Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Sweat of a Salesman

I should tell you a few things about The Boyfriend. He is a typical Irish man, albeit one living in the wrong era. He is steadfast and conventional. He prides diligence and dignity above all else. He firmly believes that a good work ethic yields ultimate happiness. He is fair and forthright and frustrated with the Celtic Tiger generation.
He's also calm and controlled, avoids unnecessary confrontation and is the most reliable and selfless individual I have ever come across in my life.
Anyway, when Beanie Face and Cali Gurrrl ended their relationship, The Boyfriend decided to terminate a liaison of his own. Since being granted the unlimited usage of his company truck, the fickle Ford Mondeo we'd scrimped for had simply been gathering dust and rust in the driveway. In addition, our lease was coming to an end and there was still no word on our visa application. Beanie Face was moving into a new house closer to where he worked, and Cali Gurrrl was back in America. We needed to find somewhere to live and the second vehicle was making the process impossible. The Boyfriend scrubbed the car inside and out, bought some air fresheners, serviced the complicated mess that is under a bonnet and propped a "For Sale" sign in the window. We waited hopefully for expressions of interest.
The Boyfriend's prematurely greying hair was almost white by the week's end, when finally an Estonian backpacker called. The Boyfriend has trouble hearing at the best of times, and was perplexed by the Estonian's frail grasp of English. They reverted to texting after several frustrating minutes, and we arranged to meet in the city to show off Dallas in all her gleaming glory. We crossed our fingers as The Boyfriend turned the key, and with a deafening roar, chugged into the city.
We met the Estonian and his better-looking half at the prearranged time. He was tall, bespectacled and dressed in about fourteen layers of clothing. His girlfriend was half his size in stature and height, and with a voice so low and meek I quickly lost interest in her existence. The Boyfriend hopped out, shook hands and held the door open for the couple's expected inspection. He was in full salesman mode, all smiles and laughing at every word the Estonian uttered. I cocked an eyebrow, not quite sure what was so funny about the statement "We are backpackers", and said so to The Boyfriend - an assertion which earned me an elbow in the ribs from Himself.
Doubled over, I climbed into the back seat as the two men organised a test drive. The Boyfriend settled himself in the passenger side, waiting expectantly. The Estonian just stared blankly at us and finally revealed his reluctance. "Oh, I am not too good driving with the stick, so could you be please to drive around?"
"You can't drive a manual?!" I sputtered incredulously. Dallas was probably the most manual car I have ever come across - even requiring the odd manual push-start in the mornings. Before the Estonian could attempt a reply, The Boyfriend was graciously jumping behind the wheel. We took a spin around the block and the Estonian said he would buy the car if we got an Road-Worthy Certificate. The Boyfriend agreed to this condition very enthusiastically and we spent the rest of our Sunday afternoon pulling up to closed garages. I thought that vein would pop, but The Boyfriend eventually managed to organise a RWC, all circulatory tubes intact.
After some haggling and bargaining with the mechanic, The Boyfriend returned home Tuesday afternoon of the following week, RWC in hand. He called the Estonian and took the next day off. The Boyfriend was beaming from ear to ear, delighted with his victory, eager to rid himself of the depreciating disaster that had been Dallas.
I arrived home from work the next afternoon at about four, and there was no sign of The Boyfriend. At five, I called him to check in. He was two hours from where we lived, having driven outside the city at the Estonian's request because it was apparently "too difficult to be driving the stick in busy city streets".  The transaction was finished and he was just waiting for a train to get back home. He's not one for public transport and I could hear the vein throbbing over the 'phone so I made some rushed goodbyes and promised to have dinner waiting when he got home.
At half past eight, with an ice-cold steak and some shrivelled carrots sitting despondently in the microwave, I rang again. I didn't even get to say hello. The Boyfriend launched into a tirade that I'd imagine most of his fellow train passengers thought was a different language - perhaps Estonian.
"That feckin' gobshite! I gave him the feckin' RWC and all, and I got on this feckin' train, and he rang me after about twenty minutes and said he'd lost the feckin' thing. So I jumped off that train, and headed straight back towards the feckin' dickhead and turned up to find the jaysuzin' thing shtuck down the back seat. Well JAYSUZFECKINCHRIST, I nearly CLOCKED the wanker! And then he had the cheek - THE ABSOLUTE FECKIN' CHEEK - to ask if he could ring me if anythin' went wrong so I says to him, I says - 'Lad, if anythin' goes wrong in this car, don't even think about callin' me.' and I walked away. What a feckin' gobshite, what sorta hoor was he, wha'? DALORDLAMBAJAAAAYSUZ."
This, for anyone struggling, simply translates as "The car has been sold. I'll be home a bit later than I originally thought."

