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I drew this because I was feeling particularly disillusioned with the corporate world. It’s all bollocks, really. We should be skipping happily through flower-filled meadows, not mouldering in an office with air-conditioning slowly drying  our skin. We should be chasing butterflies, not hunting heads. And forget the fucking brandscape… the landscape is much prettier.

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…despite the holes in his feet.

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After a lovely meal and a few too many drinks with my other half, Claire, we made the sensible decision to catch a cab home. And while we sat in back of the taxi, like couples do, the cab driver sat up front, with his burning hatred riding shotgun.

We soon learned he was not a happy camper.

What is it that makes men angry? What could turn him into a bitter, twisted being that positively vibrated with negative energy? His foul outlook revealed itself in the smallest ways, from the way he yank the indicator this way and that, to the way he looked like he’d smelled a particularly vile fart when we first got in the car. He didn’t even find it amusing that as we approached his cab, with him standing next to it, I’d mistaken him for a passenger, and had gotten in the cab behind his in the cab rank. He just looked at me like I had wasted 15 seconds of his life.

“Where to?” he asked in a gruff voice.

I told him my address, and then, surprisingly, he started a conversation. But like everything else about this man, it was tinged with contempt for, well, everything.

“God, look at this place,” he said as he looked out the window at the humming Manuka nightlife. “Bloody horrible. Glad I live out in the sticks. Away from all this rubbish.”

Now, he may well have just referred to me as rubbish, as I was after all part of the rubbish just moments before getting in his cab, but I decided to learn more about this angry little man. “So whereabouts do you live, then?” I asked.

“Way out. In the scrub,” he replied.

“In the scrub?” I had visions of him crawling through long grass, digging for grubs, and perhaps sleeping in a large nest.

“Yeah, out past Hall. It’s nothing special. My ex-wife got everything else.”

DING! There it was. The secret to why this cab driver hated everything so fucking much. Not that it was much of a secret… I didn’t really have to dig very far to get that out of him.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. Claire had gone a bit quiet, preferring to lay low.

“Of course, she hasn’t got shit now, ‘coz she died, didn’t she!” He even gave a little laugh as he recounted this fond memory. “About 2002, she died. She didn’t get to keep any of it, at least.”

It could have easily descended into awkward silence, but I soldiered on. I related that a good friend of mine had been divorced by his wife, and it had taken him ten years to recover from it.

Now I was speaking his language. He launched into his sales spiel for a program he was writing to help men get through the pain of divorce. It was a series of classes that the suffering men would attend, and while I’m sure it would help some men, I couldn’t help but think it was flawed in one major way: If the guy who wrote it had so obviously not recovered from his divorce, then doesn’t that bode badly for the whole course?It’d be like having Keith Richards as your Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor.

 By the time we got home, I was feeling the weight of this man’s troubles bearing down on me, and I think Claire was too. We had pulled up outside my apartment and sat through a couple more minutes about his program before we made good our escape.

I hope I never end up a bitter old man. I’ve had a glimpse of it, and I didn’t like what I saw. So here’s to growing older with plenty of happiness and joy, to become the jolly old sod who laughs and jokes and drinks too much at Christmas lunch before falling asleep snoring and farting on the couch in front of the telly!

Ciao for now.

After several drinks at the pub the other night – and then several more drinks – my flatmate Barn Dog and I wandered the short distance home from the pub to discover that the house across the road was throwing a party. Quite a big party, too. There was loud music, there was drunken shouting and squealing, and staggering shapes were spilling out onto the front lawn, standing in groups, falling into bushes, and snogging each other. Thing is, we weren’t surprised at all. Didn’t even raise an eyebrow. 

Because, you see, the house in question has been a bit of a pain in the arse, if truth be told. It’s hot here in Canberra, Australia this time of year. You have just gotta sleep with the window open or you will expire. Thing is, it’s hard to sleep with the window in my bedroom open because most nights some fucking ruckus is rolling forth from the little tits living across the road from us. Yes, I sound like an old man (I am 32, you know) but everyone’s allowed to have a bit of a whinge every now and then, aren’t they?

I had no idea what the people who lived in this house were like… all I knew is they were in a band, and I was guessing it was a shite band, too, because the bloke singing at the top of his lungs and playing the guitar most evenings only ever seems to play covers of Green Day songs. So as Barn Dog and I stood back and surveyed the Party House, we knew what we had to do.

It was time to meet the neighbours.

The first people we encountered as we approached the house looked about ten years old. Ok, I’m exaggerating… everyone looks young to me since I turned thirty a couple of years back. But jeez, these blokes couldn;t have been much beyond 18. I greeted one of them.

“Hey, how’s it going dude?” he replied. He then shook my hand using the old two-stage handshake (first the normal handshake, then the arm-wrestling position handshake) but it had been a while since I’d done it, so I was a bit awkward. I think he could sense my lack of cool from those opening seconds.

“So who’re you guys?” he asked.

“We live over there.” I point over yonder.

He suddenly becomes defensive… but then I realise why and explain to him, no, we’re not here to complain about the noise – we just came to crash the party. I decide to butter this guy up a bit, break down some barriers. “So there’s a band living here or something, right? I’m always hearing some bloke playing guitar and singing. He’s pretty good.”

His eyes light up. “Yeah dude, that’s [INSERT NAME I HAVE SINCE FORGOTTEN HERE. NO, ACTUALLY, LET’S JUST CALL HIM TONY]. He’s about to make it big! Their band [FORGOT THE BAND NAME TOO. LET’S JUST CALL THEM “THE BOGSHITES”] is about to get a break on Triple J!”

So after an awkward farewell handshake with this dude, Barn Dog and I enter the Party House, wander through the throngs of sozzled teens, and out into the backyard where we can smoke and look cool.

It was about this time I started to feel like a dirty old man mincing around outside a pre-school. They were all so YOUNG.  Would the older guy thing seem cool? Or would we be treated like teachers on playground duty?

 We spoke to a few different people, and no shit, they all harped on about Tony and the Bogshites like they were the next Beatles or something. There was some serious hero worship going on… It had me wishing I’d kept up the guitar, because I had no doubts that Tony – and probably most of the Bogshites – were going to get some lovin’ before the night was through.

Funnily enough, this whole Emo thing had passed me by until this night, but in this one night I saw a lifetime’s supply of the curious little critters. They were everywhere. Most of them would stare at you with a single, solitary eye, the other being hidden by a long fringe that disected their face. A young Emo with braces on his teeth was sitting on the ground strumming a guitar and singing “Under the Bridge”. Some Goths stood in a dark corner, barely perceptible.

I’m sorry to say we didn’t last more than ten minutes in there. Started sobering up, and then BAM! Suddenly I realised I wasn’t Frank the Tank from “Old School”; I was just the oldest guy at this party, and I was sobering up by the second. So we left. Never even got to meet Tony, either.

So I guess that’s the end of my days of partying. And also my first blog entry. G’night.

I do words for money. Or tinned food.

Hey, did you know I'm also a freelance advertising writer? Check out my business website here.
www.professionalwordguy.com.au

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