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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Our Lady of Perpetual Tactlessness' LiveJournal:
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|Tuesday, October 17th, 2006|
|Worlds Collide; Gooey Awkwardness Results
One of the things I have been doing besides updating this here blog has been toiling away at my new job. I am back in library-land, and enjoying every minute of it so far (except for the ones where people are nasty or smell funny, but such are the joys of interacting with the public). I have cool co-workers, the job itself is fun, my attempts at being toddler-friendly make the poor little bastards cry, and I get to talk about books all day to people who love books. What's not to like?
Another thing I have been doing is plugging away at writing, and because things just seem to happen this way, my smutty rude stories are doing ever so much better in terms of seeing the light of print than my non-smutty stories. I don't know if this is because I'm better at identifying suitable publishers for my erotic fiction (having had more years of practice at it than you can poke a euphemism at), whether it's because I angst less about my erotic fiction than my other literary pursuits and am hence more likely to just bite the bullet and submit my work rather than sooking about it for months, or just because I'm better at writing about sex than I am at more 'serious' subjects (though how sex is not a serious subject I have never been able to quite ascertain, besides the fact that it's fun and often hilarious). At any rate, the erotica side of things is going in leaps and bounds, or at least a respectable swagger.
Of course, one of the downsides of being a porn librarian (in many senses of the word - does anybody want some secondhand videos? They are only slightly used.) is that when people ask you what you write, you tend to mumble "errr...stuff". I'm not ashamed of what I write and I never have been, but I'm aware that it makes some people uncomfortable, including my family and that one guy who once called me a whore because I wouldn't sleep with him (someone needs a visit from the Logic Fairy). Also, I have noticed that people sometimes have trouble reconciling my beaming, innocent face and Pollyanna-with-a-hangover persona with that of a pornographer. It helps if you wear leather corsetry and impressive boots, but I find these articles impractical for day-to-day wear. On top of that, I generally avoid talking about my interests anyway, because generally people don't give two shits, and rightly so (blogging, of course, is slightly different: I am as essentially egotistically driven as any other blogger, and if you don't give two shits, you are of course welcome to take your browsing elsewhere, and I shan't be offended. I simply wish to point out that I am not generally someone who bangs on about my unriveting personal life to co-workers. Speaking of which, I think I may have accidentally convinced a conservative Christian girl I work with that I am of her ilk, the hilarity and wrongness of which I am still puzzling and amused over.)
The world collision of the title happened last week. I was serving a woman at the counter, and not really paying attention to what she was borrowing beyond ensuring that the process went smoothly, as is my wont. I happened to glance down as I passed her books back to her, and noticed that on top of the stack (which I'd re-ordered as I scanned the books, meaning that she'd had it on the bottom of the pile, sneaky old possum) was one of Maxim Jakubowski's Mammoth Book of Erotica
anthologies - the very same series I've mentioned here previously as having been accepted for.
"Oh!" I exclaimed before I could stop myself. "I..." fortunately my brain cut in before the rest of the words on my tongue could launch themselves.
"...hear he's very good. A very respected erotica editor," I finished lamely. Oooh, smooth one, Aimee, you come here often?
"Well, it looks great!" the woman enthused. "I'm really excited about reading it!"
Then she blushed. And giggled. And looked slightly horrified at what she'd just said.
I smiled and said, "I might have to borrow it after you."
And she gave me a smile that said "thank you for pretending you didn't just hear me out myself as a dirty perve." And I gave her a smile that said "Dirty perve? Honey, you have no idea
." Current Mood: awake
|Friday, July 7th, 2006|
|Mememememe...all the way home
Comment with your name and:
1. I’ll respond with something random about you.
2. I’ll challenge you to try something.
3. I’ll pick a colour that I associate with you.
4. I’ll tell you something I like about you.
5. I’ll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wanted to ask you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on yours.
|Tuesday, July 4th, 2006|
|A Tram Journey of Self-Discovery
Today I found myself without any forms of entertainment while on public transport, so I settled back into my seat to have a good, long think about some of the issues currently affecting my life. After mulling over some topics that have come up in conversation recently with friends, I had one of those moments where you realise that you've discovered a truth about yourself, but really wish you hadn't. I was forced to conclude, as part of this moment of complete honesty, that while I am not too worried about being attacked by sharks while swimming in the ocean, I am genuinely concerned that swimming in the ocean may lead to me being attacked by the Kraken.
