Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sydney - Part Two Point Four - Le Booze

The Booze...

Unfortunately, the booze in the southern hemisphere failed to put tumescence in my trousers in the same matter that the women did. As I suppose it should be, I’m far more partial to women than I am to imbibition--though the two have seemed to share a rather complex, symbiotic relationship through my life--but as an alcohol enthusiast, I’ve been prone to popping a boner over a good brew or two. Especially in San Diego. That place is a mecca for mastered brews. Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, Stone, and the list goes on. Even some of the spirits that are distilled there locally are more than pleasant to the pallet.

But before I come off as some pretentious prick, with refined taste and a finicky liver, I’ll tell you that I have neither. And though I have an immense appreciation for good grog, I’ll pretty much drink whatever is available, save for Charles Reibenbach Lager, and urine--although I have been known to make concessions. The quality of the contents in my glass has often been limited by the quantity of contents in my wallet. Which wasn’t awful at all in the States. I could usually afford an eighteen pack of Miller Light to get me through a Friday night with friends, and I actually enjoyed the shit out of it. And luckily, between the privilege of working with some fine breweries through the radio station, and my lovely employers at the High Dive, I was able to indulge every now and then with some of San Diego’s finest beverages.

That being said, in regards to my former comment on tumescence, trying maintain my rather modest drinking standards in Australia was like trying to maintain tumescence while repeatedly taking a swift kick to the dick. The kick of course, being supplied by the heavy foot of commerce. I’d never seen alcohol so highly priced in my life. In fact, the first time I saw a case of Coronas in a liquor store for fifty-five bucks, I swore it had to be a typo. But sure enough, every other case of beer in the joint was forty plus, and priced comparably at other clinics around the city. And, as you’d imagine, the over the bar charges were weighty as well. Even just for the low quality domestics. Not that it deterred us of course, we had a job to get done, and the resources to deliver us unto success--on top of the fact that I figured our celebratory circumstances allowed for acquiescence on the matter. But in any other circumstance, paying ten dollars for a pint of moderately palatable piss water was something that I wasn’t keen on making a habit of. Ten for a pint of Karl Strauss, Tower Ten? No problem. But the day I start paying ten dollars for a pint of Bud Light, is the day I invest in heaters for hell, or I check myself into rehab.

And there are some really delicious beers in Australia. Some, that I got to enjoy as employee of a couple bars. But they are few and far in between, and might require that you hock some of your mother’s jewelry before you plan to have a night out on them. And there’s a reason for that. It really all just comes down to taxes.

Australia has one of the most complex alcohol taxation systems in the world. Looking at it, you might have figured that a text book and a Scrabble set got into a knife fight and ended it all with a grenade. And I could try to explain it technically, but the boredom might have you seeking such a grenade, and I... Yeah, fuck it. I’ll just be honest, I can’t explain it technically. I’ll leave that shit to Hawking and Pissarides.

Essentially, in an effort to reduce alcoholism and the detrimental costs of alcohol abuse, both socially and economically, Australia began placing heavy levies on alcohol. Beer and spirits on one hand, are taxed based on the alcohol content. Which basically means spirits take the high cost cake--unless it’s Brandy for some reason, which is given a concession. A bottle of Smirnoff Vodka, or spirit of the sorts, will run you around fifty-five in most places. Wine on the other hand is taxed based on the initial value of the wine. Which given the quality of some of the wines we’d end up drinking, left me wondering if they had been taxed at all. And yes, there are good ones, they just tended to be a bit out of my budget most of the time. Furthermore, wineries throughout Australia are given excise exemptions as well. Which subsequently equates to a ton of established and establishing wineries throughout the country, including some of the world’s finest. If you’re a bit of wino, it’s not a bad place to be. You’ll definitely get the best BAC for your buck.

Anyway, given the taxation laws, there are far fewer breweries. Unfortunately the small fries trying to make a name for themselves, and give the people a sample of their sauce, are subjected to the same levies that the big fish are, which makes it fairly difficult for them to compete. And unless the people begin sucking down their insanely high priced independent brews, they get sucked up. And I should say, the Big Fish, ‘is,’ as Foster’s Group--yeah, the whole, ‘Australian For Beer,’ Foster’s--controls nearly all of the alcohol manufacture, sales, and distribution in Australia. Mostly bad ones at that. However, I would be remiss, and dishonest if I didn’t mention that their Matilida Bay, Fat Yak, is exquisitely delectable. Though even that one, is just so goddamned expensive.

So, that primarily put us in the wine section, once the funds began to fade. Specifically, the boxed-wine section. You can steal yourself about four liters for roughly twelve bucks if you aim towards the low shelf. On the backpacker trail, they call it ‘Goon,’ though nobody seems to know why. I’d hear at one point that it was actually the Aboriginal word for ‘pillow’, as the bladder inside, once emptied, can be blown-up with air and used as a pillow after the contents knock you down about six flights of the unconsciousness stairs. And as far as the ingredients are concerned, they list traces of everything from fish, eggs, milk, and nuts, which leaves you wondering where in the fucking hell the grapes are. Although after about a glass or two, you stop wondering, or caring for that matter. And after a hard night of anywhere from five to twenty-five glasses of it, you’re crippled with a hangover the next morning, that feels like Frankenstein is repeatedly dragging you back up those unconsciousness stairs with his fingers through your eye-sockets. I’d become rather familiar with those stairs.

Now as far as Australia’s plan for reducing alcohol related damages... In 2008, they accumulated 6.1 billion dollars in revenue, verses 15 billion in damage recorded in 2004/2005. The United States on the other hand, with roughly fourteen times the population, accumulated 5.7 billion in revenue and recorded 220 billion dollars in damage in 2005. And whether the 15 billion dollars of damages in Australia accounts for costs involving productivity losses due to alcohol abuse, I’m not sure. I’m not exactly looking to write a dissertation on the matter. I just found the figures fairly formidable. And whilst it could have been a coincidence, or a phenomenon made possible by other factors, Kevin and I began to notice a few results of Australia’s program.

“Hey man, you notice how few drunk and delirious homeless people there are here, I’ve barely seen any?”

“Probably because rent it is cheaper and booze is so expensive.”


And please don’t think that I’m advocating we tax alcohol in the same manner in the States. I hope that I’ve made it apparent that I’m a fan of cheap drinks. And I’m sensible enough to know that it would probably just boost the production of moonshine like it’s done in some areas of Australia. I know as well as anybody that sometimes, you’ve just got to get fucked up. But I do imagine that something could be done to help prevent the social, and economic damage created by the abuse of it. In fact, I think that there is a substantial amount of much needed reform that the country could consider. Like even the way that we view alcohol in relation to the young people who will be drinking it for years to come. I think it says a lot to someone to tell him we trust him enough to vote, to operate a firearm, and get shot at on a battlefield, but we don’t trust him to have a beer in a bar. This of course is something that I could write a dissertation on, but we’ve got more ground to cover. I’m just going to say that America has the potential, after all,I know it’s trite, but we did put a fucking man on the moon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sydney - Part Two Point Three - Beaches

The Beaches...

