Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stinky cabbage

I'm sure everyone is familiar with this scenario: You call a cab. You wait on the street, pretty much ready to fling yourself in front of any moving vehicle like a clucky spinster at a speed dating event. Twenty minutes later, still no sign of the cab. You call up the taxi company, tap your feet a little, throw a few swear words around and get them to "increase" your job. Twenty minutes later, still no fucking cab-bage. You call up again, incensed, and the operator assures you the taxi driver was there but there wasn't anyone to pick up.

This happened to me the other day, when I was inconveniently rostered on to work on a day when there were absolutely no buses running. When a taxi driver did rock up, about ten minutes after I was meant to start to work, he told me a very interesting story.

Apparently taxi drivers in each area are listed or ranked in a list for priority of getting jobs. Someone calls up, the highest ranked cabbie in the area gets first dibs. If he doesn't want to take it, that's cool but they take him off that list/the radio for half an hour. He probably wants to grab lunch or someone just hailed him on the street. Sounds like a great system, right?

Not so much. Apparently the job listings also show where the fare is going to. Lazy drivers don't want to "waste" their time on a $15 fare when they could get an airport job. But they're also sneaky bastards who don't want to get taken off the jobs list for 30 minutes, so they pretend they went to the pick up address and report no one was there, and thus keep getting first dibs on jobs. And then people like me get to work incredibly late and look bad.

Maybe when I book the cab, I should lie to the operator, and tell them that I'd be willing to go on a date with the driver because that's all the drivers seem to want from me. Maybe then I can get to work on time.

* If any of you lovely readers have any taxi horror stories, or actually know things about the taxi industry and feel like you need to correct me, please comment. In the mean time, read this slightly racist forum on Melbourne taxi drivers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

As authentic as they come

I was having dinner at Tiamo's on Lygon Street with my parents a few months ago, and the restaurant was (as per usually) packed to the rafters will diners waiting to grab some amazing Italian grub. My parents enjoyed their meals so much that they went up to the chef and complimented him on his culinary skills, to which he replied in a thick Italian accent, "Ah thanking you!"

As my parents went off to pay, I took a little longer trying to unwedge myself from the tiny corner that the waiters had placed us, and the same chef turned to me and said in the broadest Australian accent, "Hey mate, I love ya tattoo! Have a good one, aye!"

That made me laugh quite a lot.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Club Med-ically brain dead

I once talked to someone who had gone to Bali, and I excitedly tried to exchange travel stories. Like how a bunch of local people selling knick knacks actually got on our rented kombi van and wouldn't get off until we bought stuff, or hilariously embarrassing food poisoning tales. But no, she wasn't interested in that at all. She wanted to tell me about how much she spent on some uber-deluxe Club Med package, and how wonderful the in-house spa was.

There seems to be two breeds of tourists: those who actually "see" the places they visit, and those that just get stamps in their passports. The latter are the type who hide out in the luxury of their air conditioned hotel rooms, and make sure their hotels have continental buffet breakfasts so they don't have to - god forbid - eat the local food. They hang about the touristy areas and assume everyone speaks English. They eat at McDonald's if they must venture out of their little Westernised haven.

And while my adopted home of Melbourne is obviously a predominently white, Westernised kind of place where you don't have to worry about malaria or being swarmed by beggars, tourists do the same thing here. I've had friends visit from interstate or overseas, and for some reason they always make a beeline for the shopping centres.

Their suitcases end up stuffed with garments from Country Road or Sportsgirl (not particularly unique Melbourne items). I've tried twisting their arms and dragging them down Centre Place or Smith Street, shoving them down the Flinders Street Station subway or force feeding them delightful bagels from local cafes, but it never works. Sigh. It's always Starbucks and Chadstone (which I can fucking guarantee is not the fashion capital of anywhere).


PS I also have the greatest respect for backpackers. I have never understood the concept of travelling light.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Just because I wear a cape at work (it's really cute, I promise) doesn't mean that I'm a superhero. I'm not the retail salesgirl of your dreams who'll do your laundry, walk your dog and buy your grandmother flowers. Here are some of the really, really fucking bizarre requests that some customers make:

  • A woman came in with a Sherlock Holmes cape she had bought, and apparently it was missing a button. I then pointed out that all our capes come with spare buttons, and she vehemently denied receiving any spare buttons. So I gave her a spare button and waited for her to leave, which she didn't. She thought that a missing button meant she could have an entirely new cape.
  • A man came in several times, claiming that his mother had left her pyjamas (which he had photos of on his phone for some reason) in our store two days ago. I insisted that we didn't have any and that no one had brought any to our attention, and then pointed him in the direction of Centre Management. He then came back in two more times in an hour, showing me the photos again like it would jog my memory. Then asked if I spoke Mandarin. Then he wanted to give me his number. I see...
  • An older lady came and tried on a skirt and deliberated in front of the mirror for about twenty minutes because she didn't think it was very flattering. She left the store without anything... then came back five minutes later to pick up the exact same skirt that she had put on layby two days earlier. If that wasn't weird enough, she insisted that I steam the skirt despite claiming that she had a clothes steamer at home. I gave her the freshly steamed, slightly damp skirt and instructed her to hold it straight instead of folding it (because folding it damp would just crease it again) and she became incensed. "People will think I've shop lifted this!!!" she claimed. Never mind the bag, the receipt and the fact that people really don't give a fuck.
  • A weird, drugged-up lady came in, and within seconds of seeing me claimed that she wanted to buy my outfit (or rather the same outfit from the rack). Never mind trying it on, she wanted it. I guess it's true, you can really sell the clothes off your back.
  • A horridly bogan, middle-aged woman came into our store, and tried on about twenty pairs of earrings. Both the other salesgirl and myself repeated told her not to, to which she apologised... but continued to try more on. I reminded her again, citing the health of our other customers and she literally hurled a pair of me and growled, "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE???" Surely she has enough imagination to be able to envisage what they look like by holding them up to her ears?
So if you ever walk into my store and see me in my cape, please imagine me more like the cape-wearing Al Gore in South Park than like Superman. I really don't give a fuck unless you are ManBearPig. Excelsior!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I wish you wouldn't read this blog post... It doesn't really go anywhere.

