Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 268: jealousy and boredom.

Tomorrow I'm going to a farewell party for two gal pals heading over to live in New York. One will be studying fashion design, the other working in advertising. They're both awesome and fun and smart and cool and are about to have the TIME OF THEIR LIVES. I'm happy for them. And totally jealous. In other news of small, unattractive emotions, I'm also feeling kind of bored. All of my work mates are at the pub and will be for some while, the drinks trolley has done its rounds and delivered me my unbelievably exciting orange juice, and I just seem to be a million miles away from the pumping excitement factory that was my holiday, New York City, and all the fun people and things I encountered on my travels. Hello reality. Boohoo. Cue foot-stamping, arm and leg flailing, and writhing around on the ground getting dirt in my tears. Whatever. I'm going home to play my guitar.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 267: for Mum.

Today is my Mother's birthday. It is also the day five years ago that we laid her to rest, celebrating her life with a funeral of which I believe she would have approved. It was a well run event, all of her children spoke, and spoke well (Mum believed in rehearsal and good delivery). There was laughter, there were many tears, and the music was beautiful. What I love about Mum's transition from this state of life into whatever is next, is its poetry. To both come into the world and celebrate one's leaving of it on the very same day 61 years apart, presents a level of refined timing entirely suited to my mother; suitable because of her own fine appreciation of language, style, theme and narrative. I love the fact that her story, for all the pain she might have experienced at the end, was so beautifully finished. Indeed too, it was a poem I read at her funeral, one I had written for her 60th birthday the year before as part of a birthday poem-writing tradition she had begun. Mum was a linguist, a teacher and a Master of Arts; her life was beautifully bookended, her parting shot cleverly woven with words and theme, subtle lessons and a quiet chuckle at this pretty, funny life. Was it all coincidence? Isn't that kind of the point?
Anyway, back in the golden days when I had the luxury of calling Mum on the phone to lament about my semi-adult problems, she once suggested I give up alcohol altogether. How is it that mothers always know what is best for their babies? At the time I thought the idea was a good one, if preposterous. Today, sitting on this side of sobriety, I think my Mum would be happy? Relieved maybe, that I am now taking a less reckless approach to my health, safety and life in general. Mum too was always one of the more adamant supporters of my musical aspirations. "You simply must do it Claire, you must." And gosh, how I miss her. There are so many things I would like her opinion on, so many questions I still have to ask, good books and funny things I would like to send her way. But there is no point in wishing for what cannot be. Instead I should be happy that, together with Dad, she gave me the skills to form my own opinions, to find solutions to my problems, and to appreciate and enjoy the good things I encounter. So thank you Mum, and happy birthday. I will continue to endeavour to make you proud.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 266: a little secret.

I'm a writer. That's not a secret. And I've been writing this blog for 266 days, which is also not a secret. What is a secret (or was until now) is that for a small while I've been harbouring a little dream (and no I'm not talking about becoming a rock star, although that's still pretty much front and centre in my dreamscape); I want to turn this blog into a book. I want to take this mental little journey you have so kindly been accompanying me on, bind it and put it on the shelves of my favourite book stores for all the world to read. "But all the world can read it right now", I hear you say, "why does it need to be printed in a book?". Well, I'm old school. I like books. And my Dad won't read my blog until it's committed to the printed page. I could just print it out for him, but a book would be so much nicer. So now I'm about to embark on the mission that is trying to find someone to publish this thing (like I needed another mission to complete). And I wanted to ask for your help. Are there any days that have particularly struck a chord with you? Any moments you've liked? And on a more sensitive note, do you think anyone (other than my Dad) would want to read this in a book? As the marvelous people who actually read what I write, your opinions on this matter a lot. So please tell me what you think. On a similar note, it has occurred to me that this blog ends on day 365. On day 366, I am officially allowed back on the piss. But with no blog, I can't tell you how it went! It's perhaps kind of pathetic, but I've gotten used to telling y'all about my highs, lows and little challenges. Your lending a cyber ear (eye actually, but you know what I mean) really helps me put things in perspective (thanks for that by the way). How would you feel if I, maybe, say, started another blog? It might not have to last a whole year, and it might not have to be every day, but would it be too much if I asked you guys to help me get back on my drinking feet? Just by popping in and saying hi once in a while? You've already given me a lot of your time, which I appreciate. And I completely understand if My Year Off The Piss is enough. But as I said, your opinions matter. So, book? Another blog? Yes no? Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 265: 100 days to go.