One morning after breakfast, while walking through the lobby of Wake-up! I strolled past a swarm of souls and voices congregating near the front doors. I slowed my pace to see what was going on, when a thick Nova Scotian accent buttered the ambiance from just behind me.

“Hey, is this the free beaches tour?”

I turned to find an eager-eyed kid, sporting a pasty complexion and branded attire that told me he might spend a good amount of time on a snowboard. Whether he actually did or not, I’m unsure. I guess I should have asked him. Either way, he was a genuine, outgoing, and all around good guy, and I’m glad that I got to know him a little during my travels.

“I’m not too sure.”

“A bit strange, but okay, I’m Steve.”

“Ha. Well played, sir. I’m Preston.”

The pleasantry was succeeded by a pleasant surprise as four dolled-up college cuties stepped to our sides.

“Do you guys know if this is the free beaches tour?” questioned the curly haired brunette in front.

Steve and I glanced quickly to each other to make sure we were both on the same page. Subtle smiles confirmed that we were.

“Yes it is,” I assured with a--now far from subtle--shit-eating grin on my face. “I’m Preston.”

“I’m Nicole. Nice to meet you,” she beamed back with a bright and innocent smile.

If this isn’t the tour, you’re really going to expose yourself for the scumbag you are.

“Alright!” a voice boomed from near the doors, “everybody for the beaches tour head this way.”

Lucky me.

I shot a quick text to Kevin to make him aware of the situation, and he was downstairs and ready within the next minute. The seven of us hopped on the bus, and were taken about five miles from the CBD to the shore.

We wouldn’t bare witness to the scantily-clad beach scenery that we had imagined. The air had begun to grow teeth as the winter weather had started to set in, and it might have made swimwear unsuitable. We even had to bring our jackets. In addition, I think it was a Tuesday or some other mundane point in the week at eleven in the morning, which made for anything but peak beach hours. Suffice it to say, the beaches were deserted. Even so, for the world famous Bondi. The place sees over one million visitors a year, and over forty thousand people alone on Christmas Day, and I could count on one hand, the number bodies that punctuated vast stretches of sand. Of course there was the occasional jogger stringing a mutt along on the boardwalk, but that was about it. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I consider myself lucky at this point to have been first introduced to the awe-inspiring spectacle that is the Australian coastline in the manner that I did. Breezy, and uninterrupted by the commotion that might thrive on better days there. Every facet of the geological process that accounts for its being was brimming with life and color via the sunlight that poured into them. And they were colors like I’d never seen. A vivd continuum of blue that churned over and over through every wave. Sometimes it would crash into the rocks and splash into bright white, or simply spill over itself and fizzle into illuminated white over the soft sand.

“I don’t think I’ve every seen water that blue.”

“I wonder why California’s isn’t like that.”

“I’m going to guess it’s something involved with the sediment... And the sewage...”

Aside from the houses, the shore was accented with thick greens, giant cliffs, and walls of limestone that had been carved for centuries by the liquid gems in that water. There were a few parks along the way that reminded us of home.

“This feels like La Jolla.”

“Yeah, except without all the rich people threatening to evict all of the sea lions with diamond-studded fire hoses.”

Our tour guide announced we could have about fifteen minutes to ourselves to walk around or get some food if we needed. I took the time to fuck off by myself, and get seated somewhere with a nice view. And incase your considering that I might have wanted to get a bit reflective, Chris Carraba style, I did. Maybe it was all the Dashboard I had been listening to. Either way, it felt right, so I went ahead and did it, regardless of the fact that I might have looked like a total pussy. I hiked up to the top of hill took a deep breath, and attempted to take it all in.

There’s something about the shore that I’ve always found a bit transcendental. Like no matter how fucked up my thoughts or mood proved to be, or how chaotic everything else in my life seemed to be, I could always head down to the sand and feel all of the bullshit filter out from my brain. Not a goddamn thing mattered. Kind of like that moment I had on the Harbor Bridge to a smaller degree. I think I found something soothing about the consistency of it all. The movement of the water. The sound. It was unrelenting. Those waves were pounding on that shore long before I came to see or hear them, and would continue to do so long after I left. I could find peace in that. It’s a shame to consider I didn’t spend more time at the beach when I was in San Diego. I could have used the therapy. Unfortunately I had a knack for letting the flood of all that bullshit I filtered out, return like a fucking cyclone after I vacated from those soothing sights and sounds.

And I didn’t script a sonnet on that hill, or write some banal ballad that’s bound to get me laid thirty times over. The moment was far from revelatory. But it was pleasantly affirming. It was reassuring to try and put things in perspective, and realize how awesome they were, and how lucky I was. I had made it down here on my own accord and be it a small victory for some, it was a huge one for me.

I am on the other side of the world staring at the same ocean I used to stare at back home. And I just put my feet into the same ocean I used to put them in back home. Awesome...

We all met up a few minutes later, and hopped back on the bus. Rush hour traffic swamped our return to the hostel, but on the bright side, it gave us all some time to push past the formalities and get to know each other. At least as far as the girls were concerned. Steve had been hanging out with Kevin and I for most of the day, and would continue to do so until he left Sydney a few days later. Long enough for us to discover that he was a twenty three-year-old graduate from Halifax, who had taken some time to travel, an avid fan of booze, hockey, and women, and that the three of us would get along swimmingly.

The girls were four, semester abroad students from Purdue, and might as well have stepped off the set of one of those college, sex comedies. Midwest to the max, they gave off a vibe that let you know they were something your mom would be proud to see you with, but had no problem going a bit Lohan during the weekends. Or in another country on vacation before school starts.

After minimal persuasion on behalf of the boys, the girls decided to join us for a few drinks at Side Bar. Because after all, we were on holiday.

Sydney - Part Two Point Two - Beetches

The Women...

I’ll be real fucking honest. I have yet to travel throughout the world and assess this statement to the fullest, but I’ve been to enough places in the States to give it a bit of breath. California is blessed in abundance with some of the most beautiful women that have ever blessed these baby blues. There’s a reason that Biggie rapped about them, a reason Kiedis sang about them, and a reason that Mr. Hank Moody will constantly fuck himself into trouble over them. And whether it’s the sun or the waves that carve their curves, or it’s the idiosyncratic allure of both that merely concentrate them there through some metaphysical, cosmic attraction, they are their own breed of beautiful. A statement, of course, especially exemplified through my experience in San Diego. From the sexpots at State, to the sultry suits Down Town, the tattooed temptresses en el Parque Norte, the uppity bitches in the Northern Beaches, and all that I missed in between, some California girls, in the words of one herself, really do have that shit “on lock”.

You haven’t always seemed to feel that way.

I know, I know, that’s something I’ll get to. Shit.

As it goes, befittingly, a gentleman at a bar in Cairns would be the first to ask me a question I’d hear a good number of times during my travels, after his initial inquiry, “are there really girls in California like there are in that one Katy Perry video?”

