Week 21 & 22 – Oppressive Nights and Sultry Days
by H D Thompson
One afternoon I coughed up a piece of toast I had had for breakfast, which was very convenient because I hadn’t yet had lunch. Even my body is getting in on being thrifty.
Not having a job and hanging out in the city I used to live in is a strange feeling. It meant I could be a tourist in my own home. The only thing with that was when I googled the best things to do in Melbourne, I had already done them all. Going to the NGV didn’t even feel like a fresh experience because the exhibitions had littered my friend’s photo feeds for months. When strangers on the street would ask me for directions I would tell them, “Sorry, I don’t live here”, just to cling to some semblance of tourist life.
Being allergic to cats I try to avoid them at all costs, but that proves hard when friends have them as pets. Sleeping over at a house with a cat in it always runs the risk of me asphyxiating in my sleep if the cat decides to use my face as a resting spot. I managed to survive a sleepover at my friend Cass’s place with her cat Toby until the morning, when I went to wash my face and a stray hair must have found its way into my eyes, because seconds later when I emerged from the bathroom I looked like I had just watched a double feature of Dancer in the Dark and My Girl and chased it with an Adele cry.
Coming from northern hemisphere winter to Australian summer is a real shock to the system. I went to a BBQ pool day and was so stricken by the heat I fell asleep, and woke about an hour later with an unforgiving tan line and later to a series of photos I was passed out in the background of.
I have only been away from Melbourne for five months, but it’s crazy how much has changed in that time. The smoking laws have gotten much more strict, and coming from Europe where smoking is so unrestricted you can light up in a baby’s mouth if you wanted to, to Melbourne where you are relegated to the smallest most contained section of any establishment. It reminded me of that IT Crowd episode, where they had to pilgrimage to another land just for a drag. It’s probably good for my body to take a break, but it feels strange to be coddled after so much freedom.
One day I decided to wear a collared shirt in a vain attempt to show that I had my life together. I walked out of the house with my head held high, unknowingly misbuttoned my shirt up and proving once again that it’s a long, long road to togetherness.
My parents and my sister Kate came down to Melbourne to visit me for my birthday. My sister Keirin surprised me by showing up, and my other sister Karina had made a voodoo doll of herself to share in the festivities from afar. I found out my brother Danny also bought a plane ticket to fly down but got so drunk the day before that he missed the flight down, which is so ridiculous it’s almost better than him actually having shown up.
Took my family on a bar crawl of Fitzroy and Collingwood. They got out of the cab and walked into the first pub they came across and I walked down to meet them. Somehow, like some kind of horrible compass, they had managed to find the shittiest pub in town. The clientele have fewer teeth than brain cells and despite living around the corner from it for nearly seven years, I had not even so much as glanced in the windows of it. I made them skull their drinks and got them out of there as soon as I could, for fear the locals would think we were one of them. It’s too much like the pub from Wake in Fright to handle.
Tried to find somewhere to take my family out dancing, and ended up settling on an event that featured a DJ I liked, desperately trying to recall memories of past gigs and if they were family friendly or not. My family are in no way prudish, they’re party kids from way back, but as we walked in and I was offered a sniff of amyl with my entry stamp, I knew this would be something else. It was one of the hottest nights of the year, but I doubt that would have mattered because there were sweaty dudes in tight swimmers as far as the eye could see, and I assume this would have been the case regardless of the mercury level. My Dad grinned and bore it as best he could and my Mum kept adopting tweaking sweaty lost boys, gathering them under her wing like a mother hen. On the dance floor, we got given looks as the flash from my sister’s camera phones went off. This was not a place for flash photography. It was a sinful den of sweat and drugs and dicks galore, and I had unwittingly thrown my poor family into a hedonistic disco den. There are some things I kind of thought would go down partying with my family in Melbourne, but doing amyl in front of my parents wasn’t one of them. They took it like bloody champs though, bless them, and Karina’s voodoo doll was the hit of the party.
It was so hot I walked to the local library to read in the cool air. It was full of people, which was strange for a library, so I took the only free spot I could find, which was a bean bag in the kids section. As I was settling in for a good afternoon of not sweating my balls off, a crowd had slowly gathered around me and some kind of children’s show started up. It was too hot to hear about a negligent mother duck and her lost children so I had to leave. Pushed out by demanding babies.