Not that I'm counting. And probably to a drinker 100 days of not drinking seems like an eternity. But to me 100 days is a hop, skip and a jump; an end very much in sight. So on reaching this non-drinking landmark, where do I find myself? Well first of all, I am very, very happy. After a number of previous musical hiccups, my new project is starting to take quite convincing shape. I am happy in my work, and Mondays still don't give me trouble. I am happily vegan, happily doing my yoga and jogging and even more happily receiving the compliments on nice skin/healthy glow/good shape I keep getting. I actually feel like an attractive human being who's worth something too, which is nice, and I have seen the return of my confidence with boys. I've started taking actual steps towards achieving my dream of living in New York. Oh yeah, and I have 265 days of blog behind me, which as a writing exercise has been a complete pleasure and represents something of an achievement. I suppose the funny thing is, that instead of looking forward to the end of my 365 days, the closer I get to my completion date, the less I care about it. I am certainly excited about what is in store for me over the coming months, because I have a feeling there will be some good developments. But about alcohol, I am indifferent. A drink will be fine, or maybe it will be shit. Whatever the case, drinks of any variety are peripheral. I'm much more interested in all the good stuff going on in life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 264: all about me.

I've mentioned before that I'm the third kid of four, and that this position in the family has lead to me being somewhat of a showoff. The reality is that when there are four kids doing their noisy thing, and you're somewhere in the middle of it all, you have to do things to get noticed and to get your teeny tiny point across (I think my Mum said that once she counted me saying something to my Dad 32 times before he finally heard me and replied.). Now, wanting to be a rock star is a pretty obvious adult translation of my childhood desire to be noticed right? But what about other stuff I've been doing as an adult? Could it be that all of my major desires and motivations as an adult stem from one impression stamped on my mini-me psyche? I started to wonder about this because I had a dream. In the dream, everyone I knew and loved was going to a festival and no one had bothered to tell me about it. As I started to protest I realised everyone was talking over me and not listening. And so I screamed, like a child, shrill and crazy and loud and long until everyone shut up and took notice. It was quite a hardcore dream. I woke up kind of shocked and surprised, because I had no idea I was feeling so... silenced, or overlooked or whatever. And it got me thinking. Is veganism just another way for me to stand out? Is going to New York just another way for me to assert my individuality? Is not drinking just another way I can say "look at me!"? Or does it even matter? Some people know who they are and what they want from the word go, and start getting on with the job as soon as they can walk. I guess I'm just taking my time to grow up, sort my shit out and settle on a me I'm happy with. And that's fine. It's just the way I am.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 263: getting stuff done.

Wow. Today me and Tanya (our new housemate) took our house from a state of teetering on shambolic to bordering on perfection. Since freaking out the other day about how much crap I was surrounded by and how much shit I had to get done, I have managed to turn quite a lot around. I've turfed a lot of unnecessary rubbish from my life, the house is looking kind of awesome, I've begun writing maybe a couple of new songs, I've done all the exercise I planned to do, and I now have the names and numbers of a good US visas lawyer and a good tax accountant. I've even asked around about drummers, but it looks like more will be required to find one of those. Taking care of business people, this is how we do it.

Day 262: good things.

While it would be easy for me to be getting frustrated right now about my seemingly crawling progress towards my enormous dreamscape goals, I'm not. I think I am slowly learning that victories of any kind are good ones, and tiny victory by tiny victory I am piecing together a mosaic of awesomeness. In the meantime too I have been really enjoying some of the things that apparently have nothing to do with achieving big goals whatsoever. Things like buying organic vegetables and flowers for the house, like really applying myself in yoga and feeling amazing at the end of class as a result, and like taking an evening to do a little writing in the very comfortable surrounds of my warm, candlelit lounge room. Big goals, little achievements; the aim of it all presumably is to feel good about life, which today I really did.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 261: live, let live.