My response to this question was then and there, preceded with a poignant vacillation, that was succeeded by a notably awkward hesitation, and thereon conceded with an emphatic nod of affirmation.


The nod itself, accompanied by a smile of humility that spread across my face and lifted my spirits as they were able let go of a burden I’d been carrying for far too long.


His eyes widened, and he asked if he could visit.

“Anytime, man,” I spoke into the bench of that bar, as thoughts of those girls swam circles in my head like the beer I swirled in the glass before me. I was left a little lightheaded and lighthearted by the movements of both, and laughed.

And though that conversation was fleeting, I still find myself chuckling about and reflecting upon that brief bit of banter every time that video comes on and my eyes go glazed and glue to that screen. Mostly on account of how heavily loaded that question turned out to be for me. I had been the one who was asked the question, and somewhere on the bridge between reticence and concession, had come away from the exchange with a bit of epiphanic information that was rather unexpected. I was graced with the luxury of also being able to dump a bit of baggage over the railing. The second time I crossed it in Melbourne was even more cathartic.

We’ll cross it when we get to it though, where it belongs, in Cairns.

Fair enough...

Anyway, the point is, to provide for some frame of reference. I feel fairly confident to assert that I was spoiled as shit by the scenery In California. Not to say there aren’t gorgeous women in all of the other places I’ve traveled to in the States, there are. I suppose I’ve just found something especially enticing in the essence of some of California’s queens. And when you step foot into the court of one of those major shoreline cities there, they and it, seems to surround you with a prolificacy that leaves your head spinning in ways that your neck didn’t think was possible. So, for me to make my way from California to another point on the globe, eight thousand miles elsewhere, and find myself spun halfway to vertigo by the abounding beauty that strides along Sydney’s sidewalks, I think speaks to the incredible caliber of hot that constitutes that city’s army of sirens.

And I’m not even accounting for the bombshells we'd see in that backpacker bar. They’re an entirely different story altogether. I’m simply accounting for the other women who have become a part of Sydney as much as Sydney has become a part of them. Some, whose beauty is part of what makes that city such a beautiful sight to see. The ones Kevin and I became familiar with in the CBD.

From the way their black skirts hug their hips, to the way their hair is pulled tight to the back of their heads--or even the way that slightly transparent fabric in some of their business blouses offers rather innocent evidence for your less than innocent imagination with the display of slender silhouettes--their style is rife with sex in the most sophisticated of manners. In fact, I might find more merited representation in saying that it screams sex, just in a voice that is void of vulgarity or extraneous volume. No lurid cosmetic compounds, no skirts that look like they actually might have initially been manufactured as elastic headbands, and no amount of cleavage that calls desperately for the attention of all on-lookers. Their chic is poised and pro from head to toe, and still beckons like a beacon, sans such showy fashions. And not that I have any problem with the aforementioned trends, I’m a fan of all fashions as long as they fit--especially the vulgar at times--but I think there is definitely something special to be said for a woman who can embody sophistication and elegance and still exude an air of eroticism that carries your cognition to the most carnal of places, far from sophistication and elegance. Like if Aphrodite were to take on a profession as a Museum Curator, or a Professor of Law or Literature. Or perhaps, for a more perceptible analogy, the sleekly suited knockouts from that Robert Palmer, ‘Addicted To Love,’ music video. There was nothing sexually explicit about those women, yet something about them and the way they moved sucked your attention through that screen, left you boner-fied, and all subsequent daydreams doused in depravity for periods long after they left your sight. And of course by ‘your,’ I mean ‘my,’ I suppose I’m just hoping that a few other viewers can concur. There’s a reason that video became a classic.

Appositely, there were days I spent walking around Sydney that felt like there might have been a city-wide casting call for that video, just with less make-up. And I loved that--the whole, ‘less make-up’ thing. Anymore make-up on them would equate itself to throwing graffiti up onto a Michelangelo. And the fact that they know that, is just a sliver of the self-assurance that adds to their appeal. I suppose part of what makes them so uniquely sexy, is a certain confidence that emanates from every inch of their existence. It saturates every aspect that accounts for their appearance, and every move that they make. As if they are fully aware that their ways make waves, but they’re ones they’ve mastered with ease, through the grace of their natural talents, and would have no problem mastering anything else, even in high-heels. They don’t need all that make-up. They don’t need to spend too much time trying to look beautiful. They know that they already are, and any extended effort would be superfluous, and hinder their other efforts and daily conquests, whatever they may be. And when the clack of their stilettos on the concrete commandeers your attention to the sultry legs that throw them forward, it does so in away that warns against leering for too long. A practice that place left me prone to. They strut those sidewalks like catwalks, and had the dog in me running the length of the leash of my conscience.

And I’m not saying at all, that collectively Sydney’s women are any more stunning than California’s, nor California’s anymore so than Sydney’s. They are both incredible in their own ways. And I guess the assertion of such striking natural beauty, en masse was an approach we just took in as a breath of fresh air for two kids hailing from the land of Hollywood highlights and synthetic sexy.

“These women are gorgeous.”

“I know man, and it’s like they’re not even trying.”

“Yeah, and I don’t think that I’ve seen one pair of obnoxiously sized implants, or any implants for that matter yet.”

“If all Australian women are fundamentally this hot, I can’t wait to see what other parts of the country look like.”

“Fuck that for now, I just want to see what the beaches here look like first.”

“Good call.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Interjection

An Interjection...

I’m twenty-four thousand feet in the air right now. Given new perspective to introspection. Staring at the clouds that sporadically cover the coastline below like poorly placed stepping stones for the gods and giants of the stratosphere. I consider how much more time I’ve been given to take such an angle in the recent past. Especially, in juxtaposition to the countless hours I’ve spent staring at the underside of those stepping stones in the more distant past. Then I consider if giving such consideration is totally ghey. Possibly. I’ve been listening to a lot of Snow Patrol lately. Fuck it.

*An interjection unto the interjection: I consider why the fuck I’m always sat behind Nancy McFidgit, who feels the need to treat her seat like it’s a goddamn Lay-Z-Boy trampoline. You forcefully recline that seat any further back into my lap your boyfriend might start asking questions. You’re 5’ 2”, if you want to stretch out you can do it in the fucking overhead compartment.

I apologize. And with my laptop beneath my chin I’ll continue. Even though I feel like a giraffe in a gerbil cage at the moment, it’s all pretty sweet.

Point being, It’s a bit of a trip to take into account all of the elements that have put me on this current trip I take. Decisions made by me, decisions made by others, decisions made by chance, time, biology, chemistry, physics, addition, subtraction, cosmic attraction, made flights, missed flights, dream filled days and sleepless nights, friends, family, and the ties in between. And utmost, the manner in which I’ve decided to deal with those elements. And whether blessed by Miss Fortune at the time I faced them, or oppositely butt-fucked by Misfortune, or my own foolish forethought, I think I’m rather happy with the way things have turned out at this moment, and will continue to be after it has passed. Mostly on account of this...

