Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Fresh! Au courant! Corr Corr!
I'm in my new city, and a fine city it is. I decree to make the most of my environs over the next two weeks, and I'm anticipating filling my face with as much food and wine as Melbourne can throw at me. I want to get loose and bring in the new year riot style. And I will. Cheers to y'all!
The twenty seven hour, five minute and thirty six second drive from Brisbane to Melbourne was a delight, and apart from a numb ass I remained wholly unharmed. With no road disasters to report and no bodies to be around, I'm left with no material.
There's so much to come. So much. Come with me boys and girls, in the New Year!
Monday, November 28, 2011
I have no testicles, that is a truth; but I also lack an aplomb, a surety about my viewpoint that a new megalopolis might lay bare. And one thing is for sure, people die everywhere. The inquiry into chutzpah begins; new city and new fatalities, yet the same perpetual questions remain about sentience and experience and pretty much all the shit that happens when people 'do life'.
I'm now thus a wanderer with a knack for effortlessly natural mouth closures, reassuring back pats and meticulous bandaging skills. My resume is replete with the macabre, but the last three years have taught me above all else that I need to get out of my comfort zone. A life of convenience seems inherently vapid and spiritless, for me, for now.
So to Melbourne I voyage, to Melbourne I seek! I wonder if the South is equipped?
Only time will tell.
Peace and mild hysteria,
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I hate the dating game. It's a thorn in my lonely side. Think about it with me, if you will.
I spend a lot of time cooped up into small, sterile spaces. I focus on and over clammy unresponsive corpses. Then, after eight or so hours I go home to 'decompress'. This down time sometimes involves baths. It sometimes involves wines. It sometimes involves Bruce Springsteen and a quiver of crackers and dip. More often than not, I think about how nice it would be to do/hear/eat these things in the company of someone else. I admit to owning romantic feelings.
It's reasonably difficult to meet someone that you'd like to spoon with when your money making activities involve aspiration, exhumation and repatriation. Moreover, it's problematic if you suffer from repeated bouts of sexually induced frontal labotomisation. Oh, how shit it is when you like someone and you turn into a mumbling and/or babbling retard in the presence of the very person that you'd like to kiss on the face. I am like Stan and the sexy time target is Wendy, or however the South Park simile would go.
It feels like this disintegration of any personal social charm is worsening too, assuming that I had any in the first place. When I was younger I believe I was happy to make a dick of myself. I have learned a helplessness in my latter years like Scar from The Lion King, but I can't function well enough to imitate a crappy pseudo confidence.
I suck at the dating game. Let's jump to third base and buy a puppy. By let's I mean, me.
Monday, November 14, 2011
During the service I couldn't stop looking at that box. I work with coffins every day. I fix the satin sheeting in them, I bang the nails into them, and I screw the lids down onto them. None of my experience truly prepared me for what it was going to be like, on the day, with her cold and very dead corpse packed into that small, shitty box. I wasn't unnerved about her cadaverous body (I'd prepared it the day before), but it was more the coffin in all it's gloomy jurisdiction that overwhelmed me. It was a symbol of containment, of barrier from us, that alarmed my sense of assurance.
It was in those moments that I realized that I could never wrap my arms around Nan again. Unless, of course, I was prepared to get on the ground in front of the congregation and wrap myself around the coffin like an activist around a tree.
I understand now, even more than before, how fucking weird death is. It's just so strange. You can be going along in your business and then BAM, you're denied of breath. It's uncanny and magical and downright intriguing.
So, with this first foray into burying my own blood, I feel nostalgic. I undertook the writing of my Grandmothers Eulogy as if I was Magnum, PI. I interviewed daily and wrote by night. This task was given the utmost importance, and I knew that if I could piece together her life with the right mix of colour, candor and integrity I would feel like I did a bloody good job. And I did.
Now I'm left to think about how I'm plodding along. Nan was a bit of a free spirit, and she didn't marry until she was 28. Free spirit may or may not suggest that she was a little bit of a coquette. Is it fair to place my timeline against hers, and see what she achieved and aim to do that plus a whole lot more? Am I a bit of a coquette? Awesome, if I indeed am.
I have technology, I have accessibility to the world, I have (relative) peace, I have an education. Let's go. I'm in. Death shows the benefit of life.
Through my Nan I can comprehend football, but fundamentally and most importantly through her I appreciate family and through her I perceive a most perfect love. Rest in peace Dorothy, you crazy amazing old bat.
P.S. That's me (on the right) with my Mama and my sister Deb. They go alright.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I don't know much about things. Really.
I feel deficient when I play board games. My last game of scrabble actually caused atrophy in the conciousness of my fellow scrabblers. It revealed how unimaginative I am under scrutiny and I hereby vow not to play again until I've purchased and digested the entire scrabble dictionary. Especially the two letter words.
How did my parents fail me? How did I fail my parents, moreso? I have a natural keenness of mind, so why do I have an arrested intelligence?
I was a really dumb kid. So dumb that I refused to write the letter a in my name. Srh it was, until grade two. I repeated grade 4 because my father was posted from Perth to Melbourne and then to Brisbane within a twelve month period.
1993 and 1994 were pivotal years in my primary education. Wrapping my head around the mysteries of short division, shrinky dinks and attention deficits. Three schools, five bowl haircuts and many a swallowed baby tooth. And then I got clever.
As girls starting following boys, I started following the Queensland cursive guidebook. I fooled people into thinking that I was an over achiever because I got my pen license in three states before the others had theirs in one. This is my secret shame.
My senior years of high school saw me retract into a nerd shell with no nerd substance. In university I struggled, mostly due to my complete lack of commitment and my exhaustive obligation to get wasted. I learned alot, but most of it is what NOT to do when you're aged 18 - 24. Good lessons, of course. But stupid.
Interesting things are happening everyday and I struggle to keep up. (Maybe a computer and a TV would help with this connection, but I'll work on that). In the funeral bizz, we have an "emotional intelliegence" and we can look people in the eye and interpret pain and loss and pull rabbits out of hats to make everything ok, but I'm certainly not using the part of my brain that helps me to develop ideas about living and breathing things that add to my conversation at the dinner table.
And now here I am.
I want to know about things. Feed me, World. Practical things about the world around us.
- Cue Music -
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sometimes, when an adult person works in seclusion, the mind can wander.
Sometimes, the adult mind wanders into an area that their parents minds shouldn't know about. Parents of mine take heed - I'm about to talk briefly but somewhat loosely (pun time) about adult sex and my general successes and failures concerning the act. Family folk; I am happy to assist you in continuing the delusion that I'm still NOT an adult, and thus a virgin destined for eventual romantic coupling with a handsome male olympic medalist.
As such, stop reading now Nanna. You'll be confused, but you should be proud. Really. Cheers.
For continuing readers, I realise that this is quite an aberrant topic for this blog. People working with dead people are conjectured to be respectful and wholly appropriate. And I am. At work and most public occasions. I do however think that in working with death, you should understand life. And life couldn't exist without sex and love and the amalgamation of those two fine ideas. Plus, switching the topic of taboo every now and again is thrilling.
