Monday, 26 February 2007

An Apology

The Preamble:

I know public hospitals are stuffed. I know emergency rooms are often like little wheels in which medical staff hamsters run ceaselessly for an entire shift. I know nurses are generally overworked, underpaid and underappreciated.

The But:


The Rant, in letter of apology form:

Dear nursing and administrative staff at my local hospital:

I’m sorry my baby boy had the temerity to develop a high temperature and a mysterious rash out of hours last Thursday night. Should he lack the consideration to present symptoms of out-of-the-ordinary illness at a more convenient time again, I’ll wait the extra nine hours until my GP opens before I seek some medical attention for my vulnerable child, assuming, of course, that I can snag an appointment without having the foresight to make one two weeks in advance.

I’m sorry Master Lonie vomited all over me when I dutifully forced down his throat the dose of Panadol you gave us in triage. It must have been a chore to fetch me a hospital gown to wear instead of my spew-covered tee-shirt, and then not watch me clean everything up.

I’m sorry I felt it was for the best to see a doctor anyway despite your dismissal of Master Lonie’s welted rash over a large part of his little body as ‘probably just mosquito bites.’ I must remember to switch off my maternal instincts so I can be as blasé about the health and wellbeing of my children as a disinterested stranger.

I’m sorry I didn’t realise there was an after-hours locum service attached to the hospital that we could have utilised instead of spoiling the austerity of your near-empty emergency room with our presence. I’ll be sure to hone my mind-reading skills for the next time I require such psychic ability.

I’m sorry we cluttered up your waiting area for over five hours. It must really have been difficult for you to gossip and read magazines while we were sitting quietly and patiently, good-naturedly waiting our turn and being absolutely no trouble whatsoever.

I’m sorry we occupied one of your several empty beds in the room we were eventually shown into. Rest assured, when I track down all the non-existent and more deserving patients we deprived of a bed, I’ll humbly beg their forgiveness too. I completely understand that, as a Category Five (lowest priority) case who, in your omniscient judgement, was just using the public hospital emergency room as a free General Practice consultation, we were out of line to expect you to take half a second out of your quiet night for a friendly hello, instead of a silent glare.

I’m sorry we stayed around like an unpleasant odour for another two-and-a-half hours. How rude of me to let the busy doctor see to his other patients instead of demanding his undivided attention! I confess it was a ploy to allow us to enjoy the luxurious comfort of the hospital, so superior to being back in our own house, for as long as we could.

I’m sorry I had to leave the hospital during Master Lonie’s period of observation, in order to purchase a parking ticket for my car. It was avaricious of me to wish to avoid a parking fine during the very reasonable paid-parking hours of 6:30 am and 9:00 pm. I do apologise for having to ask you to let me back through the security door – it must have cost you a great effort to interrupt your chatter and press a button.

I’m sorry I had the gall to politely enquire whether I might return the borrowed hospital gown later that day, after I’d replaced my dirty top. Fortunately, your brusque reply, “It doesn’t matter if you do or you don’t!” helped me to realise my grievous error.

In summary, I’m so terribly terribly sorry that my son’s illness intruded on your important work in providing health care. I can only hope that, should you ever be in a similar situation, you are treated with the same kindness and courtesy you showed me.

Yours sincerely,

Lonie Polony

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Six Degrees of Lonie Polony

Following my startling revelation regarding my thitherto secret relationship with Anna Nicole Smith (I’m still waiting for probate and the handing over of all those millions – to hold in trust for the poor motherless babe, of course), I thought I’d share with you my dubious connections with some other people who are slightly more well known than I.

Lionel Richie

On a trip to Tokyo years ago my mum and dad sat across from Lionel Richie on the plane. Okay, so I don’t think they actually spoke to him, but the point is they could have. Just think! Three degrees of separation to Nicole, poster child for poor-little-rich-girls everywhere. Four degrees to Paris! Lindsay! Britney! I’ve got feckless skank connections, people.

Peter Graves

Again, my parents have all the luck. They sat with this man, best known as Jim from the original Mission: Impossible series, at a charity dinner. His mission, which he chose to accept, was to assume the role of celebrity drawcard.

Rolf Harris

Everyone needs a break from wobble-boarding and pretending to have three legs, and what better place to get away from the demands of an indifferent public than an unspoilt tropical island? I saw a snorkelling Rolf Harris and the large, pink, Ken Done-bikinied woman I presumed to be his wife, stealing coral specimens next to the large signs saying ‘Please Do Not Remove Coral’.

