Because it upholds the structure and coherence of my Harmontown story. I didn’t see any point posting part two here for you to read before part one was posted.
Or you can just scroll down.
Because it upholds the structure and coherence of my Harmontown story. I didn’t see any point posting part two here for you to read before part one was posted.
Or you can just scroll down.
Regular readers will know of my sometimes miserly habits. Growing up I was always tight with money, causing friends to call on typical Jewish stereotypes. Fair call, I fit them. Eventually I became gainfully employed and had less of a necessity for thrift. I still saved a bunch, but with a regular income I had less of an issue opening up my purse strings to have a little fun. Notice the past tense in that past sentence? I don’t earn quite enough to be as giving of my earnings right now. I instead resort to learned survival tactics to maintain some semblance of a comfortable life. I’ve previously documented my propensity to pick up whatever lines the sidewalks. Today I discovered an all new weapon in my arsenal against exchanging argent: Craigslist’s “free stuff” category. I can search for things, even on a map, to find carrion commodities for the picking. Let’s see what’s available in my ‘hood:
Free Soil – Excellent Quality.
While my skin has a sickly pallor, it’d be rich to call my thumbs green. I don’t know that I’ve got an interest in gardening (in fact I’m quite aware of the opposite), yet I think I could find a use for this dirt. Given my interest in bodyweight training, if I were to construct a home made sandbag I’d be able to ring it up as a proxy barbell/kettlebell/dumbbell. Sounds like a fertile plan for someone as dirt-cheap as I am.
Free stuff! Stuff to use as props!
Bags, lamps, small kitsch deer, iron, mirror and assorted kitchen goods. Most of that seems like junk, but the posting makes a point of highlighting the various bags. Those in particular seem like they’d be worth their weight in dirt as potential receptacles for the aforementioned soil. A camera bag could be a stellar kettlebell. Serious combo capability. I’m basically MacGuyver right now.
Giant Bag of Yarn.
Surely I could find a use for this. I can barely sew a button, but if I ever needed a bag full of potential ersatz string this might be quite handy. Maybe I’d be able to construct carry handles for these sandbag barbells, etc. I’m more effective at spinning a verbal yarn than anything practical, but I’m opportunist enough to create needs for free things.
Free futon mattress
Free Twin Futon Bed with Platform
Free queen size bed: mattress + frame
Free Double Mattress- Good Condition
Clean Queen Box spring
If I didn’t already have a double bed (that I got for free) I’d be sleeping sound. Thing is, there’s some stuff you need to be cautious about when rooting around for goods gratis. Bed bugs really are a threat here in North America. Beds, mattresses, clothing. If there’s something fabric that’s been left out on the curb, there’s always a lingering chance that creepy crawlies inside are just waiting to make your life their bitch. I’m not remotely squeamish when it comes to insects (we know by now that I’m still a child, right? I love bugs with the inquisitive wonder of a boy), but the thought of bringing bed bugs into my life fills me with dread. What can you do? Those miniature monsters infest anything they can, consuming everything you own and love. I’m half convinced that a scorched earth policy is the only recourse. There’s no chance of starving them out either, the bastards can life 100-300 days without eating. So, much as I want to test out my own Princess and the Pea-ness, I think I might need to leave these mattresses where they lie.
No idea if any of this stuff will still be available, but I should be able to grab some things on a quick walking route. At worst I get a decent walk out of it. At best I can pick up some trinkets that more than justify their cost. All I know is that my room could be the proud recipient of a brand new (old) kitsch deer. I’m not gonna buck at that chance.
Oh god, everything is hot and I’ve lost all motivation to exist. I’m lying on a bed with a fan pointed directly at me, daring it to do its worst. Have at thee, oh master of the winds. Blow and crack your cheeks. Please. Going through phone issues at the moment. I’ve spent the last hour fruitlessly searching for solutions, but none have surfaced. I put a new sim card in today and ever since the battery has drained like blood from the face of a racist evangelist watching two black gay dudes suck each other off. Also the battery is running hot in a literal temperature sense rather than a spicy, taunting sense. Though a bit of that on the side too to be fair. It’s frustrating, because I’m really not a person who knows things about the inner workings of a cellular telemaphone. I stopped being a tech capable person at around the point that google search rendered that kind of skill to be slightly irrelevant. Christ, I’m doing the nodding thing. I might have to resume this in the morning.
