Insta-post! Just add water!

Posted by September Blue Monday, 25 August 2008

1. My [great-]uncle once saw a ghost in the Australian outback. A man in a dusty coat, some time near the end of the First World War. Maybe he was walking home.

2. Never in my life have I ever managed to skim a flat stone more than three jumps over water.

3. When I was five I planned to marry my friend Fiona, live in a cottage in the woods we would build out of the stones from an old sheep-pen (we'd settled on the plot already), grow a small garden, have horses instead of cars, and heal sick animals for a living. I've had worse plans.

4. Secondary school was, as I always suspected at the time, not in fact the location of the best days of my life.

5. I will never forget being caught right underneath sheet lightning on top of a hill during a storm. The whole world froze blue-white.

6. Once I met Timmy Mallett. I was absolutely terrified and begged my parents to take me away.

7. There’s this boy I know who once knelt down and sang 'Words' to me in a public place, then didn't speak to me for two days before complaining about all the spectators that now thought he liked me when he totally didn't and what had I said to them, then got drunk and spent a whole party following me around begging me to kiss him, then denied even thinking any such thing because "God, why would I?", then started going out with a girl who looked eerily like me. Eleven years later, he's a very good friend and my intermittently on-call translator for Screwed-up Boy.

8. Once, at a bar a massively bearded alcoholic vagrant called Railway Dave asked me to marry him.

9. By noon, I’m usually wishing I could go home and get some teaching preparation done, these days. Sad, but true. (Note: do not mistake my total panic for conscientious devotion to the job, here. I've got a terrifying amount of unfamiliar stuff to teach this semester, and it's giving me nightmares.)

10. Last night I dreamed about a tornado, as I have been doing on and off for about six months now. I haven't looked up what tornados are supposed to symbolise in any of those dream dictionaries because I'm guessing it won't be good.

11. If only I had a large reef aquarium of my very own.

12. Next time I go to church I will once again catch myself wondering who thought outlining the large picture of Jesus in glitter was a good idea, even if the large picture of Jesus could be defended on aesthetic grounds in the first place, which, truly, it can't. Reformations have started for less.

13. What worries me most is thinking about who I want to be when I grow up. I'm 28...

14. When I turn my head left I see some of my fish, Disraeli and four of the PRB (who are neon tetra and as such don't have individual names).

15. When I turn my head right I see my other fish, Orson, and the bubble nest he built. I am so proud.

16. You know I’m lying when I say anything about how much I liked working on my PhD. For some reason I tend to say this a lot, maybe so I don't have to turn every polite enquiry into my academic life into one long wail of agony, but it is all lies.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is the way I could wrap myself up in a book like a blanket, to the total exclusion of the rest of the world, for hours and days on end. I can't read like that now.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be killed off in Act I.

19. By this time next year I will have an academic job if I have to sell my soul for it.

20. A better name for me would be Beth, according to two people who don't know each other but both picked the same name unprompted. And then told me about it in a slightly disappointed way, as though I really should have been called Beth and the world is slightly out of joint because I wasn't.

21. I have a hard time understanding how people can stop and ask for directions when they're only a little bit lost. That's like admitting defeat!

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll expect my friends to stage an intervention. Do I look insane to you?

23. You know I like you if I describe you as 'interesting'.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be the foolish awards committee, because what on earth would I be getting an award for? My PhD acknowledgements narrowly escaped being a bitter and vitriolic list of everything that conspired to make my life more difficult over those four years ('and special thanks go to Estates & Buildings, for planning that major noisy renovation work all around my office for the last few months of writing up! Love you!')

25. Take my advice, never get tabasco sauce in your eye. Trust me. I feel so strongly about this one that I want to tour schools warning the next generation.

26. My ideal breakfast is
made by someone else.

27. A song I love but do not have is Steve Earle, 'Number 29'. It reminds me of my dad.

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you go and get some of my friends who've been saying for years and years that it's a dump and they're getting out as soon as they can, grab them by the collar, and say 'This is your chance. There will never be a better time to leave than today.'

29. Why won’t people leave better newspapers behind them on trains? Guardian and Indy readers, you are stingy, stingy people.

30. If you spend a night at my house you will likely be woken by pigeons in the morning.

31. I’d stop my wedding for a sandwich, to be honest. I don't have any principled objections to marriage, but I find it difficult to imagine myself in a position where I'd get that enthusiastic about my own.

32. The world could do without war, infectious disease, bad coffee, bus drivers who pretend they don't see you and keep driving, that proposed remake of The Lady from Shanghai with Nicole Kidman in Rita Hayworth's role, wasps, the gritty debris that gathers under sofa cushions, and men who do not know what they want.

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than eat an oyster.

34. My favorite blond(e) is my friend and undergrad flatmate James, whose hair has been described as 'polluted beach colour'.

35. Paper clips are more useful than swearing at vending machines when there's a money-jam that needs dislodging.

36. If I do anything well it’s building flat-pack furniture.

37. I can’t help but stay awake as long as possible, just to spite being tired.

38. I usually cry only when something is really shaking me up. Films, books, sad songs - nope.

39. My advice to my [hypothetical future] nephew/niece is that your grandparents rock, and you should remember that.

40. And by the way, I was just listening to the Richard Marx song 'Hazard' (shush, now) and how did I never notice that he's responsible for the girl's disappearance? She 'went out walking all alone', but he 'left her by the river'? He did it! Him! The townspeople were correct: the boy's not right!


  1. Autumn Song Says:
  2. "27. A song I love but do not have is Steve Earle, 'Number 29'. It reminds me of my dad."

    "39. My advice to my [hypothetical future] nephew/niece is that your grandparents rock, and you should remember that."

    I love the relationship you have with your parents...

  3. Laz Says:
  4. Richard is INNOCENT!!!