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Sunday, 31 March 2013

LIFT ETIQUETTE


Lifts. They were invented to make our lives easier, faster. And if I were to die in one, I'd push the up button first. Yet some people get on board leaving their brain and manners in the loading dock.

Here's what I mean.

Scenario 1: You're already in the lift, heading up to level 22. Someone gets in at level 7 and elects to disembark at level 15. Fair enough.

Until you get to level 15. The doors open and this fool stands around, idly admiring his comb over in the mirrors, unaware that he's supposed to get out. But I guess not every oyster contains a pearl.

"Oh, is this my floor?" he ends up spluttering, all the while checking the LED display just to make sure. Was he expecting a red carpet, some form of fanfare, a media opportunity perchance? Just get out mate so we can keep going.

I love mankind; it's just people I hate.

Scenario 2: It's 5.25pm, you're homeward bound. You've left level 22, quick stop at 17, 14 and 12 for more work weary passengers. At level 8, the door opens and the new occupant stands in the door frame, delighting and entertaining all with a protracted conversation with a colleague who is not getting into the lift.

They chat about the outcomes of a particular meeting, what date the brief is due, how the PR person shows too much cleavage etc etc, all the while with her hand on the "door open" button.

You take your time there sweetie, I'm in no rush. No, seriously, I love hearing how your day went, whoever you are.

Nothing worse than entering a lift car with a lingering smell of recent flatulence. Well, yes there is; when someone else gets in at the next level and glares accusingly at you.

Or the person who insists on munching noisily from their container of hot chips while you grasp your Grab 'n' Go salad.

Next time, I'll bring a chair along with me. At least I'll be comfortable while I watch this ongoing pantomime. Or insist each occupant wears a name tag.

Should there be an etiquette guide to travelling in lifts? Or an across-the-board principle ruling out all farting?

There is no elevator to success. I'm taking the stair

Thursday, 28 March 2013

YOU'RE FIRED


My first job was at Big W at Carindale. It was waaaaay back in 1980, when I was in Grade 10. Yes, grade. We hadn't upgraded to 'year' at that stage. Thursday night and Saturday morning.

Back then, in those halcyon days, the shops only opened late on Thursdays, and at 12.01pm Saturday, they were locked up tight and everyone either went to the footy, the pub or the uni library to study.

My daughter once asked me how I 'coped' with such restricted access to retail opportunities. But it's the same stock answer anyone who's older gives to anyone who's younger when they ask how we 'coped'.

We didn't know any different.

My career at Big W started with the checkout, where we had to input the cost of each item based on the price tag information. No scanners. No bar codes. No laser beams. We punched in numbers with no thought of RSI.

My diligent work (well, I prefer to think of it that way) meant I moved off checkouts, and over to the Service Desk, then ladieswear, then (for reasons unknown and ultimately peculiar) the auto section (yeah, like who would ask the 16-year-old chick about spark plugs).

For a few months I did a spot on the 'red light', meaning I got to wheel this mobile flashing ambulance light around the store, and spruik bargains on the PA.

Once they caught me doing a cover of The Police's Roxanne on the PA - "Bron-wyn, you don't have to put on the rrreeeed light." But that didn't get me fired. They just gently brought to my attention the fact that it would be best if I switched the microphone to "off" if I wanted to engage in light-hearted banter.

After a few years of doing leap frog around the various sections of the store, I ended up in lay-by. Fabulous haven, more fun than shrinkage or the loading dock. All the parcels were kept in this massive storage room on the second floor. It was totally private. Everyone would pop in to visit me, and we'd have a right old chuckle upstairs, confident that if anyone came looking for us, we'd hear the automated bell on the office door and make like we were particularly engrossed in an arbitrary task.

Well, this one Thursday, it was a slow night. Not much happening in lay-by. I went upstairs to see if I could pretend to be industrious and maybe tidy up the parcels a bit. It was then that I came across six bean-bags, lined up neatly on the floor, all on lay-by, clearly begging for someone to relax in them.

Sure, I was supposed to be tidying up, and maybe hard work never killed anyone before, but why take the chance?

I raced downstairs to grab a Dolly magazine I'd noticed lying about earlier. With my can of Coke, I got myself comfy on those bean-bags and whiled away an hour or so, until the bell rang and things got busy.

My little lay-by haven was forgotten as I worked hard putting all manner of weird and wonderful things on payment plans for the customers. Before too long, nine o'clock arrived and dad was waiting for me out the front and I was gone.