Please note as a final stern warning that I don't think that cadavers are sexy. That's just gross.
I've always been drastically fascinated with love and intimacy. This interest was and still remains to be personally peppered with intrigue, peculiarity and a general overriding apprehension. I was in grade two and a friend told me that when grown ups make a baby the male penis can get glued into the female vagina. Glued. From then on I've been amazed with what people do to each other when their bodies and their hearts mess around. I still wonder about the glue thing. You never know. Sperm IS weird.
I think that I'm pretty crap at 'it'. I'm just no good at flinging my body around with people that I can't relax with. Being a social retard, getting comfortable around attractive people in any occasion, clothed OR unclothed, is endlessly a struggle. And mustering up the energy to be intimate with people that I don't deem as attractive seems pretty stupid also.
And how does one stop themselves from falling in love with their bed partner post-coitus? I'm 27 and I'm yet to figure it out. Characters that have had the pleasure(?) of being intimate with me are probably duly intimate with the understanding that I get Disney ideas and altogether unrealistic delusions of romantic grandeur. It's a shame but I'll probably never be a true harlot.
If I ever have kids I'm going to be pretty honest with them about the whole sex caper. I'm going to tell them that I flunked the quiz, but obviously still managed to procreate anyway. I'd say to fall in love, any way possible, including the gay ways. I'd say to love more than one person at once, at least once. Why not? And I guess I'd tell them to ask their father about whether or not penises can get glued into vaginas.
Monday, August 29, 2011
A moment of clarity reminded me that people really trust me. A trust with overwhelming reliance. Their loved ones die and they actually let me drive away with them. I take the wheel and pull away with the most treasured piece of cargo one can ever ferry forwards. It's me versus their reluctance to accept a defeat by death.
It's heavy stuff. I understand the torment. I understand that I could be hated for what I take away.
I've got this. Trust me.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I was dressing an old guy in his suit today when I realised that he had Chicago Bulls socks to put on. I wondered when the last time was that this 86 year old man had watched basketball. This made me smile, imagining him cheering on the likes of Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman in the 90's. Perhaps the socks were gifted without an awareness of a logo, but I wanted to believe that this guy appreciated all things dope.
I smiled a lot today. The socks added to the pleasant mood. Yesterday I put a pair of boxer shorts on a man that had 'hot and throbbing' printed all over the cheap satin. This guys junk held neither of those characteristics, by the sheer fact that his blood hadn't been pumping for three entire days. I was too busy to chuckle yesterday, but today I could reflect on the irony and hoped that this inside joke was in fact an intention of the family.
I got pooped on by another dead person, but I was able to handle it today because I realised that I could actually handle it. I googled whether poop had ever killed anyone and found out that it indeed has, by monstorous gushings of elephant dung or crushing via fallen awnings covered in pidgeon shit. A little bit of poop on a sleeve was not a cause for distress.
So there you go. It's the little things, like googling shit and observing paradox, that makes a day special.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Astrology isn't one of my most familiar belief systems, but a very dear friend of mine has introduced me to a phenomena that seems to be personally befitting.
'Saturn returning' is a whack planetary curiosity that is said to influence a persons life development at 27-30 year intervals. Apparently it takes about that long for Saturn to take a hoon around the sun, and when the flags are waived and the orbit is completed the person is said to move onto a new stage in life. And so it begins, and would thus explain the last six or so months worth of sentient cramping. It isn't hormones, m*ther f*ckers.
Tool wrote about it, as did REM. No doubt named a record after it and Drew Barrymore talked about it on The Late Show with David Letterman. People know about it. I guess I missed the memo saying "Things are gonna get f*cking crazy up in this s*it."
I'm cool. I'm pretty done with the last 27 years. It was a hoot, for sure, but the whole idea of rebirth and resurrection is charming. With the whole "I'm a mortician and I understand sadness" caper well oiled, I want to focus on something else. The same job, but a new perspective. I am yet to find this, but I'm happy knowing that saturn is smashing it's way around and if Astroboy has his way I'll be coming up roses pretty soon.
Like those shit cards with the 'contemporary' font, I wouldn't mind dancing like no one was watching. And I could, but I'll still look like a dick.
Sorry for the potty mouth mum. As described, I'll grow out of it soon.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I don't read enough.
Text books in high school scared me away from pages and this aversion lasted longer than I'd like to admit. If I was in a library I felt like I was being put to work, and I don't exactly know what this suggests about my psyche during that caustic period of time.
As a child I was obsessed with books like the Chronicles of Narnia, the Magic Faraway Tree and Ramona Strikes back. Oh Enid Blyton. I didn't just read Enid Blyton, I lived it. Little Sarah visited most books over and over again so that I memorised the page numbers of my favourite sentences. I would stab my own pet for the famous five series. I seriously contemplated running away to the circus after being engrossed by her circus series in the early nineties. Instead of paying attention to all the grungey goodness that was going on I was busy inventing scenarios involving faeries, goblins and suspiciously attractive elves.
I moved on to Judy Blume and Trixie Beldon. So much escapism, so many mysteries.
And who could omit Goosebumps. That would be a horror! If you went to a grade five birthday party and you didn't give the host a copy of 'The horror at Camp Jellyjam' or 'How I got my shrunken head' you were a damn fool.
After an ever-dwindling preoccupation with the Fear Street series I started going to parties and drinking my fill of Red Bear vodka. The novelty of novels faded and all I wanted to do was a pash on with James Wadey or some other equally smooth punk kid. I never tried it on with James Wadey. He's probably married with twenty-seven bastard children knowing my history with lust.
Anyway, all is not lost. I moved out of home and by my early 20's I was racking up reasonably hefty fines from the Ashgrove library. My reading stints come and go, but I'm in a go zone right now. I've become enamoured with the writings of David Sedaris. His self-deprecating style and eye for all things idiosyncratic has honestly helped me feel comfortable with being unconventional.
And here's the tie in. I just found out that David Sedaris did a ten day stint at a morgue for Esquire magazine. I get the feeling that his mind might work in a similar way to mine. Things that I see, working with the dead, he may too. It's heartening to see that someone I value might be asking the same questions that I am. It's easy to get lost in the sea of convention.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
August is Mortuary Music Month. This will be AH-MAZING!
The stereo is my best buddy. Music seems to make any level of grossness attackable. As such, I use and abuse the boom box to entice me through the grime until I can hang up my boots. The worse the post-mortal prep, the more gentle the music. Well, either gentle acoustic or ridiculous rap. Early rap takes the sting out of stench too.
Rap is great on a friday. Country is great on a monday. Banjo is good if you need to stitch a person up. Jazz is good when you're doing hair and make up. Ska is good at the start of the day. 90's alt. rock is always, always good.
