Why I Like Old Things

This isn’t some kind of reverse-cougar love story, so if that’s what you’re after- I’m afraid I cannot help you. This story is about something quite different.

I am unable to pinpoint when it all started: when I caught an eye for all things dusty and rich with history. It goes back as far as I can remember. It sounds strange coming from a child of the 1990s, but I recall using a traditional type writer to write stories when I was very young. It was boxy and unpractical in a modern world, but I found tremendous novelty in using it to put my thoughts on paper. It typed with such vigour, and with fresh darts of ink.

Old music was also important to me, and in particular, The Beatles. The voices of Lennon and McCartney still warm me up on the inside, and I can mouth the words to most of their songs.

Years passed and my mother gave me a pair of brown leather shoes from the 1970s- around the time when she met my dad. I now drive a car from the late 1980s and have an eye for old-fashioned clothes. It’s now in my blood; a deep admiration and appreciation for the old.

I like how people are gentle when they handle old pieces of clothing, and how they can look back at things that were once mainstream – and either laugh out loud, or marvel with a hint of wonder. I like how old styles can be revived and brought back to life, almost as if they were brand new.

This is one of the reasons why I love thrift shops.

‘You must be saving a lot of money on clothes,’ my brother commented last week, as I strode past in a brown velvet coat from the 1960s.

The ‘saving-money’ thing is quite true and rewarding, but I mainly just admire the look of retro fashion.

There’s something very cool to me about thrift shops and their abundance of worn brown leather wallets and proud velvet coats; unashamedly flamboyant and graceful in their very existence. I have an arguably unhealthy collection of thrift-shopped bags, varying in shades of tan and degrees of wear.

But best of all, thrift shops implore you to try new things.

I was sifting through a rack of oversized coats earlier this week, before realising that I had been looking in the ‘extra large’ section. Having a smaller stature, I felt the urge to awkwardly back away and return to the smaller sizes available – as I possibly would in a regular store.

But this was not a regular store. There is nothing regular about thrift shops. Or, at least in the ordinary sense of the word.

So I glanced around me, noticing (unsurprisingly) that no one gave a fuck about what section of clothes I was browsing through. And I continued to look through the array of large coats. My eyes were immediately drawn to a pinkish-purple jacket that was lightly marked from years of wear and constructed from 100 per cent suede leather. It’s undeniably 80s-esque, satin lining made me smile, and I couldn’t help but pause and gaze.

It was a considerably larger size than what I usually wear. But for $12, I didn’t wish to take ‘no’ for an answer. I shuffled to the changing area, and pulled the curtain closed. I tried it on and rolled up each of the sleeves, one at a time. I pushed my shoulders back, held my head up high and looked myself right in the smudged thrift shop mirror.

‘Yeah,’ I whispered.

‘I like it.’

It had character. And it didn’t matter if strangers on the street thought it looked strange or old or worn. It was all of those things. But it was also effortlessly cool in my eyes…too much so for me to care what people thought of it.

It was not long before I was walking to the car with the warm jacket draped over my arm.

My car, my clothes, my music. They’re all reflective of the old, but unforgotten. Some people might turn their nose up at old coats and the fact that my car is older than I am. Others might accuse me of trying to fit some social stereotype of a hipster. But you’ll always be criticised by somebody out there, regardless of what you like.

So I figure it’s much too late to turn back now. And I’m too fond of my velvet coats to care anyway.

 

Free Time

It’s been a while since I last posted on my blog. And I have to say, I have no excuse. The past few months have consisted of the freest time I have ever had.

Something they don’t tell you when you enrol in an arts degree (journalism) is that you get a borderline-ridiculous amount of holidays. I finished my semester in early November last year, and I am STILL on holidays until late March. Perhaps they’re preparing us for the long period of time that we will be job-hunting after uni. Like ‘hey, this will probs be a shock to them…but there’s not that many jobs in journalism. Maybe if we give them more holidays, they won’t notice so much’. Ha! Good one, uni. I see what you’re doing.

It’s strange though, the things that you end up doing when you have so much free time. Of course, I still work at my part-time job on a regular basis and go out with friends a lot. But I’ve also rekindled my interest in getting good at the guitar, and I’ve started reading books and the news every day.  I also low-key want to learn how to skateboard, even though I do not look like someone who would skateboard.

Please allow me to explain.

I go to uni at the city, so I always see skateboarders glide past me on the streets. I used to roll my eyes about how many times I’ve almost been knocked over by a skateboarder, or how everyone has to shuffle out of their way. But now, I see skateboards in a new light.