However, when Saturday heralded, I was frog marched into the manager's office and asked to please explain. Some intrepid manager had taken a wander through the lay-by storage area and found my little slice of Nirvana.

Oh no, I thought, how could I forget to destroy the evidence?

And so ended my career in retail.

I've never been fired again. That maybe because I've learnt from my mistakes and can avoid making them again.

Maybe because I never worked in retail again...


Monday, 25 March 2013

HOW TO END RAPE


I’m not a bloke, and maybe that’s why I don’t understand why men rape.

It seems that you need to perform a lot of dangerous criminal acts in order to get laid. Be it abduction, deprivation of liberty, assault with intent to harm, and of course unlawful carnal knowledge. To name a few.

When you’ve finished having sex, you don’t want to hear a judge saying, “You are accused of grievous bodily harm.”  You want to hear, “Oh my God, you were magnificent” and “You’re the best” from the gorgeous lady to whom you’ve just made love.

Would it not be easier to go up to the pretty girl at the bar and tell her she is the most beautiful woman you’ve seen that night, and would she allow you the honour of buying her a drink. And then maybe, just maybe, she will come willingly to your bedroom at some point. Not dragged and drugged against her will?

It’s an awful topic, a hideous scenario and an abhorrent, pathetic disfigurement on our social landscape. And is it simply because boys can’t control themselves?

Well, get a grip, in the most obvious way. Because if you’re gripping it, then nobody else can. And you can sort it out yourself.

To me, rape occurs when you have sex against your will. So, if you’re with a girl and she is kicking, screaming, cursing and frightened, chances are she’s not really wanting to have sex with you. Quite frankly she’d probably rather be home eating her own gall bladder.

Is your self-esteem so low that you have to overpower a woman in order to feel in control? Are you so immature at being turned down by the pretty girl at the bar that you have to seek revenge by raping her? Do you really think that the girl walking home from her late night uni lecture is gagging to have your penis shoved violently into her vagina until she bleeds?

REMEMBER THIS: WOMEN HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE IN ANY PLACE AT ANY TIME DOING WHATEVER THEY CHOOSE, JUST AS MEN DO. 

If you wouldn’t rape a man, then don’t rape a woman. If you wouldn’t want someone repeatedly shoving something hard and unfriendly into your backside, then don’t do that to women.

A few simple rules are what we need to stop rape. If every bloke followed these simple rules, as a society we’d be ok. We’d be progressive, applauded and safe.

Let’s start with this one. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks. Sure, buy them a drink and get to know them, and use old-fashioned methods of flattery and coyness to get them to sleep with you. But don’t drug them. Are you really so ugly, so socially inept, so tongue-tied that you have a drug a woman in order to have sex?

When you see a women walking by herself, leave her alone. Just leave her alone. She may be heading to the shops, be on her way home from the bus or out for a jog. It doesn’t matter why she’s out there. The point is she is allowed to be out there and to safely go about her life.

Don’t rape the woman whose car has broken down when you stop to help. Don’t creep through women’s windows and doors and enter their home without being asked. Stay away from your friends who want to assault women. Don’t even visit them in jail.

On what planet in what universe in what solar system of what galaxy would any woman hope she would get raped. Why should she even be asked the question, “Were you doing anything at the time to provoke the attack?” Sorry Mr Laws, what did you just say?

Apparently all you need is to be born female. That’s all you need, and then you’re asking for it.

What shits me the most is that rapists seem to be out of jail in a few years. Whether they re-offend or not isn’t my main issue; it’s that they did a few years time and they move on, but the victim carries the shame and scars and the nightmares often for the rest of her life.

Where’s her get out of jail free card?

How about we stop putting rapists in jail and instead chemically castrate them. Along with the paedophiles. That way they can never harm again. And they have to live forever with the consequences of their actions.

Just as their rape victim has to live for the rest of her life with the consequences of what happened to her.

PS great article by John Birmingham

Monday, 18 March 2013

BACK IN MY DAY


So Brisbane teenager Jordan Fuller justified the brawling rabble that ensued when his party was shut down by police as “what kids do”.

At least he got the “kids” part right. Because that’s what they are – kids. Children, juveniles, adolescents, minors, youths, teenagers. Not adults.

And as such, they should bloody well do as they’re told.

Well, at least we did back in my day.

So this turd of a kid pops his party on Facebook and over 200 kids turn up. The party turns into some sort of unholy uproar, with noise, shouting and fighting in the street.

