A Special Level in Dante’s Inferno

Dante Alighieri wrote the famous epic poem, Divine Comedy, detailing a journey through Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. The narrator observes nine circles within Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.

Sidebar: I am glad that the word epic is finally dying out from common usage. It was bandied about too readily and usually used incorrectly. Unfortunately, it’s now been surpassed by “literally”. North Americans, your grammar and vocabulary is pathetic. I’m not a grammar Nazi. I just use it correctly. Most of the time.


Parents. More specific to this complaint, dad. Why? Why must you be so goddamn obtuse and frustrating? I mean in a tear-out-my-hair-grit-my-teeth-scream-incoherently kind of way. It’s torment, that you won’t listen to me. It’s so bad you could ring Dante and ask if he’d mind adding a tenth level to his Inferno.

1. Jump-starting the Corolla

I have a 1995 Toyota Corolla that is very inefficient, but did the job in my first degree. When the 29 year old was packing up to go live with her husband in Canada, she transferred the Prius to me. It is about twice as fuel efficient as the Toyota Corolla. When faced with the two options, I’ve chosen the more fuel efficient one. However, the battery went flat in the Corolla. Dad emailed a friend and got booster cables to jump start the car. It was pretty easy to get it going again, but why was it frustrating?

  • On way back from the run this morning, Dad tells me to relax, he’s had old cars before when he was younger and is quite familiar with jump-starting cars. I remind him to read the Prius guidebook. I googled the process myself, took a shower and went downstairs where a suspicious silence prevailed. I walked outside, and dad’s popped out most of the gear from the back of the Prius where the battery is, and has managed to damage the cap over the Prius battery. To be fair, it’s tricky, but don’t force it and nearly break the plastic! Fuck.
  • I get the plastic cap off, and we’re pushing the Corolla so that the cables can reach. I tell him to push it to line it up with the Prius, and he stops to ask me if we should ask our neighbour for help. Their garage door is opening. I say no, use what we have. After all, you can’t impose on someone else. But C is a nice neighbour and offers help when he drives up and sees our predicament.
  • There’s more cursing on my part with Dad’s refusal to listen to me when I tell him we need to shift the car to give C room and so the cars are more parallel. Look, this guy is being nice enough to help, just cooperate with me to make it easier for him to help us!!!!

Bullshit lots of practice. It’s exhausting.

2. Social Ineptitude

A couple our family knows has been immensely helpful and kind throughout the years we’ve spent in Australia. They’ve been welcoming, cooked for us, taken us to dinner, introduced us to other lovely people… very nice, overall. Anyway, Dad takes it upon himself to thank them for lending us some gear to fix up the house and re-grout the bathroom. He’s decided to do it with food. However, I have some suggestions.

  • Learn more than one dish to say thank you. Pizza is very well and good, but you’ve done it before. No one likes a one-trick pony. Besides, pizza doesn’t really say, “Thank you!” I think convention is usually baked goods of some kind. Or alcoholic beverages.
  • Timing. Why would you give a pizza to them after the event tonight? Or before? There’s a group of you tonight, so going to their house with a pizza is weird. Or you can do like you did, Dad, and invite them to dinner on the spur of the moment.
  • Do not spring it on them. Calling someone to say, “I’ve made you some dinner!” forces them to accept and possibly change plans they already have.
  • Language. Ok, I’m getting better with using expletives widely, but I mean language generally. If you must invite them to dinner an hour and a half before you all go to meet up with more friends, then don’t use the words, “Can you tell [your wife] to hold off?” Just overhearing it made me cringe with the awkward wording. It makes it sound like she’s a child and doing something wrong.
  • RELAX GODDAMMIT. Look, it’s very nice that you’d like to give some to everyone at the event, but it’s not feasible after we’ve already eaten and there’s only 6-7 slices left. You don’t know how many people are going to show up tonight and they’ve probably already eaten dinner before showing up. So take a cue from me kicking you under the table (three times!!).