They’re kind of genius. You can travel around the city so much quicker and everyone moves out of the way for you. It’s like this weird, 90s-esque sense of power. So I don’t care if it won’t suit my retro dresses and boots. I want in.

My only fear is dramatically falling off my skateboard. I feel like falling off a skateboard in a dress, in the city, would be scarring enough to make me never skate again. And then, years from now, I might pass a skateboard in the window of a shop. I’ll pause and smirk, and an underpaid film maker will create a montage of me rediscovering my love for skateboarding. And then, the footage will be banned in some countries because the world finds my skateboarding skills offensive.

But who knows. I might never actually learn how to skateboard. I might just want to try it because I’ve been on holidays for so long and I’m slowly slipping into madness.  Or maybe, having free time just opens your mind to trying new things that you hadn’t considered before.

One year.

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again.

Where prices shoot through the roof, and people start singing Mariah Carey songs in public. And not to be someone who says, ‘wow, this year has flown by!’…but wow, this year has indeed flown by (I had to say it).

This time last year, I had just finished my HSC and was getting amped up to go to my year 12 formal (prom). And then, what we Aussies call, ‘schoolies’. I remember getting my eyelashes tinted and regrettably, my eyebrows waxed. The lady who did my eyebrows left a cut that only four inches of make-up could cover. Thankfully for me, formal was just around the corner. And where else can you get away with wearing enough makeup to last a small Ugandan village? Nowhere else, that’s where.

My main circle of friends and I had a unique ‘schoolies’ trip. We ate more sweets than alcohol, and rented a lake-side house in the middle of nowhere. The woman who owned the house looked at us like we had punched several of her cats in the face. This was partly because we were teenagers. And partly because we arrived late on the first day, after getting lost about seven times. Regardless, if that trip had to be summed up in some sort of cheesy 90s movie montage, it would feature us pointing at jellyfish at the beach, playing late-night board games and me being consistently shocked by the things I say in my sleep.

But from that trip until now, a lot has changed in my world.

I’ve experienced university, work and driving. I’ve learned a great deal about writing, the world and the types of people living in it. It’s great to hear people’s stories, and being a journalism student- I get the opportunity to do just that. Of course, there’s always a little bitter to accompany the sweet side of things. I have lost contact with some people I was close to a year ago. And I have met my fair share of rude and opinionated customers at my part-time job. A man I work with was given a week’s stress leave after telling a customer something along the lines of ‘go fuck yourself’. My initial thought was ‘hmm, now I know what will happen when I tell a customer to get fucked’.

I’m kidding, I wouldn’t risk my job to out-sass a rude customer. That kind of talk is for after hours.

But cold or unkind people are not those we should choose to remember. And they’re often not the people who deserve our time. It’s important to make time for people who make us feel good. Sometimes, that’s what it has to come down to.

Looking back on the past year, I’ve also realised that everyone is figuring something out. Whether it’s uni students figuring out if they like their degree or business people figuring out if they should apply for another job- even the most composed people seem to be worrying or stressing about one thing or another. I wonder if we ever stop figuring things out for ourselves. For the sake of spontaneity, I kind of hope not. Knowing exactly where you’re headed sounds like it could be a bit boring. Or at least I tell myself that.

Dad And The Weatherman

It’s a love-hate relationship. Though mostly leaning towards the hate side, I’ve gotta say. 

Ever since I’ve started blogging, my dad has told me to write about the ‘weatherman’. Now this may seem like an odd and highly-irrelevant-to-everything topic. But as someone who has a small family business, the weather man is no joke. Without a cloud of doubt (pun intended), he’s been an arch nemesis of my family for quite some time.

It’s nothing personal.

He’s probably a nice guy who was just weirdly more into the weather forecast than other kids at school. It’s like how when I was a kid, I liked spelling tests and irrationally lying about being a millionaire. I’m planning to go into journalism as a career, so the lying about being a millionaire part won’t be too difficult as an adult.

Back then though, I actually thought my dad hated this one particular weather man on channel 10. Turns out he just doesn’t like anyone who gives a bad weather forecast.

According to my dad, people (and more specifically, Australians like myself) run for shelter when it even looks cloudy- like they’re made out of sugar and a little rain would melt them.

*cue ‘Wizard of Oz’ scene of the melting wicked witch*

Dad has told me time and time again that a ‘chance of a shower’ doesn’t mean it’ll actually rain, and that being a weather person is a well-paid job even when they get it wrong most of the time. It’s funny because he has a point.

