Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Strange Days



Strange bundle of days... went to a wedding on a beach. Funniest thing ever. Everyone dressed in fantastical strangeness... faeries and angels and demons and pixies and pirates and magicians. It really was a parade of the bizarre on a gorgeous sandy beach. They played Massive Attack's Teardrop as the bride made her appearance. Hit play, listen and agree that it is beautiful.

Vows were swapped and I watched two people tell each other with cracked and trembling voices that they love each other, something, surely, they have already said countless times. Regardless of how unnecessary it was, it was moving. I was moved in a happy way.

Then we walked down the beach to the reception, and the next day we would hear that locals all along the beach sipping their sunset drinks on their verandahs had been agog and amazed and pleasured by this most unexpected of parades.

Stayed with two of the most charming men I have met in a long while. Such utterly charming hosts with a kind of old fashioned sense of hospitality. Their beach house is amazing and they said we are welcome any time and I wished we could have stayed and cooked a meal for them to repay them. Perhaps another time.

Days later I am in court for a bit of stupidity. My solicitor is running late and I am freaking because this is A Big And Serious Place and how the fuck am I going to represent myself? There are barristers and criminals and police and it's another freakshow but without the love and the humour and what the fuck am I doing here?

Sometime later my legal person has showed and we are inside. It's cattle in there. It's odd to me and a perfectly normal day at the office for so many others. I have dressed well but there are others not so fortunate and I feel for them and feel guilty for being as privileged as I am. But we are all there for the same reason. We all want to get off as lightly as possible and get back to our own interpretation of normality.

I watch the judge judge the ones before me. I watch every move, every twitch, every reaction. I listen to the shifts in tone. I start to squirm because he is stony hard and not to be fucked with. I'd hoped for compassion and softness. There is none of that.

One guy, he's 89 years old and went through a world war and was persecuted by the Nazis. Made it to Australia and has been clean that whole time, but now he's started driving through red traffic lights. I am amazed that this whole Nazi thing has come into it, but it's what we are all doing - trying in some way to present ourselves as victims. Playing the sympathy card. But really - Nazis?

Next girl up stands when told to then sits again, and I see she is a real victim. She's fucked on heroin. Here, right now in the courtroom while a Legal Aid chick tries to save her. Heroin girl has the noddies. She's listless and hasn't a clue what's going on. Her mother - surely the most disappointed woman in the world - comes up and shakes her gently but with a sense of urgency to try to make her pay attention. Heroin girl comes to and thinks she has been told to speak to her legal person who is talking jargon with the judge. Man, it's all so wrong. Sit down, go away, pull yourself together... then the judge booms SIT DOWN! and you don't argue with that tone.

Next guy is up and his legal guy says his bit, then Judge Boom asks if the defendant understands the charges. And the defendant lifts this thing up to his throat and it's one of those electronic voice pipe contraptions, and this Dalek buzz comes out and says Yes I do.

And I look sideways at him and think that is fucking genius. There's a broken arm over there and a broken spirit there and now this broken voice... and me in my nice clothes with nothing broken to offer at all.

And after a lifetime it's my turn and it's longer than I want it to be and more confronting than I want it to be and there are hitches and it looks pretty bad. I don't feel good but then I haven't felt good for a long time. This thing has been looming. Thing is, I know my faults and I'm willing to put the tip of the dagger to my throat and say do what you feel is fitting. That's too dramatic, I know, but that's how I feel. I'm just me, these are the facts, do what you feel is the just thing.

Judge Boom has a stare like a fucker, but I know him by now because I've watched, and I stare back. Not a stare with attitude, but just the kind of eye contact he wants. He is talking directly at me, me specifically, and I know every other eye in this packed room is also looking at me, listening to this man's opinion of me. I feel small and uncomfortable but know that this is part of my punishment. These words come out slowly and precisely and there's a theatricality about it all that is kind of wonderful and real and scary as fuck, and you never want to feel it again. Not from this point of view.

And when finally it is over I realise yet again that I am lucky. I get off more lightly than I was expecting. It's not happiness that I feel, it's relief. This thing has been hanging there and it felt like the exclamation mark at the end of a shitty year, and now I know what I am dealing with and I can get it sorted and a new phase can finally start.

Weird bundle of days.

Tomorrow I meet the editor of a mag who recently said "... and what's nicer is us working together again!" (Exclamation mark was hers). Which was a small and cool thing to say. And then two opening nights at the theatre for review and a job to go to and... you know, just some brightness in my version of normality.

Strange Days.

Also, check Peacharse out. You're Not The Only One is blogging for a good cause. It's a cool thing.

3 comments:

Amra Pajalic said...

"This thing has been hanging there and it felt like the exclamation mark at the end of a shitty year," Sounds like quite a day. I'm glad it worked out and it's in the past now. Sometimes the anticipation and tension of it all is worse than the actual thing.

Wendy said...

Wow. What a collection of days. You must be exhausted.

Yes, Teardrop is beautiful. I remember the first time I heard it, in a record shop in London.

My best friend walked down the aisle to "Danger! High Voltage" by Electric Six. I was the only person who knew they were going to do it, and it was brilliant. Surprised laughter, shock from the mothers, and then happy tears from everyone. I am a sucker for weddings when the couple are madly in love.

quick said...

You're right, Amra. And I'm glad '07 is in the past now too.

That's hilarious, Wendy. What an insane wedding march song.

I actually loathe weddings. i suspect I really only went to this one because I had access to a 5 star beach house and I got to wear a cape. glad I went though, and I'm glad I am moved by such things. (The vows - not the wearing of a cape).