Mortuary Music Month is an initiative that I've thought up to quell a radio war. Sharing a workspace means that you have to be considerate of others, and unfortunately in my case this means that my co-worker prefers commercial radio and I have to play nice. It kills me. It honestly does. (Not the being nice part, but the dumbass radio personalities speaking stupidities and brain numbing advertising campaigns that are repeated ad nauseum).
August 1st is going to kick off with Mariah Carey day. That's right. Emotions, Music box, Daydream...all day all MC. I'm so excited, I might vomit glitter. The month will consist of one artist or band a day. Eight full hours of career gold. It'll give mortuary staff a reason to get up in the morning other than to make the dead look handsome.
We can't not do Michael Jackson. The Beatles. Hank Williams, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. Janis Joplin, Cream, The Velvet Undergound and Simon and Garfunkel. I DO like the old stuff better than the new stuff, but this month won't discriminate. I'm working on the rest, but there's going to be plenty of gloriously shit pop a.k.a Britney. Plenty of Aussie rock.
There's so much more to a mortuary than bleach and blood. Blame it on the boogie.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I think about suicide plenty. I know I've written about it before, but this week too many pretty boys and girls checked out for me to not feel something.
I understand why people kill themselves and I see how they do it. I'm tired of hearing the same old cliches. It's not a selfish act, nor is it a sign of cowardice. I accept that, if nothing else, suicide is an indication of a deep hurt, resiliance beaten, and a view obscured by suffering and affliction.
I understand why those left behind are angry. It's hard to accept that someone would throw away their healthy body, one with value in moments still left to live if only the unhealthy and tired mind could heal. After suicide, the family and friends have to deal with all the shit while the corpse just gets to be dead and rot. Gone, and no longer.
Things can get better. Things do improve and pain can be lifted. If only malaise could be cured for everyone with music, booty and cookies. In that order. Just saying, it helps someone I know.
My next birthday candle blowout will be dedicated to wondrously preventing some young folk from making a pre-emptive exit strategy. I don't know how, but it could work. I never did get that birthday anaconda though.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The “Friends of Toowong Cemetery” are throwing a special Heritage Day this Sunday July 24th to celebrate 140 years of life and death at what was originally called the Brisbane General Cemetery.
The hoo haa marks 140 years since the burial of Governor Blackall. It'll be splendid! There will be a re-enactment of the burial at 10:30am complete with a 17 gun salute and a horse drawn hearse. From 10am until 3PM there will be heritage displays, entertainment and food and drink available...what more could you dream of in a cemetery as a living and breathing entity?
I'm mad keen to put on a frock, make cucumber sandwiches and spend a day amongst the graves. Come join me and learn about Brisbanes largest and loveliest necropolis.
Toowong Cemetery - entry via Richer Street, Toowong.
Free for all. Muchly appreciated by povs like me (but feel free to make donations to the friends of toowong cemetery club. Is it a club? Association? Hmph).
Sunday, July 17, 2011
For a while I avoided eye contact as much as possible with my client families after my inital hello. This wasn't purposeful, but I felt like I owed them this courtesy. And I was afraid. I assumed that by averting my eyes when their tears fell I was doing them a favour by holding together an invisible web of dignity. I was so wrong to assume this, yet I was just doing what was easy for me to make it through the interaction.
Working with grieving people is a challenge. Working with the general public is hard enough, but when people are grieving it adds a completely new dimension. Folks handle the loss of their (usually) loved one very differently, but most of the time the look on their face when they first view the deceased is distinct. Their eyes widen and inhale the image, then quickly snap shut as is if to reject the realities of the coffin and inhabitant in front of them. It's truly awful, and only now am I beginning to understand how I can make the meeting between dead person and live lover more comfortable.
That's all I can do.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I'm in love with the ideas of things. Such things are all inclusive. People, pot plants, pianos, pie making and other words not necessarily starting with (P). The (p)roblem is; I don't have a particular proficiency with reality checking. My head is in the clouds and my reality is most often much grittier.
I flared into a career as a mortician thinking that I could just be the 'hair and makeup' girl. Cue incorrect answer sound effect. I thought that by studying Psychology I'd be able to lay rich people on couches, letting them talk about their shit kids while I snuck cheese into my mouth. Repeat said sound effect.
These misaligned ideas fly around like rats on acid. Quick, greedy, crazy and kind of ugly. I'm attracted to all opportunities, and that isn't necessarily a shit thing. I come into trouble though when I have too many of these ideas going on at once and I break a mental sweat like a whore in church. I run myself, physically overwhelmed, into a black hole of misery. Then all of the ideas doing their mousy wheel exercisin' in my mind flop dead into the same black hole, equally as spent as I.
Here's the specifics if you are so inclined. I'll warn you, this is some serious front of mind shit and as such probably won't make sense or be interesting in the slightest:
(Oh Dear Diary)
I can't commit to getting a stretchy yoga torso if the classes are ninety minutes long and you have to go more than three times a week. That expectation is morbidly unrealistic. Furthermore, I can't do that activity if I need to practise to play decently in a new band. This makes sense, because you don't need good genes to play guitar but no matter how hard I try I will not look like Jennifer Aniston. Ever. Lastly, it's probably not prudent to be in a band if I want to start studying again. (Then again, do I even want to do that?).
And then, the real humdinger, I have to work full time plus on call weekends to pay back the mountain of debt I incurred whilst moving houses and setting up shop in a badly-in-need-of-condemning shit hole. I moved into the shit hole due to another one of those head in the cloud, romantisizing moments of pragmatic supression.
The rose tinted window is just that.
Monday, July 11, 2011
This whole entry may have been a calculated excuse to post a picture of Kevin Bacon. And no, he isn't dead. I just feel restless; footloose even.
I'm a buzzing bag of agitation and I can't find a way to safely release this nervous energy without looking completely perturbed. I could try streaming TLC music clips over and over again but a girl has to work sometimes, right? (RIP Left eye).
Winter is crazy time for morticians and this season is no exception. If I take too much time out of the mortuary the bodies stack up, almost literally.
I wish there was a less dicky word for meditation. I need some time to chill and take stock of stuff. That's meditation minus the hooey as far as I can tell. I feel like my eyes are peeled for opportunity but the opportunity wagon has detoured my street. Patience doesn't come easily to me, a self-pitying harbinger of reality.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Horrendously beautiful people are irritating.
Brisbane is currently being dogged by a throng of young, enchanting and captivating hipsters. They're everywhere, filling all the new bars and swell cafes with their perfectly coiffed hair and clipped beards. Mind you, I do enjoy looking at men with beards. This trend can stay.
I look at these darlings in their super stylin' get up and I wonder how they embezzle the cash for their bikes, fancy shoes and ever changing eyewear collections. I hate them for having this inherent panache for fashion, fancy footings and fine things. I add that it's easy to be envious. This lifestyle of fluttering between gigs and parties with other charming belles and beaus is as appealing as their blemish free faces.
I like to think about attractiveness. Being a babe will generally give people a leg up in the world. Two bucks short for the train fare? Not a drama. Nothing to wear? Throw on a tea towel and a new trend is born. It stinks, and the average and less-than average folk are left to battle and conquer to find someone accessible to date and mate with.
