While sitting at dinner last night, a plate of over cooked mushrooms in front of me, nursing a can of luke warm lemonade, sitting opposite a friend of mine and his friend next to him I came to the chilling realisation that I might just have used up the last of my material, or quite possibly be well on the way to never writing anything vaguely original again, that my adventures were finally over – that I was never ever going to have an affair with a young German teenager with a great arse who embarks on an affair with an older woman only to find out that she would later be tried for war crimes and would rather face a lifetime in prison then admit her greatest weakness – the fact that she couldn’t read. Ok, I’d just seen The Reader and when put in a modern day context my yearning for the above mentioned would just have been plain ignorance, but the point was – would I ever scrub a guy clean before I had sex with him again and then write a film about it? (My guess is at this point you really have to see the movie).
The telling moment that this realisation hit was when I recognised the words coming out of my mouth were the very same words used in a conversation with someone else 2 weeks earlier. This was not a cheeky de-ja-vu like experience. This was more the oh my god you’re 29 and if you haven’t realised it already, you’re really rather boring Lou – lets just say I would not have been surprised had my dining companion pulled out a fork and stabbed himself in the eye and if the waitress were to ask him if he was alright he would grin and genuinely reply ‘oh me? I’m fine – I always stab myself in the eye at this part of the story. You should wait till she gets to end, that’s the moment I start sawing off my own leg – tell me are these the only butter knives you have?’
I had become an old person, and not the good sort with that twinkle in their eye, the twinkle of cool little secrets like they knew they were the real life inspiration for the song Jesse’s Girl or the colour lilac was really named after them. No, I was the sort of old person relatives apologised for before and after someone were to meet me and then they might even call a week later to see how their new curtains are going and then slip in another apology just before the final hang up. I found myself recalling my so-called glory days with such gems as ‘ oh my breasts, oh my I could swing from chandeliers with those babies, but now couldn’t even light a match on em in 38 degree heat with petrol and kindling..’ I might as well have boarded an exploratory ocean vessel clasping an emerald jewel that represented my only true moment of happiness and watch as it sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic whilst reliving flashbacks on me on a che-lounge, naked, on board the Titanic being drawn with charcoal by a lad from the lower classes who was yet to go through puberty.
The problem was my contemporary self over the last few years had become more restrained. Once where there were nights filled with boxes of wine and getting dressed to theme to watch MASH with my friends, I was now logging onto ABC iView to watch missed episodes of The Bill so that when I stayed in on Saturday nights I wouldn’t get confused by the narrative through line. When I use to enjoy the destructive danger of shagging friends of mine because ‘well we’re all subconsciously attracted to each other on some level’ and nothing’s hotter or more potentially devastating then an ambiguous and ill directed dalliance, I was now going to Academy considered movies, sipping coffee and contemplating attending over 28’s nights without any sense of irony with people who 6 years earlier would eat tuna and microwave broccoli just in pants with me while I tried to patch up the hole in my squat/house with masking tape and old copies of Smash Hits magazines. There were no more nights of been woken at 4.30am by a friend who felt a compulsion to drink Bloody Mary’s on the roof and watch the sun rise, no now it was a case of no phone calls after 10pm and vitamin tablets and treadmills at the crack of dawn.
Yep, I had lost my spark and this was further cemented when my friends friend asked me when was the last time I’d ever been a trash bag – not to be confused with the last time I felt treated like trash (November 2007 – March 2008). My friend attempted to sum up his definition in a 20 minute speech left on my voice mail, but to paraphrase it’s someone who involves themselves in trashy like behaviour generally culminating in ‘pashing, falling asleep, waking up and pashing again’. Another friend of mine described a trash bag as a girl who’ flashes her vagina more times then she should when drunk and scratches it ‘- for the purpose of this story I will refrain from using that definition.
The problem was when posed that question myself I was too quick to answer but then stumble as I couldn’t even form the words ‘well there was …no, because before then…and then I was in a longer term relationship…well there was the time I got drunk and made out with my ex in a room with a disposable bath mat…nup, but it doesn’t count cause he was my ex, but I was drunk, but we both wore pants so guess it doesn’t, nup….so if you wanted an exact date I’d say maybe 2001 – 2002..are we counting consecutive months?’