Greetings time traveller, it’s the morning. I heard someone say recently that even without visiting the past or future, we’re all travelling through time by virtue of time passing. No, we’re not moving through it at an accelerated rate, but it’s still ticking away in the background. Technically if this is still my entry for Wednesday I’m writing this from the future though. Concurrently (great word) every moment that occurs is almost instantly in the past. Fun. So on the agenda for today (Thursday, future) I’m gonna go visit Wreck Beach (still future). But here I’m divulging my feelings about it from the past (as soon as I’ve put them in the page) or pre-emptively. I’m tired of this time travelling bit, let’s strand it in the past.
So Wreck Beach, nude beach. Yep. How do I feel about it? Uncomfortable to say the least, but it’s something I want to be cool about, so I’m doing it. I’ve met a couple of locals who say it’s a true Vancouver experience I shouldn’t go without, so I won’t. Of course they could just be trying to separate me from my passport, then leave me chained in the sun to die of exposure, maybe even on a rock splayed open Prometheus style. Am I still riddled with absurd body issues? Of course, I’d just rather move past them and maybe this will help. Alternatively my mind will shatter and become fragmented, splintering into a thousand tiny complexes that I spend the rest of my days sweeping up. But that’s no different from normal, so what’s to be lost? This project is called I Have My Doubts for a reason. It’s not called I Have My Pride (which would be a fabulous name change if I discovered I was gay). I’ve got no issues with nudity per se. I love lounging around sans fabric when I’m on my own or with a partner. But I guess that’s more of an intimate, emotionally bare thing thing. The concept of clothing as modern day armour isn’t remotely new, but it’s undeniably true. We use it to deflect or redirect attention and being without it in a public place requires having a certain amount of inner comfort with yourself. Like a bones as opposed to an exoskeleton. I think the greater doubt I have is my fear that deep inside I’m not nearly as spontaneous or free spirited as I’d like to be. I’ve always been a creature of habit who finds comfort in creature comforts. I’m not saying that having a constant respect for my wellbeing is a bad thing, but I could do well to ease the line out a bit. A little slack surely won’t make me plummet. I’ve been making a concerted effort here to be greenlighting. Saying yes because I don’t know how things will turn out and I need to be ok with that. Letting up on my ever present need to be in control of a situation has to be a good thing. I need to be able to move my limits on order to find where they’ll rest. I still shit myself making the first move when talking to strangers, but I’m working on it. I’ll even show some of them my penis today. That’s progress, right? Or is it just exhibitionism? I guess I’ll find out… In The Future.
At least fewer clothes will help me deal with the heat.
180 degree departure from yesterday’s self-indulgent sobfest. The sky is a shade less grey and I’m intending to see the day as filled with promise, facing it with an indomitable cheeriness and intention to Make It Happen. I’m seated in a cafe called Gluttony with the largest bowl of Muesli in human existence. My mocha is bitter, but the sides of the cup are as paved with chocolate as my mood. I’m getting back on my feet in a literal and metaphorical sense. Since I’ve been here I’ve been racking up about 3-7 hours of walking each day. It’s like I’ve finally shifted to adulthood. Every time my parents ever told me to just get out there, look at the scenery, dance all around the world, see all the beauty that surrounds you (okay, those last two might have been Blerta) has surged back in a rush and I’m observing and engaging like Widget the World Watcher. Unlike Widget I can’t turn into an octopus, but I’ll try not to let it bring me down.
Being in Melbourne constantly reminds me how liveable it is. There’s a timeline in which I drop everything and uproot myself in a week, move to one of the inner suburbs, surround myself with friends and develop a better quality of life than I’d feel I deserve. It’s too safe though. The stage is set and I need to either shine or fade out. Fucked if I’m gonna let it be the latter. Every goodbye I give to a good friend reminds me just what I’ve built around myself and what I’m capable of creating. I’m ready to define who I am in a way I haven’t been forced to before. One of my biggest fears, the prime impetus is the notion that if I remain where I am I’ll stagnate. I’m currently going through the motions, treading water. My cup overruneth with complacency and it’s stifling my personal development. There’s a version of me that I haven’t yet realised and he exists in a place that requires work, sacrifice and progress in the face of adversity to discover.
As with every holiday, I’ve let myself go. That’s half the fun, right? You’re in a new, unfamiliar situation and so the usual rules don’t apply. I’ve got no problem with what I’ve consumed in the last week (apart from the ever-present neurotic guilt, but he was never gonna shut up anyway). It’s time to tighten the strings so I can once again tighten my belt. It’s so much easier to make excuses than it is to say no to your desires. Self-discipline is probably my biggest challenge, consumption being my central weakness. So it’s back off the booze for awhile, eating healthier, finding enjoyment in things that feed my mind rather than my belly. As I say this I’ve got 4 Air New Zealand lollies in my lap, but I still haven’t landed, right? I guess we can see how well this is gonna go then… Conversely I’ve managed to keep up the writing far better than I thought I would, so maybe I’ve got a chance. I’ve got so much to sort in my life before I leave, but let’s start with something that’s easy to measure. The path is steep and the road is unsteady. Time to grit my teeth, plant my feet and try not to slip.
