Poor Stevie

Archive of ‘sydney’ category

ramsay street

One evening in May, J-man went to bed sick, asking me to check on him throughout the night. Just before I went to sleep on a camp mattress set up in the lounge room, I looked in on him, and under the light coming from the street, he looked grey and his mouth was limp and open. Until I heard him snort, I thought he was dead.

It had been a terrible few days – we’d had to cancel a trip to Cairns for a friend’s wedding after J-man got severe tonsillitis. It was grey and drizzly. The baby was fussy. Our neighbours were bulldozing their house. Sick, miserable and trapped, there was nothing any of us could do to escape the sound of metal crushing bricks, and smashing glass and boring into sandstone.

This was the beginning of seven months of renovations. The sound of drills would wake us in the morning, dropsaws would interrupt the baby’s morning naps, cups of tea in the backyard were accompanied by the young builders’ stories about what was in their vomit on Saturday night, as their cigarette smoke would drift down our hallway. Our backyard became a construction zone, they flattened our garden, put sandbags in, and cheerfully sprinkled rusty nails everywhere. When they tore down the neighbour’s fence, part of ours went with it. For months our security system consisted of a plank of wood holding our back gate closed.

But every time the builders asked for something – could they use our backyard to come and go, could we move our car, could they nail things into our outside wall, could they work early or late, could they park across our back lane – we said yes. We said yes because we thought it was the kind, neighbourly thing to do to let their massive renovations go to plan. Who wants to move into a beautiful dream house knowing your neighbours are the worst?

Two weeks ago, the builders left and the family moved in. I had been kind of expecting a knock on the door, or a friendly note of thanks, or a donut left on the front step for living through a hellish seven months without a single (public) complaint. But they have been actively avoiding us. Yesterday, we saw them for the first time and tried to strike up conversation, while they backed into their front gate as though we were door-knocking evangelists.

And that is why I hate people.

for hire

A list of weird things about being non-employed (I don’t like the word ‘unemployed’ as it has connotations of drinking XXXX Gold, eating dog food and spying on my neighbours through two toilet rolls I have come to believe are x-ray glasses).

Caring too much: Today I walked past a newsagent and gagged on my cola slurpie when I saw a tabloid revealing why Kim Kardashian wants to adopt a baby. For the next 10 or 15 minutes I thought about that poor baby. Who is going to take care of it when the girls are doing a classy photoshoot on the beach next to a big dollar sign? What about Kim’s boozy new series based in New York? And, you guys, she said she would spend her year as a 30-year-old enjoying being single. She’s just so irresponsible. I started getting a little riled up. What about those of us who might not get a chance to have a baby because we have no bed, no home and currently store our underpants in a grey plastic bag? And then I realised … actual THINGS are happening in the world.

Sharing too much Staying at home all day long while the J-man and Julia work at their actual jobs that pay actual money that they can spend on actual things is really lonely. So by the time they get home I’m champing at the bit to talk to someone and tell them everything I know, like “nervous vomit” is the best YouTube search ever. And sometimes I forget that my marriage is actually a sacred, special bond between man and wife and not a semi-homoerotic, incestuous frat party. Like last night when I went into our bedroom and Joel was getting dressed after his shower. When I walked in, he told me I was mere milliseconds away from seeing his inner sanctum. So I yelled out to Julia and told her the good news. And now I’m telling you.

Crying too much  I know this is totally a first world version of torture, so excuse me while I complain about how hard it is, how unbelievably difficult and awful and gut-wrenching and sad that I have to walk past my favourite shops and resist the temptation to buy something. Today I went into Alannah Hill in the city and saw that she has started making short shorts. And not just any short shorts; short shorts in loud 70s patterns with frills, bows and polka dots. I held them up and admired them, my eyes welling with tears, before quickly putting them back on the rack and racing out of the shop. It’s not like I’d rock short shorts at the moment anyway. I mean, you really have to remember, I’m deathly pale from having been in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, France, the UK, Spain and the US for the last few months. Woe is mine.