It helps to remember that physical appearance means sweet f.a. in the grand scheme of things. When I get pissed off that I'm not attracting such pretty folk (or anyone for that matter) I think about how gross even the most classically beautiful person looks when they are decomposed. Health, life, and the way you live it is really all that matters. When you are born you look like shit. When you die, you look even more shit. And yes, you shit all the way through.
Sorry pretty people. I don't really hate you, I'd just like an ideal world with an equal playing field.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I've been a mortician on a full time basis for three years now. Day after day and death after death, fashioning and fabricating funerals to rest the breathless and bereft. Perhaps close to eight hundred mortal working days, and thousands upon thousands of taciturn and cold clientele. I've crossed a bridge from a wide eyed and callow make-up fancier to a fully fledged funeral worker more pragmatic and versed in grief and gore.
I wonder why now, at his point in my career, I've become a little spooked. I had another lucid dream, yet this time it wasn't a fun one. No more apple and vegemite combinations, just regular old dreams of necrosis.
People have often asked me if I've had nightmares about various traumas and injuries. Up until this point there hadn't been any cross over between my waking life and my dream states, but by perchance something had to give and BOOM...nightmare 2011 was had, and it was a doozy.
I can't get this girls face out of my mind. I've never seen her before in real life. She had suicided, and as such was brought in after a coronial autopsy. When I opened the body bag I could see that she'd really done a humdinger on herself. Her eyes were large and gentle yet had been taken over by the cloudy haze of antemortem. Her arms long and delicate but fingers dark and dry. It was horrific. The whole dream sequence, if shot in a movie, was threatening and macabre. The smells and sounds were so realistic that I could've sworn it was an event in reality.
The dream progressed and the corpse began to turn her head on the table, look at me and talk. Nobody else in the room could hear or see the girl communicate so I proceeded to lose my shit. Understandably. I woke up from the dream that went for what felt like an hour too long, terrified and unsettled. The girls face is etched into my mind. What will happen if I meet this girl one day in the flesh? Will she be alive? Was this a premonition?
Questions, questions, questions. Scary, Scary, Scary.
Monday, June 27, 2011
I had a really awesome dream last night. Alarmingly, my dream was so captivating that I slumbered with my body weight stacked on my right arm. I woke up freaking out that my arm was unusually numb; could aliens have exchanged my flapper for a long fat rubber one? It took me a couple of minutes to shake the delusion and waggle the blood back into my digits.
Anyway, the dream was pretty stupid. I was writing this blog in the dream, and then I decided to write another blog. The new blog was called something like "Weird Food" and I just wrote a heap of weird funny shit about eating. It's probably something I should look into. I love eating, I love gross things, so this all seems like a natural progression.
I'm back to work tomorrow. Heading back into the mortuary after a couple of days of fresh air is always a struggle. The smells, oh the smells!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I'm not a smoker (So, self, WHY ARE YOU SMOKING?). Foolery.
I'm currently making bad decisions on a dependable and consonant inventory. It must be that forces are aligning quietly to make me as emotionally uncomfortable and privately unstable as possible. I threw my last dollar for the week on black and lost. I mixed a lot of red wine with a lot of gin, three nights in a row. I lost my soup. I also lost my iPhone, my only connection to the internets and my valued human population, because I didn't take a bag out. Lesson learned that stockings cannot support 137grams of expensive telecommunications.
I'm in Perth presently for the annual Australian Institute of Embalmers Conference. It has been a weekend full of swan river cruising, ruinous buffet gormandizing and wild west fancy dressings. As well as ungovernable, shiraz fuelled social events we attended day time educational sessions covering topics such as facial reconstruction, the effects of chemotherapy on embalming and death close to birth. My observations are thus: Embalmers are amazing. Warm, funny, outgoing and honest. It was a conference of passionate professionals who know stupid amounts of information about very intriguing things, and I love that I can work in close association with them. I may even certify some time!
I'm now making use of this computer, it's free and it's lovely. Perhaps my luck is changing? Maybe I'll walk out into the lobby and Lindsay Lohan will be there, winking at me and offering a cigarette.
Also, this happened.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
An open letter to the universe:
It is a sad day. I am computerless. Without ownership of a beloved techno-gadget to connect, collaborate and entertain. And blog. Gah!
I haven't owned one in about five years. I've always lived in shared accomodation and have thus mooched of others for the commodity. I'm out on my own now in the big scary world and thus have no computer, no spider killing skills, no pegs and no dish cloths. The spiders I can kill with kindness, the last two things I can afford, just, but the computer is going to take a long time and preeminantly lots and lots of death. I need overtime. I need my second job back. I need a lotto ticket.
Maybe, just maybe, something will fall off the back of a truck. Maybe, just maybe, it'll be an Apple iMac. Maybe a mega huge one. (It'll probably be a cheap notebook on clearance at Tandy with sticky keys and a cracked screen).
Sorry for all you blog thirsty readers, I'll try as often as I can to continue mooching off others until I buy something. I also promise to write more about the crazy things that have been
Until then, Peace.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Damn Ronan Keeting and all that he is. Silence to you, sir.
I was feeling decidedly better until I started thinking about Ronan Keating.
This distraction aside, I've realised it's not becoming of me to dwell and depress. Huzzah! I was starting to feel alien, and not in the good John Lithgow/Alex Mac sense. My face is made for smiling, it seems, and I'm just sad-lesson-learning during this part of my life. Anyway, herein is another tip o' the hat to advice well received.
I'm a talker. I like to have a yarn. I don't mean chit chattery, shitty gossip or conversational niceties; but if something is on my mind it feels natural for me to talk about it with the parties concerned. As it turns out, sharing how you feel isn't always the smartest way to go about things. I like being transparent and knowing that the people who know me understand my perspective. Yet is there tact and benefit in calm and restraint?
And I'm back to the same old mind pickle. Do you tell/show/do whatever you need to because of the odd but not impossible chance that you get may get hit by a BCC bus crossing the street to buy a marked down pumpkin curry after 2PM? Maybe. Probably not.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I'm having a hard time. Being honest with yourself is a real b*stard of an experience really isn't it?.
This last week in particular has been challenging. I'm heartbroken. I'm miserable. I feel like crawling away into a cavern for a few months, letting my underarm hairs dread and my tear ducts open and stream continuously until my body is a withered empty and indecipherable membrane. A hairy one at that. Do we have caverns in Brisbane? Surely.
And then I stop and look at what is happening around me, in my hands and at my side. I'm not dead. My friends on my table most certainly are. They've had car accidents, heart attacks, cancers and strokes and all I have is a bruised and tender ego. Woe is NOT me.
The perspective I get as a mortician is a unique and precious job perk. I guess police and emergency service people would understand it too. Even when I'm sad, other people are much much sadder with due reason. I am not as lost as I feel.
Peace and love (and a promise for something uplifting next time),
Friday, May 20, 2011
A year of death and a year of thoughts and reflections as a chain reaction. You like?