If that's the best my brain can do in terms of self-discovery after all these years of navel-gazing, I am definitely making sure I have a book and my portable music box with me every time I travel anywhere. Current Mood: kraked out (tee!)
|Friday, June 30th, 2006|
|I Need Your Braaaains.
I'm currently writing a kids' book about a zombie, and I'm trying to decide what to name him. Or rather, I'm trying to pick a new name for him, because it's probably bad form to name zombie after political figures, however apt the comparison may seem, and even if the name does seem to suit him. It probably doesn't help that he's rather lovable as far as the walking undead go, does it? Hmm. Suggestions? Current Mood: bouncy
|Wednesday, June 28th, 2006|
On Monday I received an email from Maxim Jakubowski
telling me that he's accepted my short story "The Mercy of Strange Men" for his latest anthology The Mammoth Book of Erotica 6
(a title chosen because it's a large anthology, not because it features erotica about mammoths. To the best of my knowledge). This is the story that won Palmprint Publications's short story competition last year. I am now thinking of retitling it "The Freaky Little BDSM Story That Could," although that doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Current Mood: accomplished
|Cherry Cola, Not Coca-Cola
The first time my father's pack-a-day Benson and Hedges habit ever benefited me, I was nine or ten years old. B&H were running a promotion whereby when one bought a carton of their cigarettes, one received a compilation CD of classic rock hits. Since my father has always been the kind of person to buy in bulk wherever possible (our visits to my grandfather would always conclude with the boot of the car stocked with dozens of bottles of wine from local vineyards), he quickly ended up with two of these CDs, and gave one to me.
It was one of the first CDs I ever owned, and introduced me to the delights of Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and furthered my enjoyment of the Small Faces, while simultaneously establishing my lifelong hatred of Gerry and the Pacemakers. But my favourite song on the compilation was "Lola," by a band I'd previously never heard of called The Kinks.
I quickly fell in love with the story of the young man's seduction, but it wasn't until many listens later I began to suspect that something was a little awry in this classic tale of boy meets girl. A few more careful listens confirmed my suspicions that Lola was no ordinary sexually assertive young woman. To my mind, this made the song even cooler, which retrospectively seems quite an interesting perspective coming from a sheltered pre-teen country bumpkin who at that point in her life had met few adults who weren't church-going National Party-voting farmers. Lola, I decided, was a bit of all right.
But then it occurred to me that my father was also listening to the same song, and I began to worry. I mean, sure, I was nine, I could handle it. But what of poor, innocent ol' Dad? I wasn't sure he would be able to cope with the song's message if he figured it out. I decided the best thing to do would be to gently point out the subtext of the song and reassure him that there was nothing wrong with a man dressing like a woman and seducing naive but curious young men on the dance floor.
I picked my moment as best I could. One weekend when I was visiting my father and he had a tape of the CD playing in the car, I waited until he was fast-forwarding "Ferry Across the Mersey" at my request. Casually, I piped up with, "hey Dad? You know that song 'Lola'?"
"Yes, gremlin. What about it?"
"Well," I paused. Then I realised that there was point stalling for time. "I don't think Lola is really a lady."
My father paused, obviously to take in this new information. I glanced across at him, to make sure he wasn't too shocked.
"No, darling," he finally said. "I don't think she is either."
I breathed a sigh of relief. I'd educated my father, and he didn't seem too shocked by my revelations. All was well, and I could go back to enjoying my song without the burden of unshared knowledge. Current Mood: smiley
|Tuesday, March 21st, 2006|
|The Right Word for the Right Whatchamacallit
I have a tendency, when talking, to suddenly forget most of my vocabulary. This is particularly the case when talking to someone I don't know well, which is an unfortunate side effect of never having outgrown shyness but being way, way too old to hide my face in my mother's skirt. Mostly I cover this up by babbling, which is sort of my only defence because my mother lives several hundred kilometres away and generally wears pants these days.
There are a couple of things you can do when you suddenly realise you no longer know how, to paraphrase your kindergarten teacher, to use your words. You can pause and smile at the person you're talking to (or at) in what you hope is a beguiling manner but will really just look goofy. Or you can do what I do, which is to plough on regardless and demarcate any misused or ironically used words with air quotes.