One of the things I like most about the people in New York (at least from what I've seen of them) is that they let other people be who they are and do what they want with very little judgment. Whether this is because they are open minded, or just so self-centred that they genuinely couldn't give a rat's what other people do (unless it affects them), I'm not entirely sure. Whatever the case, people don't give you shit for dressing a certain way, liking certain music, eating or not eating certain things, drinking or not drinking alcohol. They let you get on with it. Since being back in Sydney, I've noticed a different attitude entirely. Whether it's people bitching about others for no good reason, or being asked what's wrong with me that makes me want to be vegan, or having mince meat brandished at me as an example of what I'm missing out on, or being vocally pitied for not drinking (while having wine breath huffed in my face), I've noticed that people here seem to have a hard time accepting it if you don't do things the way they do. I know nobody means any harm. But we could all have so much more of an interesting and productive time if we started focusing less on trying to stop people from doing things that really don't need stopping, and more on... just about anything else. There are enough real obstacles to our achieving amazing things or happiness without having people add other silly ones. I have been completely guilty in my time of judging and bitching and thinking people are stupid for doing things, but I think I'm ready to stop. There are too many other things to be doing, to be wasting any precious energy on stuff like that.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 260: a new chapter.

Tomorrow our new housemate moves in. Kirsty, our last roomie (a great girl possessing, among other talents, a top combination of ray-of-sunshine demeanor, social ease, and brains) has embarked on a large overseas adventure, of which I am immensely envious. Anyway, tomorrow Tanya, an equally clever, lovely and gorgeous girl will arrive in our home. Because she really is a very pleasant and entertaining person, I am looking forward to this. It also marks the beginning of a new phase in this house, that will no doubt see new people and new events come with it. I like newness. With newness comes interestingness and the possibility of all sorts of fun developments. And until I can sort out newness of the living in the USA variety, this is just the sort of thing to keep my pages happily turning.

Day 259: too much crap.

Today I got a bit overloaded at work and it kind of sent everything careering a bit out of control. Many things that were meant to get done, did not get done. Which is fine. That's life. But somehow it kind of reminded me how much other shit I need to do and how kind of overloaded with crap one's life can become. It's probably the travel that's triggered it, but the last couple of weeks I have been looking around at the stuff I have amassed and have felt a real desire to get rid of it all. I have too many clothes, too many beauty products, too many CDs, too many accessories, too many pieces of musical equipment, too many stupid pieces of paper. It's like I keep all this stuff in case I need it some day. How liberating would it be to just turf everything and start again with just the pieces that you need? So yeah, physically my life feels like it needs a clear out. And then there's all the stuff I need to do. Singing lessons, bass lessons, driving lessons, tax returns, demoing songs, dentist's appointments, sourcing a drummer, sorting out my home computing situation, working on my New York plan, oh yeah, and holding down a job, and trying to maintain some sense of sociability. I hate it when I get like this because my scatteredness is so apparent. With so many competing taxes on my mind and time, does anything have a hope of getting done? Okay, so what do I actually need to do? Chuck some shit out, clean some shit up, run a bunch of errands, and only worry about the stuff I can deal with right now. And chill the fuck out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 258: picture this.