Guilt tripping If I am not on Seek, circling job ads in the paper with red texta or working my contacts (Hi Deirdre at Big W Bathurst!) 24 hours, seven days a week, I am mentally beating myself up about it in my spare time. No, I won’t meet you for drinks because what if someone emails me while I’m out. Sorry mum, I can’t talk to you on the phone because I’m keeping the line busy (Sorry Deirdre). Oh hay cousin Sophie, I know I said we’d catch up soon, but what if I miss being spotted by a talent scout while I sit in my pyjamas on the couch. I’m the only person in the world who is suffering. You should all think about that while you sit in your air-conditioned offices, you horrible employed useful members of society.

price check

Usually harbouring great contempt for members of the human race outside my immediate family and my group of very small and carefully selected friends, I was so pleased to find myself standing next to a very polite man in a bookstore today.

As I was buying a copy of Chris Masters’ Jonestown, a man standing next to me was trying to return a copy of Neil Strauss’s The Game. And dudes, just as a side note, if anyone bought me that book there is no way I’d do something as sensible as take it back for a refund. I would probably tear all the pages out and create a small army of bald, skinny, arrogant paper voodoo dolls and arrange them in compromising positions.

Anyway the guy at the counter nervously told him the book wasn’t in a returnable condition. And everyone within a one metre radius held their breath waiting for the nuclear explosion that usually …explodes … when the customer is wrong. But this guy simply said: “Oh, okay. Fair enough.” And when the bookstore dude says: “I’m so sorry”, the customer tells him it’s not his fault and wishes him a good day. The girl serving me, who was wearing the most amazing shade of red lipstick I’ve ever seen, says: “Shit, he took that well”.

I happened to follow the customer down the escalator and I noticed him taking in his surrounds with a contented look on his face. What a pleasant fellow. Usually people in the city are puking, yelling, asking for money or handing out flyers advertising vacancies at brothels. Someone needs to put a ring on this guy’s finger because whoever does will forever be tiptoeing through the tulips, even on a shopping outing to buy three-ply. Or maybe, just maybe, I was fooled by The Game.

The reason this well-mannered man struck me so is because I spent most of my teenage years and some of my early 20s dealing with loser customers, including a notable time when I had to explain to a woman why she could not return swimwear with a strange smear and pubic hair in the crotch. I had to be stopped from hacking off my own hand and plucking out my eyeballs that afternoon, let me tell you.

But also I’ve had a strange week filled with rude, rude people. Like my taxi driver this morning who spent five minutes sounding his horn outside a park near my apartment block before dawn. He also had the hide to scold me as I got in the car. Last time I checked my address wasn’t Poor Stevie, fork of fifth tree on the right, near the leaves and kind of close to some blades of grass, and that dog poo over there, NSW, Australia.

I’ve also this week been hung up on, sworn at, mooned, called a dog and ripped off. It’s a bloody tough little city is Jonestown.

running up that hill

The attraction of physical exercise has always been a bit of mystery to me. Why run when you can leisurely stroll? Why do sit ups when you can just sit? Why use a giant pole to fling yourself over another giant pole when you can hang out?

But recently I have rediscovered the joy of basketball. Joy, you ask? Yes, joy. For when I was in high school I played two seasons of basketball with some friends who were equally as uncoordinated as me and we had a frickin’ blast. Mostly I guess it was the things other than basketball that made those times awesome. The retro mixed candy sold at the canteen, the semi see-through shirts, the older male dreamy referees and the wooden seats outside where we would talk about said boys.

The J-man and I have been shooting hoops at a park across the road from our block of flats. That’s all we really do, just shoot hoops, run a little and commentate like it’s the NBA. After only a couple of sessions it’s also provided some fun interaction with the human race, which I’m not totally used to as most of my time is spent at home watching Masterchef and admiring Matt Preston’s cravats. My favourite is Pauline.

Yesterday as we walked to the park with our freshly pumped up ball, J-man started doing a bunch of tricks like bouncing it between his legs and pretending to shoot, all the while completely unaware a group of roughed-up council workers were watching him. As they walked past us they all chuckled and tried to take the ball, making the ol’ J blush like a lady.

Today I hooped it solo (do you think that’s how they would say it on the street?) At one point, as I’ve grown used to, I totally missed the shot. Like way off. Even over the sound of Tegan and Sara – my equivalent of Eye of the Tiger – blasting on my iPod, I heard an old man who had seen everything yell out to me.

He came over and said: “Have you ever watched the champions play?” Stupidly thinking he was referring to a team, I said: “No.” So this old fella took the ball from me, put his wrinkly fingers on its surface and demonstrated how to give it a little spin. “Have a go,” he said. So I did and in the ball went with a satisfying swish.