It's probably best, really, to pause, to laughingly reflect that you've gone blank on the exact word, but whoops! it will come to you eventually. Because while you might look like an arsehole if you forget what you're trying to say or are obviously having vocabulary issues, you will always
look like an arsehole if you use air quotes.
|Monday, March 13th, 2006|
|Today is Stupid
I had a good day, but just thinking about everything I need to do to replace what was lost when my wallet was stolen on Friday, plus the fact that some scary freak now has all my details, makes me want to cry. I am feeling somewhat tearful as we speak. I think I shall go have a poor-me cigarette.
On the upside, I feel purdy today, for no apparent reason.
|Tuesday, January 31st, 2006|
|Thought for the Day
If there's not a website featuring mature-aged people engaging in watersports, and if it's not called Golden Oldies, then that matter really ought to be rectified. Current Mood: scatological
|Saturday, December 17th, 2005|
Now that I've officially finished at Monash, I feel like it's time to say goodbye to the place that, for better or worse, has been such a part of my life for the past five years. I have this kind of tremendously loving ambivalence towards it, which doesn't make any sense but means that my feelings towards it are at least cohesive with the rest of my emotional life. Plus, I finally got around to updating the About Me bit in the sidebar, so now is as good a time as any.
Goodbye, Union Building! I look forward to not having to battle my way through you at peak times. Also, I look forward to not having to evacuate you because someone burned toast or some funster phoned in a bomb threat.
Goodbye, Menzies Building! The site of debates, arguments and astonishing feats of wankery, I will miss the way you sway in the slightest breeze, and the way in which that forces me to contemplate my own mortality.
Goodbye, Bus Loop! We didn't have much to do with each other after second year, I guess, but you're still a major part of my Monash "experience". Although, looking back, it was probably a bit rude of me to have sex in you.
Goodbye, Rotunda! I had some great lectures in you, but honestly? Your seats are really fucking uncomfortable, and your restroom facilities inadequate.
Goodbye, Monash Library Document Delivery Services! I would never have gotten my thesis written if it weren't for you guys. Stupid obscure research.
Goodbye, Rare Books Room! Oh, I probably spent too much time in you, and I had a habit of bringing people to you like I was ushering them to the Promised Land, but seriously? You rock. So much time spent in you, in the company of wonderful people. So much time spent pawing through your collections of zines and lesbian pulp fiction. So much time spent awed in your collection of Swift first editions. So much time spent badgering the poor Rare Books Librarian, who is probably terribly pleased to see the back of me.
And on that note, goodbye, Rare Books Exhibition Space. A source of much wonder and learning in your own right, you were the place in which I attended more than one exhibition opening, and witnessed firsthand the horrific feeding frenzy that occurs when English academics are given unrestricted access to free alcohol. I will never forget my first attendance at such a function, where my normally mild-mannered Lit tutor from first year expounded on the difficulties of finding permanent work in academia while severely invading my personal space, shaking his finger around in an alarming manner, and loudly slurring. "You carn geddany work! I gotsh a PhD and exshperience! Whammore do they want? Ish, ish...ISH UNFAIR, THAT'SH WHAT IT ISH!". Happily for him and for my personal space concerns, he found work overseas and is by all accounts happy with his lot, although probably still an opportunistic lush. I imagine that's one thing that doesn't change, and it kind of really makes me want to become an
At any rate, it's mostly been a good half-decade (sheesh, I wish I hadn't just thought of it like that). I hesitate to say that it's goodbye forever, because I don't know what's in store for the future and let's face it, I'm a glutton for punishment. Current Mood: relaxed
|Friday, December 9th, 2005|
Holy fuck. I got First Class Honours.
I am over the moon and possibly a couple of planets. I never expected to do this well; I was hoping for Second Class, Division A, and expecting a lot worse. I was really worried how my thesis would be received, as it doesn't adhere strongly to any particular theoretical framework, although given the subject matter and the person who wrote it, it does borrow heavily from feminist theory. It's just not, strictly speaking, a feminist literary theory kind of thesis.
