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DAY 111: Having terrible things done to my head, then getting some badass tools

20 Dec

I AM feeling very glum today, knowing that I will be obliged to make a big joke at having failed my driving test again.

After being shown the door at Vic Roads, I decide to detour to Bendigo Marketplace where I might drift aimlessly and find something new to do; now that ‘Acing my driving test’ is no longer today’s headline.

A sign for Chinese acupressure massages draws me in. I like massages. They’re all soft and soothing, and the head ones make me want to roll over.

Not this one. Tissues, sinews, muscles, fat… nothing gets in the way of this dude’s digits in his mission to grind my bones into a fine powder. I feel like I’m being filleted like a fish by his elbows, knuckles and any other pointy appendage, and he works over my spinal cord Wolf Creek-style.

The head massage is worse. I slice my fingernails into my palms as he literally punches me about the skull, sculpts me a new fontanelle, tries to separate my head from my neck with his thumbs, and comes close to gouging out my eyes as he mulches the sockets.

By the time I’ve handed over my twenty-five bucks I’m even tenser, but I get the inspired idea of buying some badass tools. Tools are great – they get stuff done in the country, and at times like this you can bash the crap out of things. Plus I’ve been meaning to practise my axe / pickaxe / sledgehammer swing so that I can help Keith properly on the railroads.

At a hardware store I buy a hammer, an axe and a wrecking bar, which, between them, should be able to destroy anything. When I go to pay for the haul, the bloke refers to my “little wrecking bar” – a phrase that could deflate anyone’s balloon.

“I suppose it’s how you use it that counts, isn’t it?” I put to him.

“It’s a lady’s bar,” he retorts.

Anyway, off to vent some spleen – being very mindful of my non-steel-capped-tootsies.

Keeper? The smashing, not the massaging.

DAY 99: Getting Bette Davis eyes, or at least Kim Kardashian’s

8 Dec

Not my head.

CONTINUING my efforts to be a proper girl, I decide to get falsies. I’m talking about eyelashes, of course (not being a fan of cricket ball boobies), and there’s a brow bar in the city that does everything from the Jezebel look to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

First, I have my eyebrows threaded, which is pretty clever, but feels like every hair in your body is being ripped out at once, from a two-inch-square patch of skin.

Then I lie flat and the beautician sets about glueing in 15 lashes per eye, which takes about forever and I’ll let you be the judge of whether I ended up with a full 15.

My head.

You wouldn’t want this job if you had anger management issues – it’s a painstaking process, all right. Eighty minutes! For my part, a combination of unexpected horizontalness and an endorphin rush from the threading has me falling into a semi-coma on the table and hallucinating like a good ’un.

I stagger back to work like a newborn, long-lashed colt and show the team what I’ve gone and done.

“What? They used your eyebrow hair for fake eyelashes?” gasps a confused Ben.

Now, on to the eyeballs themselves. I like the world blurry, but apparently that’s not the done thing when you’re learning to drive, so I finally get my eyes tested (yep, fucked), and get me some contact lenses.

Unfortunately, bringing things into focus also sharpens the effect of the head injury I got from an errant shopping trolley a few years back, which gave me double vision. Now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I’ve got it again. You think you know where the ground is by now, but you don’t. I’m walking around like the Furry Freak Brothers, which just adds to today’s trippy feeling.

Keeper? The lenses are going to have to go, but how does one remove them without removing one’s falsies? Buggered if I know. And I’ve got a feeling I’ll have a right scare in the morning when I wake up with an eyelash spider on my pillow.

DAY 95: Getting electrocuted by reiki

4 Dec

I’LL draw up a couple of DON’T TOUCH stickers to put on the two inexplicably intense points on my body that people should steer clear of, because even when I warn a New Ager not to go anywhere near them for risk of a knee to the nose, they do.

I’ve never explored reiki before. I’m given crystals to hold and there’s some touching and waving going on. The practitioner has very warm fingers and it feels kind of nice. Then she sends me shooting 10ft in the air by craftily going for one of the verboten points while I’m lulled into a false, floppy sense of security by the Native Indian chanting and wafty smell of jasmine. It’s like Luke Skywalker being electrocuted by The Emperor.

“How’d you go?” I ask her after, when I’ve climbed back off the table and regained my composure. “Can you feel anything when you’re working on someone?”

“You can feel blockages of energy,” she replies… And there’s a bit of a pause.

“Did I have a blockage, then?”

“You actually had a guardian child standing at your Sacral Centre,” she chuckles. “She had her arms folded and she was saying, ‘Nup,’ so I couldn’t get to it. I thought I’d just sneak around the side, but she wouldn’t let me. That’s when you jumped.”

