Sunday, 8 January 2017

In Warrnambool

I'm in Warrnambool! To be specific:

- I am in a flowery-cushioned wicker chair
- - - which is in the living room of a recently built mock-Victorian B&B unit
- - - - - which is in the backyard of a not-mock Victorian house in Henna St. The house has nevertheless had a thick and unnecessary layer of mock-victoriana applied to every visible surface. It is one of those B and Bs where it's apparent that the profit motive is the merest excuse for the owner to set up as a B and B keeper and the real motive is the opportunity, once the main residence has reached capacity, to purchase a whole lot more chamber pots, hat boxes, tassels, decoupaged tissue box covers, flowery china, flowery cushions, wall plaques of flowers, little pots, curlicues of lacquered brass, and bags and bags and bags and bags of lavender, and stack them on top of each other to warm the frozen wastes with the slow smokeless burning of decaying tat. Also it smells of pretend flowers. I've got all the windows open to the south, longing for a sea breeze to come up through the pines.


Were I to walk out the front gate (which I won't do, because Lenny's asleep in bed* and I'm not Diana Trask, though I have occasionally woken from dreams where that's precisely who I am) and take any of the six directions made available by central Warrnambool's sweet and ploddingly literal grid of streets, I'd strike one of these places:

1. the church where my paternal grandparents were married.
2. the primary school in which I only lasted half a term, and it still hurts to remember what that was like.
3. the opshop where I popped my opshopping cherry. I still have the shirt, it's ripped to shreds, but I still have it. Once I finally acknowledged to myself that it had become unwearable, I kept it with my sewing things for maybe ten years, kidding myself I was going somehow repair it. Somehow this intention evaporated, or maybe I just came to terms with the fact that I'd been deluded about ever fixing it in the first place, and I believe it's now stashed with a bunch of other awkward and grotesque souvenirs somewhere in the shed. This whole story illustrates a key reason why I will never be able to emigrate.
4. The chemist where I had my ears pierced. The right lobe was pierced lower than the left and almost every day I feel annoyed about this, all the more so as there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it.
5. My friend Vivienne's house. This was the last friendship of childhood.
6. Sportsgirl!!! Still there.

*He didn't go to sleep until 9:23pm and I had to sit next to him the whole time. Paaaaareeeeenthooooood.

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