Sunday, 26 February 2012


That's what they call flip flops. In other countries they're called jandals, slip-slops, diggers and slippers. It must lead to a lot of confusion. I worked on a helpline once and we used to get this perennial pervert phoning us. If he got through to a man he would hang up, but with a woman he would go through the motions as if it was a genuine call and then he would somehow get onto the subject of footwear. He liked women to say "flip flops". That was his thing. His thing was the thing Ozzies call thongs, not the thing we call thongs and they call g-strings, which you would have thought would be more of a common thing to be into. But I digress... One of the things that I'm definitely not into is change in any shape or form. Glen is moving in next week and I have to make my/his bedroom liveable; ie empty, or at least emptier. Laura, my lovely, lovely girlfriend was staying here this weekend and luckily she is good at - and even enjoys - changes of this nature. I guess, as a woman, without wishing to appear sexist, change is what her gender is all about; which is why they (and especially Laura) like to buy new clothes, wear make-up, jewellery and have haircuts. This attitude must continue into the general domesticity, inherent within the female, including featherng the nest, decluttering and renewal. Whereas the male of the species likes to slob about in the same comfy clothes he's been wearing for years, not changing his appearance and generally never thinkng about prettyfying anything. A man would never, for example, buy an old piece of furniture from a junk shop and paint it, and neither would he encircle his bathtub with aromatherapy candles. Forking stuff (which hasn't seen the light of day since the old Queen died) out of the wardbrobe and drawers, was actually quite an enjoyable and cathartic experience when accompanied by an individual, who not only puts up with my stick-in-the-mudness, funny little ways and intensity; but makes fun and light-heartedness of something I couldn't do on my own unless a rocket was stuck up my backside. I would stand in the middle of the room, boxes at hand (I could get that far) gaze about me at the fusty chaos that is my bedroom, flail my arms, then sit on the bed and stare into nothingness.

So, we were going through all this stuff from the Pliocene era, and we came across a pair of Australian flip-flops, identical to the ones in the photo. I remembered they had been posted to me by Lucie several years ago. I must have shoved them at the back of the wardbrobe, thinking that in the wet wilds of Scotland, and not being the type to holiday on beaches, that they might not be useful for some time. Well, that time has come!

It's now Sunday evening and I'm in my favourite habitat (my bedroom) and attitude (supine with one leg crossing the other and upper foot tapping to the electro beat). Surveying my pared down quarters, I feel that anything is possible, like riding a bicycle across Australia. The wardrobe and drawers are empty and I've taken down the cork noticeboards and all the teenagerish paraphernia from the walls. No, not posters of hot chicks; cartoons, postcards and dead beetles. I left the maps, including the Australian one, which Glen can study if he's feeling homesick when he realises he hasn't seen the sun in eleven weeks and he's started growing webbed feet.

I've been exhausted this weekend. Nothing much to do with hefting boxes, more mental fatigue borne of stressing over this trip. It might also be the anguish associated with another birthday passing by. I turned 46 on Saturday. Only three full days to go now and it still doesn't seem real. I'll be fine once I'm over there and pedalling away.

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