Recently I had surgery (not plastic) requiring a general anaesthetic and one morning I woke up with aches and pains. My doctor wasn’t available so I rang my local hospital emergency department and I was put through to a woman who said,
“We can’t really give advice over the phone so you can come in or see your doctor, or I can put you through to the medical advice line. Which would you like?”
I said to her, “What is the medical advice line, is that recorded information, or do I speak to a doctor?”
And she said, “I don’t know, I’ve never rung them.”
I said, “What?” and she repeated, “I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to them.”
Lady, you’re working in customer service at a major hospital, perhaps with sick and vulnerable customers; surely it would be helpful if you knew some details about the advice line?
“What do you want?”
I was so furious I hung up on her. I couldn’t believe she would say that to someone so obviously seeking help. I was in pain but lucid and close to the hospital, what if someone who is very distressed rings her and she says that?
When I calmed down I rang back and spoke to a different operator who put me straight through to a Health Direct registered nurse. We spoke for 14 minutes, she opened a file, gave me great advice and took all my details.
Why was the first one allowed anywhere near the phone? What annoys me most is that she was as clueless as Tony Robbins when talking about the MeToo movement.
Who do I complain to? There is probably only one poor woman answering the phones because her colleagues have been made redundant, and clueless lady was probably just an executive with no real hospital experience who happened to be walking past a ringing phone at the time. Do I call an ombudsman? The hospital chief executive? The local paper? Or just whinge about it on social media?
If I was paranoid I’d think the state government were trying to run our health care system into the ground, strip our services to bare bones, so idiot pollies can privatise our hospitals. Where can we find politicians with vision? The ones we’ve got are spineless. I wish I could say it is going tibia okay.
There comes a weekend in every mother’s life when we have to put on bad music, trample on the walk on wardrobe AKA floor-drobe, cough our way through crusty bits of rubbish and throw out the last remaining bits and bobs of our offsprings’ childhood. That weekend has come for me. There will be no more Hello Kitty pencils, no more craft that comes home saying I luv u mummmy and no more genuine joy at seeing me at the school gate.
I am emptying the unfinished projects into the bin and opening old One Direction pencil cases and finding handwritten notes from their friends. These painstakingly produced jottings were all written at the age when my kids were discovering the magic of writing a heartfelt letter to a beautiful new friend:
Dear Senny, I thik youre really specil and I reallly lik your shoos. I had funn wen we went to the pak and i now we wil be freinds forever. lov you
I’ve been a single mum for 10 years, so there are many jobs in my house that are being tackled well past their use by date. Despite our multiple moves, some special stuff was placed in boxes and carted from new address to new address. The perfectly unused birthday present textas from the seven-year old’s best friend in the hole world that were saved in the back of the cupboard for special occasions have been dug out, the lolly wrappers that she didn’t want mummy to see, beside the half-dressed dolls with real nail polish on their hands. I put together a box of nostalgia, thinking that my last teenager would be remotely interested in the lost cuteness and innocence of her childhood. She came home from a day out at the hideous local shopping trauma centre and said,
“That’s my stuff, what are you doing?”
“We need to chuck out.”
“No, I’m too busy.”
A few short weeks ago she sobbed because the Easter Bunny hadn’t left her an elaborate trail of eggs in our shared yard on Easter Sunday. But now she’s watching make up tutorials on how to copy the subtle facial contouring of the Kardashians on Youtube. She actually wants to look like a Jenner. I’ve failed as a mother. What the hell will I keep from this phase?
Power up ladies. This is a life-changing opportunity that few will have the mastery to grasp. Tony Robbins, yes, the over-charging self-appointed self-help guru urgently requires an authentic life coach slash disruptor to transform his mind. Preferably a strong female who can resist bullies. The successful applicant will have years of work ahead of her, bashing through the scripted bullshit.
Here’s an incredibly detailed summary of the top coaching modules Tony really needs. Any takers?
Lesson 1: Deep listening, and more listening and hopefully his new coach will throw in some listening skills as a bonus
Lesson 2: Finding friends who aren’t jerks
Lesson 3: Mansplaining 101
Lesson 4: How not to physically intimidate women
Lesson 5: Male entitlement
Lesson 6: Practising what you preach
Lesson 7: Why obsessing over your appearance gets in the way of your sincerity
Hopefully, Tony is a keen learner and will realise this is his date with destiny, that he can create massive humility in his life. Tony’s success coach may be able to help Tony condition his mind in how not to be a complete knob. My thoughts and prayers are with Tony as he embarks on his quest for self-improvement; if all goes well, his new lifestyle guru will keep him busy for a long time.
Autumn winds make me extra allergic to the online world of success coaches with glow in the dark teeth, perky personal fitspo gurus with Instagram famous bodies and shiny women with trout pout lips on an endless loop on Youtube. A generation of children are growing up with mothers who’ve had so much Botox put into their faces that these women cannot express the full gamut of human emotion on their dials. These zombie women scare me but I can’t stop staring, wondering when the fillers will stop working.
Then I get scratchy when I hear the words mastery, motivation, personal best, inspire, disrupt. Show me the leaders in lethargy, excellent examples of ennui, successful sloths, wonderful worriers. These are my people. To mangle Kerouac: the only ones for me are the crazies, the Bukowski drunks, the shabby, the borderline criminals, the drop outs, the dribblers, those grungy, suffering, unshaven cats who get thrown out of the best parties, the ones who always yawn out loud, the rambling, boisterous messes who convey every sloppy human emotion on their cracking apart faces. These are the people who make me feel good about myself, as I hide away at home reading, not wanting to face the world or climb any ladders.
Growing up into a cranky old cat lady, I’m pondering the autumn and winter of my life with a countenance that moves. As I slip under the radar with a face that loses its sheen every day, I think I like my mangy self best.
Today I am indulging my combined love of the bard’s verse and hip hop by competing / performing / appearing in Shakespeare Dance Party, a sharp new show presented by The Leftovers Collective. Fancy.
In a small bar in Redfern, 16 actors will compete for our audience’s love to see who best performs a short Shakespearean sonnet or monologue. Each performer will slam to a beat laid down by a live DJ, not knowing in advance which track will be chosen for them. If the audience likes the art, they will dance. If the audience dislikes the performance, pies will be thrown. The eventual winner receives a part in a web series. The losers need to bring a towel.
In an era of social media starlets, where few skills are needed to become a YouTube star, are actors necessary?
A rap roulette
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”