Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Cat Sparks, guest blogging

I write on the train on my little white ibook. I've been doing the long distance commute for a few years now and I've developed the ability to block out casual chitchat about football and babies and bridesmaids and big nights out on the town, which is what most folks on my train tend to natter about. Other regular commuters are reasonably polite. They either sleep or work on their laptops or read the da Vinci Code. But lately I've been having trouble concentrating because the trains I catch are full of loud-mouthed fuckwits on mobile phones.

I'm sure it's possible to have a phone conversation without the whole carriage hearing every word. Mind you, the slab of track between Wollongong and Sydney is a dodgy reception area, so most conversations usually contain the following sentence: 'hello? Hello?... I'm on the train and I might cut out at any minute… hello? Are you there?' at several junction points. Maybe they do have to shout. Especially that guy who seems to share my carriage at least once a month expressly for the purpose of splitting up with his girlfriend:

'Yeah, well whyd'ya fuck him then, huh? [pause]You said you weren't sleepin' with him anymore [pause]… yeah, but you said… [pause] so whydya fuck him? Come on, tell me that… [pause] hello? Hello?... I'm on the train and I might cut out at any minute… hello? Are you there? Yeah. So anyway, whyd'ya fuck him?'

Next time I see him, I reckon I might take the opposite seat and explain why all his chicks are perpetually rooting other guys. Or maybe it's the same girlfriend every phone call. Gee, I hope not.

Anyway, that guy's not the worst offender because at least his conversations are appalling enough to be funny. The ones that really shit me are the folks who use the carriage as an extension of their office. They think the train is the best place to make all those really boring calls that they couldn't quite pack into their office day.

'Hello, yes, it's Julie. Hello? Hello?... I'm on the train and I might cut out at any minute… hello? Are you there? Yes Marlene, it's Julie. I've left the office today but can I get you to look in my desk draw, the third one down. There's a pager in there that belongs to Frank. Can you put it on Frank's desk? Frank. On level six. I meant to return it yesterday but I've just been so busy blah blah blah blah bwark bwark bwark… [silence as the train goes through a tunnel and the mountain intervenes].

You see, the thing is, Julie, that I've just come from eight hours in an office full of squarking barnyard menagerie. I've had an earful of why you can't trust Capricorns 'because they're terrible, sneaky people', and 'Hey Joanne, did you know that Myers has exactly the same shoes as those ones you bought on sale, only these ones are red and they're just like the ones my cousin has that she got from that catalogue bwark bwark bwark'

Julie, next time you sit anywhere near me and bring out that effing phone, I think I'm gonna bring out my book of John Laws poetry and perform a couple of his choicest masterpieces as loud as I can manage. Your extended office can become my extended performance space. And if that doesn't shut you up then I'm gonna get out the serious artillery. I shall pull on a pair of black tights, ballet slippers and a stripy shirt and mime the fucking poems! Yes, that's right, mime: the most offensive form of self expression known to humankind.
[I really shouldn't bag mimes like this – at least they're quiet. There could be one going off behind me right now and I'd never know it.]

I'm one of those people who can't write to music because I get too into it, too easily absorbed by the ebbs and flows of sound. It seeps through all the crannies of my noggin, making them too soggy for sentence fashioning. But lately I'm having to write to the accompaniment of the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club CD purely to drown out boring, whiney Julie and that sad pathetic cunt with the slutty girlfriend. Good thing I happen to dig cowboy Jesus music.


At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the conversation I suffered on a recent plane trip. I listened in to the middle-aged couple, thinking at least I could use them for character stuff:
He had three sips of juice left in his bottle. Her: "What are going to do with that juice?" Him: "I can't drink any more." Her: "Do you want to take it home?" Him: "Will it fit in your handbag?" Her: "If you can fit my fold-up umbrella in your pocket."
This went on for ten minutes or so. At the end of it, she was so thirsty from all the discussion, she drank that juice down.


Post a Comment

<< Home