Thursday, August 21, 2008

Every cloud has a panty liner

Winnebago of Pants is superseded by Subaru of Pants with a haste that must be considered unprecedented in the present emotional micro-climate. It occurred in the flash of a gavel. I wasn’t expecting to be attending a car auction but it so happened that the Victorian Government decided to dispense with a number of its excellent vehicles at exactly the time I acquired a notion to buy one so I motivated myself into gear. The lethargy that has dogged my 2008 has disappeared with the flush of fortuitous opportunity, thanks to sane and knowledgeable friends. Who knew I could marshal such reliable resources? After my rejuvenating stay with Ms O’Dyne, I have recently been taken in by kindly Shirley and Roddy who have not only been wining and dining me to within an inch of rendering my jeans completely redundant, but have sorted out my dishevelled finances, not to mention the laundry bag that is my backpack. It was the redoubtable Roddy who sourced and conquered the auction process on my behalf. Even when completely in command I never would have had the patience to unravel the intricacies of this giant car bazaar myself.

On Tuesday we journeyed to the outskirts of Melbourne to kick tyres with dealers and like-minded bargain hunters. Mustering a presence of mind I feared may have deserted me for ever, I perused, surveyed and assessed nineteen potential Subaru Foresters, the car I had previously identified as the perfect travelling companion. My standard research method is indicative of my general displeasure with shopping. I usually wait until I find someone in similar circumstances to do all the hard work and then I buy exactly the same thing as they’ve got after asking them some basic questions like ‘is it any good?’ and ‘do you feel like opening a vein when you think of all the money you’ve just pissed away?’ In the course of my methodical search, I met three delighted Subaroosters and that was good enough for me. I have better things to do with my time than question the integrity of decent, hard-working people.

Of the nineteen potential pantmobiles, nine were eliminated because they had a few scratches or were a manky colour or looked at me the wrong way. I then used a highly scientific method involving snaps taken on the Kodak, notes scribbled on the catalogue and several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc to prioritise the remaining hopefuls into a hierarchy which serendipitously looked remarkably similar to the order in which they were to appear on the auction floor. Together Roddy and I developed a strategy so simple as to be virtually idiotic. I would bid on the first car, which happened to be the favourite and if I didn’t get that one, I would bid on the next and so on until I got one or the nice auction people ran out of cars.

My car was number 4 which meant I had only three opportunities to learn to interpret the strange language that auctioneers speak which sounds like a cross between high speed bingo and Bim Skala Bim. By the time my intended zoomed into view, it was already apparent that the people who were sitting all around us were not there to buy cars. Perhaps they just fancied the ambience and the sausage rolls. It was all insanely painless. A dealer made a listless opening bid. It ping-ponged a couple of times. I made the final bid. I thought it was all over and lept up waving my bidding card like a lottery winner who'd just evaded eviction. I looked at Roddy and couldn't understand why he wasn't punching the air like it had just mugged his mother. The auctioneer had passed the car in because it hadn't reached its reserve so I was led bewildered into a quiet corner. We haggled with the government agent until a satisfactory conclusion was reached. Suffice to say 'quids in' is something of an understatement.

This morning in the blinding rain, we headed across Melbourne for the third consecutive day to pick up the car. I’m not a nervous driver but I do have a bit of a problem with vertigo and there was an awfully high bridge to navigate. I’m pleased to report that no citizens of Melbourne were injured in the course of this delicate operation and we weaved between the grime-generating pantechnicons like spaghetti through bolognaise. Roddy has been telling me all week we need to go see someone called Vic Rhodes. I have no idea what that is all about but, hey, every day is a new adventure and he sounds nice. SUV’d up, I’m ready to hit the road again. The next quest – to establish a new Seat of Pants – could begin at any time...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rainbow Retention

Right place, right time by Pants

Complaints have been pouring into Winnebago of Pants vis-à-vis the scarcity, bordering on poverty of the Pants pantry of late. I agree the larder falls somewhat short of Epicurean and I would apologise for that but for the fact that at the moment I don’t really give a flying fart about anything, much less the problems of the big bad world. Most of them are caused by stupidity. The discovery of a formula for making people less stupid could spark my interest, in more ways than one. Suffice to say the relationship between thought and bubble has recently hit the skids insofar as the functional fusion culminating in inspiration goes. In short, I have been cluelessly preoccupied with the thorny question of whether or not to bother going on … er… bothering and I didn’t feel inclined to turn my attention to how badly the world was getting along without the benefit of my eternal vigilance.