Its hard to imagine many other jobs where you can be consistently wrong and still get well paid. That certainly wouldn’t go down well in the industry I want to go into (journalism). Of course there are comment pieces, trashy gossip magazines and annoyingly biased articles- but you can’t say in the news that ‘ unicorns might be making a comeback tomorrow around midday‘, and then not follow through with any evidence or actual unicorns. Okay, so that was a bit of a dramatic example. But I think some kind of ‘point’ remains (this unicorn pun was also intended…heh).

The thing about being a weather person is that they are so confident about their forecasts. They say that it ‘will be a sunny day’ or we can ‘expect a few showers’. I wish we could all have the confidence of a weather person. I swear they’re some of the most confident people on this planet. Even when the forecast turns out to be completely wrong, they smile and just say the forecast for the next day. And nobody blinks an eye (well, except for my dad).

Maybe I’m just overthinking it. Maybe the weather forecasters of the world are right most of the time.

Or maybe, just maybe…

They’re all out there, all of the weather forecasters, drinking wine and chuckling to themselves. Swimming in their pools of money, growing drunk on their power to control whether people bring their umbrellas to work the next day. Controlling whether I put sunscreen on my arms or if I’ll just stay indoors for most of the day (dat pale lifestyle).

Well all I can say is that I see you, weather people. And I’m on to you.

Study, Study, Study

I have a uni lecturer who always asks our class to study ‘everyone and everything’ we meet. 

She’s a lecturer for a very analytical and essay-heavy subject. So it is pretty likely that she is just plotting to turn us all into overly analytical minions, who look at the world with excessive depth and have student loan debts up to our ankles.

Regardless, I think it’s a pretty cool concept and I have tried to take it on board (her plan is working)

‘Analyse everyone and everything you meet.’

I’ve always found it easier to study people, rather than things. And I don’t mean it in a nosey way. It’s not like I see someone texting on their phone, and lean over their shoulder- studying the messages and taking down notes while whispering ‘Oh, so you do have a close relationship with your mother.’

No, no. When I eavesdrop on public transport (and believe me, I do), I’m unsuspecting as fuck. Or at least I hope I am.

But when I say I like the idea of studying people, I just mean that I find people to be pretty interesting. It’s even better when they have interests that are nothing like my own, so I can get an insight into what life is like for people who were actually good at math in high school or enjoy cruising on big ships (do small ships even exist? Or are small ships just called boats? I have no idea).

For example, I work part time at a hardware store with retired men in their sixties and fellow teenagers that know nothing about anything in the store. I was just making conversation with one of the men who work there (he’s 65), and found out that before he worked at the store, he was an engineer who fixed aeroplanes (he was more specific at the time, but that was the gist). I asked him questions about it, and he told me about how he absolutely loves planes. He added that ever since he retired, he started collecting and flying model planes in his spare time.

I don’t know why, but I just found that to be really cool. It just shows how everyone has or will have their own big story to tell, especially at that age of retirement. And it made me think more about how it can be really interesting to study the people you meet.

I actually went through a phase where I kept a little blue notebook (I have an unhealthy obsession with notebooks) that I used to write down people’s little quirks. I liked the idea of putting some of the sweet things I notice about certain people on paper. If I looked back at it now it would probably be hilariously weird out of context, like the notes on my iPhone (I found a note saying ‘It takes two to tango and three to Django…’ the other day and have no idea what I meant by it).

I don’t use that notebook anymore, but I do still like to study some of the things and people I meet.

Do you ever find yourself studying the people you meet? (stalking randoms on Facebook doesn’t count)

Music Addict

I don’t know if I would call it an addiction, but it certainly isn’t far off.

I just really like live music. It’s not that I get the munchies or start yelling at strangers if I don’t listen to my jams for a day. There’s just something surreal about seeing a band play in person- and no, I’m not talking about the surreal feeling of getting second-hand high from the pot smoke in the room. This isn’t a snoop dogg concert I’m discussing. Rather, I just like how music has the power to grab you and make you feel something- and you just forget about the world around you for a little while.

My earliest memory with music is jumping on my brother’s bed every time he played this one particular Beatles song, which for whatever reason I went crazy over. I guess I haven’t changed that much- I still love the Beatles and I still can’t dance.

I didn’t even dance, I just went all out and jumped in time to the rhythm of the Beatles song. A little later than that, I used to stand up in my brother’s room with his massive headphones (they probably just seemed massive at the time since I was so small) and bop on the spot to hilariously daggy music like that song that goes ‘celebrateeee good times C’MON’.

That’s when I started school and discovered my favourite jam of the 2000s…’toxic’ by Britney spears. Infant sinead thought Britney spears was the shit. A family member even walked in on me dancing to it full-on, doing some kind of head banging motion that I have never managed to live down. Being-caught-dancing embarrassment is probably the worst kind. The only type of dancing that I ever actually made an effort to learn is also the most impractical of all dance styles- Irish dancing. But hey, it was fun while it lasted and always makes for a weird conversation starter. And nobody loves weird conversation starters more than yours truly.