Today is this here blogs birthday. Hip hip hoorah!
I've matured just a little bit this year because of the blog. I think. Weird huh.
I have a more responsive emotional acknowledgment of death. I still don't get it though. As such I have comprehended this much: We live, and then we die, and we generally have at least one person that cares about the fact that we do. I will review this lesson in another 365 days.
Anyway, I've shared more about my thoughts and feelings to a wider audience than I ever thought possible. My CEO recently told me that he reads my entries (Hi Boss, thanks for being open minded enough to give me the green light to write what I do, gracias!).
Good times. I've travelled, I've met great people, I've cried alot, and I've opened my heart.
I'm going to celebrate feeling so exposed. It's a very beneficial thing. Come party with me tonight, 7PM at the Beetle Bar in Brisbane. It's also my friends birthday so it'll be fun times all round. Bands, beer and probably a few sets of boobs.
Peace and love until it does indeed kill me,
Monday, May 16, 2011
I think I was kicked in the back by a ghost. Seriously. Kicked or pushed. Either way, I was moved forward with unexplainable force. It's serious X-Files shit.
I stacked it in the fridge pretty badly really. It makes no sense, but I'm sure that the full house of 20 odd corpses were laughing in their not yet buried bones. It would've been a sight to behold, (if ghosts continue to possess that ability). Knees cracking to the cold concrete, arms flailing, I had my first official 'fall' as a sober adult and feel very much like an idiot. Story checks out that you can be shamed by the dead.
The next few weeks are going to be a challenge with a smashed knee, messed up hip and gammy arm. I'm a hodgepodge of pain. It's not like I have to move dead weight around constantly, right? Or, at least I'm not actually dead.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I want to believe that we had a ghost in the mortuary today.
I'm usually skeptical, but I like to imagine that he held a voice of reason. The stereo in the embalming room kept dropping out of signal and the volume jumping wildly. Interestingly, we had a young guy in our care and I think he just wanted to mess around with the tunes and show off his casper skills.
As I worked around him, I wondered if he could give me any advice. I'm peculiar. I'd never ask a stranger that was alive for tips on my personal quandaries. I questioned, in his short life what did he learn about love? What did he share with his closest companies?
What does it mean to connect with someone? And does it necessarily mean anything if we do?
I realised something pretty lousy about my own experience. I don't understand love. I don't understand the sustainability of intimacy in one relationship if culture promotes living in truth and freedom. One in every three marriages end in divorce, so why do so many people do it? Is it stability? Is it comfort? Is it settlement? Is it fantasy? Is it real?
I want to believe in love. I'm usually skeptical.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I'm in a mind pickle. As kids are seemingly growing up quicker these days, is the 'mid-life crisis' phenomena coming earlier by a couple of decades? Or, in a fatalist approach, is my lifespan destined to be short, thus drawing my particular freak out nearer than usual? I'm at a crossroads. A pickle crossroads.
Perhaps my anxieties of late are born from a cumulation of pressures from my job. That's what my reasonable mind suggests. It sucks, but I am feeling a little down lately about, well, about grief. I'm grieving about grief. The mind of a mortician seems to be a murky place.
On the weekend I attended the Brisbane excursion for the Melbourne-based Women of Letters event. I don't know why I hadn't heard of it sooner, as I've been known to fancy the odd pen pal correspondence in the not too distant past. That, and I fancy the co-curator Marieke Hardy. What self-honest individual (male or female) doesn't.
Anyway, the event brings together writers, comedians, musicians, pollies and generally awesome women to share happy/funny/sad/inspiring stories and celebrate writing. It's a fucking brilliant idea, and one that makes me happy that I have a brain and a heartbeat. Story telling in a relaxed, supportive and creative network. Check out the link anyway, the more people who attend and love it will balance out the dicks in the country (Dicks of the personality type, not the sexual organ. Men are cordially invited to be in the audience too).
Event details aside, I've been inspired to write myself a short letter. Forgive me for the self indulgence. To myself, whose heart and mind seem to be having trouble communicating with each other:
Wassup! Really, what is up?
As yourself, to yourself, you really need to take some McCain advertising advice and look after yourself. Eat more fruit, you love it but you're lazy and just because it perishes it doesn't excuse you from not eating it more regularly. Quit the whining about register lines in the supermarket too. You're being a troll. Quit that and the road rage. You drive slower than most people anyway so you're a laughable contradiction.
As such, chill the f*ck out. I am proud of what you do for others, you are proud of you, but don't take on more than you need to. You understand what death is, and just because you touch cancer and illness and injury, it doesn't mean that you are on the table or suffer from these things right now. It will happen, in some way, but not now and probably not soon. Do not live in fear. You can, but you don't need to and things will be much more fun if you understand this. Also, you might make them look alive, but you can't bring them back. Don't say sorry to them. You are an observer and you offer a ridiculously odd customer service. As always, observe your feelings but don't let them rule you without reason.
To prevent an early demise of yourself, stop wasting your money on gin and goon. If you want travel and it's associated lessons, you can't have an open pocket for beer either. It's that simple. Also, you do make an idiot of yourself when you pass out at parties now. You are getting older and you look less attractive munted. Trust yourself.
Go to London, study freedom and excess. Go to America and study even more excess. Then go and help more people. Anywhere. I think this is what you want to do and, like science, it is the best tentative plan.
Forgive those that didn't give you a good chance early on, and appreciate those who give you a chance now. Also, eat more cheese. And learn the piano. Together, at once.
You are your own, in a group of others. Find diversity.
Peace and love,
(I feel much better, thank you).
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Something quite extraordinary is going to happen in the funeral business. A new and exciting frontier that is close to becoming a reality. IT'S BIO-CREMATION TIME YO!
You say "Wha???"
Bio-cremation is an environmentally focused “end of life” option for people choosing cremation over burial. I heard about this technology at a funeral industry convention, and during the presentation I had to restrain from jumping up on the table in wild and uncontrolled enthusiasm...I don't know why but something about this process feels inherently right. Maybe it's the fact that our traditionally sleepy industry is moving ahead alongside other industry initiatives and accepting the fact that we need to consider the Earth instead of trashing and rampaging it.
As far as I can tell, this technology is globally lead and trademarked to Matthews International Cremation Division, an American company that has had success within various U.S. state legislations to allow the process to be practised. It's an eye opening scientific process that will surely raise a few eyebrows, but all drastic change ruffles feathers, right?
Now forgive me, I am not great with scientific explanations but I'll give the concept a go. Cremation by definition is reducing the body to its basic elements of bone fragments through the use of heat. The Bio Cremation technology replaces the use of flame with the utilisation of water, blended with an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide. I know right! The steps involved are technical but not too overwhelming when explained well. I'll pop up a link and if you're interested and read all about it (I highly recommend you do!).
