I was having a nice lasagna lunch with a friend of mine yesterday just catching up on the respective events in each other’s lives as friends are want to do when he just came out with it…
“Your thing is Lou, you’re just that kid that always gets the wrong end of the stick.’
These words lingered as he took the last piece of garlic bread all to himself.
“Where’d that come from?” I said, suddenly very self-conscious.
“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about Lou, we all have our thing, like take me for example I’m not good with raisons in desert.”
“I’m not really sure sweeping statements about me getting the end of sticks wrong is even in the same non-league as you’re intolerance to dried fruit.”
“See, you’ve done it again Lou, not really heard what I’m saying, you’ve really got to watch that, could get you in a lot a trouble.”
I stabbed at my meat sauce.
“I’m sorry you’re really going to have to explain to me how I just completely misinterpreted what you said to me.”
He put his napkin down and moved his plate aside.
“Ok Lou, I’ll explain. I was saying that my thing with raisons well it does cause a lot of problems, because like let’s say I’m going out with someone right and they make me like a baked cheesecake -“
“Who’s baking you cheesecake?”
” – you right Lou? Can I keep going?”
I slumped into my seat.
“Thanks Lou, much “
I could so tell he didn’t appreciate my encouragement to go ahead.
“Ok, so this person bakes me a cheesecake and they put raisons in it and then they offer me a slice, now I can’t begrudge them that, they’re just being polite, but when I say I can’t eat it and tell them it’s because it has raisons in it and so it’s not their fault I can’t see them anymore, it’s the raisons fault, I get really annoyed when they don’t get it, or didn’t see it coming and sure I never told them about the raison thing but if they really were the right one for me then they’d just know about the raisons, like I wouldn’t even have to say anything – understand?”
“No I don’t understand. That was just complete and utter bullshit.”
“Hey I don’t make the rules Lou, I just play by them…want some coffee?”
I nodded and watched as he tried to get the waitresses attention.
He was right though, all too often I did get the wrong end of the stick.
When I was 6 years old and it was on the eve of my birthday I was in church at school when the priest stood up and asked everyone why tomorrow, the 1st of the August was such a special day. Now going on what my parents and my grandparents had told me, the reason the 1st of August was so special was because I was born that day so I raised my hand confident that the $10 promise from the priest for the one of us that got it correct was all mine – that was like $100 back in the day…
He looked out and saw my little hand sticking up.
“Yes Louise, can you tell us why the 1st of August is such an important day?”
“Yes, it’s my birthday.”
The look on his face said it all, sure my birth was kinda special, but inevitable given my mother had been with child. It turned out that what was so special was that it was the horses birthday, something some Grade 6 with an over inflated sense of self knew. My nan tried to make me feel a little better by saying I just got the wrong end of the stick – no, that was not the case, I’d just not been fed all the pertinent information necessary for me to answer the question. Surely I was more an example of a lax educational system then a victim of the ‘wrong end of stick’ theory that was floating around?
When I was 14 I had a quite a crush on a boy called Andrew. He was lovely, well lovely if you liked guys with smooth legs, high pitched voices and a chronic case of conjunctivitis. He asked me to the new McDonald’s for a thick shake after school and I knew he liked me cause he use to try and hold me down and stuff sand down my socks – ok, quite obviously looking back he displayed precursors to that of a preferential sex offender, but at the time all this attention being paid to me was quite a turn on. As we walked to McDonald’s through the school gates I got that nervous, fluttering feeling that most of us attribute to the first pangs of lust, but lets just say I was mistaken when I noticed an ant crawling over my arm, well lots of ants crawling over my arms. I freaked out, running up to the water fountain and trying to get them off me. I yelled for help from Andrew but he just stared and smiled. It was then I realised my socks had been filled with ants…
“I thought you liked me” I yelled as I flung my school uniform off in the middle of the street.
“Oh, I just wanted to see if ants ate human flesh.” And with that I jumped into a nearby fountain.
When asked to explain his actions to the school principal Andrew contended that I had just gotten his intent wrong, that surely his attention towards me could never have extended beyond basic scientific curiosity, that perhaps I had gotten the ‘wrong end of the stick.’ The principal concurred, and I got detention for taking my top off with 200 meters of school property.
I spent most of my early 20’s avoiding the obvious as a way of not misinterpreting anything, that was until I hit 27 and a boy I was big into followed me all the way to Australia “to be with me forever”, well look that’s what he told me on the phone. As he hopped off the plain I searched the crowd for his little face and finally he appeared. I flung myself at him, grinning like an idiot only to have him push me away and take my arm and guide me away from the crowd.
“Listen Lou, let’s not rush things.
“But we’ve been living together for two years, you’ve just moved here to be with me – you made me a card out of dried pasta and silver paint.”
I held it up to him.
“Yeah, but I really think we should start out as friends first.”
“But we’re engaged.”
“Isn’t that just a label Lou, designed to make us confirm to societies ways?”
“Um..well yes, but you asked me…”
He smiled at me as he tussled my hair.
“There you go again Lou getting the wrong end of the stick, it just makes you so god darn cute.”
…and then we proceeded to live together for 4 months until he took me aside once again one day concerned that I was confusing us living and sleeping together as something more than friendship.
It was at that point that I realised I knew nothing about anything. Ever.
And now here I was watching my friend still trying to order his coffee.
We’d been talking about an incident I’d had during a local festival whereby I’d met this guy from overseas a few times during the duration of it and we’d chatted at various venues and every time he’d tried to kiss me but I challenged his advances and then one night he came over to me and told me fancied me and told me I couldn’t stop him from what he was about to do next -he kissed me. All very hot, I know. However, when the kissing stopped, he leaned against the bar and said…
“It’s such a shame I’ve got a girlfriend.”
When I looked confused, given what had just happened he knocked me on the shoulder and said…
“Surely you knew that already, I mean am I really the type not to have a girlfriend?”
And it was this incident that had seen my friend come out with his outlandish claim of me getting the wrong end of the stick. “But he kept trying to kiss me” I said.
“So?” Said my friend, “doesn’t actually mean anything, I mean he put in the hard yards, got what he came for – it’s like going to the Royal Melbourne Show – you go for the show bags but just end up getting pissed and leaving them on the train on the way home.”
As the coffees finally arrived, my friend got up to use the bathroom and the waiter asked if we’d like any cake.
“Do you have cheesecake?”
“Does it have raisons in it?”
“Great, we’ll grab a slice of that and just one fork.”
…hey, that’s not being selfish, just didn’t want him to get the wrong end of the stick, I had high hopes for this one.