On this occasion, O Hallowed Readers, unfortunately there will be no rant/passive aggressive dissection of crazy things in our crazy world. Instead, as a blogger, (albeit how neglectful I’ve been recently… let’s blame uni) I’m going to play to the stereotype of blogging as self-indulgence by giving my first published piece a plug. Yes, I know, small victory. But futility aside as today’s theme, I suppose a start’s a start.
Long distance friendships are tricky. Not only becuase you miss the other person being in your life as much as they were, but because they have a whole other life where they are now, ( and so do you, I hope,) and so thus the dynamic must rapidly change in order to stay temperate. ( Pun not intended. )
And the trickiest thing of all is that for most, there’s that almost-awkward point where you know eventually, ineviatbly you’re never going to be the same as you were when you were in the same place, and so you don’t really know what to say when said friend may or may not pop up on facebook chat. Unspoken currents of awkward then power through time zones, oceanic regions- stopping nothing until they’ve made you feel so ridiculous you hastily go offline and change browser windows.
Sometimes however, it must work. You go through that same de-attachment process, but there are definately cases where the two lucky individuals strike a happy chord of fence-sitting and can retain what was. To these lucky individuals I say; Please write a book and send it to me via express-post.
Sure, these days it’s alot easier to stay in touch with people. Skype and facebook definately make life alot less wistful on this front. But I mean, if we’re going to be frank, the friendship is effectively reduced to a shared reliance on these tools.
Obviously with tricky things like this there are a number of variables to take into account, but for me I owe every remaining link to my overseas adventure to Mark Zuckerburg, and the globally understood politics of facebook communication- i.e. popping up to much on facebook chat vs the more personal inbox message option. It’s funny how despite all the cultural differences between myself and everyone I met, everyone seems to mediate themselves through facebook in the same kind of way.
Perhaps this is the key to a successful long term, long distance friendship? Perhaps, even, ( get ready for the poor media pun,) this is friendship 2.0?
I’d forgotten how absolutely demeaning working at, and trying out for mindless jobs is just for student pittance to play with. ( That, plus petrol.) You sit at these interviews, stand behind these counters, fix sandwiches, run plates to people sitting at tables, the whole time wanting to attach a neon sign to your forehead that says IN MY OTHER LIFE I CAN READ.
Unfortunately, not only is this reality, but shit part time labour is part of (from what I’ve come to understand, at least) Aussie student existance. The trouble is, how to display all your worthiness in tiny-time slots for the manager who, whilst not looking at you like they may a young-and-dispensible-16-year-old, (been thurrrr) still have that default ‘you-better-not-stuff-this-up-but-you-probably-will’ scowl on their faces?
I’m still working on that one. Last week I had an interview for this café near my house and the woman was horrible. I won’t go into gory details but she pretended (yes, pretended. and obviously enough for me to be able to discern this,) to take a sip of one of the coffees I’d made, puckered her lips as if I’d put arsenic in there, ( I didn’t,) said ‘mmmm. That’s fine. You can go.’ before turning on her heeled boots and walking back down to whatever it is she was doing. Before I assure you the coffee I make is enjoyable, and did not in fact poison her, let’s just linger on the rudeness of said power-trip, and the profound dent in my time-I-will-never-get-back account.
Today I had a trial for a job that was particularly promising- but, having been a bit out of practice, made a few mistakes I wouldn’t if a. I wasn’t new and b. I wasn’t out of work for half a year living it up on college. I was aware of this, and whilst my superior was nice, I can’t see why she’d take me if she can trial someone who performed better on the day. It’s times like that where aforementioned neon sign would be particularly helpful- I’M GOOD AT LIFE, I PROMISE.
Unfortunatley again, there’s nothing I can do about it except gather field notes concerning supervisor body language and psyche, stop over-intellectualizing what I’m doing and keep reminding myself of all the wonderful things my money will be able to buy me. Maybe there is some kind of formula for making that first impression that says everything you want to neon sign to, without coming in a formal dress with a bottle of Chandon. Well, if I ever discover said formula, I’ll be so rich these jobs and little almost-jobs will serve as quaint little anecdotes over appetizers.
So I realize I’ve been lazy and have neglected to blog about Texas and everything that was California, (i.e, San Francisco and LA,) but alas, now is not the time.