Holy fucking goddamn shit. FUCK. How has he survived so long being so socially unaware? How the fuck did I gain any kind of social awareness? SHIT.

I should take my own advice and not care so much. It’s not worth the effort. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You know, the thing is, if it was anyone else’s dad, I’d probably be much more forgiving and say it was ok.ย Well, that time T’s dad called one of our mates a fascist was pretty hilarious.


One of the best birthdays

P wins major …. whatever we are… points. I’d like to apply one term, P probably wouldn’t, but that’s another conversation.

May I present the following textual exchange:

P: Ok. Asked around. Melbourne has a higher international profile. UWA has some good world class lecturers. My boss expressed the same concerns re UWA grads as me. That probably doesn’t help AT ALL ๐Ÿ™‚

Me: Yeah not really. It’s alright, thanks for asking for me ๐Ÿ™‚ how was your day?

P: So so. You sounds [sic] a bit down. You ok?

Me: Seriously, how do you pick this kind of thing up?!

Ok, I think my reply was fairly open to interpretation. How did P know I was stressed?! P rang straight away and let me talk it out. Even though I talked it out with Mum and Dad, and bitched about it to Bec from work, I’m relieved to have talked to P about it.

At least I found her blasted red book. I gave it back and apologised, and she demanded, “What about asking for my forgiveness??” I thought, “I don’t want anything from you. Especially not your forgiveness.” She must have forgotten how it works. You can’t demand it. Her forgiveness is a power play to have me grovel and I won’t do it. I wrote as much to Dad. I told him how much I didn’t want the Prius if that was the kind of strings attached to it. What a despicable person. I said to Dad last night, “I hope she doesn’t get me anything for my birthday because I would want to refuse it.” Thank goodness she hasn’t.

Anyway. Enough of her. Let’s finish on a positive note.

P is taking me to P’tite Ardoise Bistro for my birthday. It’s really expensive. And at the end of our call, P said, “Look, why don’t you come over tomorrow and sleep over after dinner?”

This was one of the biggest things that tore me up inside at the start when we first started seeing each other and messing around – I always initiated contact. Obviously there has been some texts to hang out and so on, but it’s nice to feel pursued and special. Which I do.

In stiff competition for the best present is when Dad rang up and said happy birthday this morning. My present was the bank draft for the exorbitant Full Fee Place made out to the University of Melbourne. I have to pay them back slowly after I finish. They’ve sacrificed so much for me.

I tried to avoid drawing attention to the fact that it was my birthday from work mates and everyone else. N let the cat out of the bag (what a shit dude haha), and Khils and Cat were so apologetic – exactly what I wanted to avoid: any fuss at all. But despite not having hundreds of facebook wall posts and texts, it’s been a good birthday.

PS. Guess what?? In our discussion of Melbourne vs UWA, P said,

“Obviously I want you here, but I do think Melbourne is the wiser choice.”

๐Ÿ˜€ squeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

What a great end to the day.. not.

Shit day.

Stayed up late helping Dad edit and print his affidavit and exhibits, assemble, and post them in duplicate. Got 4 hours of sleep.

Overweight lactose-intolerant floor manager D went home at 1030am with a “migraine”, after leaving at 7 on Wednesday for the same reason. I got my order done, but had too many scripts. When 430pm came for me to leave, Kesh had only just got in from banking.

N, Kesh, Young, V (Pete’s Fijian mate, who was vegetarian, but is now a meat convert) and I went to the Old Brewery on Mounts Bay Road to celebrate Kesh finishing her Viva. I had a rabbit and chorizo terrine with beetroot and apple&cinnamon chutney on little toasts, truffle butter (that had a strong cumin flavour) with toasted slices of bread and one lone poached egg. The cumin flavour actually went quite well with the egg, I was surprised. I also had roasted bone marrow, which was really … well, N described it as “rich”.ย  I also tasted some of their tomahawk, which was really big, with the bone included.