After I found out, my friends Mairghread and LJ found me in the Union building, tearful and smiling inanely. Hugs were given and received. Reactions from my friends and family have generally been of the "Congratulations! Also, duh" variety. My brother-in-law asked who I'd bribed, because he's a sweetie like that. Stuart, when I rang him at work, shouted "HAHAHA! In your FACE!", which probably destroyed his reputation as a quiet, well-mannered young man. He has no time for my self-doubt. My favourite reaction, though, was from my father, the blokey-bloke working class hero: he burst into tears.
I'm on a high, and while my cynical inner voice is already trying to point out that it doesn't necessarily mean
anything, I am going to ignore it and spend the next little while telling myself that the world is my slimy mollusc. Current Mood: Elated
|Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005|
My thesis is handed in. All sixty freakin' pages and exuberant use of semicolons of it. I can't quite adjust to not having to work on it anymore. I keep getting spontaneous attacks of the guilts, thinking I should be doing something more productive than lounging around on the couch drinking beer and catching up on my brain candy reading. But it's over! Ha!
That was just over a week ago. After getting my thesis bound at the Uni publications desk, staffed by none other than my awesome, spunky and devastatingly witty friend Mairghread, I trotted up to the seventh floor of the Menzies building to hand it in, only to discover that the office was closed for lunch. So to kill time, I spent some time and money at the bookshop, then paid a surprise visit to my supervisor to show her the finished product, prancing into her office and presenting one of the copies to her in a manner not unlike that of a proud cat presenting its human with its latest small deceased rodent. Eventually the handing in and signing of the official forms occurred, which took all of about thirty seconds. All that buildup and anticipation for something that turned out to be not very exciting and over very quickly; it was like I'd gotten back together with my first boyfriend or something.
Once that was all over, I drove to Stuart's to pick him up for our little sojourn to the Macdeon Ranges. Bushwalking was done, good food was eaten, sins against God were committed. It was beautifully relaxing, except for the part where Stuart chased a gigantic huntsman spider into bed with me. He claims it was an accident and that he was actually trying to catch it (which he eventually did), but I can't help but wonder if it was his passive-aggressive way of informing me that a threesome is out of the question.
Now I am trying to make my brain realise that a) it really is allowed to relax and b) some creative
writing would be a nice thing to achieve. Yesterday's sterling effort of standing in a wading pool and drinking dangerously alcoholic punch at a Cup Day barbecue was a good one, although it has to be said that it didn't do much for the creativity.
I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm no longer a scummy Uni student!
Unless I get into the postgrad course I've applied to do next year. In which case, I retract the previous two sentences. Punishment, meet the Glutton. Stacks on! Current Mood: accomplished
|Monday, October 17th, 2005|
So, I have emailed my thesis supervisor the pretty-much-final draft of my thesis. It's the last time she'll look at it, which has to come as some sort of a relief for her. It's kind of hard to believe that something that's been part of my life and my headspace for so long is coming to its end. Hard to believe how different my life was a year and a half ago when I started Honours. Hard to believe how much I've changed, and what I've learned over that time. Hard to think about the fact that Bec and I would have been graduating together without getting a lump in my throat.
Although it's driven me to distraction, not to mention tears, on many occasions, I'm so glad I've stuck with it. I've learned a lot, not only about my subject matter (speaking of which, I think I'm going to lay off reading anything about incest for a while after this next week is over), but all sorts of jolly intangibles that have taught me about who I am and how I work. It's given me a greater sense of discipline about my writing, and has forced me to find the time to focus on my more creative work - an important lesson, because as anyone who writes knows, it can be so easy to deprioritise your creative life when big things start happening.
I'm seeing my supervisor later on today, when she's had a chance to read it all. I'm hoping there's no major reconstruction work that needs to be done that we've both somehow missed up until now. I'm also fervently hoping that she doesn't say anything like "Aimee, some of these latest changes read like they've been made at the last minute by someone operating on very little sleep and possibly under the influence of alcohol." Because if she does, I am honest to a fault, and will be forced to admit that I was up until all hours last night, making merry at Gurlesque
, and pole-dancing and shaking appropriate bits of my anatomy to Peaches' "Shake Yer Dix".
Which I feel would perhaps not be overly beneficial to our professional student/teacher relationship. Current Mood: Headachey
|Friday, October 14th, 2005|
Today I experienced what it feels like to think you've accidentally deleted the final draft of one of your thesis chapters.