A few months ago, Miss Fortune and a friend fed me a favor I’ll forever be grateful for. In the midsts of digital discourse on current dilemmas we deliberated over, he tossed something at me that took to my frontal lobe like a brick from a canon.

“ many of us, me included, just expect to be happy and when the world doesn't accommodate my every need, I get frustrated. "Striving" to be happy just hadn't occurred to me. I have always presumed that I was put here to be happy and that if I am not, it must be someone else's fault. But that is total and complete bullshit. Like anything else, we have to put in some effort to get what we want and something as "simple" as happiness is no fucking different.”

Now, I’ve never really been one to shy away from accountability. In fact, it might be safe to say that far too often in the past, I’ve blamed myself for shit that was far beyond my control. And at times that I haven’t been happy, I’ve blamed no one else but myself. This, I was well aware of. The “striving” bit was what loaded that brick. I was forced to think of how many times I found myself knee deep in bullshit and lost, contemplating the adoption of complacency in it, albeit with heavy reluctance. Knowing goddamn well that I wanted to be elsewhere. But wanting won’t make it so. Striving for it will.

Hearing those words in my head brought about familiar ones I heard once before in a song. Ones that stuck with me so well, I had them stuck in their own fashion along my ribs. I grant gratitude to Mr. Kensrue once again.

They serve to remind me that “striving” is a requisite. As I look back on all of the decisions I’ve made throughout my life, the ones I’ve made--as much as this may seem stripped from a Dashboard Song, I apologize--with my heart have always seemed to serve me in the most rewarding fashion. I’ve come to conclude that just behind a few ribs of mine, lies a space in me that works like a compass. But that’s only half of the equation. The other half rests in the ability to find the balls to follow through. To step out of that bullshit, follow that compass, and make towards those desired destinations.

And at times, that compass may have led me into a minefield, but I’ve garnered a good amount amongst the shrapnel. Strength, resilience, a little wisdom and a lot of faith, as it’s subsequently led me out of the chaos every time. It’s taken on the elements, taken me through the elements, and found Magnetic North in those elements... And though I know I steer the ship, for the time being I can’t help but to take guidance from the compass.

Anyways, those elements and that compass have put me on the path I’m on today, at this very minute, and I guess I’m grateful to them. And though I walk it with empty pockets for the time being, I also do so with a head full of ambition, and a heart full of... I’ll spare the sappy shit.

So, I guess I’d like to give thanks.

To my Father and Mother, to my Sister and Brother, and the two of those monikered in a similar fashion on behalf of matrimony and the State of California. To the Friends I left amongst the sand and sun of San Diego. To San Diego. To the Friends I made amongst the sand and sun of that big southern continent. To that big southern continent. The Friend that followed me there. To the friends and family that lent ears on my darkest days throughout the years. To the blank pages that made like ears on my darkest days throughout the years. To the music that always shed light on those situations. To music. To guitars. To pianos. To planes. To Chance or Cosmic Attraction on a Friday night. To couches and wine and bad movies. To subsequent laughter. To first...

Shhh... Slow it down. You gun’ OD on disclosure again. It’s an interjection, not a fucking dissertation...

Fair enough.

To those who made their homes like mine. To those who made me feel like I never left it. To those in whom I feel a new one. To all that made me push this through my pen.

“And I’ve been placed in pseudo-paradise, but can’t help but to feel something pulling me elsewhere. Like I left a sizable chunk from the bottom part of my chest in the last place I parted with. Anchored. And there’s a few thousand mile tether I feel tugging on raw nerves around my guts. It’s like it’s begging me back. It’s like I’m sick over the tangible loss of what I left behind. It’s like it won’t subside until I follow it back.”

Wrap it up, Homie. This bitch is about to land.

To all that’s put me where I am. To all that’s given me new direction...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Syndey - Part Two Point Two - Wake Up! And Such


I had heard about Wake-Up! from a friend of mine, Jessica, who had stayed there during her trip to Sydney about a year ago. Funny enough, she was also the one who had originally made me aware of Cairns, and rekindled my childhood passion to make my way down here in the first place. Formally, I would like to thank her soon, for helping to fertilize the seed of the idea that helped me consider getting the fuck off of my ass, and branching out elsewhere. And, I chuckle a bit now, in considering how the decisions we make in our lives, can do well to inspire or affect others if they allow it.

Remember to thank Jessica.

The Wake-Up! building itself sits cornered at one of Sydney’s busiest intersections, which sits cornered by one of Sydney’s busiest blocks. The block itself houses a collective of three thousand beds in a variety of hostels, making it a popular harbor for armadas of backpackers. All of whom seem to share a similar passion for pleasure and dissimilar languages. It is a modern age Tower of Babel sans divine intervention. And the brick and mortar called for in that blueprinted tower towards elation are composed of chemicals and decibels. There’s a bar at every corner, and a sound system in nearly every room. I fucking love it. Kevin and I could hear the music seeping out through the front doors of Wake-Up! as we made our way towards the steps of the eight story building.

Today, Wake-Up! is among Sydney’s Heritage buildings. Originally constructed as a department store way back in the day, it dons its history well from the outside. The red bricked, gothic architecture does well to take you back to a time when the men were men, the sheep were nervous, and Franz Ferdinand had yet to take a cap to the jugular. The inside however had an entirely different time-lapse effect all on its own...

Kevin and I stepped past the sliding glass doors, smiling like two boners in a brothel.

“Holy shit...”

The lobby was bright white and palatial. And had we not been consistently reminding ourselves of our location, we would have easily considered that we had stepped through a time warp, and into every pubescent fantasy we’d had about our high school and College years. The place was the epitome of every communal joint in Saved By The Bell that you’d hoped would exist in high school or college, but didn’t. A bar down the stairs to our left, equipped with an arcade and barmaids on par with Playmates, lobby decor and furniture straight out of The Max, and an ensemble of super-hot, foreign girls to compliment the contours of said furniture with the utmost perfection, clicking away on their laptops, before donning their make-up and dresses for a night of drunken promiscuity.

Holy shit... I am eighteen again, living back in the most epic of dorms. But this time, I know now, what I didn’t know then. Maybe, I’ll do it better this time?

Not a chance. You still don’t know much. And what you do know, you do fuck all with...

Fair enough...

We checked in and made our way up to our new room. Kevin and I grinned like fat kids in a fudge factory when an array of women’s perfumes soaked our senses upon entry.


This place was better everywhere. The room was huge. A spacious ten bed dorm with a vaulted ceiling and giant gothic windows, we would share with eight other people. Four of whom, would stay long enough for us to get to know, during our two weeks there. One of whom, by simply meeting her, would aid in shaping the path which took me to where I am today. Formally, I would like to thank her soon for being the great friend that she is.

Remember to thank Sharon.

