Wednesday, July 29, 2009

legal tender

Every time I go to the Norwood Spar or the 'Tops' bottlestore, I get the best subliminal messaging of my week. I queue to ring up the groceries (loaf of bread, coffee - man do we get through coffee in this house - dishwash liquid, Tanglewood natural yoghurt) and she asks me if I need plastic bags (oh no! I forgot to bring them again!) and then as she totals it all up, and I tell her I'm paying with a debit card, and she swipes the debit card, and she asks me to punch in my code, I look up, and two words are flashing green on the little screen on her till - tender validation. Isn't that sweet? The same at the bottle store. Beer for the boys, a not-too-cheap bottle of red for me. And there it is - blinking green at me. Tender validation.

I'm usually in a grump at this moment, having wended my way through grindy traffic, or squeezing the shopping in between appointments that are Much More Important than bloody Grocery Shopping! Usually a little bit of a scowl lurking around my jowls. I'm not fond of grocery shops, supermarkets, places where I'm reminded that I'm not a hunter gatherer after all and the harvest from my kitchen garden is still not yielding packaged pizza dough. I grumble to myself, like the wolf who missed Red Riding Hood, until I see it. Tender validation.

And I always obey. I always tell myself something really nice, really tender. I do. I say - Tam you're so clever and nice and well done for getting through that traffic, and you're just the best, no-one knows what it takes to be you, but I do, and well done, I think you're great. Good choice of wine too.

Try it - a little bit of tender validation. It works a treat, it really does.

Monday, July 20, 2009

the root of all evil

I need you to all feel very very sorry for me. I do. Feel sorry for me. But that's not enough. The only way I will get through the next few days is if I have your collective sympathy. Please?

I went to the dentist on Friday. For a root canal treatment. I've been putting it off (yes, I know, that makes it worse. I know I know. Ok! I heard you!!) She filled the tooth two and a half months ago and said if it doesn't "settle down" she'll have to take the nerve out. It didn't. Settle down.

So on Friday I went and writhed around on her chair while she "took the nerve out". Which involved her opening up a hole in my tooth so that she could scrape out my sinuses with a rusty nail file. Or so it seemed. Actually it felt like she was succking my eyeball out though my gums. The injection may as well have been a placebo. It soothed the pain like rescue remedy soothes a psychotic fugue: Not at all.

Eventually she stopped, put a plug on the blood bath, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and myprodol and sent me on my wincing way. I spent the weekend in a myprodol blurr. I yelled "s t f up" to the hippy within who doesn't like taking antibiotics.

I went back today, for more. Because she said that waiting any longer would cause me pain - due to pressure build up as the tooth drained. Funny, the pain had just subsided. But five minutes with her and it was right up there again. Even a second of that *%%##*** drill made the richter scale in my mouth skyrocket.

Has dental science progressed at all since 1300? I mean, call me unrealistically optimistic. Tell me I have blind faith in modern science, but really, isn't there a better way to "drain a tooth" than shoving what feels like a serrated needle up there, and poking around til the patient screams?

"Its a very long canal" she says.
"Sorry" she says.
"I know its hurting" she says.
When she removes her rubbery fingers I say, meekly, "why do you suppose it still hurts even after the nerve is removed?"
"I don't know" she says. And goes right back in there.

My bib looked like a prop for a Tarantino movie.

"There's a lot of stuff coming out of here," she says.

And then finally.

"Well, we're just going to have to wait for the antibiotics to work." There's a big pulpy cyst around the root of my tooth, according to the x-ray. It seems I have been sporting this abcessy thing for some weeks now. Which would explain the low energy, foul moods and over reliance on soup and whisky for my nutritional intake.
"It's not in the sinus though," she says, cheerily. Meaning, she didn't actually puncture through to the nasal cavity.

Sorry to be so graphic. I really just need you to feel my pain.

To think she's going to invoice me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Multiple career disorder

When I was a little girl, quite a little girl, I wanted to be a child pyschologist. I remember it clearly - some kindly grown-up asked me, so what d'you want to be when you are big, Tammy? We were standing outside the creosote-coated wooden structure that I called home.
"A child psychologist" I answered, without missing a beat. Then wondered, why the chuckle?

I'm not sure where I got this from - or what I thought it meant. Was there someone who was that and I admired them? Did I read it in a book? Who knows.

The other thing I wanted to be, apart from a vet, a biologist and a motorbike racer, was a writer. This from as early as I remember.

Someone else asking me that ol question and I remember saying,
"I'm going to be a writer." Made sense. Granny had written books. So had Grandfather.
"Ah, said the person (one of many visitors that came and went through our lives)
"What kind of writer? Like a sign writer? Or a calligrapher?"
No stupid. A writer. The kind that writes books with stories in them. I wonder if I gave her a withering look. Patronising sort, she was.