Anyway, this process is so environmentally-friendly because there are almost zero air emissions admitted into the atmosphere. The by-product (effluent) from is sent to water recycling where it is filtered, purified and recycled back to earth. Basically, our body is recycled and without harm to the environment. We return turn to the earth through a cycle of life, feeding trees and making stuff greener.
Hoorah! Oh, and there are you tube clips too, so you can learn just as much as I know. I wouldn't mind heading to the states and bringing the technology back to Australia, anyone feel like sponsoring??? I can only dream.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As a child I loved the movie The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy Gaaaaaaale.
Most girls born in the 80's (and surrounding decades for that matter) probably shared this fascination. I loved it because it scared the crap out of me, and I loved how perfect Dorothy's braids were, how degraded the lollypop kids seemed, and how the wicked witch melts so theatrically in the end. Between about 1989 and 1993 I can honestly say that I attempted to watch it every single day after kindy and then school. Even today if I watch it I fall into a subconcious time warp and can recite each line without exerting any cognitive effort.
You can imagine how stoked I was when I learned that my nannas name wasn't actually nanna, but it was Dorothy. Dorothy Veitch, of Sunbury Victoria. Wifey to George and mother to a bazillion.
My grandpa George was amazing, and one of the few relatives that I really understood as a child. We shared a pretty amazing bond for people generations apart in age, states apart in distance, yet so similar in heart and mind. I was devastated when he died in about 1995. Maybe it was 1996?. He was fishing around Lake Eppalock in Victoria when his line got snagged. Appararently he threw off his clothes, jumped in to save his stash and either had a heart attack or drowned because he was pretty darn old. (mental note to self: Why don't I know the actual story?). At some stage in my angsty teens I think I even believed he had killed himself to escape our clan, because at that stage I was engrossed in bitterness and I thought he must have been too.
I really do need to ask my mum how he died, but back then all I was told was that pa 'went to heaven' doing something that he really loved. Still, it's a big bummer that he's gone and an even bigger bummer for me that I still haven't learnt very much about his life. I remember watching MASH together, reading Graeme Base books together, laughing and lamenting about how ridiculously crazy our family was. I hate the word cherish, but its a description that lamely springs to mind when I think about him in his scungy blue workmans overalls that his wardrobe practically wholly consisted of.
Anyway, back to his wife. Ol' Dot.
She scared me just as much as the crazy flying monkeys did in the Wizard of Oz. I don't really know why. Probably because Pa made fun of her and her big bum. You see, nan was a fairly large lady in her mothering and grandmothering years, and I remember thinking that she could sit on me by accident on the couch and I'd squash like a ribena berry. She made peas so soggy that they looked like something I'd see in the mortuary, and as I child I thought her house smelt not dissimilar to a corspe either.
All this aside, I've grown up and I'm now looking back. I'm hungry to see out of these eyes that I have inherited. I want to understand my genes, and learn how to win the winnings and leave the losings.
I went to see Nan when I was in Melbourne last week. Back in Sunbury, I felt guilt and regret for not returning sooner. The last time I was in the locality it was easy for me to drop into Nan's Barkly Street house. All her children grew up there, the extensive majority of her days started and finished there, and all my memories of Pa were there.
Nan is now in a nursing home, a no-frills one near to the cemetery where pa is buried. She has reasonably bad dementia, but when I sat beside her she grabbed my hand fiercely and studied my face for an eternity. Eyes darting back and forth, she knew that I was from her, but not how I had come to be beside her.
It was amazing. After a while, she knew who I was and told me that she always had loved me. I thought that was odd, because I was really a little shit growing up, but it was a touching moment none the less. We talked about how she felt trapped and bored, but that she was accepting of ageing and the fact that life is unrefutedly dictated by the clock.
I said goodbye, feeling odd that in that very half an hour we'd become closer together than in any other time in the twenty six years that I've been around. We were both scared and confused, but wanted to be together more than we could comprehend. Both of us trying to remember past days that were too few and are too far gone.
I don't want her to die before I know what she's all about. That would be a bummer. Also, she thinks I'm a nurse for some reason and I'm just going to let that white lie be.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I'm in post-public speaking reverie. The convention, and my brief but terrifying stint as an expert is over for now...
I had to speak very recently in front of a particularly large group of experienced industry professionals. The presentation, complimented by a delightfully colourful slideshow, was required after winning a scholarship late last year. Let me add that this was the SCARIEST DAMN EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD in my 26.5 years on the planet. Scary, but unbelievably rewarding.
I highly respected the faces I could see in the room. It seemed that all eyes focused on me and my quivering eyebrow. I couldn't pick up my glass of water because my hands shook and my arms wouldn't function without jerking as if I was doing the robot. My heart thumped in my chest so much that my stomach and ribs pained me. In short, my mortality was brought into question.
I don't know how I did it. Similarly, I don't know how I fooled people into thinking that I was comfortable. I thought my voice sounded foreign, but others complimented my poise. Poise, whilst fearing that a bucket was required for a speedy breakfast removal.
After the presentation my endorphin levels skyrocketed and I felt a rush of pride. Business cards were slipped to me quicker than an E at mardi gras. I can't remember the last time I really surprised myself, or did something that made me feel like I was really achieving. Most of the time I'm shaking my head at my immaturity and comfortable averageness, laughing at questionable homonyms and miserably failing at recalling punchlines...
I DID IT!
P.S.Thank you bar man (who looked like a cast member of Party Down), for your kind words and alcohol-based supply of courage in the lead up.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Some place real, some place different.
I'd love to start my own funeral business. A contemporary, customised, independent business that would turn the traditional funeral concept on it's left nut.
This isn't to say that the funeral businesses in Brisbane are no good. It's just that I can see a gap in the market, and if I had a million bucks or so I'd sure as hell like to have a crack. A lass has the right to dream.
I can see the premises in my imagination. Without a plastic flower or sateen tissue box cover in sight, the interior design itself would look more like somewhere you'd WANT to sit down, relax and sink a frosty ale. When you think of a chapel it's not particularly natural to think about comfort and relaxation, but there's no reason why it can't be the way.
I'd love a couple of vintage cars in the fleet, some cute staff and a killer coffee machine. Awesome couches. BAR. Community vegie garden. Quirky, but special. Great music, good art, positive vibes and open minds. Honest, compassionate customer service provision.
I like to think about this.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
It's been too long.
Firstly I want to thank all the readers that have e-mailed me, concerned that I might have met an untimely ending. Imagine that, after that particularly sad and reflective last post. I'm not going anywhere for a while, even though I feel like dying. Since being home I've been sick with a tummy bug and my green cordial is making for an interesting vomit experience. Jokes aside, I am fine!
Anyway, the truth is that I was having a ridiculously great time overseas, meeting new people, eating shit loads of snow (It's tasty!) and experiencing all the rich culture that Japan has to offer. All this for three weeks or so, until the Earth decided to have a spazzy and cause havoc for my last couple of days.
Even then, after the quake, I was astounded at the dignity and order of the Japanese people. As a westerner looking on it was an interesting (and a bit of an eerie) experience to be a part of. There I was, concerned that my ovaries were being fried by leaking radiation. The locals on the other hand were courteous, helpful and polite even though their homes and lives were being threatened by a menopausal mother nature.
