Thursday, March 17, 2005

Lucky Country

Some things that crossed my mind as I walked to the train station today:

-Why are some doorknobs in Australia so high?
It’s not as if they’re two feet taller than the rest of us and need them that way. Some of them practically come up to my shoulders! How is this a better situation than doorknobs at waist level? Do they know something that we don’t know?

-I’ve been here over 6 weeks now and I’m still having trouble understanding people on the phone. The building manager yesterday, what was that? After 5 times of asking him/her to repeat what he/she had said I just quickly muttered thank you and hung up the phone. It’s bad enough that I’m calling asking for “replacement globes” (when I asked if those were indeed light bulbs everyone laughed the “well if you want to use the easy word for it” laugh at me). They all seem to know the other words for things, yet sometimes it seems they go out of their way to use something weird.

I shouldn’t complain though, because I like some of theirs better. Laid off = Made Redundant. As if they’ve installed some sort of software that can do your job just as well as you and you staying would only mean that both you and the computer would be doing the same work, and they don’t have to pay the computer do they? You’ve been made redundant, exceeding what is necessary, and so you are expendable.

It’s actually pretty harsh the more I think about it.

-Why can’t a fellow co-worker just say, “Your hair looks different. Did you do something new to it?” Those pleasantries don’t seem to be included in the Australian Guide to Social Etiquette. Instead I get an exclamation, “What on earth has happened to your hair!?” By the way, nothing had happened to my hair, I had just gotten into the office and simply hadn’t put it up yet. Although with that kind of question you would have thought I chopped it and dyed it purple!

-The strange encounter with Plant Man. He exited the elevator and walked straight to my desk holding a spray bottle about a foot away from my face. “Can I help you?” I asked, edging my face away slowly. “I’m here for the plants.” He said dryly.

To steal them? Are you using the spray bottle to threaten me and make me surrender the office plants? Because you win, take them, your spray bottle has persuaded me. Before I could finish my ok he set to work polishing the leaves of the office plants. This is his job. He polishes and spruces up the office plants. He does no watering whatsoever, just polishing. I’m as shocked as you are. He was finished quickly and as he stepped on the elevator he pointed the spray bottle towards me and said, “Until next time.” So bizarre! Is this an actual job back in the States? Someone needs to tell me if they’ve seen anything like this before.

-The major perk of walking the Sydney streets? On certain busy intersections they have a time where they stop traffic ALL ways and people can cross any way they want…even DIAGONALLY! That’s right, they actually encourage it here, unlike ticketing for it back home. It is absolutely wonderful and I feel special every time I stroll diagonally across those streets…the world stops for pedestrians and speaking as someone who will never be driving a car while I’m here, that is a truly beautiful thing!

-Sydney is humid. I’ve argued that Chicago is just as humid in the summer, but as I stand here, in the tunnel, waiting for my train and I can feel my KNEES are sweating, I gently concede. You win Sydney, you have Chicago beat.

-The humidity has forced me to seek special help in the hair department. I head straight for the pharmacy as I exit the train. I inform the woman working that I need extra strength anti-frizz serum. She points me in the right direction and I pick out what she identifies as “The Best”. I bring it to the counter and as she rings it up and is handing me my change she takes an extra moment to study my hair. “It’s rainy and windy out so don’t worry sweetheart, everyone’s hair will look funny today.”


Happy St. Patricks Day Everyone!


At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Missy (Your Succulent Turkey) said...

Oh you are soo cute! I am glad you are having a good time. I love reading your blog and love im'ing with you whenever you are on! Crossing the street like that must be amazing! As for your hair...good luck, if any one knows the pains of frizz its me!! I miss you soo much! I can't wait for you to come home! Love, Missy
PS. Tell Jeff U of I is in the lead...I think...who knows!!

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Amy Boyd said...

I remember crossing a street diagonal somewhere? I can't remember where, it's driving me crazy that I can't remember. Maybe I was dreaming? That's so nice about the pedestrian right away. I know LA & Nashville are like that too. But even better than that...I'm loving the taller doorknobs! When I think about it, it is weird that it's waist high. Sometimes I feel things are made for hobbits. I don't like it that it's humid there, sounds horrible. But it's snowing here, and that's pretty horrible. Maybe we should all move to San Diego?