And without saying a word, he walked away.

One of the fun things about my job is wandering around suburbs I wouldn’t usually visit. Today I went and did some hanging out in Kirribilli and my GOD, the people there live sweet lives.

Leafy streets and heritage-looking terraces done up beautifully, a fecking school with a harbour view. Kirribilli residents look as though they never fart, poop or pull on a cardigan they’ve had since year eight covered in moth holes. It took all my will power not to put some dog poop in a bag, set it alight and put it on someone’s door step. That’s right, try and scrape that turd from your Sofia Coppola for Louis Vuitton heel.

Yesterday I was in Roseville and had similar feelings of pure wealth-envy. Then I saw this piece of fun:

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The world is awesome.

In Orange you rarely have to line up for anything except the dole and methylated spirits. Oh I’m too cynical – mostly it’s for clean syringes and bourbon.

Today I queued for nearly an hour to buy a Christmas present and even though it’s my second Christmas in Sydney, I knew what I was getting myself into by shopping on the last Thursday before Santa breaks into my house and drinks my boutique Japanese beers.

And holy feck, 99.9 per cent of people are whiners. One woman, about 46th in line, finally got to the counter and didn’t take her headphones out while she was served. And she only answered questions with a shake or nod of her head. And didn’t make eye contact when they gave her change and a receipt. Then when her moment of pure First World torture was finally over, she moped out of the shop like someone had just forced her to strip naked and top off the human pyramid in the corner while we all took photos.

Then some other feisty babe who dared to wear her sweaty gym leggings and headband in public demanded a terrified staff member named Connie TRAINEE to find her a particular product. So Connie TRAINEE, carrying boxes and answering inane questions from all angles, slinked off to the back room. This is a beautiful trick as a retail worker. People think there’s a magical back room with endless supplies of Barbie vans, the second season of Friends and that illusive carton of Winnie Blues. Get a clue – there’s nothing out the back except a dartboard with your face on it. So Connie TRAINEE emerged 30 seconds later with the news that no there was nothing out the back and no they were unlikely to get anything in before Christmas. Sweaty pants heard this, rolled her eyes and actually stamped her foot. Stamped. her. Nike. wearing. foot. Sheesh.

I hope the good lord audits the world soon, I really do.

Merry December 18 y’all.

As it becomes more apparent that I am not career-driven I’ve turned my focus to other things. Namely, being a housewife. There are so many benefits – cooking for my boyfriend, scrubbing my boyfriend’s underpants, folding my boyfriend’s clothes and waiting for my boyfriend to get home. Other perks include watching Oprah, crying and spying on neighbours. This is all likely to end in the birth of child named something like Dorito Daisy Connolly – and that’s just the first son.

I thought I’d share with you my blooming collection of domestic items. I look at these things and I just think – ‘this is what life is all about mother’uckas':

Here’s a bunch of flowers half tulips, half lilies. I like to think they represent me – pretty but just about to die having been plucked out of the garden of life.

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Here’s a clock I bought myself. I watch every excruciating moment tick by.

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Here’s where I keep my dry ingredients for sweet cakes. I twitch slightly when I see the cursive labels on them which say ‘sugar’, ‘rice’, ‘tea’ and ‘coffee’ because actually what I keep in them is sugar, flour, brown sugar and teabags. But I can’t fix the injustices of the world can I?

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Here’s my collection of champagne flutes and matching ice bucket. Sometimes I drink gin out of them when I’m alone watching David and Kim.

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Here’s my pink teapot and knitted cosy. Once I found that Joel had hidden the cosy in the back of the cupboard and that’s why I threw him in the ocean wrapped in black plastic with rocks in his pocket.

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And finally, a piece of tasteful craft that doesn’t need an introduction.

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This afternoon while walking towards my bus stop, a woman in a long floral skirt came running up behind another woman, stopped her and said: “You have the most radiant, beautiful face I have ever seen. I just thought you should know”.

I couldn’t help but look at the bus timetable and roll my eyes in disgust. I could just tell that this woman was a hippy-dippy jerk and thought she would make this other woman’s day by saying something semi-sensual and creepy in a really loud voice. When really, all she was achieving was making everyone involved feel awkward.