Sharon and Tess were the only two there when we walked in. Dead asleep and hiding from grey midday light like two vampires wrapped in shadows and coffins of comforter, it was a sight we’d soon get used to. We’d quickly learn, that If they weren’t out drinking or shopping, they were in bed. Not that Sharon was lazy, I would later see her hold down two jobs alongside a predisposition to alcoholism like a champ. She just loves the shit out of sleeping. Francesca on the other hand is a different story all together, and one that kind of sucks at that, so we’ll appropriately pass that turd to the tail-end of these introductions... As for Johnny and Greg, they had yet to be met until later that day. As usual, Johnny was at work, and Greg was checking out the sights around town. Either way, we would meet them, and over the majority of the next couple of weeks, we would all share the same room, a few different stories, and a good deal of experiences which marked some of my firsts in a foreign country, with foreign people, a foreign face, my life on my back, and my sights set forward on an unknown road ahead.

Sharon, Greg, Johnny, and Tessa...

Sharon arrived in Australia shortly before Kevin and I had. A thirty year old Irish girl from Belfast, she had become burned out on her government job back in the UK as a parol officer, sworn off dong for a year--a decision I assumed had been birthed from the death of an awful relationship--packed her shit, and headed out to Australia to ‘backpack’. A term that both her and I use loosely to describe her travel, as she came to Australia with three Cadillac-sized suitcases, full of more shit than necessary to clothe an army of cross-dressing eskimos. An exercise of excess that one could see, if they chose, as merely the materialization of her passionate nature. She loves with all of her heart, laughs with all of her lungs, hates with hot blood and a sharp tongue, and packs like she might have owned a fucking department store at some point in her life. She’s a bit posh, a bit republican, a bit OCD, a bit crazy, a lot smart, a lot beautiful, a lot fun, and most of all, as I mentioned before, a lot loving. I consider myself lucky to have met her, and that she still puts up with all of my shit.

Oh, and she farts like a Clydesdale... I kid... But, seriously...

Greg, was a twenty-eight year old Irish kid from Limerick, who had arrived in Australia months before us with his girlfriend, and had driven across the country with her before she had flown back to Ireland and left him to do some more traveling on his own. And, to this day, unless he has murdered a bus full of children since we’ve last spoke, is one of the most genuine and good-hearted people I have ever met. There were six and a half feet, and two hundred and twenty pounds to Greg, all completely void of malice. He’s the kind of guy who would proffer a pint and a cheer on your best day, and a pint and an ear on your worst. Both without even knowing your name. There’s an understanding in his nature that just might bring peace to the world if they understood as he did. It’s an understanding that I adopted long ago, even before it was broadened and reconfirmed in my studies as a cultural anthropology student. I try to remain cognizant of it every day.

Do, and allow others to do whatever brings happiness in life, as long as it doesn’t endanger, oppress, or physically hurt anybody else.”

It’s considering simple lessons like that, which make me wish they taught basic anthropology to young kids in school. Somewhere amongst learning how to count the similarities we all share as humans instead of just the differences, and that humanity should always transcend nationality, would be swell. But, that’s utopian circle-jerk fodder of mine, fit for another time...

Aside from our shared experience with the quagmires that were our ‘careers’ in radio, Greg and I shared a fervency for music, which could easily flag us as nerds. He was a former night-time DJ back in Ireland, and had an expansive knowledge on some of my favorite bands. The first second he mentioned The Hold Steady, was the start of a collective fifteen hours we spent conversing on chords and lyrics, and comparing band boners. We also shared a keenness for comedy and writing, that would further motivate me to pursue my passion, and put this all on paper. Granted, it would take another meeting with Greg at roughly twelve hundred miles away to discover said keenness, but nonetheless, it happened, and I consider myself lucky that it did.

Johnny, unfortunately, I didn’t get to know much about. He was the only one of us with a full-time job making money, while the rest of maintained full-time jobs blowing it. I did, however, come to understand a few things for certain. He was twenty-three, from Newcastle, UK, and maintained a confident cool about him equatable to Clooney in the Ocean’s series. Well-dressed and laid-back, he was a good-looking smooth-talker with a sharp wit, and charm that seemed by itself, potent enough to impregnate any female sitting in earshot. As far as I knew, he was loyal to his girlfriend back in the UK, he never seemed to give out the wrong impression, and women fully aware of his monogamous situation still stood in line for the sold-out spectacle. Whether we were in the bar, or back in the room, there was never let down in his response to anything, nor did he ever seem unpleasantly surprised by anything. He had an aura of ease about him that appeared to calm those in proximity. And regardless if he was bluffing or not, it looked as though he took the hand he was dealt in any situation, and made the game work in his fashion. An approach I applauded at times we all sat shooting the shit in that bar downstairs, and still do to this day. He was just plain, fucking cool. And while I’m sure I don’t need to, I hope that he is doing well.

And now that we’ve appropriately placed that veritable poo in the punchbowl...

Tessa, delightfully, was a twenty-four year old train-wreck from somewhere in the UK, where they might raise their children solely on beatings and boredom. And while I’m sure that she had told me exactly where that was a multitude of times, I’ll chalk up ignorance to the indifference that inevitably appropriated my attention at roughly three minutes into any one of her thirty minute droning disquisitions. Not that I didn’t try, I really did at first, but said disquisitions eventually tended to take to me like anchors, and I suppose detachment seemed like the best way to keep my spirits from sinking. Most of the time, her stories were focused on how ‘bored’ or ‘miserable’ she had become, and were drenched in enough despondency to affect the mouth that affected her speech. When she spoke, listlessness had her lips nearly paralytic. Sentences were mashed up into incomprehensible mumbles, and sometimes just trailed-off into silence halfway through, as if she had exhausted herself just thinking about the melancholic monologue. I think the only time I heard her speak clearly enough to easily comprehend was when she was unloading some snarky slight amidst the jubilant laughter of everybody else. Another missile amongst her munitions of misery with which she could effectively attrit the life, joy, and happiness out of any situation.

It should also be noted, that such munitions had a propensity for sinking blasts into me that resonated with heavy dissonance far beyond the light-hearted ambiance of those situations. Mostly on account of disconcerting introspection, during, and post-bombardment. Perhaps that’s why I seem so impassioned on the topic of her petulant bullshit, and felt so inclined to distance myself in the first place. Well get to that later, though.

Anyway, she left for Australia after she had become bored with her rather comfortable lifestyle back in the UK, would eventually leave for Cairns because she was bored of Sydney, and at the moment, is probably subjecting some sorry sap to another story about how bored she is ‘now’ that the only way he feels he can leave it, is by boring himself with a .45 caliber slug, from chin to skull-cap.

I speak from experience....

