* It was like that time in work for the dole art classes when this guy Eustice submitted a piece of consisting of what looked like someone going through a huge barrell of old pens and pencils to check what worked and what was binnable. A page full of unconscious scratchings in red fine-liner, blue biro, half washed-out thick black texta, jelly silver sparkle pen, the odd red pencil, black blue and red pen markings alongside eachother like real estate. Intense little jabs, that if you were so inclined, could probably tell you a thing or two about the jabber — not quite straight lines a cm ‘n a half long lined up – near paralell but never fully. Three in a row the another perpendicular underneath. Four in a row and one diagonal striking them out. A two-dimensional cage of mesh 2X2cms in thick red pen.
* The mouth had a dimple on either side but it was all so vague, so almost not there; it looked like the back of a knee – a few wrinkles and curvature where ligaments folded.
* After waking I stumbled into the kitchen and found M___ the Uzbekki, spreading a piece of toast with a stanly knife, box cutter, if you will. He flicked wide-eyed looks up at me from what he was doing. Of course it didn’t occur to me then, but thinking back, it was the same facial expression as Dinero in Goodfellas when he’s sitting at a bar, smoking, drinking, looking like … nothing in particular, but it was right before he started knocking guys off left right and center.
See the thing is – us whiteys whinge because the conventions here are so radically different to the west. It can be like swallowing a boiled egg whole; sometimes it gets stuck.
The crux of of it is I think – the confucian idea of respecting elders. Eccentric behaviour takes root and no one puts it in check – because it starts with the eldest doing these things. There are no young punks terrorising the oldies, keeping them humble and grateful that you’re not taking their wallet.
I reference today – a by all accounts run of the mill day for me. I happened to be in a shower block, dechlorinating after a swim at a pool. It’s one of those block shower joints with a bunch of nozzles on the wall and that’s it. There was some guy up the other end.
I’m showering, minding my own business and out of the corner of my eye I notice the guy has dropped onto the tiles, all-fours — he’s arching his back and rocking back a bit, pointing his arse out and letting the water hit his back.
This evening I was having dinner and there’s this older couple on the table next over. They get their meal and as the guy slups on the stuff he starts making these groaning/throat-clearish noises. In any western country if you did that in a restaraunt you’d be asked to leave because u r subhuman.
And so it is this kind of thing that can be challenging to the whitey, but I imagined my invisible twin sitting opposite me. We’re talking in unhushed tones about whatever the hell we want because no one can understand us anyway.
The old bastard keeps hhuurrggh-ing.
“I’ll give you ten bucks if you make that sound right after him”, I say.
“But he’s almost certainly going to offended by it”, says my twin.
I slam dow the note on the table top and laugh raucously. With plenty of dirty looks but nothing said, we leave and go spend it on icecream.