I may have turned a corner, or at the very least, a figurative leaf. Miraculously my banking problems have temporarily subsided and I have access to some cash. I don’t need a lot but I’m very pleased to have a trickle as personal hygiene was suffering. As I was reaching a new nadir on Wednesday, I chanced to look out the window and saw the rainbow above terminating in the farm’s very own disused well. Well! Despite the slightly mixed symbolism, I thought my luck had to be changing. Are leprechauns large grey things with big long tails and little tiny hands does anyone know? No matter. I think I might have seen one on a coin so that’s a great omen, right?

I used to be so organised in my anxiety once, devoting a day a week to fretting over carefully selected major global concerns. The last year has eroded my confidence in reality quite substantially and that has rather influenced my ability to find a focus for my critical pretensions. I’ve just generally kind of felt bad about almost everything in an overwhelming it can’t be fixed sort of way. Attaining a metaphysical detachment from the world and all its infuriating little administrative imperatives allows me to live in my head more and, much as I loved Hackney, it’s a good deal quieter in there. I think I’ve done fairly well. There are an awful lot of things that could irritate me if I deigned to give them the time of day and I will again once I locate a few of the missing pieces from my deconstructed sensibilities. Perhaps I left them in Madhogarh along with my spare contact lenses. Can you claim missing marbles on travel insurance?

A recent study carried out at the University of Queensland (one’s alma mater) suggests that your preferred type of music could be a key to determining the likelihood that you’ll top yourself. Is this a good time to reveal that I’ve been listening to a lot of Joy Division and Jeff Buckley? This would render me a candidate for suicide watch I shouldn't wonder. A suggested application for the study is yet another obsessive monitoring mechanism for plotting the mental well-being of young people. One day someone will come up with the bright idea of just casually inquiring into their state of mind via a simple question over a coffee. 

I think I might have come up with a flaw in the music as mind map theory and that is that you sometimes just listen to whatever’s there. I would have done almost anything to have been gyrating geriatrically to Dane Bowers’ Testosterone but the farm only has Andrea Bocelli, The Chieftains and a Basque group called Oílarrak (who actually aren’t bad provided you can  consume enough rough red), so I was obliged to borrow whatever CDs I could find. If I could have had Lily Allen’s Smile, I might have achieved self-actualisation, at least for five minutes. So there you go. My music of choice might have been considered quite uplifting. The study also concluded that people who attended parties were more likely to consume drugs. You don’t say. Sometimes I wish I’d never left UQ. What must it be like to be a tenured academic in the era of stupidity?

Back to the rainbow. It’s rare isn’t it that a rainbow landfalls within reach? So consumed was I with capturing this momentous event on the Kodak that it never occurred to me to go down to the end of the garden and a) bathe in its heavenly light and b) check the well for gold deposits. Clearly I still have work to do on defining my life goals. Next week I’ll be heading off to Melbourne. I have prepared myself for this by watching Chopper with the eponymous hero’s commentary accompanying my viewing. I’m confident I could recognise a 410 shotgun if one were suddenly to appear in front of my face but, with my rainbow connections, I think that’s unlikely. I heard today that Sydney and Brisbane (both cities in which I've lived) love themselves but Melbourne has invented a persona in which she feels comfortable. Sounds like my kind of place. Wish me Bluebirds in the Spring, or just a spring would do nicely. Ta…