On the way home, half-asleep, I sped through an amber/red on Manning Rd/Ley St, and got pulled over. Fuck.

Why do you think I’m pulling you over?

I actually had to think for a split second as to whether it was speeding, crossing lanes without signalling or running the red. I did all three. That part of the street is a bit tight to take the curves at 60km/h. I barely remember running the red, and didn’t think much of it. Come on, in Toronto this would never happen, there’s better things to worry about. And there was barely anyone on the road. He at least downgraded it to an amber, which meant 100$ instead of 150$ and 2 points instead of 3. Perhaps it was my reason, “I’m just tired and trying to get home.”

I was highly displeased with his reply , “Well, you can’t do that. You might end up in a different kind of bed, a steel one.” He also told me my left tail light was out, which is a bitch because I just had the bumper replaced after JLiang in Unit 1 lent his car to some girl in the units and we reversed into each other (more her fault though, because she was going way too fast and not looking). Life-time warranty on car repairs? It better hold out, or there’ll be strife.

Anyway, after he handed me my ticket, I wanted to specifically run the next few reds because I dislike being told I’m wrong, and I felt like doing something to reject that and say “Fuck you and fuck off.” But they were all green.

Fuck. Great way to end a shit day. It was going to be ok after dinner, but guess not. FUCK.

Airport Traffic Cops

Traffic Wardens from Hell #666

Image by Ennor via Flickr

In my degree, most of us started working in second year and a common complaint quickly emerged: what we learn in theory isn’t applied in practice. And it’s true to some degree. If someone asks for an antihistamine, other medications don’t usually have an impact on the suggested product. But of course, we learn it all; it’s what allows us to stand behind that counter, check that it’s appropriate therapy and discuss any concerns with the patient in counselling.

However, there’s a point where you just accept that theory and practice don’t line up. I’d certainly like to disabuse a particular airport traffic warden of that notion. In the four years I’ve been here in Australia, picking up someone from the international airport late at night has been a simple process:

  1. Drive to the airport to arrive close to anticipated exit time from customs.
  2. Wait in the pick up lanes (vs. the drop off lanes).
  3. Greet and hug the person(s), then load the car.
  4. Drive off on our merry way.

Tonight was different. I drive there and get in the lane to wait. This middle-aged traffic warden in high-vis clothing walks up and gestures her hand in a circle above her head. I figure she’s indicating the halo that must be above my own head as I’m the very image of a saint. or something. Let’s go with “for being a good child and picking your dad up from the airport.” and for driving a Prius. Ok, my sister’s Prius.

No. I am mistaken. This presumptuous creature strides up to my window and raps on it with her filthy knuckles. (Even if I was in my crappy Toyota Corolla, I don’t care. Don’t touch my car.)ย  From her gaping maw issues a statement: “You have to circle. You can’t wait here.” I can see some cars moving into the actual pick-up lane behind me, so I thank her politely and make the circuit. I come right back around because I’m acting as per experience. She come right back and repeats her message. I am disappointed her excitement doesn’t match mine at my dad visiting.

After 2 hours of this rigmarole, I realise something. She’s an absolute @#$!-ing idiot. It’s the same 3 cars that are doing this ridiculous circuit you insist on. There’s room in this pick-up lane for 10 cars. It’s not a high-traffic time. And if I get a text message from my Dad saying he’s here, I’m going to !@#%-ing wait in the !@%#!@# lane because I know he’s gotten through customs.

“Well, you’re going to have to park and then come in if he’s not here for you to pick up.”

Uh, no, because that’s not how this goes, you _____ (adjective) _____ (adjective) _____ (adjective) _____ (noun). Don’t you dare imply I’d be incapable of understanding what you’re saying, you racist cow. You walk the traffic lanes at a deserted airport on a Thursday night. And you entirely stuffed up what should’ve been a quick, efficient happy pick up from the airport. _____ (noun).