I live in New York city (in a great one bedroom apartment on the lower east side). I have an awesome job writing for a range of hip publications, businesses and ad agencies which is a lot of fun and pays me the best money I've ever earned. The varied nature and hours of my work also suits me perfectly because it gives me the time and flexibility to play in and promote my band. The band is doing awesomely. We have grown really popular in cool circles in New York, and our live shows always pack out. Our first EP (of which we are immensely and justly proud) is selling well in record shops and on iTunes. We're currently working on our album with a very talented producer, and will soon embark on a sold out tour playing a selection of North American and European summer festivals. I am feeling freakin amazing because I am finally living my rock 'n' roll dream. Oh, and you should see our film clips - they're so fucking cool.
To be continued.
My yoga teacher was talking last night about the power of visualisation. Mainly he was trying to get us to see ourselves doing the perfect posture so we'd be more likely to achieve it, but he was also talking about using it in other areas of life. So I thought I'd try it. And what I found is that picturing your perfect life is actually quite hard. My teacher talked about the importance of visualising the exact reality you want as though you're already living it, and being careful about your phrasing. He reckoned the phrasing would come true to the letter. So, if for example you said "I have met the boy of my dreams" the reality would be that yes you would have met the boy of your dreams, but he may have passed you by, or be married, or gay or anything else. Is this true? I don't know. But as I tried to work out my ideal life scenario, I realised that defining it perfectly and unambiguously is a tricky task. Even the bits I found easy to see - like the living and working in New York scenario, and the success of my new band - had fuzzy areas; people that hadn't fully formed yet, locations or next steps I wasn't quite sure of. It made me think. Does your vision of your desired goal need to be crystal clear for you to achieve it? And if such a feat of visualising and achieving can be successfully performed, is it actually a good thing? I mean, you might see the future you think you want, successfully achieve it and then discover it comes with a whole set of consequences you never expected. In fact, I'm thinking that would be pretty much guaranteed. But what of it? Isn't that simply the stuff of life? That you set out confidently in one direction only to find the laws of gravity have changed and you're floating aimlessly, wondering how to negotiate your new airy terrain? At least if I can visualise and achieve my current dream future, I'll get to play some amazing live shows and live in a seriously cool town. So, as seems to be my answer to everything these days, let's roll with it. May the clearest, most beautiful parts of my vision become reality, and may the gaps be filled by some very happy surprises.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 257: guitarist is go!

I just got word that the guitarist I propositioned for new band is cool to jam. Wicked. And now I need to go to yoga (go!).

Day 256: what's so great about alcohol?

Over the last, say, week, I have been of the general opinion that not drinking has become a little tired. True to my extremely impatient form, I have gotten bored with what used to be a novelty and am keen to see what my next phase holds. Not boozing is too easy and too familiar. I want something new. However, over the last couple of days I have been reminded again of the not very attractive thing alcohol is. Whether through other people's hangovers, the way they are drunk, or just the debilitating effect alcohol has on all the people and projects it touches, I am having second thoughts about having second thoughts about alcohol. You see, it has occurred to me that I get the most happiness from being satisfyingly productive, from being an industrious human being (spending quality time with attractive boys who treat you beautifully is also extremely enjoyable, let's not forget). Does alcohol help me be more productive? Not that I've noticed. It might give you a happy little zing here and there, but those zings aren't particularly meaningful. Not that they're meant to be. Only I'm kind of all about searching for substance right now. If I'm going to spend my time doing something, I want it to give me something solid and fulfilling back. I want packages of realness, not bubbles of magic nothing. So while I'm sure I will enjoy the odd pocket of zing of a Friday night or Saturday afternoon when I'm back on the piss, I'm not sure my return to the land of access all alcohol will be the breathless flight of relief and excitement some might imagine it will be. Because alcohol, for all its popularity, just isn't all that baby. In fact, much like many a famous superstarlet of our times, alcohol's charms, while undeniable, are ultimately pretty shallow.

Day 255: wow, great meeting!

I just got back from a meeting with Beth, first potential other member of my new band. I am really excited. Kind of freakily so actually, like jittery with ideas. I kind of felt the jitters rising like a tide as we shared our thoughts. It turns out (actually I sort of discovered this at a previous meeting, hence asking her to join the band) that Beth and I think rather scarily similarly. It's almost to the point of speaking each other's thoughts. That was what this meeting was like. I think it augers well for a creative endeavour. Only I don't want to get so excited that I turn the whole thing into some unreal thing that cannot be achieved. It is simply enough to say I'm pretty sure we will work well together, and then get on with the doing of the work. And of course, we've never played music together, so who knows how that will turn out? All in good time, all in good time. And now I need to calm down. Chamomile tea anyone?

Day 254: on second thought...