As we speak, (but not as I publish, LAX and ‘free public Wi-Fi’ do not seem on speaking terms,) I’m sitting cross-legged outside terminal 77 of LAX, so that I can use the power point while wolfing down my modest-yet-more-expensive-then-the-remainder-of-my-cash-can-buy dinner.
It’s over. My trip, exchange, me being in America. Being the clever kids we are, my travel partner and I neglected to consider that because of our different flights, we’d be leaving from entirely different areas of LAX, and so had to squash our planned reminisce-themed dinner into a hasty phone call. With an hour and 15 minutes to go before I board the horrid vessel that will take me back to Australia, I think a soppy yet sufficiently closure themed post is in order.
So Texas was the best stop of our trip, no questions. Unfortunately I won’t be able to recall it in the glory it deserves due to my present state of harrowing denial that I’m going home, but here goes.
Austin has the best bar scene I could have ever imagined. We stayed just off 6th street, and so were only a few minutes’ walk from a street absolutely packed with bars and pubs, (significant lack of expensive clubs- monburger says YES) only charging cover for notable shows and max $3.50 a beer. We pretty much just bounced around from place to place, spending next to nothing and making tons of new, friendly Texan friends courtesy of our accents.
Foodwise, the rumours are true. Everything is MUCH bigger in Texas- including gimmicks. We went to this Elvis-themed bar on Elvis’ birthday, and not only did we dine under a giant statue of him that was hanging over the bar, we had the option to order ‘The King’s’ peanut butter and banana fried toasted sandwich, served with cheetos and a glass of milk. You could also get $2.50 ‘birthday cake shots,’ which was pretty much vanilla vodka with a hint of imitation frangelico. For a $2.50 shot as big as we got, you could have given me cheap vodka with a splash of passion pop and I would have still smiled.
The best bar we went to was called Pete’s duelling piano bar- $5 entry, and they have 2 pianos back to back with these crazy-talented (and rowdy,) pianists playing and singing with plenty of audience interaction. My personal favourite was when one of them yelled out ‘Do we have any TEXANS out here tonight?’ to a loud and hearty ‘yEAAHHHH’ kind of sound that ended in people raising up their hands in this gesture that represents the college’s football team.
We met so many characters I cannot even begin to list them all, and if I did I’m not sure I’d have a sufficient lexicon to properly convey the weekend that was. So instead I’ll solider onto California.
I’ve been to San Francisco before and so was keen to go back- the city is just as beautiful as ever, extremely hilly, and lots colder then when I was there in fall I think 2005. Since California was the last leg of our trip, we slowed down a bit and just kind of spent our days ambling about in the city’s glow. We also met up with a good friend of mine from Melbourne who had also been travelling, so I suppose it was a good semi-ease-back-into-Melbourne-social-scene kind of situation. That plus he was super keen to join us on all our culinary ventures.
Namely, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. When I was last in SF my sister and I thought it was hilarious that Bubba Gump even existed- and let me tell you, actually visiting it made all my wildest gimmick-driven dreams come true. There’s a sign that says RUN FORREST RUN that you flip to say STOP FORREST STOP if you want the waiter to come and serve you. Terrific idea. Mix that with amazingly fresh seafood that seems to still taste fresh despite being deep fried and you’ve got yourself a franchise.
This is rapidly becoming a volume so I won’t share my thoughts on LA- (and I have a few) we did the same kind of thing as in SF, except that we stayed in East Hollywood. Yeah. Not the nicest area.
So. My plane boards in less than an hour and I’m considering what I could spend my remaining US cash on in further efforts to distract myself from the fact that the best experience I’ve ever had is pretty much over. But I mean, for now I suppose, if we’re being ‘glass-half-full’ enthusiasts. But still- there’s always that inevitable feeling of anticlimactic deflation after something amazing happens. I just wish I were some kind of Zen master and could simply take this thought, spread it over a yin-yang and achieve a feeling of other-worldly content that would make it easier to say goodbye to a place I’ve self-indulgently called my own this past half year or so. Anyway. Enough whinging. I’m just (slightly…) bitter this whole thing is over so fast!
Monburger, out. See you on the other side.