I respond with, “Mm, that makes sense,” which is my default thing to say in these situations.

“It wasn’t like she was sitting in the corner crying,” the practitioner says. “She was quite feisty. In the end I persuaded her to take down your natural shield, and together we put up a pink shield with gold sparkles in it. You’ll find that it protects you, but it will get a bit ragged if you have too much emotional stress – and that’s when you’ll find you need another session.”

Keeper? I thought it was a touch manipulative. Still, having someone gently touch your head is always nice. I’d pay for that.

DAY 76: Creating a ‘Quit Smoking or Die, Fool’ plan

15 Nov

I've always wanted to be able to do that - flick a cigger in and out of my mouth.

I DON’T really like cigarettes; I mean I’m a bit princess-y about them. I feel obliged to scrub my fingers and brush my teeth after every one during the day, while during bouts of evening faggery I chew gum. If I really loved them I’d want to roll around in their nicotiney badness, and to hell with the brassy tone they give my highlights.

Ah, but the packaging is so crisp and the filters so pure. The neat, snowy casing, perfectly packed to regulation density, rolled pertly between your thumb and forefinger. Each virgin cigarette perches delicately between your lips, checked gingerly by the tip of the tongue. Yes, still there.

It doesn’t help that I’ve only just discovered Ice Chill (of death); the latest line by Marlboro. They’ve made them especially for us Australians, so it seems churlish not to smoke them… although if you were a cynic you might compare them to Marlboro Ice Blast (Singapore), Marlboro Cold Mint (Spain), Marlboro White Menthol (UK) or Marlboro Ice Fresh (Brunei). I’ve always been a menthol smoker – it’s way classy – but these take the minty biscuit. One inhalation ushers in cleansing, Arctic winds that refresh and stimulate the dusty recesses of your maw and light up your brain like a Christmas tree.

But basically, now that I’m really enjoying life, I’m going to be right pissed off if it’s cut short. That Dead-By-Thirty deal I had going with myself… it’s had its day. So here’s the plan of action.

1. Hypnotise: Didn’t work with the “only two glasses of red wine after six o’clock” ruse way back when, but apparently asking for help with total abstinence is much easier. I’m booked in for next week.

2. Allocate all existing smokes to filthy smokers: And that’s a lot of smokes, as I buy a pack whenever I’m stressed and then “quit” and leave them at home. Anyone want 80 packs of slightly soiled menthols? Oh.

3. Visualise: Recall, if you will, the self-flagellation smoking of morning three of a bender; singed lungs; Dot Cotton from EastEnders’ pursed lips; faggy fingers… Ugh, right?

4. Erect a Jar of Stench: I’m going to fish that olive jar out of the rubbish and fill it with the soggy fag butts lazing around outside my front door. And lukewarm water. This will sit on my desk.

5. Reward: Tricky, this one. I’m already rewarding myself for no booze with unlimited cake. Masturbation’s not convenient at work, and all my money’s going on the new adventures every day. I’ll have a think about what the reward might be.

You might notice, I’ve made an acronym. All good self-help plans have an acronym. Mine is ‘H. A. V. E. R.’ , as in “havering to you” in The Proclaimers’ paean to persistence, ‘500 Miles’. Would have been better if it was ‘S.T.U.B.’ or ‘A.S.H.’ but people are paid millions of dollars to come up with those sorts of things, while I’m just sat here on the train losing my shit with my internet connection.

Keeper? The quitting, yeah. Not the ciggers.

Marlboros were originally marketed at women (“mild as May“)… which is why when Philip Morris wanted to branch the smokos out to men, they had to go down the ultra macho Malboro Man route, to overcompensate.

There's an awful lot of framing of the crotch going on here. He's also kind of a swastika shape.

They’re better than eating olives at keeping your lipstick on, though, which is why Marlboros started life in the 1920s with a bright red filter, so that ladies didn’t leave unsightly lippie marks on them.

DAY 49: Getting sautéed in a Japanese bath house

19 Oct

SCOURING the Sunday supplements for something to do this week, I read Kate Holden’s account of going to a Japanese bath house, where she registers with satisfaction: “pink, clean, clean, pink bodies”.

I see my first such specimen immediately upon entering the women’s changing rooms. Glowing pinkly from all four cheeks is a lady with just a hand towel a-top her head. Eagerly, I take off my own clothes and saunter about naked like I do this sort of thing every day.

