Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Constable Plod

In one of my former reincarnations I was a police officer.

People look at me now - blubbering at ads on the telly (the fact that I use the word 'telly'),  my forgetfulness, that I can't string a sentence together in front of anyone in any kind of authority, and probably my less than optimal body shape (what eva!) - and can't believe that at one stage I got in punch-ups, rescued people, told off truckies and helped at autopsies.

While most people would say it like this - "You were a  police officer?" in a voice of amazement and admiration, I get "You were a police officer?" in a "you've got to be freaking joking!" kind of way.

Nonetheless naysayers - here is the photographic evidence.

When I look at this photo three things come to mind -

1:  Shit I was skinny.

But then a teenage metabolism coupled with 3 weekly five k runs, the end of which generally involved some kind of spewing will do that to you.  As I remember it, that skirt fitted me exactly for the five minutes after I left the academy and started eating half-price Maccas.  It all went downhill from there.

2:  Bloody hell, I was just a child.

I am sure I don't even have boobs yet.  I certainly didn't have any life experience.  You can see it in my eyes. While I thought I had seen the world - I had actually only seen Brisbane.  Wynnum in fact. And a bit of New Zealand. And a large part of the Tasman Sea.  Which hardly a world makes.

3:  See the size of that hat?  I needed a hat that big to fit my big head in.  There was a lot of attitude to fit in that hat.  When I look back... oh dear.  It's a wonder I could hold my head up on that spindly neck, and probably explains why my vertebrae are now slowing crumbling like the Twelve (or is it now Eleven?) Apostles.

I think I have some stories to tell about this.  But this is just a taster.  Get used to the photo. Some stories about the adventures of Constable Jo Plod to come.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


It's two a.m.  I can't sleep.

Words tumble around my brain, red hot with motion, sharp and clear at conception, but eroding at the edges as they clank and crash mercilessly into each other.  Ideas, jobs, problems, feelings, all competing for my attention.

It's cold.  That doesn't slow the motion, the pressure building, my shoulders tense.  Nothing slows it down except sleep, sleep that eludes me because of the words I have left unsaid, the pages I have left unread, the problems I have not dealt with.

I envy the sleep of my young men, still worry-less, the dreams of children not quite men, their responsibilities confined to the social minute of their lives.  Even though their doors are closed I sense their presence in the stillness of the night and feel a little more secure.

I yearn for a quiet day, the luxury of time to drink in some calmness and tranquility without this never-ending, noisy, disorderly torrent ripping through my mind.  A small uninterrupted window of calmness and tranquility. A day with maybe a hint of productivity, a valve to release the most pressing issues. A day to just be.

My love rolls over, softly snoring, relaxed and oblivious. The warmth from where his body has been still lingers on the sheets as my foot reaches, as it has for nearly half of my life, for the gentle curve of his calf. Where I know it fits, where our curves match, just so. I suck in his warmth, and listen to the rythym of his breathing.  The words and images tumble more softly.  It's not the day that I wished for, but a moment.  If I live in that moment, everything is calm and in order.  I choose it.

Eyes wide shut.

Monday, January 3, 2011

What do you mean 'whateva' isn't a style?

My husband recently bought me an appointment with a personal stylist for our 19th wedding anniversary.  It was a great gift, but for those of you who know me, my 'style' is 'whateva': whateva I can grab out of the laundry basket (clean or dirty) that requires the least ironing, and 'whateva' I can find that means I don't have to wear that most torturous of fashion constructions - the bra.

Sadly though, while I may have been able to get away with that for a while, with my thesis nearly done I am once again going to have to leave the sanctity of my office and deal with prospective employees, students and other adults - none of whom I imagine will appreciate my 'whateva' style or an inadvertent nipple in their eye.

While I was excited about the stylist, as the time grew closer I began to get a little nervous. In response to my fear that she would, upon encountering me, fall down in hysterical laughter in the middle of the shopping centre or run screaming from the room hands flapping wildly, I decided that forewarned was forearmed and wrote her a brief note:

Dear Personal Stylist,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to warn you let you know how I am feeling about our impending appointment, and tell you a bit about myself so we can make the afternoon flow like Mojitos in a Cuban cabana on a Sunday afternoon by the seaside.

I have no doubt you will be young and beautiful and hopefully immaculately dressed.  I fully expect you to look the part.  But I want you to know that I already hate you for it.  Don't judge me.  I have spent days looking for something to wear for this occasion and three months trying (unsuccessfully) to lose weight.  Someone somewhere will be pleased to know that I have found theirs.

I wanted you to know that I have bought some new undies for the occasion, just in case you are the kind of stylist that peeps around curtains unannounced at inopportune moments, or you have a perverse eagerness to feel better about yourself by sussing out how much a female body can sag post-children and forty something years on the planet.  Even buying undies was an issue.  I didn't want to go for the flowery mother-in-law ones, the synthetics, the flossy or lacy ones.  I thought boy legs, or a thong but then I am sure they do nothing for me and will do even less for you.  The alternative, Brigitte Jone's undies, might make you run for the nearest high bridge as you contemplate your body's future.  After much vacillating you'll be pleased to know that I eventually made a decision (sensible, beige, seamless). 

But at the moment I don't know what else I am wearing, does that matter?  I mean you are going to dress me after all.  Also you can save your breath asking me what's in my wardrobe.  I am sure you don't want to count 3 pair of discount jeans all with holes in the arse pockets where my cellulite keeps trying to make a quick escape (quite honestly I wish it would).   I am equally sure that my saggy t-shirts with quickening thread and underarm stains would be rejected by Lifeline.  As would my two pairs of festering discount sandals - not least due to the fact that the groove worn out of the sole by my crooked middle toe is that large that the foot bugs need a high jump pole to get from one side of the shoe to the other.

Also I have to let you know that I hate shopping.

It never used to be that way.  Once upon a time I loved the highlife - flash shoes, shoulder pads, gnarly boots, high heels, blue eyeshadow and hairdos to a six-week schedule.  Then I moved to country North Queensland, where, let's face it (and apologies to all my hick country friends) it wasn't too hard to get a bit of male attention as long as you had enough breath to pump the minimal amount of blood through your veins to stay alive - teeth definitely optional.  

'Luckily' for me, I met the criteria.

Having said that, the resultant marriage and birth to three young men (don't panic - they weren't young men at the time) have resulted in the situation we find ourselves in; me having to expose my floppy bits to a fine young lady, and you having to endure it.  I will try my best to think of some small talk to engage you and take your mind from the horror ... how are you with space weapons?  Meantime maybe you could think about some fictional thing to keep your mind far removed from reality - like eating icecream, for example.

Anyway, I am looking forward to that Mojito - in fact maybe I will have a few before I come so don't put me in any high heels.  Come to think of it, maybe you should come armed with some dutch courage yourself.



Of course, the stylist was the very model of decorum and clothes-horsery, and a lovely person to boot (which doesn't make for a satisfactory ending for the blog!).  There was no hysterical flapping of arms or dramatic collapsing, and she had obviously been scarred prepared by previous clients regarding the peeping.  Not only that but she did wonders choosing clothes for me that hid my sags and bags, seemingly nonplussed that she was staring at her potential future.  She even managed to squeeze my size 10s into some high heels.

It made me think that she must have built up some immunity due to the endless parade of panicky middle-aged women struggling to grow into their skin (so to speak) that form her client base.  Well... either that or she took my advice re the Mojitos.