Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
Or rather : “Whiskey, music and a screaming bollocking from a lady trying to sleep.”
So off we trundled to dinner. Smelling and feeling good, the best way. We had been invited to some friends’ house for pasta alla puttanesca. “Whore’s Pasta”. So called because it was made by brothels who used the wafting fumes of deliciousness beyond description to lure potential customers in. I’ve never remotely considered making use of the services of a lady of the night, but if I was offered some P.A.P my interest may be more probably piqued. My submission to rule by gut is probably my most masculine quality.
The conversation eddied around the familiar subjects of motorbikes, comedy, the meaning of life until we all acclimatised to each others company. As the turbulent waters of raving soliloquy settled into a gently flowing stream of co-operative conversation our topic suddenly took on a rather more serious tone. In the way that men love to do, and women seem to detest, we meandered wildly off course from a discussion on birds of paradise to my love life.
“What’s your plumage?! Come on!” boomed our host. He dismissed my apparently substandard answers with a wave. “No good, no good”.
He had quickly and surreptitiously enrolled me in a scheme to find as he put it “a fat, desperate, rich Aussie pensioner” so that I could marry and stay in Queensland forever, floating through life on a magic carpet of undeserved money. On the off chance that he knew such a creature I naively entered into a discussion mainly spinning on the axis of my woefully lacking lethario escapades. I liked his idea of an outcome, if not the method so I felt inclined to explore all possibilities. I could help but internally question though – Why is my recently acquired bachelor status still the elephant in the room when I’m having dinner with two married couples!? If ever there was an occasion marked by the complete absence of an opportunity for romance, this was it.
By the time the 12 year old Singleton was flowing, our discourse had reached fever pitch and the hostess with the mostest stepped in and suggested three bottles of wine and a bottle of whiskey was quite enough. Frivolities ceased but I made sure to make a mental note of all the sage advise that had been passed down. If ever I feel like seeking out a morbidly obese, terminally ill Queenslander to abuse like a vicious parasite, I’ll be sure to think back and employ all techniques offered up at this dinner. In the absence of this most lofty and noble goal – I’ll stick to my rule of not taking men’s advice on relationships. They’re not my target audience after all, despite how I dress.
“You’d better drive, my love.” said my friend as we wobbled happily through the rainy garden. And so she did, with a little assistance.
We got a hundred yards when the opportunity presented itself for my friend to rid QLD of a pest. He wrestled the wheel from the driver and began aiming for what I thought were erratically placed cat’s eyes on the road.
“Your road workers must’ve also gone to Louis’ house for drinks when putting them in the road.” I slurred.
After the fifth or sixth successful splatting I realised that we had embarked on a foray into the dubious world of the pest controller. Cane Toads sat stupidly waiting for the intoxicated exterminator to cleave a path through their dishevelled ranks. Since sitting on the road in the rain must be the amphibian equivalent of sunbathing I couldn’t help but feel that we were also the equivalent of the brooding menace in their version of “Jaws”, now playing at all good Froggy theatres everywhere. There, careering through the drizzle like a helicopter pilot with Parkinson’s, I could do nothing but laugh and hum the “Jaws” theme tune.
When we got in, we cracked a few bottles open and put our backs into a few hours of musical show and tell. It was in the middle of an Orbital track that Eileen asked us to turn it down slightly as it was keeping her awake.
Now, dear reader, I shall impart to you a piece of knowledge vital to your survival.
“Turn it down please.” is, in fact, a coded message. Buried in that concise and polite request is the promise of severe discomfort should you not comply. Had we translated this message and interpreted the mortal danger we were in properly, we would not have been on the dangerous end of a vocal evisceration by the former editor of FHM Malaysia fifteen minutes later. You’ve not been verbally dismantled until the aforementioned violation has been administered by a slightly tipsy but extremely furious female wordsmith. Equally well equipped with means and motivation to deliver a verbal smackdown.
“I suppose that’s that then…” Steve muttered as the vocal carpet bombing lulled.
“YES IT FUCKING IS” came the reply.
And so, chastised, lubricated by high quality libations and satisfied with the evening, I retired.