Weird mental state. Slightly morose without any great reason. I’ve been wandering Sydney St, which has a vast selection of Lebanese, Turkish and Indo-Chinese restaurants. It also has a huge proportion of closed stores. It seems like every third shop I pass is boarded up with paper or shows a vacated room cluttered with empty V bottles, carpet samples and an errant paint bucket. Faded posters of long passed events adorn the windows, smiling faces presented in drained or muted colours create a chilling juxtaposition with the unfulfilled promise of what once filled the store. The heavens opened and spouted misery, framing the day with a gloomy deluge. I walk past a soaked Taylor Swift poster plastered across a boarded Lebanese bakery and the disconnect of her manufactured smile gives me shudders. My face is wet and despite the weather, the glaze over my eyes gives me doubt as to what’s running down my cheeks.
I continue to walk, emotionally unprepared to deal with whatever crosses my path. A closed play centre, a tattered koala soft toy in a second hand store, a mother with her child, both soaked and shivering, the kid crying loudly. Everything I see has dark connotations of failure and regret. At this stage I don’t even know if things are dim or if my mind won’t let me see the good in anything. Flashing blue and red lights, people standing around, oblivious to the rain. A motorbike on its side, parts scattered across the street. In the distance I see three trams waiting stacked behind one another. Two slim young ladies in form fitting suits titter to each other excitedly, recording the whole thing. I look at the sign on their building. Real estate. I already see them excitedly telling Facebook, total disregard for the woman being loaded into the ambulance who, for all I know, could have been in their year at school. Faces of drivers stuck in traffic look furious at this obstacle in their day. I continue to walk, unable to process the world around me. When I walk back past the scene 10 minutes later there’s no sign that anything occurred. My mood deepens.
It’s 2.30pm and I still haven’t eaten today. I walk past Detour Jeans and can’t will myself to a place where I feel alright buying clothing. Guess I’ll go without the tailored jeans. It’s not like I really needed them that much. The concept of “want” seems currently alien. I walk further, but every time I pass pictures of beautiful Hollywood figures it twinges another string of sadness in whatever grim symphony my mind is writing. I pass a bakery called Georgie Pie cafe. Nothing. No stirring of cheerful nostalgia. Thoughts of ball pits and space ships can’t pierce this oppressive downpour. I’ll save that one for later.
I briefly consider hitting the bottle, but I know anything that comes from it will be a temporary and artificial reprieve. It’s not worth it and I don’t need it. Better to ride it out and get there on my own. Muting the noise and dulling sensation won’t make anything go away and puts me down a path I’m not ready to step foot on. Over a plate of some mediocre noodle dish I can’t decide if I’m lonely because I’m sad or sad because I’m lonely. It’s an indulgent moment of self-pity that I chastise myself for not being above. A woman at this all-purpose Asian restaurant gets up from her seat to open the door for a wheelchair-bound lady. I swear the sun flares for just a second. I think that’s all I needed, just a sign that things can still be good. Writing isn’t conducive to improving my mood. I need to get back on my feet. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ll stumble across the feelings I need eventually.
I’ve invented a new word since I’ve been here; woolamagong. It’s the combination of disgust and disbelief at something you’ve heard. So far the word has been met with a universally woolamagong response, which in my mind justifies its existence. “Woolamagong to that” you might exclaim emphatically “Hooroo mate, hooroo.” Conversation done. This is what I’ve learned/discovered/created since I’ve been here. Forming Australian words is easy, just double down on letters or make things sound chumly or adorable.
I’ve been trying to track down some/any audio of Kanye’s two new tracks that were featured on SNL, but archaic region blocks are getting in the way. Haven’t these people realised that physical and geographical borders are irrelevant when it comes to the internet? Once you’re online that data pings around so quickly as to make your location redundant. It matters not where you’re from, only where you want to get to. I wonder what’ll happen when we inevitably upload our consciousnesses up to some “cloud” style server? Will physical location finally become negligible? If you don’t have a body any more, why would it matter where you were? Would blockages or data based “passport checks” be put in place to regulate movement? Or will navigating information streams be the next frontier of the wild west? What will happen when 4chan finds itself able to operate however it wants? Will social order invert as we enter the final realisation of the 80s Revenge of the Nerds fever dream? Will dorks find themselves operating at a social level beyond what they were capable of when meaning was tied to words, physical appearance and non-verbal communication?