Sunday, 6 October 2013

All Good Things Something Something

Cali Gurrrl and Beanie Face's arguments were growing more frequent. The end of our lease was looming and, coincidentally, coincided within a couple of months of the end of Cali Gurrrl's working holiday visa.
Their plan was deceptively simple - Beanie Face was to join Cali Gurrrl in America, as she had joined him in Australia. She was working two jobs, and Beanie Face was leaving every morning at six to arrive home every night thirteen and a half hours later. They were saving furiously for their planned relocation to Cali Gurrrl's home town of Temecula. As a draftsman, Beanie Face was finding it difficult to secure a job in California, especially since he couldn't provide the equivalent school qualifications most American employers demand. He paid an extortionate price to complete, and receive the required proofs, of said assessment. He was hoping to begin a four-year-long engineering degree in an university near Cali Gurrrl's home, and she had promised to support him while he studied.
This dedication came at a cost and the relationship took a turn for the worst, neither side having any real fault, both parties merely falling victim to unfavourable circumstances. Cali Gurrrl was a proud party girl and, understandably, wanted make the most of her short time left in Australia. She liked dining out and going to clubs, and was growing frustrated at sacrificing those interests because of Beanie Face's need to save money - an equally understandable action considering he was looking at four years of virtual unemployment as he studied.The tension was palpable and - inevitably - erupted into some very vocal, high-pitched arguments.
The Boyfriend and I overheard a couple of the ensuing rows, and headed straight for the door when we did so, taking long, extended Walks to avoid any awkwardness.
I was at work, tending to someone's gluten free toast with vegemite, when I got the text from Cali Gurrrl. They were over, and she was in desperate need of some girl-talk. And I was the one she came to.
I'm not very girly - you may have already guessed. Don't get me wrong - I bitch, I exaggerate, I cry and get jealous, and all those other historically girly things. But I only indulge in such foolish behaviour when my blood toxicity level is dangerously high after heavy alcohol consumption - and that's not as often as The Boyfriend would have you believe. Generally, I'm quite relaxed about my significant better's comings and goings. Frequently, I try to ignore any niggling annoyances I might have, because I am extremely lazy and can't be arsed with the effort needed to explain my point of view.
This being said, I panicked after reading Cali Gurrrl's message. This was a test of my girly prowess. I bought wine and too much chocolate, and Google'd "Things To Say To Heartbroken People". I schooled myself on the expected sympathetic responses of a girlfriend, and bought a copy of Cosmopolitan. I bought cigarettes and a pink, girly lighter and text The Boyfriend a terse message about how he should just get dinner for himself, as I would be building up Cali Gurrrl's self-esteem as a good girl-friend, something he wouldn't understand as a mere man. I was all aboard the Men Abhorrent friend-ship, a ready member of Vaginas United, ready to lend my shoulder for all the tears she could muster.
Like I said, though - I'm not very girly. Twenty minutes after discussing the topic at hand, I was a bit distracted and couldn't tear my mind away from my growling stomach. I was jealously daydreaming about what The Boyfriend might have cooked up for dinner, trying to keep my teeth from chattering in the growing cold. I tore bits off the corner of Cosmopolitan, smoked endless cigarettes, wondering why simply getting drunk for a week solid couldn't be the solution to every problem.
Eventually, we walked back home where Cali Gurrrl seemed to realise the reality of the situation and became emotional. Beanie Face was inside, presumably breaking the news to The Boyfriend.
The Boyfriend looked as awkward as I felt; we're Irish - being emotionally supportive in the absence of whiskey is literally beyond our realm of comprehension. Our eyes met and we mutually decided we were going on another Walk. We've never been as fit as that period in our lives.
Cali Gurrrl moved out the next day.
And then, there were three.