I have been thinking about my little drummer abandonment issue, and I'm starting to think it might not be so bad. As I said the other day, my logical head understands the situation my friend is in, and I think logic might have managed to talk emotional around. It still, to me, marks the end of an era, and in that sense it's still a bit sad. But there's also something else going on here. I have remarked upon it several times already, and I think it needs remarking again, that this year has had an undeniable theme; whether I like it or not, whether through choice or duress, I have been compelled to go my own way. It may have started with my decision to ban the bottle for a year, or maybe that was just a symptom of my developing condition. Whatever it is, this year events and circumstances have conspired to send me on a path paved only for me. And it hasn't always been easy. But when life decides to send you messages like these, you don't get the option to take it or leave it. It's more of a like it or lump it sitch. Well sir, I've decided I like it. If this is the way things are going, let's roll with it and see where my (somewhat forceful) tour guide would have me end up.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 253: is human happiness a hoax?

I don't mean to sound depressive, but it has occurred to me over the last little while that lasting happiness is quite a difficult thing to achieve as a human, and that it may not even exist at all. It seems that while there are many opportunities for enjoyment and experiencing joy in human life, these moments are often fleeting. Achieving solid progress is a difficult mission in itself, and even if you manage to get somewhere or do something that you think will make you feel better about yourself and the world, something always comes along to change things or make things difficult again. It's quite an exhausting thought. I suppose that's why wise people so often recommend living in the moment; if the moment is good, appreciate it now because it will soon be gone. It's funny though, as humans we insist on continuing to try to achieve the impossible. We try to bring lasting happiness into our lives by making things concrete; accumulating concrete things like houses - presumably because they seem unlikely to disintegrate before our eyes; promising our love to another "forever" in marriage; creating art and music, or even just doing our work, to cement our existence and worth in history. We try to create things we can hold onto, when in actual fact we can hold onto nothing. It makes a good case for drinking booze of an evening: forget the long term effects, forget tomorrow, drink now and enjoy the moment. Maybe. Maybe not. Something to think about.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 252: gutted.

I am feeling a little emotional. I just found out my former drummer (you've met him before) and friend for 20 years has chosen not to play (or even try playing) in my proposed new group, electing instead to give his time to his new band, the members of which he has known for all of three months. When I sent out the invite to join I knew his saying no was a possibility. And my logical head says it's not a big deal. He has other commitments, I'll find another drummer. But the me that has a heart, a sense of history and a sense of loyalty is completely gutted. This year, in the name of music, I have endured considerable heartache. It is no small thing to see your band disintegrate, something in which you have invested a heap of time, trust, energy and hope. It's a shot at your dreams, dying in front of you. It hurts a lot. This last rejection is the final severing blow, and it feels like a claw around my heart, squeezing out the last breath of air that was keeping that musical relationship alive. It is final confirmation that I am entirely on my own (oh, that theme again). It could very well be this is the best thing for everyone. Maybe fresh everything is required. And on the positive side, one of the other people I've asked has responded with a resounding yes. So I guess I'd better find a way to muster my emotional mettle. Because I'm telling you, being in a band is not for the faint-hearted (and faint is what my heart is feeling right now).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 251: fuck yoga's awesome.

Sorry for the profanity, but I did my first hot yoga since being back from holiday and it was great. I did have a few dizzy spells, but I also did an awesome back bend and yoga boy was practising right next to me (yes he still exists. And he's still hot. And I think my fingertips may have brushed his arm at one point - I am so pathetic). It made me feel really good. You should totally try it some time. Oh and I also decided to start a new band. Whether any of the people I would like to be in it with me will actually want to be a part of the whole thing is another story. We shall see.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 250: work it.

You may have noticed that this last little phase of holiday followed by re-entry into normality has been fucking with me ever so slightly. There has been so much new stimulus, so many new time zones, so many new possibilities flapping madly through my brain that even writing coherent blog posts has been hard to achieve. Waking up every morning has been an interesting adventure in re-orientation. My head has been all over the place. I've noticed you've all gone a bit silent on me, which may have more to do with you and nothing whatsoever to do with me, but if it's because my posts have been a bit crap, I apologise and I promise to do better. Anyway, while returning to the states is still 100% top of mind, I am slowly adjusting to the idea that I will be here in wintry Oz for at least a little while yet. And indeed, if I am to get my ass back to NYC, it's time to start moving it on some other fronts. There's music to be made, opportunities to pursue, a bod to keep in shape, and plenty of work to be done. So no more complaining and moping about the lack of sunshine and American accents. It's time to work it.