Will we finally transcend words as a communication medium? I love them, I really do. I appreciate words as others do fashion. An almost infinite multitude of combinations. Some words or sentences wrap you up like a warm cloak while others leave you scantily covered, exposed to whatever elements will come your way. I enjoy playing around with them, testing the boundaries of acceptability and seeing what will pique a reaction. Some words are just that little bit more daring or evocative than others and I’ve often lamented my choices or decisions in some L’esprit de l’escalier moment. Sue me, I’m a nerd. Are we just gonna say hooroo, woolamagong to that? Half the fun of expressing yourself is in the potential for ruin as much as the possibility of creating beauty.
In its essence though, the idea of being able to transmit a cluster of thoughts, feelings, emotions, meaning and implied reference within a single message, unhindered by the strict boundaries of language rules would be as freeing as it was intimidating. Despite my boner for words and language, the next evolution could offer promise and potential for a more pure expression of self. Those who structure beauty in communication still could, they’d just convey even more. In putting these words to a page, I’ve run the gamut of excitement, apprehension, regret fear, curiosity, hope then back around to excitement having changed view. Imagine being able to transmit all of that in an instant? Doesn’t that sound like a bright new utopia? I for one welcome our new 64 bit overlords.
Met someone at a party tonight who recognised me from primary school. Part of the ol’ Kiss and Catch crew. The game where cooties are up for grabs and the points don’t matter. Where the guys profess to not want catching and have to feign the act. The notion of how we begin to form attraction as kids is fascinating. I never knew what I wanted out of the exchange. Obviously this was a time far, far before sex would be acknowledged or sought after in the least. For some inexplicable reason you found yourself liking someone. Maybe they lent you a pencil, stood up for you against teasing dickheads or invited you to play along with them. Maybe it was a simple compliment. The smallest thing. Then suddenly you’re noticing the way the light catches their hair, or seeing them smiling makes you want to smile, just to be one degree closer to them in any way. Those first primary school crushes seem the purest expressions of want, desire and admiration. The sheer notion that being around someone improves your mood, your life. No vested interest in getting anything out of them, just to have then near is enough. A girl liking Power Rangers? Someone to gush over The Lion King with? The first pangs of awkwardness when you have to try say things in the right way, to want to be liked back? I’m sure there are seeds of that first crush, the blonde girl in the fuzzy pink sweater who liked the green ranger, in everyone I’ve liked, “liked” liked or loved since. But never again with that beautiful innocence.
It was also a strange notion that myself minus 20 years is so instantly recognisable in my present visage. As much change and growth that I’ve embarked on in the last two decades, somewhere in the recesses of memory to this girl, I’m still that tubby little dude who drools a little and talks a lot. 6 year old me speaks with a lisp because despite speech therapy, he somehow hasn’t worked out not to talk from the side of his mouth. He exclusively wears trackpants and will rant at length about transformers and what the best dinosaur is. He’ll watch the same movie 10 days in a row and be able to quote the whole thing from start to finish. 6 year old Leon doesn’t know that the internet will one day exist, but he can tell you all of Blanka’s moves and can beat the Japanese version of Kirby’s Dream Land in under an hour. He’s terrified of dogs, but wants a pet rhino. He’s never downed a shot of tequila, but he can eat a Bubble o’ Bill ice cream so fast that time seems to slow around him.
6 year old Leon doesn’t understand irony, sarcasm or pretension. Why would you pretend to like something when everything is amazing? There’s an adorable enthusiasm about a kid who gets excited by a new Toyworld catalogue. It’s not that he wants everything in there, but the potential of being able to experience any of it almost seems too much to bear. Birthdays and presents are on a tier beyond anything. So much so, that they’re planned out from the day after the last one. Leon at age 6 hasn’t been beaten down by life. Potential is everything. Responsibility, consequence and mortality won’t be learned until they force their way into his experiences. The future is so far away. Ages are given in half years, because a full year almost seems beyond fathoming.
The more I brood on it, the more I miss exhibiting those aspects of my past. When the girl saw me at the party, was she seeing the person I’d been rather than who I’ve become? Does my 6 year old mentality exist within my subconscious? Is there any way I can bring it to the fore? Start relishing life for the potential promise it holds rather than the potential disappointment that could come? Things are gonna start changing for me in wondrous and exciting ways. How can I start to see them with the shining eyes of a child instead of the faded, jaded vision of a disillusioned twenty-something? That chunky little spit-fire of enthusiasm still exists. I just hope I can tap into his wide-eyed gaze to take in the whole path in front of me.