Jackie Chan

I was shocked, shocked! when he admitted to an extra-marital affair in 1999. I was in China at the time and when I turned the telly on to this breaking story, I was desperately hoping my questionable Chinese comprehension had deceived mine ears, but sadly no. One of my university Mandarin lecturers is good friends with his parents, so there are three degrees of separation between me and my former gongfu idol whose feet, so indefatigable at kicking baddies into submission, were nevertheless formed of clay.

Grace Kelly

Who can forget Princess Grace of Monaco? Well, most people probably, especially the young’uns who don’t have a clue who I’m blathering on about. My father-in-law’s grandfather is supposed to be the brother of her grandfather, or something. You never can tell with my in-laws, though. Most things they say have to be taken with a cellar of salt.

Pat Morita

Vale, Mr. Miyagi. You were the best thing about the Karate Kid movies. Pat Morita was a real-life sensei to my old sensei. My friends thought he looked like my dad.

Guess Who?

A special prize* will be awarded to the first person to correctly identify the only celebrity (or ‘celebrity’ in inverted commas, if you prefer) I’ve ever been photographed with.

*May not contain actual prize.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Another Dish Ruined

I was just polishing off a bowl of sago pudding as I sat down at my keyboard, licking down its old-fashioned sugary goodness to fuel my trivial rantings, when suddenly an unsavoury thought struck.

The viscous white residue dangling from my spoon looks an awful lot like…

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

O Pater! My Pater!

I never mentioned a word of this before because we agreed it would be our secret, and instead I was content to remember privately a sweet dalliance we both knew would end all too soon, consumed by the raging fires of our own passion. But now that circumstances have radically changed due to the recent shocking turn of events, I feel I must come forward, for her sake.

Yes. I am Dannielynn’s real father.

Monday, 12 February 2007

I hope it shrivels up and falls off.

I’m talking to you – yes, you! – turn the doof-doof down and you might actually be able to hear me, unless the gallon of gel from your stupid-looking tiger-striped mohawk has dripped into your ears and collected in the space where normal people like to keep their brains. Get out of that crap-heap you so lovingly call a car, and kneel in abjection before your elders and indisputable betters. Aw, got someone’s discarded chewing gum on your best Kappa pants, did you? Not to worry, you can always steal some more tomorrow. Now, repeat after me – I’ll talk nice and slowly so your primitive troglodyte brain can keep up:


Have you got that, cockhead? I know some of those words may be hard for someone who dropped out to pursue a career as social arse-pimple to understand, so please let me know if you need any part of that sentence explained to you. I have a nephew half your age who will be happy to oblige.

You see, Logan – or is it Ty? – what you did to me on Friday night as I walked innocently to my car is called sexual harassment, and women don’t like it. Oh, I know you met your last girlfriend Taylah that way – she giggled and gave you a blowjob in exchange for a cigarette and as many rum-and-midoris as she could drink – but that didn’t last very long now, did it? Not after she discovered your best mate Jaydinn has a flame-decaled panel van with a waterbed in the back. The sudden ending of your four-hour relationship was a shock, but you’ll always have the urine-soaked alleyway to remind you of the top-class roots a super-stud like you can pull.

Anyway, back to what I was saying, you worthless little turd; I didn’t catch what your friend shouted out the window – no doubt those atavistic genes render him incapable of articulating recognisable speech sounds – but I heard what you said, though naturally at the time I pretended I hadn’t. And while, somewhere in your snot-mired little brain, you may have thought yelling crudities to people on the street is a harmless bit of fun and a way to prove how virile you are, it’s not. It’s not funny. It’s not flattering. It’s not enjoyable. It’s the same old Scheiße women have to endure everywhere they go. Yeah, that’s right – you’re not the first tool who’s come up with the clever idea of accosting inoffensive women for your own amusement!

But here’s where you really f***ed up, boyo. I had my children with me. And when you confront me with moronic comments carrying latent threats of sexual assault and rape, a wariness of which women keep in the back of their minds always thanks to dickwanks like you, I get defensive. When I’m reminded that, should you choose to, you could easily overpower me on this darkened, near-empty street, because that’s what Mr. Lonie did once when we were play-wrestling and I realised with a chill my assumption I could resist a rapist was wrong, I feel afraid. Threaten my children by extension, and my protective mother instincts combine with my anger over every piece of crap I’ve had to deal with from your brotherhood of shite-brains, into one white-hot ball of scumbag arse-kicking, ball-crushing, penis-ripping, fight-to-the-death fury.


Saturday, 10 February 2007

Moral Cowardice and Self-loathing

Yoda, Master Po and Mr. Miyagi all agree: the person I’m really angry at is myself. I’m angry because I’m a confrontation-averse, unassertive, passive coward.