Oh and just because I'm still completely obsessed, here's some of my favourite North American Scum.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 249: bored of not drinking.

The last few days I have noticed alcohol slipping back into my consciousness as an attractive thing. It's not that I have had any overwhelming desire to drink, just that I have started to feel bored with the whole super-purity deal. I am still committed to being vegan, and I'm happy with that. But this whole not having a glass of Champers while everyone else does thing is starting to feel less like a crusade of empowerment and more like an exercise in tedium. Of course, I can't for the life of me remember the actual sensation of being hung over, and looking grey and feeling shit is equally as blah a concept as teetotalism. Maybe the whole subject is tired. To drink or not to drink? Who cares? It's kind of funny that as a society we base whole nights around a beverage. Imagine if Friday night was juice night instead of a time for boozing. And imagine what we could do too, if we put as much energy into other stuff as we do into procuring, drinking and recovering from alcohol. Just think of the genuinely interesting things we might discover, achieve and do.

Day 248: gravitational pull.

What is it that makes us want to be in one place more than another? A lot of the time there are very practical things, like nice weather, the people we know and love, good opportunities to earn a living etc. But what about when you just feel drawn to a place? What's that about? For a long time now I have felt the pull of the states, New York city in particular. Now having visited again, I feel it to an almost ridiculous degree; it's like there is no other option but to go there. But what is there in New York for me? I know all of maybe three people to any meaningful extent there, finding a job will be a mission, and by all reports it gets freaky hot in summer and unbearably cold in winter. The rent's exorbitant and the apartments are often shitty and tiny. But I still wanna go. It's partly because, as everyone knows, New York was built on magic rocks. But it also has to do with how New York lets me be. Over the last few weeks I have been able to observe at close range the effects different environments have on my me-ness. In different places, under the influence of different factors, I actually become a different person. Not entirely different, but noticeably so. Some places make me more confident, some more relaxed, some defensive, some vulnerable. New York feels like a place where parts of my personality could be allowed to breathe, when in other places they are necessarily repressed. Do I sound like a complete wanker? Well, it wouldn't be the first time...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 247: flick the switch.

Is it possible to miss a person you've known for approximately 14 hours? If you didn't pick it up from yesterday's somewhat dreamy entry, I met a really cool boy in LA, had a really fun time with him, and then left the continent. And today I have been just sort of wishing I could have had more time to get to know him. Missing him kind of, if, as I said, that's possible. I have also been missing the LAness of LA, the New Yorkness of New York, the me-ness of me in those places. All day my head has been transporting me back to where I'd rather be. I don't want to be back in the normal zone. I want to be in the exciting newness zone. Which is all very predictable. But really, this time it feels different. It's not just a matter of post holiday pining, it is an urgent sense of where I must go next, where I must go soon, where I must be now. So I guess I'll be working on that. On a completely different note, you may have noticed I haven't mentioned alcohol a lot lately. That's because, except for the infamous blueberry lemonade incident, it hasn't been giving me any trouble. On holiday there were two, maybe three moments when I really thought a glass of something would be nice - at dinner in New York at The Standard Grill (a great spot for a vegan too), at dinner at The Chateau Marmont where Champagne seemed completely appropriate, and in the bar with R (the boy) when it just would have been fun. Oh, and while we're on the subject, I can now happily confirm that it is entirely possible to have one's switch flicked by a boy, unaided by alcohol. That sounds naughtier than I meant it to, but that's alright.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 242-6: love bites.

