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Posts Tagged ‘Mini-Break of the Mind’

A friend told me he once found himself camping in a remote location with a veritable United Nations of companions. For reasons I can’t quite explain except perhaps through the excessive consumption of alcohol around a campfire, they all took turns standing up and singing their national anthem. And it was decided that the Australian anthem was the Worst Ever, hands down.

I mean, the Icelandic national anthem – for example – might mention something about a small flower of eternity “with a quivering tear that prays to its God and dies”, but it doesn’t go anywhere near the Australian anthem and its “joyful strains” which makes us sound like a nation who simply enjoys having a good shit. And in any case, the Icelandic national anthem (for example) also has a beautiful and rousing tune to recommend it, and not one that’s jumping all over the scale like a seven year old high on E102 colouring like the Australian anthem .

Anyway, they often say that children allow you to look at the world anew, and listening to my (then) six year old Mr Justice singing his nation’s song certainly did that. He transformed the following lines:

“With golden soil and wealth for toil
Our home is girt by sea”

TO

“With golden soil in Welfington
Our home is good by sea”

Before I knew it, I had shared his improvement with the twitterverse. The Sharpest Pencil, not being called The Sharpest Pencil for nothing, was the first to pick up the Welfington scent by tweeting:

“Ask your six year old to take you with him. Sounds like an incredibly good place by the sea.”

And before I knew it, I had announced:

“So @sharpestpencil & I are moving to Welfington. We will write loving, moving blogs about our children back home. And drink margharitas.”

And then:

“Anyone else want to join us? Welfington, though entirely fictitious, has much to offer. For example, four-for-one Cocktail Thursday.”

Before I knew it, the concept of Welfington started to take off and the twitterverse began to buzz with excitement. Here is a (small) sample of what people were saying:

“No nagging spouses in welfington, well I do have a spouse in welfington but it is Hugh Jackman.” (@AngelaPJ)

“Ahhhh, Welfington. Where the drinks are on the house & the bar staff are ridiculously good looking” (The NDM)

“NO KIDS on the Welfington Express & the bar serves hangover-free-mojitos ALL DAY.” (@AussieWaffler)

“There’s no such thing as a hangover in #Welfington and the calories in alcohol don’t actually count!!!” (@M3lizza)

“I’ve heard tell that the township is mostly comprised of attractive, semi-clad young men who “dig” older women.” (TheNDM)

Welfington, Welfington. Such a powerful concept: a place where mothers can go – albeit only while on a mini-break of the mind – where they can forget about the kids and the laundry and the housework and that unidentified puddle in the hallway. Many men already have a place like that in real life: it’s called “The Pub”.

Over the ensuing months, mention of Welfington was made in quiet, longing whispers on the twitterwaves. The dream was kept alive… until a recent exchange between myself and friend Muliercula about daiquiris and beautiful young men fanning palm fronds, caused me to refer her to previous Welfington tweets. 

But when I did a search for the hashtag #Welfington on twitter, there was only an ominous message that said “Older tweets are temporarily unavailable”. And indeed, those older tweets have continued to not be available for weeks now. Weeks! It’s almost like Twitter likes the concept of Welfington as little as any husband who, say, came home to a wife who said ” “Sorry, sweetheart. I haven’t fed, bathed or dressed the children today because I just couldn’t stop sipping gin cocktails through twisty straws in Welfington.”

Which is what has prompted this post. Help keep Welfington alive. I need it, people. I need it so bad. Future posts will show why. If you believe in Welfington, clap your hands! Clap them really hard! Clap! CLAP I TELL YOU!

And then, when you’re done clapping, pass me another calorie-free mojito will you, love? I could really do with one.

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Okay, okay, so it turns out I have osteoarthritis. But please don’t ask me anything about it because I honestly don’t remember anything about my diagnosis other than my doctor saying:

“Looks like you’re getting osteoarthritis… blah blah blah blah… of course it’s easily confused with osteoporosis… blah blah blah… will probably spread across all of your knuckles in both your hands over time… blah blah blah… you could try glucosamine but its success is largely anectodal… blah blah blah… Dennis Lillee… blah blah blah… debilitating pain.”

Now you might thing that many of the “blah blah blah” bits were simply spent watching Mr Justice doing his now-famous chicken dance in the background or sliding off his chair or even doing the chicken dance while sliding off his chair. Try it: it’s not as easy as it sounds.

But quite frankly, I would have been none the wiser even without my darling son’s chicken-dance antics. You see, many years ago in Japan, I developed the sanity-saving ability to go on mini-breaks of the mind while some random stranger took three minutes to spit out the single sentence “Can I please practice my English together with you?”. Unfortunately since that happy time, the mini-breaks have become increasingly involuntary – a good thing for when generating material for my blog but not for when trying to absorb important information.