To people without children, you may not realise the importance of ‘parents with prams’ spaces in shopping centre car parks. You may even begrudge the centre management’s decision to reserve spaces for a group of people with no legal claim on special parking spots, and whom you may never have any desire to join. That, to paraphrase Britney’s crappy cover, is your prerogative.

But, if, like me, you have small children and, like me, find it extremely difficult to remove said children from your car when you’re parked between a door-blocking concrete pillar and a road-and-car-space-hogging Brobdingnagian road tank, you may appreciate the extra width of a parents-with-prams spot. What luxury it affords! One can actually open the doors on both sides to unbuckle car seats and extract helpless bundles! One can manoeuvre prams alongside instead of leaving them in the path of car park hoons and ungainly trolley-tractors! If one can actually snag one, that is.

At my local shopping centre, out of hundreds of spaces there are only five of these much sought-after spots. Competition for them is fierce. More often than not, I miss out, but that’s okay – I can park somewhere less convenient and make do, and hope for better luck next time. And then I see them – the person sans both pram and children, strolling insouciantly towards their car which I now see has no child seats, parked in what should have been MY spot! Like a man-sized cauldron from a bad ’30s movie about jungle-dwelling cannibals, it makes my blood boil. But I stomp off and fume in silence.

This has happened many, many times, and I was finally moved to action by an obviously unentitled car arrogantly taking up two parents-with-prams spaces. My ‘action’ involved an apologetic, I-know-it’s-not-your-fault-and-there’s-probably-nothing-you-can-do rant to the beleaguered girl behind the concierge desk, and a polite, benefit-of-the-doubt note on the windscreen. What I really wanted to do was key the car, and suggest management tow it away.

Then, just a few days ago, I had the perfect opportunity to speak out on behalf of cheated parents. It was my lucky day and I’d scored one of the coveted car spaces, but as I was preparing to leave I noticed a car waiting to pull in to my spot, a car containing not a frazzled parent with small children, but two women about the ages of my mother and grandmother. If you’re so infirm you can’t park in the next aisle over and walk an extra two metres, I thought, frowning at the car which was inconsiderately blocking other through traffic, then you should obtain a disabled permit and park in the appropriate space! Passive-aggressive as always, I slowed to a sloth’s pace, packing away the pram and pulling out four times more slowly than usual. The inconsiderate, self-entitled biddies took my spot.

I had said nothing. I could have smiled, walked over to the driver’s window and politely and respectfully drawn to their attention that the space they were after was reserved for parents with prams. They might have replied rudely and parked there anyway, or maybe they might have been contrite and parked elsewhere, but I’ll never know.

Failed yourself, you have, Grasshopper-san!

Friday, 9 February 2007

Looking On The Bright Side

With just over six weeks left until I return to full-time (paid) work, I’ve been having some trouble psyching myself up for it. After racking my brains, I’ve managed to come up with some reasons why (so I’m trying to convince myself) leaving my babies and going back to the office will be a good thing:

1) None of my colleagues will expect me to suckle them when they’re thirsty or tired or in the mood for a snack. (The job will suck my energy and enthusiasm instead. Or maybe just suck.)

2) My job description won’t include cleaning up sundry human excrement. (I’ll just have to deal with sundry metaphorical excrement while IT completes its glacially slow computer access procedures, and my new boss assigns me monkey work which will become a permanent duty.)

3) I won’t have to continually watch my workmates and stop them from seeking out and trying to eat the most disgusting inedible thing in the room. (I may, however, have to occasionally pay exorbitant amounts to eat the most disgusting and inedible thing in the room. The cafeteria calls it ‘lunch’.)

4) My co-workers are unlikely to wander into the toilet stall with me and enquire whether I’m doing a pooh-pooh. (Let’s hope my bowel remembers how to avoid the dreaded workplace plop, or asking will be unnecessary!)

Six weeks left. Still plenty of time to win the lottery.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Death To The Webbies!

I never liked Charlotte and I’m glad she’s dead. My only regret is that her multitude of children survived her – nasty little shites. I don’t know about you, but if I found a huge great spider web – I don’t care if it said ‘Some Polony!’ or ‘Fan-bloody-tastic!’ – I wouldn’t stand around gawping at it and hoping for more. I’d grab a big stick and a can of bug spray and swat that thing down.

Three years ago, a large and troublesome spider decided to spin its web directly over our driveway, between the tree and the hedge. Every evening when we came home from work it would be there to taunt us, sometimes dangling pendulously ready to fly at us on the smallest puff of wind, sometimes crouched cunningly, not immediately visible, on some part of its gigantic man trap. By the morning the web would have disappeared, torn down by birds or the wind, but we always knew we’d have to run the gauntlet again that night. Neither Mr. Lonie nor I am the bravest of souls when it comes to spiders, and fearing any stick-waving would precipitate an angry leaping attack (à la Arachnophobia) or inadvertently bring the 16 gauge web and hairy fanged monster down in a tangle upon us, our usual course of action was the ‘duck-and-run’.