Very early this morning (maybe 1am) I was woken by a phone call from my favourite little brother (I only have one little brother, but he's awesome). For at least 10 seconds (it felt like half an hour) I had no clue where I was, or what I was doing. This profound disorientation might have had something to do with the fact that over the last four days I have been in five airports in five different cities, and laid my head to rest on almost as many different pillows (or lolled it awkwardly to the side in the case of aeroplane seats). Somewhere in there a Tuesday got swallowed whole by time itself. Somewhere in there I left my Mexican surfing haven and arrived in the city of angels, home to the movies and to many a big dream or broken one. And somewhere in there I lived my own mini love story, the stuff a movie could be made of; a charmed encounter, fleeting yet potent, a pretty picture projected in the theatre of my mind. Sounds like I'm smitten. I am. I am smitten with the places I've been, the possibilities on offer, the future I have painted in my mind, and with the idea of a handsome boy who swept me off my feet with his genuine charm, sweet nature and strength of boy-ness, only to disappear again on the magic LA breeze on which he arrived. I am in love with my favourite city New York, in love with the new sensation of surfing waves, in love with many aspects of the American way, and have a growing affection for Los Angeles as I discover more (at the Chateau Marmont I could live happily ever after). And for the brief time I encountered him, I was also in love with my American boy. But all of these loves live within my holiday story. Some I can carry with me into real life. Some I plan to actively pursue. But as I headed towards the airport still high on the dream, I could not deny feeling the edge of reality's teeth about to bite; the subtle pain of a bubble of magic closing its slippery walls and floating off to wherever it is all such bubbles dwell. And of the boy? My neck still bares the marks his teeth made, the only evidence I encountered him at all. And where do you feel love's bite more painfully? In the bruises it leaves, or in them fading away?

P.S. A song for my American Boy.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 241: where am I?

And what in hell am I doing? I have spent a truly delicious day surfing early (I caught my first wave with no help from Daniel!), eating breakfast looking at the ocean, reading by the pool in my bikini, ordering mango fruit smoothies, having really amazing massages etc, but I cannot help but feel like a complete alien weirdo. All the staff here are very friendly and I really do love this little pocket of prettiness, but I am living in a suspended reality here. It's a safe and lovely reality, but every time I step outside the gates (as I did just now to buy a can of Coke) I realise there is another world out there that I haven't got a hope of getting to grips with. And then beyond that, there are innumerable other worlds, only a couple of which I actually understand. The upshot of it is, I'm a weirdo in more parts of the world than I'm not. I was thinking about this the other day, when I observed Ryan (Charlotte's partner) and his solid crew of friends. From what I could gather, they all went to school and college together, and now mainly live in the same city or state. When I saw them hanging out together, the strength of their bond and the sheer size and power of their crew was apparent; you could tell they all felt really good hanging out together and that they drew a real sense of security from the strength of their many friendships. Now when I went to high school and university, I was part of a similar group. But because we came from a small place that didn't cater to many of the careers we wanted to pursue (and maybe because of some skewed sense that there was something more or better going on "out there" than there was at home) many of us flew the coop. Now our group is all over the place. When we do get back together it feels great, but we don't have the collective power, strength or security that comes with having been in a place as a group for a long time. Particularly for the expats among us, our power sources and support networks are diminished. We don't know people from primary school who now run the coolest club/record label/art gallery/ restaurant/fashion label, we don't have parents to invite us for dinner/lend us their car/help us move house/babysit our kids, and we don't have those amazing old buddies that don't flinch when we collapse in front of them, living a few streets away (actually I do have one, and my brothers and sisters, so I am better off than some). It's a bizarre predicament. Consider this: I come from New Zealand, but I have lived away for so long that I feel like an alien when I return; I live in Australia, but because I didn't grow up there I will always be an import, again an alien of sorts; if I moved to New York as I seriously would like to do, I would be an entirely new species, calling neither New Zealand nor Australia nor America my real home. The question is, where do I really belong? And on the day I decided to take my little self away from Christchurch, my home town, did I unknowingly do myself an enormous disservice? Oh, I don't know, and probably not. It could simply be I've had too much sun and surf. And it won't be long before I wing my way back to Oz. I just need to weather one more day in paradise, and make a quick stop in La La Land. In fact, I'd better make the most of my remaining alien craziness before it's back to porridge and old clothes for months on end.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 240: new (awful) kids on the block.