What else do these kids do for fun? Slam their hands in car doors?

When concerned neighbours called the police, the kids were so infuriated at their instruction to shut the party down that they retaliated by throwing bricks at the heads of police officers and storming a council bus that was making its routine trip, smashing out its windows and causing major havoc in the street.

“Everything was all right until the coppers turned up and said it was over,” I quote Master Justin from the story in Brisbane newspaper The Courier-Mail. “They weren’t too happy because they were having a good time and everyone got upset with the coppers, as you can see.”

Two police officers are in hospital, a bus driver is traumatised, 18 patrol cars were called in as back up… all because some selfish kids wanted to “do what kids do?”

Oh good Lord.

Back in my day, if you were doing the right thing, ie walking your dog on a leash, buying milk for your Mum at the corner shop or posting a birthday card, and you saw a cop, you were immediately nervous. You’d never done anything wrong in your life except belt up your younger sister or stay up late reading by torch under the blankets. None of which needs police intervention. But you were still nervous.

If I saw my parish priest or my best friend’s mother when I was walking home from school, I made sure I was on my best behaviour. I was polite to the old lady on the bus and always offered her my seat. I said thank you to the lady who manned the pedestrian crossing outside our school. And I always waited until she said it was safe to cross before I crossed.

Why was I like this? Because my biggest fear was my parents finding out I’d done something wrong and then I’d have to incur their wrath and live with the consequences.

You see, my parents weren’t particularly interested in being my friend or even about liking me. It was their job to be my parents and that’s what they did.

My mother is someone you never wanted to make angry. She kept a wooden spoon in close proximity and thought nothing of whipping it out and walloping my brothers and me if we played up. Not just one nasty sharp wallop. She’d have a few good cracks at it. And it hurt like hell.

The one time I wagged last period at high school to hang out in McDonald’s with my boyfriend, I bumped into our neighbour from across the road. She lost no time in telling Mum, who then waited for me by the front door. I got a few wallops for that escapade.

Another time, I’d been given money to buy my Nanna a birthday present. Instead I spent it on buying the Abba Arrival record and tried to fashion up a home-made gift to cover my indiscretion. That lasted about 60 seconds before the wallop.

As I got older, we progressed to groundings. A week at home with the wooden spoon for company makes for a long week.

I’m not sure whether all this made me a better person or not, but it certainly taught me some self-awareness, to be mindful and respectful of others, and the simple fact that the world does not revolve around me.

Much as I’d like it to at times.

In the late 70s and early 80s, I couldn’t even have begun to contemplate having a party in the same vein as young Jordan. Or even accepting an invitation to go to one. My parents just wouldn’t allow it. Sure, we had birthday parties and we had sleepovers with friends and went out to the movies and so on. But it was all under strict supervision, was alcohol-free, and other parents were invited where appropriate. And interestingly, no one got drunk and no one got pregnant.

And no one insulted police officers or tried to knock their heads off with low-flying bricks. We were just too scared of them.

So, if these young kids were told by police to shut down the party, the adults in charge should have set about shutting it down, even if they didn’t have the foresight to do so before things got out of hand. Parents should have turned up to collect their children instead of leaving them to find their own way home. Alcohol should have been banned before anyone got past the footpath. And keep it off Facebook!

This incident has made me so cranky! It was unnecessary, self-serving and destructive. And such a waste of so many people’s time.

I wish I had a wooden spoon right now.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

I'M LOSING MY MIND


The first time I noticed it was the other Saturday morning. When I finally got out of bed, I stripped the sheets to make ready for fresh ones.

I took said sheets downstairs to the laundry. Looking out the laundry door, I saw a few ugly weeds sprouting rudely below the shrubs down the northern side of our house. I plonked the sheets on the floor and went out to pull the wretches.

While outside, I noticed the Saturday papers on the lawn. It always delights me that someone has a good heart and a robust spirit to rise at 2am, wrap newspapers in plastic and drive around the suburbs chucking them out a car window.

I’ll get back to the laundry load, I think, just after I get the papers off the lawn and read the front page.

Walking back from the lawn, I see that no one bothered to collect yesterday’s mail. I open the letterbox and see the Ikea 2013 catalogue. I walk over to the outdoor setting and sit down to make plans for the Swedish-inspired minimalist lifestyle I aspire to.

As I open the catalogue, another letter falls out. It’s from the gas company. I open it up, and notice that it is marked ‘overdue’. Oh shit.