I wish I was the kind of girl who would just wear blue jeans and ballet flats. It would save me from fussing about with a knitted cape, rabbit fur and suspenders when I'm already supposed to be at the tram stop.

I wish I wasn't dreamy so I could stop following this idea about being a writer, and actually use my degree in psychology to do "something".

I wish I wasn't so bloody hard to live with, then I wouldn't have to pay close to a grand every month just to live in a shiny box by myself.

I wish I wasn't such a feminist, that way I wouldn't feel like I'm reversing years of gender equality struggles when my boyfriend drives me home or attempts to pay for dinner.

I wish I didn't use the fact that my surname is the chemical name equivalent of carbs as a reason for eating excessive quantities of bread. Because then my weight might not fluctuate from 55kg to 65kg every year.

I wish I didn't only date ridiculously good looking and charming musicians and artists all the time, because it would save a lot of jealousy every time a girl embarrassingly tries to hit on my lover.

I wish I wasn't ambitious, that way I would actually take care of my body and take myself to a doctor when I have food poisoning, instead of banging out 4000 words worth of articles at two in the morning with frequent vomit trips to the toilet.

I wish I didn't get offended and disappointed by practically everything that anyone does, because then I might actually have a best friend and not just a bunch of acquaintances and odd friends.

I wish I didn't write such random blog posts at one in the morning, when I should be either sleeping because I have work in the morning, or writing up this damn gig review that I'm procrastinating over.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Please kill my children...

I am probably not the best person to write about this - I jaywalk. A lot. If there are no cars, I will walk across if it is safe. Usually on 40km/hr roads like Brunswick Street. If I don't see any cars zooming towards me, I also generally cross against the lights. I figure that I'd rather cross now than hold up cars trying to turn right or left. But if it's raining or if I'm not wearing sturdy footwear, I'll cross at the lights in case I fall over.

But the thing that pisses me off? When people jaywalk with infants and toddlers.

What part of DEATH do you not understand? Are nine months of uncomfortably carrying around a dead weight (or live weight, really) on your midsection, having to vomit randomly every morning and not seeing your toes not enough to make you realise how precious your child is?

If I jaywalk and find myself stranded on the little section reserved for trams in the middle of the road because some cars appear out of no where, no biggie. I have razor sharp senses and am fit enough to leap out of the way. If you have a big arse pram, an infant and a baby bag, I half suspect that jumping out of the way isn't quite so easy. So please, mothers and fathers, don't risk it. Please cross at a traffic light.

NB: I work at Sydney Road regularly, and without fail I see mothers doing this every single time I'm there. Today I saw TWO mothers doing this, while having a bit of a chit chat in between two lanes of traffic.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

That blows...

It's pretty awesome when the apartment/house/building structure/abode next to you is vacant. No obnoxious neighbours having noisy sex. No dogs barking at six in the morning. No random smells of really terrible cooking. No one rudely rummaging through your mail, because they swear you have their mail. No sneaky bastards stuffing their gross bags of trash (leaking garbage juice) into your green bin.

Then the dreaded moment happens. The property goes up for sale. There's a lovely, inviting billboard outside, with pictures spelling out other people's potential life of having noisy sex, having their poodles yapping at all hours and shoving their trash into your bins. Trust me, one person's trash is quite often another person's trash too.

So what do you do? No more morning bliss of walking around naked with the blinds wide open? Well, I've got a solution for you.

Buy one of those fucking irritating, infernal, mind-gratingly loud vuvuzelas. They're on sale everywhere with the FIFA World Cup on at the moment. Find out when there's an auction or an open house. Practice your blowing skills. Quit smoking to improve the quality of your breathing if you have to. Then when the auctioneer is trying to rile up people into credit-debt frenzies, blow your hardest.

When the property remains vacant for another six months, drop me a thank you note.

Honey, I ran over the kids...

I fucking hate 4WDs. They're big gas guzzlers that pump out pollution like there's no tomorrow. People mow down their own children with 4WDs because they can't see the ground properly. 4WD owners pretty much make up their own road rules. Traffic island in the way? Hey, guess what? I can totally drive over it without damaging my car. Foot paths? Meh, it doesn't matter if a few school kids have to leap out of the way. All that matters is that they cheat traffic jams.

I have this crazy idea for next April first. I'm going to print bumper stickers with various slogans, like:


And then obviously plaster them all over every 4WD I see parked in metropolitan streets. It's not that I think the concept of a 4WD is bad. If you live in the country and will actually need to cross streams and forges and really rugged terrain, go nuts. Buy ten 4WDS if you really want to (okay, maybe not, but you get my point). These are people who will actually be using a 4WD because they literally need to use four wheels to steer.

You don't need to steer four wheels to pick you kids up from a posh private school with beautifully flat roads. You don't need a 4WD to navigate Chadstone's car park. You do, however, need a brain to realise that.

Side note: I think the government needs to impose an extra road tax on 4WDs registered in metropolitan areas.