After public transport delays and flight diversions, I got home in one piece. I'm telling people that I was around the quake but not in it. For the big one I was actually in Kyoto riding a bike around stunning preserved streets and temples. I met a guy who made the cutest little statues out of silk worm cocoons. Feeling nothing but contentment and fatigue from a big day, I didn't find out about the disaster until I was ready to eat dinner that night. My sister, in AUSTRALIA, texted me afraid I was dead, and there I was chowing into good food and great beer.
So now I'm home and spewing. It's a sad end to an amazing time in my life. I've got many stories and photos to share, and at many points in the trip I was reminded about how my job has changed my perception of where and how I live in the world. And how I want to go forward.
Peace and love and a promise for more stories,
P.S. Those hot coffee cans in an otherwise cold can vending machine creep me out. I drunk most of that one, but it smelt like a post-pal dogs mouth. Then I pooped alot. I advise against anyone consuming one in the future.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Do I have time to second guess myself? I start the backwards math.
"She's (x age), I'm 26..that would leave me (y) years. Shit."
We held a very upsetting funeral service today. It was for a young woman who had passed away from a very quick and intense illness. Her body was a tiny shell, her face gaunt and aged from the disease that took her. I saw photos of her with her friends at concerts and festivals and her cheeks were pink and full. These photos weren't old. In fact, she wasn't much older than me. I take similar photos with my girlfriends when I'm out at gigs and festivals and today I couldn't help but think that my life could so easily be hers. Why her? If she'd have known three years earlier...
I count back often. Another lady who had the pleasure of my company today died in her seventies. If I die in my early seventies, that leaves me about fourty four years to do what I want to do. Is that enough time? Not particularly, if I consider how badly I want to grow long silver hair and tie it in a bow above my head like a granny ga ga. I also want to sky dive for my sixty-ninth birthday.
Most people die in their eighties, but plenty knock off earlier. Today's exemplar demonstrated that I shouldn't be greedy with my years. Like they say, it's not the days in the life but the life in the days that count.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I hate cancer.
My workmates and I can't make sense of it. We have all been inappropriately touched by it in some way or another, the filthy scumbag of a disease it is. Some of us at work have lost friends and family to the illness. It took my Aunty Katie, and my sister punched through it a couple of times. Even a couple of our favourite funeral workers are battling the illness and undergoing treatment themselves. A tip of the hat to you fellows, you are amazing and loved.
In some ways, I wish I didn't see dead people EVERY DAY. I am too used to cancer being final, as a witness to the wrong side of the diagnosis. I need to be exposed to the survivors that come out from the illness with their heads high and their realities realigned. My perceptions are inaccurate and it makes me feel gloomy.
Today I helped a number of people who died of cancer. I washed them, dressed them, and comforted them. Cancer schmanser, they got the deluxe treatment. If their ghosts were around I hope that they enjoyed the long awaited post-mortem pampering.
I hate cancer.
Peace and Hope.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
I think I might poo my pants.
It's two weeks and two days until I fly to Japan. Only ten more working days! I've been wanting to go to Japan since I was a blastocyst. I'm pretty sure I was meant to be asian, considering my height and my reluctance to swim in the ocean.
For four weeks I'm conscientiously rampaging Tokyo, Nozawa (for some attempts at snowboarding and big-doodled snowman making), Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa, and Hiroshima. Besides these major stops I've planned some little day trips, my most anticipated being the trek to Mt Koya-san for the okunoin cemetery.
Okunoin is the site of the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism and one of the most revered persons in the religious history of Japan. It's also the largest buddhist cemetery in japan with something close to 200,000 tombstones.
Apparently, Kobo Daishi is believed to rest in eternal meditation at the cemetery and provides relief to those who ask for salvation. This being said, Okunoin is one of the most sacred places in Japan and I'm super keen to check it out. I'm staying in an actual temple with a koi garden. Most importantly I get to eat sumptous vegetarian delights, wear yukata and loudly hum without people assuming I'm nuts.
Peace. For reals.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Word of advice for any aspiring morticians out there - NEVER EVER go to work hung over. Ever.
It's cruel to put yourself through the pain. Body bag experience one: gangrenous stump. Body bag experience two: stale urine soaked hair. And as the shift rolls on the cases don't ever get easier. When your stomach is already waving the white flag it takes an iron will to not end up on the grimey floor in tears rocking back and forth...
Yesterdays Australia Day celebrations consisted of a kiddie pool, great company, plentiful sangria and uninspiring radio programming. We debated whether or not alcohol was a help or a hinderence to creative writing. Personally, I love the honesty that only being totally messed up can bring. Even though I'm a miserable drunk, more relaxed inhibitions for someone with social anxieties isn't a bad thing. It's the whole Yerkes-Dodson Law I guess.
Another friend, a super smart and sassy young lass, says that she never writes drunk. Good writing takes concentration and skill and in her opinion alcohol just makes you sound like a sloppy idiot.
Alcohol. I love it. I also hate it. (This is the best I can do whilst hung over like a mofo...)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
It has started. The self replenshing coat of hair on my body has started to infiltrate the money maker. I found a rogue hair on my chin, and this guy wasn't pretty. A demon spawn of shiny black protein.
Before working in the mortuary I had some pretty lousy body image hang ups. I was just like any 20 something female, crawling out of the teen year trenches with mental bruises from pressures to be something other than what I am. My job then provided me with evidence to the odd addage "There's always someone worse off than you." It's fair to say that I'd rather have white skin and dark pubes than to be dead on a slab with white skin and dark pubes. Or just dead with any hair-istcal features.
Anyway, Sarah Silverman often talks about how hairy she is and she's still cool. (She doesn't look TOO hairy to me however.) It makes me feel a little better knowing that she shares the same miscreant enemy and might spend a small fortune on such hasty removal. If I ever find out that her claims are just a jab at her jewishness I'll be pretty dejected.
I wonder if this little hair was a reminder from God-o-evolutionary that however immature I might feel, 26 is definately in grown up territory. Will I blink and lose my bladder control? How long have I got until it's publicly acceptable to fart in public?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I'm not a fantastic public speaker.
In one high school english oral I remember freezing up seconds after commencing, causing me so much embarrasment that I ran out of the room close to tears. For the next three or four years, outside of my drama class of treasured rejected nerds and misfits, I blushed ferociously whenever any public attention focused on me. I don't know what the general public's perception might be of me now as an adult. On self assessment, I'm a socially anxious introvert stuck in a teenagers body that craves genuine intimacy with those that I value...yet I hate tedious small talk with others that I don't give a shit about. Maybe I put up a plausible self confidence.
I must. Fortunately? Unfortunately?
I'm heading to Melbourne in early April for the 2011 Australian Funeral Directors Association Conference. This is where hundreds of embalmers and funeral directors meet and participate in educational seminars, social events and random community building exercises to give the death care business some much needed TLC. I'm not only attending this conference though, I'm delivering the opening educational presentation. A four day long conference, and I start the whole darned thing off. Quietly quepping balls.