Back to present times, I’ve been to more concerts than I can count. I’ve been shouldered in the face by many a’ tall people in mosh pits, and seen some of the worst back-up bands of all time (there is nothing worse than bad DJ’s who never let the beat drop or do anything, for that matter). Though I keep going back for more. But hey, it’s not really an addiction.

Excuse me while I go listen to some more music. It’s been a few hours and I need a ‘hit’ (pun very much so intended).

What Are You Waiting For?

I’ve always loved Dr Seuss books, especially one in particular.

It is called ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’.

In this book, there is a setting called ‘the waiting place’. It’s a fictional location where groups of quirky characters are all waiting for something of their own. Some are waiting for buses, others are waiting for telephone calls. If I was in this book, I’d like to have a cartoon version of me- angrily waiting for a burrito or in the online queue for tickets to a concert.

After the waiting place and all of its waiting people are described, Dr Seuss says:

‘No! That’s not for you!’
‘Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.’

And yes, this is technically a children’s book. And yes again, this passage from the book is both very cheesy and likely to make you stutter when trying to read it aloud.

However! seeing this book again on my book shelf (don’t question my amount of Dr Seuss books) it sparked a thought.

To me, it seems now more than ever we are always waiting for something; some sort of event that will change everything as we know it. I don’t mind waiting for most big things like having a stable career and travelling around the world. The main thing for me is to just enjoy the waiting and live in the present when I can- I don’t want to rush through parts of life or wish away time- only later realising that the time I spent waiting for big things to happen was poorly spent.

One of the reasons I say that I relate to this whole idea of ‘waiting’ is because something obscenely random happened, just the other day. A massive, black sow (lady pig) was found hanging out on my front lawn…and given the fact that I’ve never even seen a black sow in my whole neighbourhood or anywhere other than the sydney royal easter show, this was one of those occurrences that just capture how when you’re waiting for something- as I was waiting for dinner or waiting to listen to some new music that night- things can happen completely out of the blue and absolutely change your mindset- so much so that you forgot what you were even waiting for.

My thoughts changed from being focused on food and sleep, to questioning what I would name this pig if we ever met again, and whether I need to slowly drive into my drive-way now in fear of hitting a giant pig? Following its mysterious disappearance, I now await meeting the pig in person one day. Side note- I really like pigs and have concluded that I would have named her snuggles or (quite typically) Ms Piggy.

Ah well, at least it makes a mildly entertaining story. Is it just me or are the best stories made when you’re not in the slightest expecting them to happen?

Addiction: Orange is the New Black

Along with just about everyone, I’ve become an ‘Orange is the new black’ fanatic. 

When the opening theme song comes on, I find myself almost robotically mouthing all of the words. It’s funny how easy it is to binge-watch a TV series on Netflix. It’s like some sort of drug, feeding the inner hermit crab in us all.

I’m in the midst of binge watching season three and it’s got me thinking. What type of group I would fit into if I was in the TV show’s prison? Plus, in the world of ‘hypotheticals’, what would be something I could even go to the prison for doing?

After some brief contemplation, I’ve decided that if I had to go to prison for some reason- it would be because of one of three things.

1.) Stealing someone’s pug.

2.) Making such a bad pun that it is officially deemed illegal (this is most likely, I have to admit). Though I feel that some pun-loving dads would bail me out and I’d become some sort of pun leader.

3.) Trying to rap at a karaoke bar and consequently, impairing everyone’s hearing and faith in humanity

Okay, so not all of these would be punishable by imprisonment.

Though this is all hypothetical, so why should there be strict rules on how to answer?

As for the type of people I’d befriend in prison, I feel like it would be fun to be friends with Taystee and her group (Orange is the New Black reference). However, given the fact that I am a pale, Australian teenager- I feel that I would be more likely to bro out with Ruby Rose’s character about how strong our accents must sound to the predominantly American cast. I do imagine prison would be such a lonely place, so making friends could be a good idea. It’s weird imagining not talking to any close friends and family for a week, let alone some months or years at a time.

If you had to go to the Orange is the New Black prison for a hypothetical reason, what do you think it would be? And there’s no point saying because you want to hang with Ruby Rose. That response is justified, yet would never get you your own back story episode.

Mistakes make good stories

We each react to our own mistakes differently.

Some of us like to cover up mistakes with statements like ‘I only wore crocs that one time because of a dare’ and ‘it isn’t my fault my dog is eating your iPhone’.

