't wait to see if the golf cart had ran over my brain first and were all somewhat disappointed when I seemed all quite normal to the untrained eye. A week on crutches and 3 weeks of physio was necessary before everything reconfigured itself to the jumbled order of bones I've been sporting ever since sky diving of my parents roof without a parachute or any idea how often I would have to justify my stupidity.

A weekly rent bill that would net me a 3 story mansion anywhere else in the country was not feasible with no income. After sadistically mowing me down, a friend from Matsos came to the rescue by offering me his room. The lure of mining dollars meant he was lured by browner and more barren pastures, and his room would remain vacant for 2 weeks out of 3. Out of genuine remorse, or the most convincing impression of it, Ash let me move into his room until I got back on my feet both literally and financially.

So it was back to Roebuck Estate where I got my first taste of domesticated living in Broome. An open plan living arrangement, in the truest sense of the word, the house has 2 bedrooms and a bathroom on one side and a kitchen / living area and a bedroom on the other. The long wide decking in between is the middle of the house but is open to the elements at either end making perfect use of the endless warm weather in Broome. My flatmates Trish and Jess are sisters whose welcoming friendliness is matched only by their sibling bickering that often seems catty but is always conducted with love.

Having a reliable structure over my head has since been taken for granted, but was pretty high on the Christmas wish list over the wet season. A few cyclones passed by that came close to taking me to a place only magic red shoes could bring me home from. Some nights, the surrounding area was hit with lightning strikes so regularly it was like a nightclub strobe flashing, without music or alcohol induced invincibility. Had the place not been so expensive, I probably would splashed out and brought some nappies cause I don't feel like less of a man admitting I was quite close to shitting myself.

The wet season wins out over the dry in my mind though due to the endless variety of the weather. Sure 6 months of clear skies and low 30c's is pretty hard to beat, but mountainous clouds of infinite permutations make for even more magical sunsets than the ones I come to expect from Broome. So with a blue sky beckoning me out to play, I'm off to Cable beach to welcome back another returnee from last year and hopefully another beautiful Broome sunset.

Tags: accommodation, injury, returning home, sport, weather, work



Happy to be reading more from you again:) Welcome back :) hope your well mr! AND hope to see you soon when you make it down here xxx

  Ainslie Oct 11, 2011 10:09 AM

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