I went about my very merry business and went and bought a two pack of bread rolls from Coles to use as garlic bread tonight and wandered back to my bus stop. I hadn’t eaten much all day and started nibbling on the end on one of the rolls when I noticed the hippy-dippy woman doing some no-bra Woodstock dancing and delighting in the fact that commuters were looking at her like maybe she’d just eaten her own puke.

Unfortunately, I made brief eye contact with her male companion, who approached me and said: Excuse me, I was wondering if you would like to share your bread with us?

Okay, what? Would I like to share my bread with you?

I remained silent and widened my eyes in a way that should have suggested: Are you kidding me? One step closer and I’ll kick you in your Scientology nutsack.

But instead he said: Your bread just looks so beautiful and it made us all so hungry.

I was so flabbergasted, that instead of saying “two bucks. downstairs. not on my watch, L. Ron Hubbard.” I handed over my bread roll.

Him: “That’s so beautifully kind of you. thankyou.”

The thing is, I was thinking that I didn’t really even need the second roll when I bought the packet. So if I was a nice, sharing person I would have gladly handed over the roll, thinking the universe had taken the roll away and given it to someone more hungry because the universe knew I was probably going to freeze it for six months and then throw it out and the universe taketh and the universe giveth and the universe makes beautiful skirts in floral patterns for the whole universe to discover the beauty of dance and the universe is watching us all and will feed us when we’re hungry.

But no, the majority of my thoughts are more like: I can’t believe I have to share the universe people I hate.

The dude who lives above us has the most awesome life ever.

Joel talked to him when we first moved in and he was all like, “I’m never here because I’m some kind of action cop/army/military/spy, so you’ll never see me”.

We never see him, but by the beard of Jesus, we have heard his every movement. Right now, he’s watching teevee – it sounds like maybe its Channel V or something similar – and I’m assuming he has surround sound because its loud, sharp and booming.

Last night at about 2am, not only did something outside my block of flats make a loud crash, but hot cop upstairs was actually running around his flat, putting washing on and generally being an unfriendly neighbour.

Not so long ago, Joel and I were spooning and falling asleep when we heard some girl in pure ecstacy – screaming and oohing and aahing. He was obviously ploughing her like there was no tomorrow.

Steve: Do you hear that?
Joel: Is that what I think it is?
Steve: I think … they’re doing it.

We’ve never heard her again – so he’s a tote bachelor

He also pees like an elephant. He must be busy and leave it till the last moment, because every single wee I hear him doing is like the Tom Hanks wee in A League of Their Own and I’m always tempted to get out my stopwatch and time it Madonna styles.

When I was little I used to like twiddling my umbrella around like I was in Mary Poppins or some shit, but I’m well aware they can be freakin’ lethal weapons in Sydney.

I’m not giant tall, but lots of people walking along George Street seem to be teeny tiny and I have been semi-beheaded on several occasions.

The worst umbrella assault I have seen was when I was lining up for a bus in the rain recently.

This trendy little spiky haired teenager was in front of me, and a red-haired-toupee-wearing old dude was next to me holding a metal-tipped umby. What the old guy didn’t realise was that every time he stepped closer to the bus, while he was fiddling around trying to find his Travel Ten (I bet it was brown) he was ramming his umbrella up this poor kid’s rectum.

The kid didn’t know what to do, but the look on his face suggested that he was seriously considering reporting the old guy to the police.

And rightly so.

Right now, I would like to report Joel to the police.

About two weeks ago, Joel took me out on a hot date.

We were eating Thai in this incredibly romantic little place. Chatting and laughing away like our house was made of gold, probably angering fellow single diners. It was one of those dates where you maybe suck on the same piece of spaghetti, entwine your arms and drink wine, Joel might have pulled a rose out of his sleeve or put a diamond ring in my ice cream. One of those dates.

After consuming a whole bottle of wine – and feeling warm and tipsy, Joel looks deep into my eyes and says:

Nice wine?
Steph: Yeah, it was great. Where does it come from?
Joel: It was left over from an event the other night.
Steph: Oh, that’s nice.
Joel: Yeah, we went around and emptied left over cups into the bottles

And he doesn’t understand my concern that I may now be pregnant to an unknown man. Or at least caught a bad case of herpes.

My lyric of the day: So my label would change my image, I’m a pink lipstick chick called dipstick, This ain’t on my wish list, Oh shit I’m in FHM posing in a bikini,Next to a Lamborghini. Lady Sov 9 to 5