But, to be honest, I would be lying to say that none of the time that we spent together in Sydney was tolerable. Ninety percent of the time we shared, she was a menstrual maelstrom that I found myself trying to ignore. She wore a frown like a pale, angry clown, with sunken blue eyes, straight brown hair that struggled to meet her drooping shoulders, and she carried her mood like a fucking pallbearer. The other ten percent of the time we spent together, I didn’t know what to do with. It usually occurred when the both of us somehow found each other at night, blitzed on a mix of bad booze and good music, somewhere in the building where both were readily available. Sometimes, it was simply slamming sauce in the dorm room and trading tunes back and forth while the roommates downed drinks around us. Sometimes it was downstairs in that bar, trading verses back and forth while the music blared, and the entire hostel downed drinks around us. And whether it was the clear liquor and distorted chords that pleasantly clouded my perception--as such combinations seem to do with me--or she genuinely checked her bitch bags at the door and came to life in the party, there was something about her during those times to which I was slightly drawn. Like a withered plant resurrected by heavy rains, she seemed resurrected with heavy waves of wine and sound in a rather miraculous fashion. There was a spark that lit up in her whenever said waves hit, and it seemed to catch and warm her frigid fame. Her eyes brightened, her face would flush to the complexion of a living person, and there was something in the way that she laughed, and looked at the ceiling when she danced that I kind of liked for some reason. The reason of course, I would later on recognize with a snatch of chagrin and a chuckle to boot. Either way, it was this ten percent that would eventually blind my better judgement, as that spark would once be bright enough in my hazy phase to blot out the other ninety percent of her that was a vapid vortex of suck, and subsequently leave me with a situation I had known quite well should be avoided. But that’s over a week away at this point.

Told you, you wouldn’t do it better this time.

Stupid me... Fuck it!

Kevin and I dropped off our gear and immediately hit the streets again, to begin what would seem like our routine for the next week in Sydney. And although the weather had officially developed an enduring routine of it’s own in blanketing the skies, or just plain dumping on us, our dedication maintained resilience. Wake up, hit the city streets, eat some grub, hit the city sights, shower up, head down, drink through city nights, puke, pass out, repeat. A rather rigid regimen shaped and driven by the almost boyish fixation we had with our new environment, and the sense of bewilderment that the abundance of stimulus in this city seemed to provide us with. Even if we had to experience the majority of them soaked and sunless. Most days, we’d spend wet, running around to some of the city’s best attractions, elated at every stop--the Opera House, the Botanic Gardens, the Aquarium, the Wildlife Park, Hyde Park. Most nights, we’d try to spend dry in that bar downstairs, watching some of the city’s best attractions running around, elated at every sip--blondes, brunettes, English, French, Brazilians, Australians. An exchange of environment that Kevin and I considered pleasantly adequate. We would simply move from a flood of precipitation, into a flood of sexed up, stilettoed captivation. We were Bobbie and Whitney in a sea of crack... And that sea seemed faintly familiar in so many aspects. One night, mid-sip, with the brim of my glass over the bridge of my nose, I strove to cook up comparisons as I watched six femme fatales stroll across the dance floor. Hot, neon light bending with their stalking stems that swam like an electric, moving watercolor through the refracting bow of my amber-glazed tumbler.

“Jesus Christ. This is almost like being back at State...”

I glanced again to see the tall blonde in the back flip tapered waves of her platinum hair over a lightly bronzed, naked shoulder. It caught a beam of ruby light as it flew and bursted like a firework before falling to a halt, behind the back of her black satin dress. The dress itself, struggling not to slip above or below the slender curves of her nearly bare body. She turned her head in our direction, and lit up the distance between us with bright green eyes. I struggled not to let my beer slip above or below my fingers.

“Yeah, bro. Except there’s... Holy shit, those girls are gorgeous. ...No class.”

Yeah, I saw them... Good point. And it appears this place accommodates accordingly, it’s been a perpetual party pit for the last five nights. ...And I think that tall blonde just turned me ‘tarded. I just spilled beer on myself, like a fucking infant.

“Yeah. Fucking Side Bar’s got us. ...I can’t stop staring at them.”

“Haha. Good call. Let me rephrase that, ‘this is almost like being on a pseudo classy, college Spring Break.’ ...Yeah, I might need a brain wash, it’s getting filthy up there.”

“I know, man. I feel like I’m in a movie right now. Dude...

“Rad. Let me know at which point in your script, those girls get all Australian Pie on us.”


“To fucking Side Bar...”

And while I write this now, I feel like if I could travel back in time and do it again, said salut would have to be loaded with far more sentiment than either of us had intended the first round. In fact, while writing this, I had almost scrapped the anecdote above in fear of being too tangential. But the reality is, as I think about it, that place and moments in it like that, played a huge role in shaping our collective experience in Sydney. Side Bar had become like our base. A pivot point between consciousness and lack thereof, where I would have as many servings of reality as surreality, and make memories of as many moments as I would forget, blacked-out beneath a strobe light. It was a beacon and a black hole to us, all the same. We’d convince ourselves, after a long day out, that it was a place for us to hang our hats and relax with a cold beer and a hot meal without blowing the bank. But as I mentioned before, the place had a certain setting to it that tended to line us in, via our wide open eyes and ears--and balls for that matter, as long as we’re being honest, because we know what’s running the show most of the time, especially with surroundings like that. The music would start pumping, and our testosterone levels would follow suit as droves of beautiful women descended into that basement from somewhere up above. And as follows, the two or three intended beers would multiply into into twelve or more in a rough two hours time, and the durability of that bank would be heavily tested.

For the most part, however, I don’t think the either of us really gave a shit big enough about that bank to deter us once those tumblers started tilting for those first seven days there. For one, we were just having too much fun. We were amazed by the novelty of our situation, and figured we might as well experience it to the fullest. We were halfway around the world, jobless, young, single, untethered by the burdens of our past (or at least attempting to be in my case), and uncertain of our futures. I think we were just trying to live in the present. Second of all, when it came down to it, we were really just fucking tired of worrying about money. Kevin had been stressing about it for the last year, after being laid off from his job, subsequent to a mere eleven months of service. And I had spent the last few years, busting my balls between two jobs, battling to keep the balance in my account over zero, and stressing over the plausibility of overdrafting with every $1.80 transaction.

A battle, which when lost, would be succeeded by an application of overkill on behalf of the lovely Wells Fargo, that was sure to make you feel not only like you might have just lost next week’s meal money, but that you were also kind of losing at life. A disposition which they had seemed far from reluctant to compound and exploit. Because nothing really says, “Fuck you, poor guy!" quite like tacking a thirty-five dollar fee onto a buck-eighty cup of coffee that was purchased after the morning shift, in order to stay awake for the night shift.

Although, I suppose if you’re a bank that’s going to take in a record three-billion dollars in profit in your first quarter of the year, you need to pull it from whatever pockets you can. And I guess that paycheck to paycheck type of lifestyle was one that I adopted when I decided to punch in for pennies and nickels at that station. Not that I regret it, I don’t. The friends and experience I walked away with from that place are worth far more than any paycheck could have ever amounted to.

And I’m obliged to raise this warm Sapporo to some of them now...

Remember to thank Nate and Jason...