I get up from the outdoor table and head inside to the computer to log onto my internet banking to pay the gas bill. But when the internet starts up, it takes me straight to the news site, and I start reading how three to four drinks a day can ruin your eyesight.

I straight away googled local optometrists in an attempt to make a booking for Monday to have my eyes checked.

I wanted to write their number down and went looking for a pen, and noticed that there were two wine glasses on a book shelf in the hallway. How on earth did they end up on the book shelf, and not in the dishwasher?

I tried to remember what happened last night, when I’d had three or four drinks, and then it struck me. I had told my husband I’d take the glasses to the kitchen en route to the loo but had realised my bladder was doing a herculean effort to not burst its dam. I dumped the glasses on the nearest flat surface and went to pee.

Being a Virgo, I knew that they obviously could not remain there and scooped them up and raced to the dishwasher. Which was clean, but full. So I started to unpack it.

Holding my favourite tea cup in my hand, I realised I hadn’t made a cup of tea yet, so filled the kettle with fresh water and turned it on.

While waiting for it to boil, I looked out over the patio and noticed that the herbs needed a water. I grabbed the watering can and began soaking the plants, admiring the blooming parsley and thyme in their matching tubs.

The fragrant smell of gardenias was in the air. I have a few robust bushes and they were in full bloom. What a great idea, I suddenly thought, to cut a few and put them in shallow dishes around the house so the wonderful aroma that is characteristically gardenia would fill my home.

Back inside, I started looking for the secateurs when the cat dodges around under my feet. Dear little Kitty Kat, I think, patting her bushy tail, she wants her breakfast. I get her food from the fridge, pick up her bowl, and notice it’s still a bit dirty from her dinner the night before.

I head to the sink to give it a quick rinse when I notice steam rising out of the kettle and my longing for a cup of tea overtakes my desire to feed the cat.

I’m in the pantry getting out a tea bag when I notice the honey jar is sitting in a sticky puddle. Silently I blame The Man Of The House and wet the dishcloth to clean up the mess before the ants do. Oh well, while I’m here, I may as well do a bit of tidying and rearranging of food items.

It is then that I discover a box of tea light candles that had been missing in action. Oh goodie! I can replenish the candles I keep on the dining room table. I walk to the dining room and find the television remote control sitting forlornly on its walnut table top.

Not even bothering to wonder how it got there, I pick it up and take it to the living room to return it to its rightful place. Mmm, may as well see what’s on, don’t you think?

Foxtel is playing Bridget Jones’s Diary. Even though I own the DVD for both BJD one and two, even though I’ve seen them numerous times, even though I own the books, I sit down to watch.

Halfway through I remember my girlfriend Michelle went out with her new bloke last night and give her a call to see how it went. We chat for a while and decide to meet for a quick lunch to dissect details and analyse the text message he sent her this morning (it read: “Hi baby, had a great time last night, looking forward to seeing you again x”).

Did he call her baby because he couldn’t remember her name? Or was he simply being affectionate? Did he only want to see her again because she didn’t sleep with him or is he really into her? Is a single kiss enough or should he have put two or three?

Home from lunch, I think a nice lie down for an hour is on the cards.

I walk into my bedroom and stare blankly at a bare mattress.

Where the hell are my sheets???

And then it all comes back to me: the sheets are sitting in a messy pile on the laundry floor. I have a gas bill that is unpaid. My cat is hungry. The gardenias are dropping off the bush. The Ikea catalogue is still outside on the table. The dishwasher needs to be unpacked.

And I still haven’t had a cup of tea.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

RULES FOR HAPPINESS


1)   Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2)  When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3)  Life is too short – enjoy it..

4)  Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5)  Pay off your credit cards every month.

6)  You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7)  Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8)  Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

9)  When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

10)  Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

11)  It's OK to let your children see you cry.

12)  Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

13)  If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it...

14)  Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

15)  Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

16)  Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

17)  It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

18)  When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

19)  Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

20)  Over prepare, then go with the flow.

21)  Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

22)  The most important sex organ is the brain.

23)  No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

24)  Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

25)  Always choose life.

26)  Forgive but don’t forget.

27)  What other people think of you is none of your business.

28)  Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

29)  However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30)  Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

31)  Believe in miracles.

32)  Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

33)  Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

34)  Your children get only one childhood.

35)  All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

36)  Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

37)  If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

38)  Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

39)  The best is yet to come...

40)  No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

41)  Yield.

42)  Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.