The Bureau of Meteorology has my favourite descriptions of weather. On evenings that are hot and gross, they are described as an “oppressive night” and hot sweaty days are referred to as “sultry”. It’s just so much funnier than a weather website should be and I have nothing but time for it.
I rode out to visit my friend Megan for lunch in Glen Waverley. Sure it was a long ride, but I didn’t exactly have much else to do with my time. It was this day I learned of Melbourne’s unforgiving hills in the East. They just kept going and going, one after the other. It was a cruel joke. On the way back my legs actually gave in so I got a train home. I made a mental note to never venture east again and to tell the people to avoid at all costs.
One sweaty afternoon in an effort to deal with the heat and a hangover, I went in search of a blowjob to make myself feel better. The best thing about being located in Fitzroy is it’s easier to get a blowjob than fried chicken delivered to your door. A guy came around and kept wanting me to call him Daddy, despite the fact he was only two years older than me. He also kept asking me to “fill him up”, which just felt like far too much pressure for so hot an afternoon. Tired of his demanding ways, I politely sent him away. Perhaps this is growing up?
Went to a gig at the museum as part of a live music late-night series, and it was a lot of fun. The only thing that annoyed me is some dude who lit up a cigarette in the crowd during the set. I’m all for breaking rules, but not when you could damage dinosaur bones. Who did he think he was?
In Melbourne, I was a member of a trivia team that played regularly. I had missed it very much while away, so was overjoyed at the prospect of a reunion game at the pub while I was in town. All the classic tropes were there. I won a jug of beer by grabbing my tits and my arse as well as our team coming a very respectable second place overall. Our arch nemesis was there, as he usually was. He is a team of one and we don’t know his real name but we call him Frogger, because of the frog noise he makes when answering questions obscenely early. He has been doing it for so long that I’m almost certain he just memorises the question over the years and answers them within seconds of the host opening his mouth. He wins jugs of beer but can’t drink them so has lemonade instead, ruining the fun for everyone else. He’s like a black hole of despair, sucking the fun out of the room. I’d feel sorry for him if he didn’t steal so many jugs of beer out from underneath my team so often. Also, I heard he’s been banned from another trivia night for straight up almost glassing a blind dude, and that’s just not cricket.
My favourite thing to do on hot oppressive nights is to go swimming in the river under the moonlight. There is nothing greater in this whole wide world.
The best part about going to a movie where the cinema hadn’t been cleaned is that you can walk around and grab all the snacks people didn’t finish and have yourself a feast.
My friends Toby, Tom and I hired a beach flat down in Rosebud for the night as a way to escape the heat, and also reliving our glory days in the castle together. We migrated from the side of the pool to the beach to the flat and doing lines of what we assumed was coke to swimming in the moonlight under the dock of the bay while playing Under the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. It was a perfect way to spend a Monday in the middle of summer. We also ordered a pizza under the name Fredrick because we were filled with such abandon.
Saw a bumper sticker on the back of a Ute that read “Up the bum, no kids”. Just another example of straight people realising things the gays have been all over for years.
Caught up with some old workmates for drinks. While my bike was locked up outside, someone decided to slash the back tire, which meant that after about 8 hours of heavy drinking I had to walk a couple of hours home in the early morning because some fuck wad thought it would be funny to fuck my shit up. I traveled around some pretty rough parts of Eastern Europe for months and nothing happened, and a few hours in Hawthorn and my bike gets slashed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – bored rich white kids are the absolute fucking worst.
Went to a swimming hole with my friends, and because everyone else had the same idea it was packed. Being pretty far in the bush, the watering hole tends to draw in some interesting characters, and this day was no exception. An old dude got naked and flounced about, which is fine, until the point when we noticed him swimming toward three young girls lying on the rocks. He crawled up next to them and lay himself down as if that wasn’t the creepiest thing in the world. I went over and my friends and I talked loudly about how inappropriate and weird it was until he eventually said something and asked if it was ok he was there. The three young girls told him it was weird and to please go, which is a kinder way of putting it than I would have, and he up and left. I mean, I’m all for stripping down and parading around but feel the crowd man. Just don’t be a fucking creep.
My friend was talking about a used car he came across with the sign, “The engine is a bit fucked, but it still looks pretty good”, which just speaks to me on an ethereal level. I think I’ll print that on business cards and start handing them out to dating prospects.