Because of my success with the AFDA scholarship last year I have to perform my winning presentation to this community, ALL of the most influential Australian funeral managers and directors. Many, many people. What happens if I lose it? Should I loosen up with a couple of Jager shots before I go on stage? Should I imagine the crowd in their tighty whiteys? How would that be relaxing!
One thing is for sure, and that's that this is a big learning curve for me. If I conquer this, I'll more than likely conquer the world. Prime Ministerism, Vegetarianism, Romantisism; anything I want I will do. And do with confidence.
I smell like fear already. Stay tuned over the next couple of months for continuing freak out posts as the conference looms closer.
Monday, January 17, 2011
My ex boyfriend was and is a genius. He likes to talk about life and suffering ad nauseum. He is a crazy nut by today's contemporary societal standards; but a genius none the less. He holds social rules and manner systems with next to no regard. In fact, he is somewhat like a younger, more aggressive and scientifically obsessed Larry David, but without the charmed life and sardonic wit. I am yet to meet another person quite as annoying, but quite as brilliant.
This gent was a questionable partner for me, but I reflect and realise that amongst our relationships faults he taught me my most valuable lessons to date.
Working in a medical imaging clinic, he spends a substantial amount of time scanning dying and close to dying people. He is the guy that takes people in for their MRI's to see if their brain tumour has returned, or if the lump in a patients breast is malignant (a considerably more stressful position than the average $18/hour unqualified position).
Instead of blocking out the emotions involved in treating these patients he engages them introspectively. In his patients moment of naivity he encourages them to not be afraid of asking important questions about life and their own suffering. I can't imagine being one of his patients. I'd half want to smack him in the face, but then have him hold my hand through treatment to tell me that everything was going to be fine (although he'd probably say something wiser like, however it is it will be. That's not actually comforting in the slightest).
Anyway, I write about him because he asks everyone he meets, from the check-out chick at woolies to the dying patients in his hospital, "What has been the best day of your life?" and "What do you think is the meaning of life?". He asks everyone and anyone, weaving it into normal conversation as if he was complementing an outfit or commenting on the weather. Most people look at him and laugh, but he gets the information he needs and adds the reponse to his data.
It's interesting, because the majority of people (especially the dying) say that the best day of their life was either their wedding day or the birth of their first child. Then, when asked what the meaning of life, most will answer "family" or "alcohol".
So what's going to happen to me if I never marry and have children? Are my days any less sentimental than Bettie Crockers? I think not by comparison, but I guess I'd be ignoring a fairly significant statistical result if I valued this particular samples data.
Maybe it's those moments in life where we stop and say "oh fuck..." that we see meaning in what we do and why we do things. When we are challenged by illness and pain, we cling to those we love. When we lose someone, we reach out for help. When we are sad, we look to others to cheer us up. Maybe thats it, the meaning, maybe it's just....others.
One man sailing in a ship in the high seas, what does he have to live for if not for a return to share his experience one day with others? The whole theme of immortality in vampire fables is made all the more tragic because of loneliness and unshared introspection on the vampires behalf.
Am I on to something? Have I had too much coffee? OTHERS. That's my tentative meaning.
Add life to your days and not days to your life. (I don't know who wrote that but it's goooooood).
Peace and Love.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Our main operational centre's garage in Brisbane is filled with staff members salvaged furniture. Some of us have either lost our homes or the waters are very seriously threatening to pull everything into the gurgler. Everyone has pitched in, using the transfer vans and coffin truck service to save what they can. This morning we attempted to salvage some computers and records from a branch office in Chelmer but we couldn't get in before road closures. We're almost certain the water will have hit the roof this afternoon.
I'm lucky, while the Brisbane river flows just a few kilometers away, I live perched up in a hill and my socks will stay dry tonight. Thanks meat cat!
Helicopters are flying overhead and nearly 95,000 homes are without power. What does this do to the funeral industry?
Families going through the grieving process already are now having to postpone burials, adding to the stress of losing their loved ones. Funeral directors are stuck in their homes. The coroners office is closed as the area has been evacuated. We have to ensure that the people who can't walk themselves to safety remain away from harm. Even if I have to piggy back the bodies through 4ft of water I will! (And wouldn't that be a sight to behold!). Corpse Girl Defies Brisbane Floodwaters to Save Viewing!
It won't get to that, but I'm ready if it does. Punching waves n sh*t.
Be safe Brisbane. x
P.S. How amazing is this picture below, the 1893 floods. If I was really really old, I wouldn't be surprised. 1893, 1974..I didn't know we were so flood hungry!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I'm not going to make a dick of myself and attempt to be the next David or Margaret but I have to write briefly about a movie I watched last night.
'Departures' is the Japanese film that won the Oscar in 2009 for Best Foreign Language Film. Directed by Yojiro Takita it also won a gazillion other awards (and most rightly so). Centered around a super sexy yet adorably awkward young guy, the plot shows his embarkment into a career preparing the dead for funerals.
There are moments that are a tiny bit cringe-worthy and usually overly emotional films turn me off, but something about the extended gazes and sentimental moments make this film more charming. If you want to learn about Japanese cultural traditions regarding death I strongly recommend this little gem to you. It reconfirmed my aspirations and connection to my profession and that is nothing to sneeze at.
See it chumps. xx
The mortuary had a visitor today.
I was preparing to dress a little old man and whilst fumbling in a plastic bag for his undies and socks I came across a foreign being. A little gecko had made it through the security doors and cool room and into the peace and tranquility of hotel le death.
I'm guessing he came from the dead guys home, where his loved one had packed his things. I don't know how often lizards hang out in plastic bags but this guy was my most welcome visitor. Maybe he was a family pet, or a spirit in a reptilian body watching over the corpse. Who knows. Anything is possible when death is involved (apart from life?).
Anyway, I named him Bastard. I set him free.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I'm back, reluctantly. I love the mortuary but the Christmas and New Year break did me well. Pity brisbane pissed its sky-pants the whole time causing me to go stir crazy indoors...but it was glorious. Sorry for the blog break!
It's an interesting phenomenon but all morticians agree on the observation...the week before Christmas the fridge gets really quite and then BANG, everyone dies after Santa visits. It's almost as if Santa himself takes the grim reapings along with the cookies and milk. We think that maybe the human spirit kicks in and people on their death bed hang on to so they can spend the day with their families. The hopeful spirit sees the clock pass by Jebus's birthday and then POW, straight in the kisser. I'd say we get a 20% increase, and thats certainly statistically significant from what I can remember from my cloudy uni brain.
So, the last few days I've been trocar savvy. Staff is also at skeleton crew (puntastic!). A few fun moments have been had in between the insanity. One such experierince: I buried a man in an amazing pink one piece jumpsuit today, pretty much made my life complete.
Hope the resolutions have been set and the year has rolled off to a...rolling start?