I think the feeling can be described as "your heart dropping into your stomach, which is being pounded by sledgehammers".
And now that I've experienced it, I never want to have that feeling again.
It was especially galling considering I'm a compulsive backer-upperer. For twenty heart-stopping minutes I thought I was going to have to retype the chapter in its 8500 word entirety from my hard copy nearest-to-done draft. Which I don't really have time to do, given that I have to hand it in to my supervisor on Monday, and the whole thing is due Monday week (yes, 24th of October, not the end of September as I was mistakenly and heart-attack-inducingly told earlier).
Fortunately, it was purely a file-naming error on my part. And I found a backup anyway. But dear GOD that was frightening. My thesis is due in ten days. TEN DAYS! Eeek!
I must give a shoutout to Stu here, however, who rang me after I sent him a my-life-is-over kind of text message, and offered to retype it for me while I worked on the other chapter. I will be downloading Salt N Peppa's "Whatta Man" just so I can do an interpretive dance to it just for him.
I had just enough time to finish both my heart attack and my coffee before I had to come to work today. And might I add, listening to Tori Amos songs about miscarriage while already in a tearful and fraught state of mind? Soooo
not a good idea. Current Mood: Low-level panic
|Saturday, October 8th, 2005|
|A Book Review That Isn't, Really
I have a headache, and it's all Kate Holden's fault.
Despite the fact that I work on Saturdays, I was up until all hours last night, until I finally finished Holden's recently published memoir, In My Skin. If you live in Australia and have been paying any attention at all to the literary bits of the media, you'll know that In My Skin is about Holden's battle with heroin addiction, and her experiences working as a prostitute on the streets of St Kilda and, later, in brothels around Melbourne.
I went to the chat event/book signing Readings held for her on Wednesday night, and was treated to a lively and interesting discussion. I also got my copy of the book signed, because I am a fangirl like that, and yammered at her for a while in my usual awkward yet over-enthusiastic way. It turns out (and I did actually know this before I met her), that we share an Internet friend; that would be Melissa, whom I like to refer to as my evil Floridian twin. Small freakin' Internet.
Anyway, I know there's been a lot of publicity and good stuff said about In My Skin, and I'm going to add to it. It's a beautifully written book that doesn't flinch away from its subject matter. In doing so, it can be quite confronting, but also enlightening. The desciptions of heroin and Holden's descent into addiction are mesmerising. Several years ago I lost someone I cared about deeply to an overdose; it wasn't completely unexpected after the repeated unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation and the jail time for the B&E he'd taken up to support his addiction, but it still came as a shock. I understood he was addicted and had little control over it, but I've never understood fully the choices he made, how he could keep edging further and further into the abyss even as everyone who cared about him tried to pull him out. I still can't say I fully understand, and while I've learned to deal with the grief I doubt I ever will, but Holden's descriptions of use and addiction spoke to me in a way that glamourous images of drug use haven't. I feel like, through reading In My Skin, I've finally got a little more of a sense of understanding and closure regarding my friend. It's kind of nice, if you want to use "nice" as a synonym for "tears my heart out". Which I do.
I've read a few memoirs penned by women in the sex industry (primarily but not solely prostitution memoirs), and Holden handles her subject matter with more grace and less apology than many. She comes across as honest and likeable, two rather good things for a autobiographer to be, and was like that in person, too. I am smitten. Told you I'm a fangirl.
So anyway, you've probably read a lot about how good this book is by now, and I am going confirm that by saying: buy ten zillion copies because it's a great book and Kate Holden is really nice and stuff.
Oh yeah, you sure can tell I've been learning me how to English all these years, can't you? Thank your lucky stars I'm not planning on pursuing a career as a literary critic. Current Mood: tired
|Monday, September 26th, 2005|
LJ Interests meme results
C'mon, who DOESN'T like burlesque? Although I don't think I've seen any since Gurlesque were last in Olde Melbourne Towne, and hell, that's a long time ago. Also, when I grow up I want to be a burlesque artist. Possibly incorporating zombies into my act somehow.
- drag kings:
I repeat: what's NOT to like? King Vic is awesome.
I may not have much of my own but I like to read about it!
- kaz cooke:
She rocks, although I wish she'd write another book.
- linda jaivin:
Erotica! Social and political satire! A play about asylum seekers that also manages to poke fun at contemporary Australian writers! (Not specific writers, more the scene.)
