Week 20 – Rock Forever 21 but Just Turned 30
by H D Thompson
Conversation with a flight attendant on the flight from London to Abu Dhabi:
“Something to drink sir?”
“I’m afraid it’s just water or juice at this time”
“…wine is a kind of juice”
Got so drunk in the Abu Dhabi airport lounge that they had to kick me out. I had a 10-hour layover so decided to make the most of it, and because I had paid $100 I had to get my money’s worth. I got them to massage my disgusting travel feet and I ate myself senseless and took full advantage of the open bar. I only had a 5-hour timeline of access in the lounge but lost track of that about 7 glasses of whiskey in. I was in there so long the food changed from normal to breakfast, and when they found me they said that I had gone over my time and they were looking for me. I looked up at them hazily and said, “it’s not very big you can’t have been looking very hard”, and upon hearing my drunken slurred response, let them escort me out.
On the flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne, I was so drunk and the hangover was slowly making its way through me. I was crammed against the window by a very large man who dropped what must have been some kind of elephant tranquiliser because he would not wake up when I desperately had to get out to pee. I was so parched for a glass of water but I couldn’t have any because I knew there was no way to get out to pee. I considered peeing in an empty bottle, but the tiny airplane cups they give you just wouldn’t have cut it. I couldn’t even climb over him because I am made up of more limbs than not and the entire flight felt like a prison cell in an unforgiving desert. At least I could take the sleeping bastards food.
When I arrived in Melbourne at 5am the screen said it was 87 degrees Fahrenheit outside, which I assumed was some kind of malfunction. It was not. I was still wearing thermals from the northern hemisphere’s winter and I was not prepared for an Australian summer. Peeling them off in the airport toilets was like removing a second skin.
The day I arrived I scheduled a series of catch ups with people, trying to maintain composure for my birthday party the next day. Somewhere along the way I got lost and partied til 2am, which it turned out was perfect for my jetlag.
Years ago my Secret Santa family gift was a pair of Bunnings thongs, which at the time I regarded as possibly the shittiest gift ever. They came to be the most treasured things I owned and when they wore down and I had to throw them away, I was mournful. One of the first things I did when I got back was to go to Bunnings to procure a new pair. Turns out they’re not something they sell but are in fact giveaway merch, but as I downed my second sausage sanga I spoke of my quest and the man grilling the onions said they had some thongs out back. When he returned I told him it was my birthday and he had made my life, and he left and came back with a whole swag of Bunnings shit. I was so happy I could have cried. It was as if my birthday was being sponsored by Bunnings which is basically my dream.
The first part of my birthday party was a picnic in Edinburgh Gardens. Melbourne being the wonderland it is, I set up next to a Kate Bush dance event that was happening. As we hung out ppeople in red dressed writhed around to Wuthering Heights around us. I had forgotten what magic happens in the summertime.
The second part of my birthday party was at a private section hired above a pub. Throughout the night random strangers would come up to me asking if they could join because it was so much more fun than what was happening downstairs. I had always suspected that my people were the best people so it felt correct to have that feeling certified.
As weird as it felt to be back in Melbourne during my travels, it was so completely restorative to my soul. After being alone for months it was like getting a hit of everyone I love and replenished my health bar back to a point I had forgotten it could reach.
While stoned on the couch in the lounge room I used to live in, I had the horrible thought that I was now only two of the three things in Khalid’s Young, Dumb & Broke.
Being out of the news cycle there are some things I had missed out on and popping my head back into reality, the strangest thing had to be the laundry detergent pod craze. I assumed it was something Gwyneth was trying to Goop women into doing, some kind of new vaginal cleanse, but turns out it’s even dumber than that. Humanity is so weird.
Had coffee in the same café for two days in a row and the people there noticed and the owner even sat down and chatted with me and my friend for a bit. He joked about me turning up a third day in a row and I laughed but was immediately raked with anxiety at having so much pressure put on me.
Rosa and I went to go to a café to meet another mate. I walked past the entrance to said café and then she stumbled up the tiny step we entered. It was like a beautiful clumsy dance that we had down that even after all these months is still within us. We’re like a vaudeville act but no one pays us and we’re the only ones laughing.
Watching Alanis Morissette play was a transcendent experience. Before she had even started I was crying because she was in the same building as me, then I continued to openly weep the entire show, like some kind of simple weak bitch. It was a culmination of the kindness that got me there and the woman I had worshipped for so long being so close there was a chance I could cop a fleck of spit. My favourite part was when she turned the microphone around and let the crowd belt out the final chorus to Ironic, and the grumpy security guard who was facing the crowd openly beamed with joy at what I assume was a splendid image of three thousand souls collectively losing their shit in a din of catharsis. I felt more complete after the show, like a loose end was being tied to place. It’s as if I had been digesting a jagged little pill for the last twenty years and that night I finally passed it.
When I was younger a fortune teller told me that it was unlikely I would live to 30. Waking up the morning of my birthday was probably the first time I’ve ever woken up relieved. It feels pretty good to have proven that stupid cunt wrong.
On the night of my birthday, the restaurant I chose to dine at had changed since I had last been in town and no longer allowed alcohol. I love a good drink on any given day but even more so on special occasions and definitely especially more so on my fucking birthday, and yet I had accidentally found the one teetotal hole in the entire city. So instead of having a glass of fancy champagne that was given to me that night, we ate our meals with tap water in plastic cups.
Decided on the morning of turning 30 that this new chapter of my life would be fresh and new, so from that moment I chose to give up wearing underwear. Not sure why. Freedom; liberation etc. It was completely liberating, until a rather disastrous bike ride down the street. At this age, I should have some semblance of my shit being together by this point, but instead my dick fell out in Fitzroy. Some people are just blessed I guess.