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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Toast Tuesday

Like many schools, my school endeavours to teach children to be kind.

We want our students to grow up displaying empathy for others, to show compassion and to not act like they would if they were say… the sole surviving species in an apocalyptic scenario where everyone over the age of sixteen was dead and they were free to pillage the world eating each other’s brains.

Part of this education in altruistic benevolence is Toast Tuesday and Toast Thursday.

Our ‘social justice’ committee in Year Six is commissioned to purchase, prepare, cook and decorate slices of toast and vegemite twice a week to the poor, unfortunate, and starving children at our school.

May it be noted, that not a single one of our students is poor or unfortunate or starving, however, we persist in the making and doling out of toast to the hungry horde.

When I say we, I mean mostly me.

Why? I hear you ask. Why is it mostly you?

Is it because those selfish little brats on the ‘social justice’ committee can’t be bothered to turn up early in the morning to toast duty, thus leaving you all alone to shoulder the burden of asking, “Would you like toast and butter or toast and vegemite”, two hundred times, twice a week?

No, it is not.

The reason the millstone is placed around my own scrawny neck, is because I have personally carved out that millstone myself and wear it like I would a string of pearls gifted to me by my Grandmama on her deathbed.

I love handing out toast. It makes me feel… valued.

When the little preppies wobble up, their sweet faces barely showing over the counter, I get to hand over a delicious slice of golden bread dripping with Black and Gold Margarine with the salty black congealed tar that is Vegemite spread thickly over the top, and they smile at me and say, “Thank you Mrs Poinker”, and I feel as though I’m doing something great for humanity.

Unfortunately, like Gollum with his precious ring, I have become a little possessive of my career niche.

We had an important early morning meeting one Tuesday.

“I can’t come, sorry,” I said to the Principal. “I have to make toast.”

“Don’t be ridiculous," he said. "Get someone else to make it. You need to be at the meeting.”

“That's impossible,” I said. "I’m sorry but no one else knows how to do it.”

He looked at me with a quizzical glint in his eye. “No one else knows how to make toast? Don’t you just put it in a toaster?”

“No,” I said in a mysterious whisper. “There’s a lot more to it than that.”

Ten minutes later, the Deputy Principal came barging into the tuckshop, chucked me out and ordered me to go to the meeting, but I bet the toast didn’t taste anywhere near as good that day AND she left crumbs in the toaster tray.

The only problem with Toast Days is the ‘social committee’. If I didn’t have to put up with ‘helpful kids’ getting in my way as I bustle around busily, things would be perfect. 

But wouldn’t that be defeating the purpose, I hear you yelling.

No. They have their whole lives in front of them to be kind. I’m running out of time.

I try to sneak into the tuckshop and have two loaves of bread toasted and buttered before they even notice I’m there.

“Do you need us to make toast, Mrs Poinker?” they’ll ask, breezing into the tuckshop with their annoyingly bright helpful faces.

“No,” I sigh in martyrdom. “I’ve done most of it. Try again next week.”

One time, an over-enthusiastic social justice committee member had the audacity to take a piece of toast out of the toaster.

“What are you doing?” I trilled. “That’s my job! It’s far too dangerous for you to touch the toaster. Please don’t do it again. Just stick to buttering thank you.”

And I don’t like the way the kids butter or put the Vegemite on either. I have a specific method of application which can not be replicated by an amateur.

Soon, due to many reasons, I shall have to depart my dear little country school and I will be mandated to write a resume.

‘Very good at making toast’, will be heading my list of achievements.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Just How Boring Am I?

We recently ripped up the carpet in our bedroom and replaced it with a vinyl/timber hybrid that, according to the man at Harvey Norman, is fully waterproof. 

More importantly, it’s vomit, diarrhea and urine proof so now when it’s 4:00 am and gentle heaving sounds emanate from under the doona and we feel a Chihuahua scrabbling desperately up through the bedclothes to get to the bathroom, then ten seconds later, hear short exploding sounds from under the bed, we don’t have to panic quite so much.

It’s life changing really.

Also, it’s a relief to know that whatever sins the previous owner, a little old lady according to the real estate agent, exacted on the carpet… animal sacrifice, orgies involving messy liquid ejections, experiments involving the use of leaking test tubes in order to isolate the ebola virus… we no longer have to have them in the back of our mind when our delicate, pink, bare feet slide across the carpet.

Vacuuming is much easier, I found the hand cream I lost three years ago when we moved the bedside tables and we don’t have to store all our suitcases under the bed to prevent the cat from using it as a litter box forcing us to pull it out by the tail as it lies on its back playing dead anymore.

I want to hybrid the entire house including the walls and ceilings, that’s how much I like it.

There were a few moments when I wanted to take a photo and post it to Facebook and Instagram but I suddenly realised that all my friends post photos of cute babies, overseas holidays and sunsets so a picture of my hybrid floor probably wouldn’t get anyone excited.

I was also going to post a picture of some gnaw marks on a wall where Polly the sausage dog likes to chew, but I’m sure that’s not very interesting either, even though a dog slowly eating a house one wall at a time is a first for me.

I’m kind of glad Instagram has decided to hide the likes because now nobody can see how I don’t get very many because of my incredibly boring photographic choices.

Bit like this blog post really.

The truth is, since giving up the booze and embarking on a healthy diet regime, I’ve become a terribly boring person. Giving up alcohol has physically and mentally aged me.

Even though I’m now free to drive after 6:00pm because I’m not ten sheets to the wind, I absolutely refuse to leave the house after dark.

We go to matinee sessions at the movies and the last three movies we went to were Aladdin, Toy Story and The Lion King. Even then, I felt the music was a bit on the loud side.

My social life consists of a cup of tea with my eighty-year-old parents once a fortnight (if they’re free).

Last Saturday morning, Scotto and I became unreasonably excited at the extra-large sized Pink Lady apples on display at Coles.

We’ve stopped watching Sunrise in the morning because of the ads and have started watching ABC Breakfast.

I stopped wearing makeup and switched to zinc-oxide sunscreen because I’m afraid of the chemicals in normal sunscreen.

I had my hair cut into a bob with a fringe.

The optometrist told me I have the beginnings of cataracts and I keep checking in the mirror to make sure I don’t look like the guy from Kung Fu.

Only a boring teetotaller would remember either the show or that the guy from Kung Fu had cataracts. 

We watch television in bed every night and we refer to our favourite programmes as ‘our stories’.

“Let’s hop into bed and watch our stories,” I’ll say to Scotto, pulling my flannelette pyjama bottoms up to my armpits and shuffling over to the stove in slippers to heat milk for cocoa.

But the most boring metamorphism my friend is the anti-social introvert I’ve turned into.

I call into the same service station twice a week and for the first time in two years the lady at the counter struck up a long pleasant conversation with me. My over-riding thought as I drove away was that now I’d have to find a new service station to patronise.

Very bloody boring person I am now.