I will love them forever even if they did spite me by breaking up. Got to see them twice. They were a great live band. Sigh. Why do bands I love always break up?
- pat califia:
I met Pat back when she was Pat and not when he was Patrick. In addition to being one of the most important and controversial queer/erotica/leather/political/etc writers ever, he is also an incredibly lovely person, and signed my copy of "Macho Sluts" and gave me a big cuddle and posed for a photograph, which I still have.
- queer issues:
I would imagine this is fairly self-explanatory.
It's interesting that I'm more actively involved with and aware of queer issues now that I've been in a relationship with a man for over three years. Ah well. I think with the Australian government's interest in continuing to undermine and restrict the rights of non-heterosexuals, that it's deeply important to be aware of issues and try to do something about them. Sometimes I think my relationship with Stuart has made me MORE conscious about social inequalities against queers - I'm more conscious than ever of how different my freedoms are given that I am a woman and my partner is a man. And it makes me sick.
- terry pratchett:
How many times have I baffled non-Pratchett fans by randomly quoting things out of context? One, two, three, many, LOTS.
- the tremors:
Excellent Brisbane (I think?) trash-punk-pop band. "Bad Teenage Poetry" is one of Stu's and my songs - one of the first major bonding things we did as a couple was read our terrible teenage poetry to each other. And point and laugh accordingly.
Enter your LJ user name, and 10 interests will be selected from your interest list. Current Mood: Must pee!
|Wednesday, September 14th, 2005|
|Are You Stalksome Tonight?
If you're feeling all stalky-like, a new issue of Bnews
comes out tomorrow, complete with an interview with me where I talk about judging the Bliss
erotica competition and the state of erotic fiction in Australia today. What seemed delightfully witty and incisive when I was chatting to the lovely interviewer will no doubt make me look like a complete fucking wanker in print.
Also there'll be a photograph but I'd like you to pretend you didn't see it. I am not so photogenic. I don't know what it is; I'm relatively normal-looking in real life, but in photos I always turn out looking more than a little, well, special. Sometimes, in particularly great photos, I look special AND like I'm miming a sex act. Even when I'm not. Current Mood: pensive
|Sunday, August 21st, 2005|
The scary thing is...it's right. Although I'm not sure how I got such a high score for cheerleader. Or how I ended up 50% stoner. *cough* Current Mood: misunderstood (sigh)
|Thursday, August 18th, 2005|
|I Am Trying to Avoid Referencing "Streetcar"
Today I've had the fortune of discovering Bitch PhD
, and have been wishing I'd found her a lot sooner. Her writing makes me make little excited noises in the back of my throat, which is a nice reaction to have.
In particular, this
entry touched me, to the point where I got a little bit teary, because underneath my sardonic, cellulite-ridden outer shell beats the heart of someone who just loves hearing stories about random acts of kindness. And now my cover is blown.
It reminded me of an experience of kindness I had last December. Late last year was a bad time for me, most notably because of my friend Bec's death, but also because I was job hunting and house hunting and trying to deal with a bad bout of depression that had already been hanging around for a few months by then.
The job situation looked to be sorting itself out. I'd been offered a permanent part-time position at the shop where I now work, and was interviewing for a casual position with a major book retailer who shall remain nameless. I let Book Retailer know that I'd been offered another position that would require me to work Friday and Saturday, so they knew where I was coming from if they hired me. They were cool with this, and hired me anyway. I was elated.
Then they started trying to give me shifts on Fridays and Saturdays. Annoyed, but determined to not be a pain in the arse, and thinking that they probably needed to train me on those days for a reason, I rearranged shifts at my other new job, where I was still undergoing training, so I could appease Book Retailer.
Training came to an end, and they gave me my roster for the next month. It included at least one Friday or Saturday a week. I felt a bit worried at this point, as the woman I'd informed of my other employment status was my new manager. I brought up my other job again. She looked annoyed but agreed to swap my shifts over grudgingly. I'd made myself available for the other five days of the week, and had understood that they knew of my other employment commitments when they hired me, so I was feeling a little annoyed yet again by this point, but still trying to be helpful. Then she tried to guilt trip me out of taking a weekend away that had been planned and paid for months in advance - Stuart's and my mostly-annual pilgrimage to the Meredith Music Festival. I thought about not going and staying home and working, but it had been planned for a long time, I didn't want to disappoint Stu, and I realised that if I stayed, I wouldn't be making enough money to cover the cost of my (non-refundable, as far as I knew) ticket anyway. I apologised profusely and assured her that I had no other upcoming commitments. The guilt trip was working.