While others enjoy a good ol’ fashioned self-pity session. This is often accompanied with a side of junk food and the hunger to be reminded of personal redeeming qualities.

In my case, I like to store my own conventionally embarrassing stories to share with people and laugh over at a later date. It’s possible that I am this way because it feeds the daydream that I’m in my own sitcom. I’ll tell a mildly climatic tale and my friends will respond with comments like ‘oh, classic Sineady-dee’ and ‘Wowzers, the shenanigans you get yo’self into’.

Ok, so that’s never how it goes.

I’m afraid my life isn’t a 1960s sitcom where everyone has overly-dramatic, possibly Texan accents. But hey, a girl can dream.

Regardless, we can’t forget that whatever the mistake is- whether you’ve spilt coffee all over yourself before a crowd of obnoxious faces, or started to crush on someone you think you shouldn’t have- we all make mistakes. There will always be that one someone who will hate on you or bag you out, but if you keep in mind that they have definitely (without a shadow of a doubt) made similar or even worse mistakes… you can develop the ability to just laugh at yourself or at the very least, not give a fuck about what strangers have to say about your silly mistakes.

In only the past week, I managed to delete my whole song library in an attempt to add ‘the wombats’ new album to my phone. As a result, I only listened to the wombats for a week. I like the wombats but sheesh, I also quite liked my 700 other phone songs. I’ve also stuttered the word ‘amalgamate’ live on air at a community radio station about three times in a row, during a serious news broadcast. But hey, I won’t be saying that word wrong on air again any time soon.

So not to sound like every grey-haired, high-trouser-wearing man in his sixties ever, but you really can learn from your mistakes. Or at least I hope so.

Sometimes mistakes can even be immediately funny and positive. In high-school, I tried out to be a sports house captain (don’t ask why, as I really don’t know). We had to do a grand ‘pick-me, I’ll totally try make us win carnivals’ speech. All was going smoothly until I stuttered on a word. Though this was no ordinary stutter. I stuttered the fuck out of this word. As a result, I semi-giggled and made a series of oddball noises in an unsuccessful attempt to re-focus myself and un-scramble my words. Upon realising how strange I had just verbalised my screw-up, the whole room of people started to crack up laughing. I laughed too, however, before hushing them and finishing my speech. Weirdly enough though, I think more people voted for me for that reason.

Not to burst that bubble of positivity but did I actually get selected as sports captain in the final round? Not-so-strangely, the answer is a sturdy no. However, though I was (and remain) not very sporty and lacked any motivation for my sports house…that election system was corrupt as all hell. Forget global conspiracy theories, somebody oughta investigate how school house captains are chosen at high-schools.

Next time you do something pretty embarrassing, maybe try to laugh it off. Every mistake is merely an opportunity for a great story. Or at least a funny one.

Independence Day

Independence Day 

Ok, so this blog post isn’t about a Will Smith blockbuster. As a fellow Will Smith admirer, I’m dearly sorry to anyone who read the title and now feels misled.

Rather, this blog post is about the power of a little independence.

Before graduating from high school last year, I felt pretty stoked to be entering the ‘real world’. Yet, I have to say, being a uni student isn’t exactly the same as living in the ‘real world’. At least not as much as I expected it to be. I’ve merely gone from the high-school student bubble to the uni student bubble. Even though I’ve started to make so much more of my own choices- I don’t yet feel like I’m amongst the big, real world of full-time workers, heavy taxes and mortgages. And rightly so. Rather, I’m in a bubble where some of my most serious concerns are assignment deadlines, thriving on caffeine and constantly ignoring the fact that I am slowly (but assuredly) drowning in my own student loan debt.

Regardless, I like this uni student bubble. In comparison to the uniform-wearing, 9 to 3 style of high school, I feel like a nervous bird that’s being released from a cage that has been rusting for quite some time. And no, it’s no coincidence that I just compared high-school to a cage.

Though gaining only little pieces of independence can go a long way. Only this year I’ve got my P’s driving license, a paying job and started to study something that I really do love. And already, I’m becoming more confident with navigating around the city by myself and doing little things I wouldn’t have enjoyed before- like eating comfortably by myself in crowded coffee shops.

Of course, with a surge of independence comes a whole lot of responsibilities for your own future. I, for one, do not have many concrete plans. Though I think that in a lot of ways, we are all just as vulnerable to the uncertainty of the future as each other. We can make as many plans as we like, but who knows what will actually end up happening, or if we will come up with new plans along the way? All we can do is try our best and see what the world serves us.

I know I will try to work with what I get, whether it be sweet or sour circumstances. With my new found independence, I’ll hope and try for sweet.