But, I digress. The fact is, being poor totally fucking sucked, and when I stepped onto that outbound plane in San Diego, after selling my Ranger, my computer, and nearly all of the secondhand furniture we had accumulated over the years, I had more money in that account than I had ever had in my life. And Kevin was able to compile enough savings to make his account comparable after shacking back up with the parents, and being bill-free for a few months. And while it really wasn’t much, it was enough to allow us to put our stress at rest, and feel like kings for a short period of time. So, we dined and drank accordingly. At least in juxtaposition to what we were used to. Even the ten dollar steak deal down in Side Bar seemed like a meal beyond our former means.

“Bro, this is ridiculous, we’ve been eating steak for the last four nights.”

“I know. I’m eating better here than I ever did back in the States.”

“Yeah. It beats the shit out of Mac & Cheese without milk every night.”

“The ‘Mac’ has been Pac-man, Paquiao’d.”

“”Nother beer?”

“Several, please.”

And so, the cycle would catch wind again, and we’d rage on like a hurricane, blowing money and braincells out onto anything we saw fit to feed the euphoria fix, without any regrets the next day. Steaks, beers, shots, fifteen dollar cocktails, a sixteen dollar pack of cigarettes, twenty-five dollar breakfasts to settle gurgling guts the morning after. All of it, without hesitation. But like all things, good or bad, they must come to and end. And nearing the end of that week we’d find ourselves subjected to a series of events, and revelations that would rightfully throw us from our thrones, and put the kibosh on our drinking and spending spree. Or, at least attempt to. Let’s stay in it for a while though. Because even after hurricane California had been officially neutralized and subsequently drained by the elements of that Harbour Town, I don’t regret a thing. It was fun as shit. And I suppose now, would be the appropriate time to summarize the rest of the novel experiences with certain things, events, and people, that and who, made it that way. Including, a rather comical clash of character, which later lead to the both of us having shit beat out of us in the middle of a cold, wet street.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sydney - Part Two Point One

Jesus... And it seems I had just sunk into it. The dead awaken again in such a familiar way.

I’m torn up and out of sleep, gasping. My respiratory tract on fire with the friction of breath forced rapidly through constricting airways. Asphyxiating on churning surges of hot, stale air and anxiety. My eyes fly across the room, desperate to make sense of shapes and shadows. My pen and an open notebook cling to the heat on my bare chest.

It’s okay. You’re still here.

I purge the panic in one heavy and heaving exhalation, and crack a slight smile. Something I usually haven’t been able to do so easily before in such episodes. There is solace garnered in the aforementioned thought. The tension drains from my shoulders, my elbows fold, and my head falls back to be joined with my sweaty pillow once again. I wipe the sticky away from my eyes.

These Fuckers followed me down here?

I think about the dream.

Fuck that noise...

It’s 1475 Hornblend. I’m back inside those four walls that saw the majority of my last four years outside of that goddamned studio. I miss them a bit now as I write this. They were tall and painted Swiss Coffee, though they tended to wear shades of their own that did well to mirror the moods. On days and nights the door in that room saw pleasant traffic, those walls were brightly lacquered with laughter and love. On days and nights it didn’t, they tended to suit themselves in shades of silver and gray. And in all of them combined, those walls harbored an abundance of my happiest and most horrific hours. Triumphant build-ups, brutal breakdowns, nights of endless laughter with friends like family, streams of tears, bottles and beers, profuse drug abuse, far too many sleepless nights, far too many nightmares, far too many dreams unmet with fruition, a lot of beautiful songs, and a few beautiful women.

But I digress...

How considerate of some of them to come and join me here.

I sit angled to the left in a red chair against the wall by my computer. A pivot point in a circle of family and friends. Nate. Wolfe. Natalie. Georgia and Jordan sit on my bed. Andy stands in the background with a nail gun and roofing, constructing what looks like a house. My father sits in a chair to the left of me, my brother to the right. Their presence commands my attention. My mouth is a broken sieve, spilling a muddle of syllables saturated with exuberance. I’m emphatically trying to describe in detail every inch of this magnificent place, and how happy I am, but the task is baffling. The ideas are fluid, and the words follow suit as they merely spill out and onto the floor. It’s okay though, they understand. They can see the joviality I wear just above my jawline. Until spontaneously, I make sense of syntax.

“Shane, you would fucking love it here! We’ve got to check out the bridge when we get back to Sydney tomorrow.”

It’s then that something clicks, and I realize where I am again. My brother’s face goes stone cold, my father shakes his head slowly, and the room darkens.

Oh my god... I’m not going back, I fucked it up and I’m home already... Oh, fuck!

At my revelation, the circle begins to stand, and make a line for the door. Jordan is the first to her feet. A rictus of disgust raked across her face. Her eyes, hollow, black holes, crushing space behind my ribs. She exits without a word.


Georgia stands with the waterworks welling in her eyes.

“I’m so sorry”, she whispers. Her hand slides softly beneath the contour of my jaw, slightly lifting my face to meet her descending eyes.

She begins to walk out. The rest in the back are gathering the last of their things and making their way to oblivion.

“Fuck! Wait!”

Are the last two words I construct with competence. I jump up and try to plead, but what were once words flowing out of my mouth have become sand, and it’s trapped my tongue. It’s coming faster and faster and dumping at my feet. I bite down to try and stop it, but my teeth crunch and crumble as they come down. The pouring sand becomes streaked with blood as it begins to shred gums and nerves that once held teeth, and bury the floor beneath me. It chews the tools I’d use to sound desperate screams as it passes, and leaves me choking. I look to my father and brother, the last two who remain sitting while the others exit. My brother speaks first, with the cadence of a character whose expectations were well met. He smiles a bit and shrugs.

“It’s okay, man. You fuck up.”

He stands, steps around the mound of strawberry now engulfing my knees, and makes for oblivion.


The door slams as he leaves, and I see those still grey walls shatter into never ending cascades of sand. They are rushing downwards, and beginning to swallow the room from the outside, in. It’s collecting at my guts now. Tentacles take shape from rising plumes of dust to whip about my face and sting my eyes.

You’ve got to be shitting me...

I raise my eyes to my father once again. He sits calmly in his chair. His left foot draped over his right knee. Elbows on the armrests, boney bases of a tower pinnacled at five points by ten fingers pressed firmly together. His eyes fixed on the fiasco that is my circumstance. He seems to be the only thing held together at this point, while all the rest comes tumbling down. A deluge of disappointment damming behind his concrete visage, merely calculating a point at which to open up, and further flood this joint with utmost effectiveness. A disposition to which he seems well accustomed.

How familiar. A fucking commandant of confidence amongst the chaos, ready to eloquently offer a swift and serrated opinion on my plight...

My efforts only drop and dissipate into dust on their way to his ears.

A disposition to which I am well accustomed.

I try to rally, and brace myself for those flood gates to open.

Stop being such a pussy, you sand sacked, sad sack... Lift ‘em and grab em. Let’s fucking hear it...

But it doesn’t come. No deluge of disappointment. No lecture on letdown. No fucking, trite address on my much needed reform. And it’s what comes instead, I think, which terrifies the most.