Despite being all ready to go nude in front of the world, I have the bath and sauna to myself – which winds up being a relief, as I find myself struggling to breathe in the heat of both. I must be some excessive kind of wuss: I can’t stick more than two minutes in the sauna before my eyeballs steam up and my blood pressure goes through the roof. In the tub, I’m stewed to the gills, with my kidneys nicely browned on either side.

Then comes the shiatsu, administered upstairs once you’re safely robed up again. Pretty sure that’s a foot in my back, but I can’t be sure because there’s a towel over my face. Cunning. “There are two weird points on my body you’d better not touch,” I warn the practitioner as she turns me over – because I’m liable to fling a knee towards someone’s jaw if they go anywhere near them. Fortunately, this lady’s got a steady touch and navigates the Valentish escarpments without reefing us both.

Keeper? Might stick with a bog standard bath – bit cheaper.


17 Sep

My pelvic floor muscles are going great guns this week!

Keeper: Yes.

DAY FIFTEEN: Wearing Ben Wa balls to a Metallica show

15 Sep

ASK your mum.

Keeper? No.

DAY NINE: Acupuncture

9 Sep

This is NOT my back.

YOU know how sometimes you don’t want to run into the object of your desire because you suspect if you do things might not go so well, whereas if you don’t run into them you can surf on in blissful denial for a while? It’s like that with me and acupuncture. I’ve been viewing it with deranged optimism, as though it will right my wrongs, cure my ills, save my soul and buck up my ideas all at once — so I really should try it some day, yah.

Well, that day has come. After quizzing me on my relationship with my father (I give off that vibe), the practitioner massages my back excruciatingly with her nubby thumbs over soothing whale music, and then sets to tenderising my flesh further with some kind of scrapey ‘Gua Sha’ spoon. “You will have some marks for a few days,” she observes cheerfully.

She taps a needle into my freshly pulverised shoulder blade groove and immediately one kidney sings out in horror… followed a second later by the other. Oh god, it’s like last year’s kinesiology all over again, when I unexpectedly cried so hard that my ears filled up.

I start to experience that sense of dread and rising panic one feels in a screaming kidney hangover when one considers the prospect of getting up and going to work the next day, before one sensibly pushes the thought aside and flails pathetically for the pizza menu. There are also heady notes of childhood “don’t leave me” agitation and claustrophobic “what if I can’t get up off this table?” alarm.

After the needles are set on fire (or something — she’s a bit vague) I’m left alone to “get in the zone” and immediately the CD gets stuck on one warbly note, at which point I discover it really hurts when I laugh. I raise my head out of its towelly nook with difficulty, a thin strand of drool connecting us still, but decide that calling out feebly for assistance would just be too much to take.

“I don’t have my diary on me at the moment,” I bluff, once safely upright in reception. The practitioner looks at me sadly, as though she knows we are never going to see each other again, despite me executing my most sincere “sure, we’ll stay friends” smile.

Keeper? Not if I’m going to be such a wuss. Try again later.

DAY THREE: Giving and receiving a home tattoo

3 Sep

A TATTOO with a friend is a terrific idea, but a home tattoo is even better. Nicole’s a right game bird, and I actually pictured her putting up her as yet unblemished arm to volunteer even as I pressed send on my spam email to all and sundry.

We convene at her kitchen table a few nights later with some needles, thread, a lighter, a couple of biros and a bottle of Indian ink. The instructions, naturally, are from the internet. We’ve decided that a simple star will always remind us of this mission to live well, which is a relief, as rejected symbols include a smiley face, a reiki sign and a foot. Nic takes quite a laissez-faire approach to permanently marking my skin, eating a curry with one hand and occasionally texting some dude with the other. My disgruntlement is short-lived though, when I return the favour and completely stuff it up.

At first it’s hilarious. Look at those ink blotches! I can’t see where I’m bloody going, can I? Then there’s my wobbly eye – an old shopping trolley accident that has taken this moment of extreme concentration and close focus to play up. And then there’s the off-putting sucky noise one’s wrist makes every time you pull out the needle. Gee, this is a lot harder than Nic made it look.

Like any bad workman, I blame the tools – Nic made the stabby implements after all – and then Nic’s skin itself. “It’s all rubbery,” I complain, pointing at the evidence.The mood turns sombre as we survey Nic’s star. “It looks like stubble,” she says flatly, and takes another large swig of Bundy. Sure enough, there’s a hazy constellation of dots, in almost all the right places.

You’d better finish yourself off,” I offer.

Nobody’s said that to me for ages,” she mutters, and sets about stabbing at her arm.

I realise, as I watch my friend toil, that every time I look at my little star I might now feel burning shame, rather than a sense of liberation, but I am hoping that this too shall pass.

Keeper? Er, yes.