Aside from convincing our neighbours we were completely bonkers, and the occasional run-in with an anchor strand that could garrotte the unwary pedestrian, this strategy worked fairly well until the unfortunate day when, while Mr. Lonie was interstate, a great-with-child Lonie was forced to face the horror alone. With no-one to assure me I’d clear the web and its hideous occupant, I ducked and ran lower and faster than ever before. Sucked in, spider! I exulted in my athletic escape for about one second – until I sprawled flat on my face, grazed my hands and, in a cruel twist on any superhero’s genesis, mystically imbued Miss Lonie with the Superklutz powers she has today.

That shelob’s reign of terror has ended, but now the horrid spawn of a million spiders are popping up everywhere – in the tissue box, on the clothes line, on the computer desk, the coffee table – I even have to watch the food on the stove lest some evil web-spinner lowers itself into the bolognaise. I see such transgressions as a personal affront. Come into my house and crawl around my babies, will you? Lie venemously in wait in my dogs’ kennel? Drag your ungodly behemoth selves across my lounge-room windows? Then it’s no more live-and-let-live. Aranea, Joy and Nellie must die.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Good Fences Make Good Neighbours And…

Answering the phone can be a regrettable action in our house. Telemarketers aren’t the problem, although their persistence in the intelligence-insulting pretence that “My name is Elizabeth/Darren [and no, really, I’m definitely not ringing from an outsourced call centre in India!]…” is extremely irritating. I haven’t yet, thankfully, been stricken every time the phone rings, reluctant to answer because of the possibility the caller may be a telemarketer, like my increasingly batty mum. I’m a big polony now and can tell them politely but firmly that I’m very happy with my inferior and more expensive telco/credit card/isp thank you very much.

I’m talking about family. Specifically, Mr. Lonie’s family. The Hobson’s choice of extended family whom those of you with reasonable in-laws must think terribly slandered by such an unfilial daughter-in-law as I. Don’t condemn me until you’ve walked a mile in my wedding ring.

How many times have I raced in from the clothesline, or run with my bare-bottomed baby halfway through a nappy change, or interrupted a feed to the indignation of Master Lonie, to answer the insistently ringing phone only to discover it was my dreaded in-laws on the line? Too many times!

“Hello?” I will answer with an optimistic expectation of an enjoyable or profitable exchange which is soon to be proven baseless.

“Oh, hello Lonie…”
“Oh hi!” I say as I recognise my father-/mother-in-law, feigning a warmth and enthusiasm contrary to my inward groan. I immediately know the conversation will cast me in one of three ways:

The Personal Secretary
“…It’s [name] here…”
Yes, I gathered that I fume silently for the umpteenth time as my eyes roll.
“…Is Mr. Lonie there?”
I feel a flicker of annoyance at the abrupt disregard for social niceties, tempered with relief at my easy escape. “Yes, I’ll just get him.”

The Object of Small-minded Gossip Disguised as Feigned Concern
Them: “How’s [painful family matter] going?”
Me (voice tight and clearly reluctant to discuss the matter): “[Something non-committal]”
Them (oblivious to my reticence): “Why don’t you tell me all about it, even though it’s nothing to do with me and may make you uncomfortable or upset to talk about it?”
Me (verging on brusqueness): “[Some sort of platitude, heavy with desire to cease this line of conversation.] Did you want to talk to Mr. Lonie? I’ll just get him.”

The Woolly-Headed Little Woman
Them: “What are you doing on [any given day]?”
Me: “We’re going to [go anywhere or do anything to avoid you]”
Them: “Ah. Is Mr. Lonie there?”
Mr. Lonie: “Hello?”
Them: “What are you doing on [any given day]? [We’re asking you because the wifey can’t be relied upon to give a proper answer, possessed of ovaries as she is]”

And so the woman whose mobile phone has the most boring ring available on its preset list, has instead customised the home phone with her own ‘answer or ignore’ not-so-subtle code. When my parents ring, it plays ‘Home Sweet Home’. When my sisters ring, it plays a pleasant beeping, booping tone reminiscent of a cheery animated bug. And when any of Mr. Lonie’s family ring? Like the instinctive warning tone of any dangerous beast, the phone jangles out the most jarring klaxon available.

“It’s for you!” I’ll call out to Mr. Lonie, pleased with myself for avoiding his parents or his stupid sisters. We get on so much better with as little interaction as possible.

Good ringtones make good in-laws.