Still sitting, he leans forward. Elbows relocate to his knees, and his hands fold. The damming deluge is swallowed, and the concrete visage softens. He gives me a look with concerned eyes.

The commandant of confidence has now become a conduit of compassion, ready to convey sincerity, sympathetic to my plight? For fuck’s sake...

I anticipate debasement, regardless.

“Preston, I’m really sorry, but you really fucked this one up... Some people just don’t have it.”

His eyes begin to dampen, and he’s holding back tears. Something I have never seen before in my life, and it scares the shit out of me. A wave of horror flushes through my veins, and it scrapes like scissors against nerve endings in its wake. It’s lit my limbs on fire inside.

Are you fucking serious!? What the fuck is that!?

(Strangely enough, within a few minutes in the conscious world, I knew exactly what ‘it’ is. But here, my imagination is met by my emotion, and they work at speeds unmet by my logic... A logic that I’m just learning to become cognizant of in the conscious world. We’ll touch on it briefly below, and even more so when we get to Cairns).

He stands, and with heavy steps, makes his way to oblivion. The door shuts, and the room shatters into shadow. A single spotlight emerges into existence in front of me, and it’s staring right into my face. I try to scream, but am still choking on a cataract of sand, stained crimson.

I might as well be coughing up chainsaws.

Sand is now caving-in against my chest, and I’m desperate for air to fill my lungs. My muscles tangle and tear in fruitless attempts to thrash about. I can’t move. This is hell. It’s now dumping against my face, and the coarseness is consuming me inside and out as it’s carried. My guts are being served on a slide of sand. The taste of blood and dust is thick in the back of my throat. And as I struggle for my last few breaths, I finally come to understand that as the last one has left, it’s me, who has become ‘oblivion’...

And I’m torn up and out of sleep, gasping.

It’s okay. You’re still here.

I laid in that bed for the next ten minutes, thinking about the shit grenade that had just detonated inside my dome, before I decided to suspend my dissection of it for another time. Partially on account of the occupancy of other thoughts involving this new place. Mostly on account of not being ready to rehash another shit show with the skeletons in that cluster-fuck of a closet, just yet. In that ten minutes, however, I had come upon three consecutive conclusions. I’ll summarize them quickly for the time being:

One - While even in my dream I tried to feign ignorance regarding my father’s condemnation turned compassion, deep down, I knew exactly what ‘it’ was, and ‘it’ terrified me nonetheless. As far as everybody close in that circle, sans Jordan, they were the amalgamation of eyes and ears that had heard and seen me sad and stupid, over and over again for years on end, and I think they just wanted to see me happy out here. They had faith in me, and I was miserable to let them down again. ‘It’, however, was the faith that had been put into me by ‘him’, as I embarked on this endeavor, and was reluctant to acknowledge in the face of failure. A faith that he had placed in me only once outside of graduating college, and it was fucking unfounded anguish to let him down. It was a faith that I saw he had in me when I stepped out and onto that tarmac.


Two - I’m a twenty-six year old man, and I’m doing this for me. Why should I care about what anybody else thinks? I’m incredibly lucky to have the support that I do, but, the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.

Like the ones that you’ve been ‘meaning’ to live up to for years?

Double Fuck... It’s got nothing to do with them, it’s got to do with me...

Three - I just might have come off of that plane with a bit more baggage than I had expected...

Figured those skeletons could have packed light...

I glanced around the room once again at my ten minute mark. Kevin, out cold in the bunk to my left. Our german girl above him in the same fashion. Johnny Rotten Balls’s bellowing snores reverberating through the foam and web of wire above me. A barrage of backpacks and clothing lit pale by the faint street light permeating the air via a window that’s gained a thickness at its base on accord of viscosity and time. I had made sense of those shapes and shadows. And in doing so, garnered enough comfort and confidence in the moment to put that dream on the back burner.

Fuck it! I’m in Australia...

Besides, it was the day that we finally got to vacate such a shit hole. And aside from that, I had a feeling I’d have plenty of more chances to work out my differences with those skeletons... Little did I know, it would take me until Cairns to do so...

I fell back asleep for another couple of hours, and woke up around 8:00 AM. Kevin was stretching off a night of solid slumber to the best of his ability in the confines of his bunk. We looked at each other and smiled with caked eyes and dry mouths.

“Let’s do this.”

“Fuckin‘ A...”

I didn’t say a word to Kevin about the dream. I still haven’t. I figured there was no point if I wanted to keep it on the back burner. Besides, silence was essential to a method I had subconsciously assembled in the past for dealing with such issues, and minimizing them. “The less people I tell, the less of a reality it becomes.”

Beautifully, this worked the other way as well, when I wanted to speak something into its own grander existence. “The more people I tell, the more of a reality it becomes.” I had constructed an army of irrational fears, relationships, and dispositions by such methods throughout the years. Like I had done on nights in the past, when I might have sat behind a bottle, dousing some unfortunate pair of ears in an overdose of self-disclosure in an attempt to not only solidify some sad, manufactured disposition of mine into a greater reality, but to also confirm it as acceptable.

“I’ve done nothing with my life. Of course she’s not going to waste her time with me.”

“I’m not going to make it. It’s fucking pointless to even try.”

“I am nothing...”

I knew by this time of course, that such silly states were merely the results of my perceptions playing the tricks I had taught them to. My perceptions paving down paths I had unknowingly asked them to, after my sub-conscience had manufactured them in the first place to serve some crooked agenda of mine. More often than not, it was an agenda focused on facilitating acquiescence to discomfort brought about by deliberation on aspirations left unmet. An agenda to keep me thinking that just maybe those wants are too far out of reach--be they a job, a fucking date, or a new beginning--so I’ll crack another beer in a comfortable chair and drown said deliberation. An agenda to keep me from trying to meet those aspirations. Because easier than trying and failing, was not trying at all.

Eventually, at some point in the recent past, I came to realize that my perceptions didn’t transcend truth, whether they sought to ignore truth completely, or bend it to my benefit. I knew that making a conscious decision to keep my mouth shut to Kevin didn’t change the fact there was still a problem manifesting itself in my sleep that needed to be dealt with. But, understanding the method also allowed me to use it while keeping an eye on the potential dangers of getting lost in it. I only had to be careful, that’s all. And, no, I’m not justifying it, but on the bright side, it also forced me to take on the problem on my own, which I felt would need to be done at some moment in the future.

We hurried to pack our bags amongst the pigsty, as quietly as we could in consideration of our company. Although our German friend had taken off at some point when I had fallen back asleep, (probably to go jew hunting), Filthy McFunkySack was still sound asleep in his bunk, and god forbid our much anticipated egress be Hallmarked with halitosis. We strapped on our boots, strapped on our bags, threw the keys to the front desk, and stepped out into the Sydney morning air. An air I might add, that had grown a bit chilly for the first time since our arrival beneath the shade of a grey sky. But that was no matter, the day to us remained as bright as our spirits, as the both of us marched on, high on the hike ahead to our new place of residence, Wake-Up!