Both of them looked at me in that way that high school guys look at their mate, the one with the chronic acne and flatulence who can’t play sport because of a plaque build-up that tells everyone he’s been f**king since he was like 12, like all the time and he’s done your mum and your sister and the teacher – that look that says please stop, we understand, this is uncomfortable for all of us.
My friend leaned back, as if to offer advice, after all he was rounding the corner into his second year of trash bag behaviour, behaviour I warned him might result in a penile examination with a stick and a swab at a sexual health clinic perhaps sooner rather than later – as was his cause and affect in life he saw this as a positive thing and this was a guy who had revealed earlier that night that he bought girls pop corn at the movies in the hope it would fall down their cleavage and he could watch them retrieve it – so it really was my own fault if I was follow any of the advice that was about to come tumbling out of his mouth.
‘Lou, you just don’t do trash bag’ he said it in the way that your mum tells you she doesn’t think your boyfriend likes you as much as you like him.
‘I can totally do trash bag’ I searched for some back up, any back up.
‘Saturday night, I was trashy then.’
‘No Lou, you were a little tipsy, but not trashy.’
‘But I was covered in glitter and had a short skirt on.’
‘We were all covered in glitter and if everyone who wore a skirt was a trash bag, well I don’t think I need to explain just how common the idea of being a trash bag would become, it would lose it’s meaning.’
I needed something anything; I was too full to cover up my inadequacies but finishing off my now cold and congealed mushrooms.
‘I totally chatted with that guy from South America, in fact you could even say I flirted with him.’
I offered up my hand for a hi-five moment but as usual got nothing.
‘If I remember correctly Lou you chatted to him about his wife and how their wedding was.’
‘Yep..like I said flirted my arse off….’
Even I was left wondering how in the past I had ever got to first base with a guy.
In my head I knew my last 18 months hadn’t exactly been the passionate faucet of life I would’ve liked it to be, but surely there were stories I was yet to experience, surely my addiction to the drama of it all had to manifest itself somehow…and then I remembered…
‘Ok, I might not be a trash bag or sexual deviant but I like to think I’m trashy when it comes to other things.’
Picking up his friends discarded marshmallow he looked me straight in the eyes – there was no backing down now Lou.’
‘So I’m not trashy when it comes to men, but when it comes to the law that’s another thing entirely.’
‘You’re saying you’ve broken the law?’
‘Not exactly, but I certainly have some disregard for it.’
‘Wow, disregard, sounds hot Lou – are you going to finish those mushrooms or can I..?’
I pushed the plate towards him.
‘And how have you been trashy bout the law of late?’
‘Umm…well I totally turned left when I was advised not to.’
‘There were workmen, they suggested going round them, but I didn’t listen I turned left.’
‘In hindsight they were right, I should have gone around them, the traffic really backed up once you turned left.’
My clutching at straws was now starting to look like a monkey attempting to open a plastic banana – more amusing for those watching then the actually monkey desperate for food.
‘And tonight I parked a little too close to a fire hydrant.’
‘Yep, so much so I would be surprised if I hadn’t been fined.’
‘Wow..your social deviancy knows no bounds Lou, I mean if I wasn’t a man of common restraint I’d jump you right now at this table.’
He leaned back even further to clearly show he was mocking me.
I’d had enough.
‘That’s it, I’m going. I don’t need this – my life is full of rich moments, it’s a like a tapestry, yep a really rich tapestry and I have adventures, sure I don’t have to give everyone I meet an oral exam like you do but oh the fun I…. don’t answer your phone while I’m talking to you!…oh isi it? …say hi for me.’
And with that I left, hell bent on finding some drama for my life, some material to get me through my formative comedy career years.
Sitting back in my car, waiting for the motor to warm up I received a text message from my movie companion.
It simply read ‘Hey Renegade of common road laws – did you get a fine?’
I looked at my windshield and then at the fire hydrant I was parked a good 2 or metres away from.
‘No, no I did not ‘I replied.
That was it, I had said it, and I had conceded defeat. My phone beeped again and for a moment I thought it was my friend telling me everything was going to be alright, that I had the potential to be a trash bag, that he believed in me, but it just read: lol – my life which now so desperately lacked drama had now been summarised as a laugh out loud moment -and so next time I decided things would be different, yes, next time I saw him I wouldn’t take that butter knife away from him, he could saw his leg off if he wanted, who was I to fuck with natural selection and after all I was desperate for material and really what’s funny then someone nicking an artery…