Friday, August 22, 2008

Rapid Eye Movements

I went to see David Sedaris the other night. He spoke at the Opera House Concert Hall and it was full. The woman who introduced him and also interviewed him after the reading was a comedienne who was, as she breathlessly confessed before he came out, a huge fan.

At the beginning of their chat she announced cheerfully that she wasn’t going to ask him any of those dull questions about his actual writing process and this made me want to throw something very hard at her.

Instead, we heard about their shared disquiet for (too) public toilets and cell phones which then allowed her to combine these things into An Hilarious Anecdote About Herself using a telephone on the toilet.

I expect I’m being unfair about her inadequate fan/love questioning but I don’t care. She had her hour in the Green Room to brown nose David Sedaris and tell him hilarious anecdotes about herself, I wanted to hear about his frigging writing.

My friend and I sat in the front row which was close enough to see the motifs on David Sedaris’ ankle socks and observe the neat row of pens peeking out of his breast pocket.

“But were you close enough to see him touch his penis?” someone asked me in the book signing queue. “I hear that when he does readings he compulsively touches his penis.”

“Um no, “ I said. “I saw a bit of pelvic rocking behind the lecturn but no actual hand/penis connection, no.” He seemed disappointed and soon after this conversation I left the queue without having my book signed.

It was a long queue and I was pretty hungry.

I have finally finished reading Thus Spake Zarathustra. It is over. And, eventually, it was actually good.
Or maybe it just felt good because it was done.

I’m not going to tell you to bung it on your bookclub list but, you know, if you’re in the mood for some obscure imagery, weird dreams, offensive conclusions about women, anti-religious rantings, deeply personal reflections on betrayal and un/happiness, spiders, mountains, dwarves, ass-worshipping and a few good gags, then Fred’s your man.
I still have no clue about why he had such an enormously ugly moustache but last week one of the other playwrights suggested he had no teeth and was self conscious. At first this seemed almost plausible and there were several mumurs of 'poor fred' amongst the group but now I recall he chose to live in quite a hermit like fashion for a number of years.
Solitude and deliberately nurturing facial hair that is the size of a small dog do not seem to go hand in hand.

This week I went with one of my playwrighting compadres to the university where we are doing a big collaborative theatrical presentation of TSZ (ie. a play). We met the students. We talked to the students. We watched the students as they improvised around aspects of the text. We reminisced about being drama students ourselves.

Some elements of student impro; loud shouting, taking your clothes off, going for the big pash... never grow old.

Despite the promising early enthusiasm, Tricky is now completely over the potty. It doesn’t matter how many Charlie and Lola stickers I paste on, he has decided that containment of bodily discharges is no longer his “thing”.

He asks if he can pee instead on the mat, in the “big bed”, and even “on Mummy”.

He has also decided he no longer wants to take a bath and became quite angry if any attempts to even sponge him are made.

I didn’t think they went through this stage until high school.

I was speaking to a parent with two kids who are 19 and 21. One of his kids was very calm and responsible but the other was a total party animal with some obvious alcohol issues.

“But you could see all that when they were really little,” he went on. “Tim was always very responsible and cautious and Cathy was wild.”

I had started zoning out while he was telling me this, my face wearing the concerned expression of a parent who doesn’t really care that much because it’s not their kid, but this last statement struck a nerve.

“My toddler has this plastic motorbike,” I told him, “and he loves to ride fast down hills on it. He’s always saying go fast and go down big hill. Even when we’re just driving in the car. That’s not what you mean is it?”

The other parent nodded.

“Sounds just like Cathy,” he said. “She started off rolling down the stairs.”


Anonymous said...

Oh crap. That's a worry. I'm always the mother apologising for the misdeeds of her miniature maniac.

I probably shouldn't be smiling about the fact that your child has asked to pee on you. It probably isn't funny if you're the mother in question! Although, my friend shared a bath with her 2yr old last week, forgetting that breastfeeding his baby sister has recently given rise to some extra boob-awareness and jealousy. Apparently he cast an speculative eye over her, hoisted his water-squirter toy hopefully and asked chirpily - Mummy! Can I squirt your nipples?

MsPrufrock said...

In keeping with this whole Tricky & P as cosmic twins thing, she also is so over the potty without actually forming that much of a relationship with it. We did the sticker bit, as well as tempting her with the promise of being able to wear Brand! New! Knickers! over her nappy. This worked three times. Now, when she's asked if she wants to use the potty, she shouts, "NO MUM! PUT ON THE NAPPY!" She is a definite charmer.

Jealous about the Sedaris thing. Hmph.

Away2me (Deanna) said...

Oh crap, I'm in trouble then too. I've got a dare devil child. (Same ate as your Tricky). I'm so not looking forward to the teen years

Anonymous said...

My brothers were not daredevils at all when they were toddlers. They mostly drooled and bumped into things. They were INSANE teenagers. I thank the universe that they survived.

The school psychiatrist always agrees with me when I say that toddlers and teenagers are the same. Both are striving for independence, but need the security of the parents. Both test boundaries. Both are on the cusp -- one entering childhood and the other leaving it.

The school psychiatrist looks just like the younger Sedaris, Amy... except she looks like Amy in the role from Strangers with Candy if Jerri Blank wore extraordinarily thick glasses and bad 80's suits.

mig bardsley said...

Oh joy!
Well, one of mine began toddlerhood as an angry little boy with a stick he picked up in the garden to point and say bang bang (no toy guns in our household!) and one began toddlerhood as an angry little girl who went straight to close-up personal violence directed at Mummy (strangling).
Angry boy became furious teenager and lovely kind young man, Angry girl became terrifying tearaway teenager and young, single, responsible, loving mother.
Oh and the middle one behaved like an angel both as toddler, teenager (bar a couple of moments) and looks fair to carry on that way.
I worry about her!

I love Trickie's sunglasses :)