Then came the news about Bec. As soon as I was able to function mentally again and knew the date of the funeral, I rang to talk to my manager because the funeral was on a Saturday and, you guessed it, it was yet another Saturday that they'd rostered me on (fortunately one that my other job didn't need me for, in this case). I offered to work as many other shifts as they needed me for, in exchange for being able to attend my close friend's funeral. The manager grudgingly agreed. "We need you to come in today or tomorrow," she said, "there's some paperwork you didn't fill out properly."
I went in the next day to fix up my paperwork, and to hear the lovely news that they had decided to fire me, because I was "unreliable". Because giving them advance notice of my availability before they had even agreed to hire me
, and daring to keep a commitment I'd made several months in advance are both obvious indicators that I don't take employment seriously and don't really want to work. Needing a day off to go to a funeral is pure self-indulgence, especially when the guy who started at the same time as me and knew the friend in question also doesn't need the day off to go (I wish I was making that last part up, but the guy really did know Bec, but wasn't going to her funeral, and the manager tried to use this against me, again to guilt trip me). Despite the fact that I've been praised for my diligence and hard work and good attitude in every other job I've ever held (with the possible exception of the babysitting gig where I used Barbie's clothes and a Ken doll to educate my charges about transvestism), Book Retailer obviously had the real, true perspective of what I really was: a no-good bludger who wouldn't know how to be grateful for a job being thrown her way in a million years.
Yes, actually, I am still bitter. How can you tell?
Anyway, that was rather long-winded, so I'll get to the nice(r) part. After I was fired, I stayed in the office a while to fix up the form I'd filled out. I went into a kind of daze, not thinking about anything at all. I walked out of the shop and into the busy street, and feeling started to come back. Right, I thought, I can handle this.
And then I burst into tears.
I raced across the road and sat on the steps of the building opposite my now-former workplace, and cried and cried and cried. The only other time I'd cried in public before was not long before that; I'd been Christmas shopping in a suburban shopping centre when I'd gotten the news about Bec, and ran the long, circuitous route to get outside, crying and hyperventilating as I went.
This time, as last time, I didn't care who saw, even though I am normally very private about things like crying. It didn't matter anyway; no one stopped, no one even looked my way.
Eventually, though, I heard "Excuse me, Miss, is there anything I can do to help you?" and twigged that the speaker was talking to me. I looked up into the face of an elderly man and tried to choke back more sobs.
"Not really, but thank you," I said.
He asked what was wrong, so I gave him the condensed version. He looked incensed, and sat down beside me and we had a long chat. He railed against the continued casualisation of the workforce and the government’s determination to strip lower-income workers of their rights (his words, not mine). He talked about his son's employment status (with a major furniture retailer, which by the sounds of it doesn’t live up to their name when it comes to how they treat their employees). He commiserated about Bec in a way that didn't sound forced or false despite the fact that a blotchy-faced young stranger was now unstoppably pouring out her story to him. As mentioned before, I'm normally a very private person when it comes to how things affect me emotionally, but this man, Dave, made me feel like I could talk to him, and listened carefully to everything I had to say.
When I was feeling a bit better, and grief and rage were giving way to embarrassment, we parted ways. But not before he gave me a homemade business card with his and his wife's names and address and phone number on it, and told me that if I ever needed to talk to someone, to not hesitate to call him. He patted my shoulder and smiled at me and left.
I misplaced the card when I moved a couple of weeks later, but I still write Dave thank you letters in my head. What he did that day truly touched me and helped me in a very bleak moment when I wasn't believing there was much good in anyone. If I ever find it again, I'll write him one for real.
|Tuesday, August 9th, 2005|
I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.
I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.
I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.
We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.
I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.
I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I wish they could adopt me.
I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.
I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.
We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.
I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.
I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.
I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.
I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.
I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.
I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.
I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.
I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn’t have to always deal with society hating me.
I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.
I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.
Repost this if you believe homophobia is wrong.