For example, a friend can start by telling me “Oh my god, NDM, I was just at the supermarket…” and before I know it, I’m off! Away! With the fairies! And returning just in time to hear them conclude “… and they say they probably won’t press charges.” It’s very hard to ask them why when, from all outward appearances, I really looked like I’d  been listening quite intently.

So the terrible truth is that while my doctor was talking, I was looking at Mr Justice and wondering if it was Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius or Chicken Little where all the grown-ups were made to wear mind-control headsets and do the chicken dance and, if I were to be tied to a chair and forced to watch either film in perpetuity, which one would be the less likely to induce chronic psychosomatic diahrea.

And after I returned from this little mini-break to find the diagnosis was over, I decided to try and ask my doctor some carefully worded questions to find out what I’d missed.

“So… uh… do I have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis?” I asked, tentatively.

“Osteoarthritis,” he said, looking at me like I was a moron.

“Um… so… er…. will I be all hunched over and gnarled by the time I’m 40?” I asked (the important question).

The Doctor had a quick look at my DOB on the screen in front of him.

“Not by 40, you won’t.” the Doctor said and got up to show me (and my chicken-dancing son) the door.

“Great!” I thought to myself, as I walked out into the reception area. “I’ll be all gnarled and hunched over by the time I’m 45! And I’ll probably be chair-bound and they’ll force me to watch Jimmy Neutron or Chicken Little and I won’t even be able to make it to the toilet by myself when the diahrrea hits!”

But when I got home, my husband came up with a solution: we move to the coast and start hanging out with surfers because in their culture “gnarly” is a compliment and I’ll be so gnarled that, among their people, I’ll be considered a God.

Yep, them there’s Comedy Gold, husband dear. And why on earth I managed to stay focused and listen to that little pearl of wisdom in its entirety but not my actual diagnosis by a trained physician, I’ll never ever know.

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It’s no secret that my mind likes to go on the occasional mini-break. I’d like to think it’s because I’m basically an “Ideas Person” but, in reality, it’s mostly because I’m so very very bored.  

Just recently I found myself thinking how people working on the front counter at a fast-food joint could always supplement their income by working as a “civil process server” on the side. And then, when they serve people hamburgers and fries, they can also serve them with legal documents such as divorce papers or writs. See? It’s so obvious, I don’t know why more people don’t do it. 

Same could apply to working in a 1970s-style department store, such as “Grace Brothers”, where you can flounce about gaily saying “Are you being served?” to the customers and then, when they say “No, I’m not”, you can suddenly turn all serious and, handing them their divorce papers, say “Well, you are now.”

Of course there’s that small problem of ensuring that the person you need to serve important legal documents to will come to your primary place of employment. You could be waiting a long time, perhaps even decades, if you work in a big city. I guess you could always mail them a “50% discount voucher” for your store, only to be redeemed during the hours of your next shift. But the effort and cost of printing and mailing these might somewhat detract from the simple elegance of the “double serve” as I first presented it.

Also, there would be that legal hurdle of getting them to confirm that they are, in fact, the Right Person before you serve them. I expect your employer might not take kindly to you breaking protocol by saying “Are you [insert name]?” to every woman who came to your register instead of “Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order please?”. For example. McDonalds are very particular about these things, as a rule. Except at the McDonalds near my doctor’s where the guy on the drive-thru calls me “champ” and says stuff like “Too easy.” Well, it might be “too easy” for him but not for me, okay? Not. For. Me. 

Talking of “too easy”, I can only conclude that it would really would be much easier for civil process servers to serve papers to people working in the service industry because they tend to wear name-tags (and thus are more readily identifiable). Also, the “service” aspect of their job means they should be generally more receptive to strangers approaching them unexpectedly – even those cheerlessly waving summonses under their noses.

Anyway, I guess now that you can serve notices over facebook (really rooly truly in Australia and New Zealand), a more tech-savvy Civic Process Server probably would never bother with my double serve solution ANYWAY.

Except I’m still trying to get trying to get my head around how that’s even possible on facebook? Would you send an anonymous invitation to do “The Bestest Facebook Quiz Ever?” to the person you’re trying to serve? And then, when they take that Bestest Quiz Ever (which they definitely would because taking quizzes is about the only thing that anyone ever does on facebook), it consists of one question and one question only: “Are you [insert their full name]?”. And when they answer “Yes”, another screen pops up with the words “Consider yourself served!” and one of those animated smiley faces blowing a raspberry. And then the summons will be automatically downloaded onto their computer, perhaps even with a few megabytes of hard-core porn just in case the charges you’ve got them up against don’t stick and you’ll have something else to get them with.

At least, that’s how I’d do it. What did I say again? “Ideas person”.

Oh, and just mind-numbingly and most desperately bored.

.

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