I think it should be stated for the record that the Cabo Surf Hotel is totally awesome. It is an enchanting little hidey hole of peace and beauty and gnarly waves for surfing dude. It isn't pretentious but it is luxurious in that when the gates close behind your air conditioned taxi van, you enter a calm haven containing a handful of white, balconied, some hammocked villas all facing the almost soporifically mesmerising waves (they keep sucking me into blissed out reveries) with chilled, happy surfers zizzing back and forth on them in an entirely charming fashion. You can imagine how upsetting it was to discover this afternoon that my sanctuary had been invaded by a group of loud, obnoxious cocks. The new kids are a post wedding party with a fondness for vodka shots and Lady Gaga. How do I know this? Because they YELLED IT ACROSS THE POOL they were inundating this evening. Oh, and the bride's wedding dress and veil is hung up in her Mom and Dad's room just so, so please don't move it okay? Now in actual fact I've got nothing against Gaga, or vodka shots, or post wedding holiday parties even. But if the bride must live her moment out loud, I'd appreciate it if she'd turn the volume down a little so I don't have to live it with her. On the upside, if what I couldn't avoid gathering over dinner is true, the newly Mrs Awesome, her beefcake husband et al will be heading into Cabo San Lucas (my favourite place) tonight to party it up. And that means tomorrow at 8am they'll be nowhere near my precious waves when I will be up surfing them. Of course, if by some miracle they are up and about and fucking with my shit, let's hope they're smart enough to stay off my surf. (What do you mean it's this attitude that stops me meeting new people? Really? Oh.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 239: el crappo souveniro.

When I got up this morning for my early surf lesson, I felt like I was starting to get my groove on with this beach paradise living thing. The waves were bigger this morning, but under the watchful eye of (my kind of hot actually) instructor Daniel I managed to catch some waves and do quite a lot of acceptable surfing. Daniel said I was doing really well and that he was very happy with my progress (purrr). I followed this with breakfast at the restaurant overlooking the beach, and by making some bookings for a number of spa treatments and a horse riding tour. And then, after some sun bathing and magazine time, and because I was feeling pretty good about the state of everything, I decided it was time to venture outside the gated walls of my resorty environment. Dumbo idearo. After a 40 minute and 40ish buck cab ride to Cabo San Lucas, apparently the buzzing hub of shopping, clubbing and restauranting in these parts, I arrived in probably the crappest most tourism infected place I have ever been. And it wasn't glitzy touristy either. It was kind of scuzz bucket. Scuzz bucket at rip-off prices. You know that feeling you get that you're being swindled even by making eye contact with a store owner? Welcome to downtown Cabo San Lucas. And I really don't know why but for some reason I felt like I had to buy some of the unutterable crap these people were peddling. 90 US bucks later I was the proud owner of one quite bad taste straw hat, two painted ceramic skulls, a small painting of a skeleton in an old fashioned dress, one small Mexican doll, two bottles of water and a grande soy latte from Starbucks (hallelujah! The coffee was the one moment I was grateful for the disease that is American consumerism afflicting this town.). And then I thought it best to jump in another cab and hightail it back to the darling enclave that is Cabo Surf. And here is where, apart from one clip-clopping horsey tour outing, I plan to stay.

P.S. Seeing as we're talking about horses again, maybe now would be a good time to explain the origins of "Horse Camp Feeling" (see yesterday). Once upon a time, when I was about 9 years old, my best friend Jess decided to go to Horse Camp for her birthday (a place called Kowhai). She was allowed to take one friend with her, and me being her best friend, I got the first invite. As the camp was quite pricey though, and probably sensing my low aptitude for all things horsey (I never wanted a pony. I preferred fashion, punk rock etc), Jess's Mum gave me an out. She said it would be perfectly alright for me not to go if I didn't like the idea of it, Jess could easily take someone else. But I was having none of that. Jess was my best friend and I wasn't having some other little freak muscling in on my buddy. So I went. And I hated every teeny tiny moment of it (except one bit when it stopped raining and my horse actually decided to walk for me and I realised it was almost time to go home), had to try not to cry just about all the time, and seriously wanted to run all the way home to the awesome cuddles of my Mother. I even had secret fantasies for months afterwards about burning the place down so it didn't exist (whoops! Not secret anymore. Please try and forget you just read that.). Not that it was such a bad place really. I was just homesick. But ever since then, Horse Camp Feeling (otherwise known as HCF) has stood for the feeling you get when you come to a new place, your nearest and dearest and the familiar things you know are nowhere to be seen and you feel like boo-hooing. See I told you there wasn't time yesterday to explain it all. Anyway, now you know.