Wednesday, 6 January 2010

This will be my year of deliberate misrepresentation, where there is livestock there is dead stock

There is an overwhelming desire to express without being understood. Every night as I lay cursing the dark for not being dark enough the same thought enters my head. I want to yell at people in French, or Latin or Estonian. I do not want my words to be understood, I want only the fact that I am speaking them with force and conviction to be conveyed.

I have not been saying what I mean. I have said 'yes' when I meant no, 'no' when I meant yes and 'that is fine' when I meant you are a bloody drongo and I think you just cracked the marble-filled jam jar I've been using for a heart. I haven't been lying on purpose, for most of last year I was remarkably honest until I hit November and performed an involuntary retreat into polite responses and expected conversation and then of course I picked up my own jam jar and smashed it into whatever I could find and the marbles got loose and rolled into my eye sockets and lodged under my tongue.

I spent the first hour of the new year lying drunk in a gutter in Chippendale listening to all the happy chatter happen around me. It wasn't a bad place to be, almost everyone was there, sitting, standing or lying in the road. I could have sat up and joined in the conversation but I found that I was comfortable with my hip on the road, my head on my handbag on the curb, content with my thoughts distinctly my own.

I have been philosophical about my insides. Last year I developed a grudging respect for the vast team of doctors assigned to examine my brain. I even formed a fondness for the young neurologist who delighted in hitting various parts of me with his tiny and delicate hammer. I grew used to the robotic hum of scanners and lying very still in that mechanical tube while nurses counted down the remaining seconds. I made good use of all my limbs, making long lists of things I wanted to do before my gross motor skills took an irreversible turn for the worse and investing in ramps became a priority. I started drumming, moved a piano into the library and impersonated Little Richard, I painted scores of terrible paintings and sketched every small object I could see. I walked everywhere, took up running until a tendon gave out and put a stop to the whole idea and I danced in houses, on streets, in bars, on my bed and I climbed no less than seven separate trees. When the official results came in and I was in fact given the mostly all clear I wasn't really surprised, despite the lists and the activities I had been unable to properly imagine a world where I couldn't walk or wave my arms about on a whim.

This year I have been reexamining my notes on bioethics from law school but they have been unable to explain how I could be so happy to swallow pills to play god but so distressed at the idea of the small life snuffing its own self out for no reason at all.

This year will be my year of deliberate interpersonal misrepresentation. If I meet you on the street I am going to tell you I like tomato juice and I am happy to be here. I am going to be impersonal and polite and offer vague and general descriptions of streetscapes and landscapes and a flat pack idea of being pleased to meet someone like you. I am not going to tell you how I feel. There will of course be exceptions, the people who already know what I'm about, people like Spencer and Gemma and the cast of usual suspects and the hard black letters of written words. I suppose I'm talking about acquaintances and strangers and the inevitable people at parties and gigs, I suppose this a broader affair.

Dear World,

Due to the behaviour of your chosen representatives I find I have no inclination to further our friendship. There is no room for new friends in here. My replacement marble-filled-jam-jar  heart has shattered and that was the final object I had saved for installing in the ticking part that should beat. These rattling disconsolate marbles now control my in-flight interaction system and they only steady into a gentle rolling flicker in the presence of genuine friends. I am neither hopeless nor depressed. I am simply drawing a line in your stupid sand. This will be your year of leaving me alone.

Dale R Slamma

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