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Pat said...

Mary just a heads up because we used to discuss it often. Well the Jury deliberated for 2 hours and decided that the main character in that rape case involving the girl from napperville to be innocent on all charges.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Amy Boyd said...

My mom bought another puppy, supposedly a b-day gift for my dad. It's a Jack Russell Terrier. They are thinking of naming him George, yep after you know who. (they didn't vote for him, so I don't' know) Not sure you don't care, but I just love sharing the insanity.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Jay said...

Mary Kay,
i tried to cross a street diagonally here in Chicago and i got hit by a cab!! i tried it one more time after that - and got hit by another cab!! i don't cross diagonally anymore... too dangerous in these parts!!
Here's the question i pose to you... Is Sydney more humid than the Outer Banks in the middle of July? 'Cuz that's HUMID!!
Roeper's column this morning made me think of you... He was writing about "The Walker." The Walker is this guy in the city who looks like he stepped off a Three Dog Night tour bus in the 70's and never changed. And he walks the city. All the time. You may see him in the morning in the Loop and then, when leaving your dinner in Lincoln Park later that night, he is walking by. All he ever does is walk the city. And i guess a lot of people know about him. Anyway, he doesn't bother anyone, just walks. i have seen him stop to pick up some garbage and take it the garbage can - he seems very conscientious of keeping our fair city clean. i wonder if he grew up in Sydney...
i hope you and your hair are doing well. It has been snowing all morning here - gag me... i was just saying last nite that i hope we are done with snow!
Oh, and what is this baloney about posting on Monday and then not again until Thursday!?!? Every morning i got on and was bummed when i saw "C - It Makes Cents" i need more than that!! Tell Jeff i picked U of I to win the whole thing!!
Love you, Love, Jay

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I love all those little colloquialisms. I was watching that British comedy, "The Office" a few weeks ago and they had to "lay off" a bunch of people and the boss kept calling them "redundancies." That's just such an insulting word/concept, you're right.

I haven't really read about the Burr Ridge rape acquittal, but I saw the thirty seconds on the news. I don't know how the burden of proof wasn't met since it was on VIDEOTAPE, but the winning lawyer spun it as "clearly consensual." Wasn't this the case where they were burning her with cigarettes? And wasn't she either slipped something or nearly passed out? Sure doesn't sound too consensual, if in fact those were the circumstances. By the way, two of the accused are mysteriously missing, thought to be in another country even, and the FBI is looking for them. The parents of the missing kids say they have "no idea" where their sons could be. Right. If they flee, isn't that tantamount to a confession? It's like Roman Polanski, although I think he was convicted. What a black eye for LT. Also, the mom of the acquitted 19-year-old made a terse comment to the cameras as she was exiting the courthouse, that her son was locked up under house arrest for two years for nothing! The verdict may have come out for him, but it isn't like it was a case of mistaken identity and they had the wrong guy all along. Again, see: videotape.

JJG (not Mr. Chips)

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

Ok that's it! You've inspired me Mary Boyd! I want to be a plant polisher! That is the best job I have ever heard of! Did he have a holster for the spray bottle? Because that would be cool. I was laughing so hard at that! Did you not just laugh when he said "Until next time?" Oh too much - I'm withdrawing my grad school and chucking it all to be a plant polisher. ps- I will still respopnd to e-mails!

Love you both! And yes Wombats rock.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Jay said...

Mary Kay,
Sorry to post twice on this one, but i just read an article that made me think of you and your nose... Oregon might become the first state to ban facial piercings on food service employees. i guess there have been too many instances of people finding facial jewelry in their food... which makes me wonder... do facial piercings often just fall out of your face? Nuts... but you aren't the only one to have to take yours out!!
Love you, Love, Jay

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous aunt meem said...

I am a bit behind on reading this but I am absolutley shocked that fluffy got put back in your room. If he needs a good home he has it!!!
I am going to check this daily now cuz I love it1 so keep writing I love u emmie!!


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