Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Lateral thinking and advice from a horizontal position. Fly by the seat of your pants it's safer, quicker and more reliable!

Breakfasts on the balcony and days of beer and skittles are over. Shoulder to the wheel and nose to the grindstone return red in tooth and claw.

Mind you it wasn't all muesli and beer al fresco. Part of my assigned task was to help move daughter, partner and child into their new abode. View over the park and harbour all for only $6000 a week. An absolute bargain. No wonder those starving refugees are beating a paddle to our antipodean doors. Back in my day we thought ourselves cochons in merde when we took up residence beneath two sheets of corrugated iron pitched together. The knack was to find iron without nail holes so as the rain wouldn't ruin the seagrass matting.

Significantly less than beer and skittles was the state of my back when I returned to the civilised and cultured village of Melbourne. Suffice to say that rolling out of bed onto the floor then slowing winching my way up the wall to attain a position referred to in most travel guides as "vertical". The screams and curses accompanying this exercise in futility have caused my less sympathetic neighbours to call out the noise abatement police on two occasions already.

From past vertebraic experiences I am in for a week of unrelenting agony. Not even the magical curative powers of hot wombat dung poultices are of any use. Distilled Bilby urine aromatherapy holds some hope for alleviating the pain. One whiff of this powerful marsupial hallucinogen renders the patient unconscious and oblivious to any pain in a trice. Sadly the mortality rate for this procedure is 100%. (If you are reading this then I am very probably clinically dead.)

Now a word for our national carrier, Qantas. Remedial. Departing for Sydney I became aware of a new exciting game of chance. Not arriving early for seat allocation means there is a high probability you will get the centre seat in the centre aisle and will be flanked by two Jabba the Huts in business suits who know little about the sanctity of other people's personal space and who are hell bent on yet another hostile takeover. They also adopt a (not so) lean and hungry look in the direction of your hermetically sealed airline *food*. (I have yet to master the art of cutting up cold, poached chicken ... maybe veal, maybe crocodile, maybe feline, possibly canine ... breasts with implements that have been manufactured from recycled Mr. Gumbys.)

Arriving very early to secure a window or aisle seat means that you will be cooling your heels in the departure lounge for departure delay part one, departure delay part two, departure delay part three, departure delay part four ... "We apologise for the delay, but we've lost one of the planes. If anyone has seen a long silvery thing with a red kangaroo painted on one of the sticking up bits could you please make your way in an orderly fashion to the Lost Property Office? We apologise for the delay, we found the plane but Pilot Godot has disappeared somewhere in the vicinity of Narelle, the Drinks Facility Manager at the "Mile High Cocktail Bar". We apologise for the delay but the time-tabler's dog has eaten the chronometer." Later hand written notes are individually delivered to the assembled Godot-awaiters apologising for the breakdown of the public address system.

If God had meant man to fly he wouldn't have created Qantas.