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.