The words and the bees
Back to the biologist part - actually more of an entomologist. I loved insects. Words and insects. At eight I knew the difference between an etymologist and an entomologist. Duh. I was quite convinced that I would discover a new species of moth, termite, or glow in the dark mosquito. I studied harvester ant nests and intimately understood their social structures and movement patterns. Perhaps I was Eugene Marais in a previous life. I remember being quite shocked when I pulled a copy of Soul of the White Ant off my mother's bookshelf and realised that someone else had been there, done that which I had fervently planned. This was before I went to Proper School, and discovered there was a weird separation between arts and science and apparently you couldn't be a poet-biologist.

The last bullet was plugged into that hope at high school. I adored my biology teacher (Mr Sherry, wherever you are, you rocked). But Chemistry? The teacher was a perv who liked looking down the girls' school blouses. Physics? A cold war that started when he walked into class and caught me drawing a devastatingly accurate caricature of him on the overhead projector.

Without Physics and Chem, Biology A-level wasn't going to happen and by 16 I was firmly on an arts course, for better or worse. The fact that I grew up around bottles of turpentine and pigment can't have helped. Two hippy artist parents? I didn't stand a chance.

A cunning plan
Then I went to Varsity - headlong into more confusion. I started off with that chrystalline logic you have when you are 19. I would major in English Literature, obviously. And I would do Drama for two years only. To learn about character from the inside, you see. And then I would choose Philosophy or something clever so that I would be able to write books that answered all the really important questions about the outer frontiers of reality and consciousness (what can I say - I'm Sag/Scorpio). I think that was the plan, anyway.

Something to fall back on?
At the back of all this, the persistent ring of my grandfather's voice - "you can't make money from this artsy fartsy stuff. You need something to fall back on. A secretarial course. For God's sake don't become a safari guide."

Was drama my thing to fall back on? Or just into, the way one falls into a rich chocolaty mudpatch, sliding stiff-kneed at first (oh no, I don't wanna get my clothes dirty) and then gleefully (wheee! this is fuuun!) and then you sling your first mudball at someone and you're done for, hooked, wallowing forevermore. Inadvertantly calling everyone dahling and using words like emoting. And projecting.

But still, I have career A.D.D.
Let's see. I have been a perfume spritzer, jewellery seller, a costume and set designer, a drama teacher, a waitress, a potter, a proof reader (I suck at that), an industrial theatre scriptwriter-actress-director, a fundraiser (I suck at that too), a proposal writer (I'm good at that), a facilitator and a radio operations communications control officer (aka ROCCO. I'm really good at that). And every now and then, someone pays me to write a play.

No wonder I'm exhausted.

Its eclipse season, and its time to shed some dead wood. Its time to bloody well focus. I "twist and turn like a -- twisty turny thing", to quote Blackadder. Or was it Baldrick. Yep, even this post is making me yawn and squirm and stare out the window.

Really though, it should have been obvious a long time ago. Writing, making plays, whatever. Living in the deadly serious world of what if - that's the place where you can be any damn thing you want. Even - (duh! It should have been obvious!) Even (of course) - a child psychologist.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

my whole wide world

Tamara is feeling extravagent.
Tamara is cracked wide open.
Tamara has not been on facebook for months and suddenly she is all over it, spilling.
Tamara is swelling, surging, cresting, breaking with metaphors that potentially only surfers understand. And she's not even a surfer. Oh you don't have to be a surfer. You just have to be a partial sideline witness to...
oh bollocks. Let me just -

I am an aunty. An Onty, as they say here. My beautiful sister, of thetimesofmiranda, has made herself sacrosanct to that ordinary miracle - the giving of life.
Damn. She has pushed a small (quite big actually) live human creature ( I saw it. IT WAS HUGE. [and very cute]) through her vagina. Seriously. I am not joking. She did this. I was not there. To witness all the things she will ( I hope) blog about in due course. But bloody hell. I am not the first person to be struck dumb by this ordinary miracle. Her husband, for one, looked kind of - well - I've seen that look before. And it wasn't because the lions lost so badly to the boks. (with a face saving comeback today). He is a mensch tho. He hung in there. No fainting. They didn't have to call me. Tho I wanted them to - for what? why? no, I only. No. it was all. It happened as it should. Oh my poor mother, smsing through the night. what - how? now? what? when? Oh! oh bollocks. I answered the phone in my sleep (yes, i did eventually sleep, through my CAPS LOCK smsing to her man ARE YOU SURE I SHOULDN"T be THeRE? receiving his calm No, its ok, all good...responses and then finally, thank thank - yes, oh thank - janelle and i gmailing each other furiously should i be there should i
Mark at 3;40 am its a girl - (yes I thought that, tho only this morning, before that i thought it was a he, in the bath this morning i thought it - of course its a she silly) its all ok she is its all its ok sleep now its a girl its a girl its a girl
And -
And -
I am learning new things about love.
I am.
This feeble heart of mine.

Heh heh.

Seriously though. Miranda will probably say things like - oh I know all mothers have said this before - and she will try to not be a gushing new mom who is a blogger mom who is all full of fuzziness for the babyness.

But just so that you know. And she may be mad at me because I am stealing the gap before she gets home and cozy with her laptop and can say about -

oh man.
Just so you know. She truly IS the most beautiful small piece of angel-mail that ever came to the southern hemisphere. (i can't speak for up there) She is so cute.