I knew the quivering needle just above the last stripe on my reserve petrol calibration was etching towards a bleak empty. When it starts making friends with the white stripe at the bottom, that’s when you know… you’re in kak.
I must fill up today. I WILL fill up today. Oh shit, what is THAT noise?
A sound I can only compare to nuts and bolts being thrown in a meat grinder, bellows from the front of my car… and its only when I see the newspaper guy looking at me with a “Girl, I don’t know if you gonna make it home” kinda face that I really want to kick myself. If one could kick oneself of course, I’m only a beginner yogi at this stage.
My brakes are shot. And the chore of having them checked and facing another bill that deprives me of a long overdue roots touch up, sends me into immediate depression. I’m talking Eeyore morbidity here. A slight over reaction, some may say but when you look at the bigger picture errr, perhaps not.
Penny: Well, first of all… the petrol attendants are on strike, so fuck, you know, what are you supposed to do about that?
Penny consoles me as I begin a ranting monologue of complaints and conundrums.
Carly: I know Roomy, and 3 grand… that’s how much my brakes are gonna cost! So much for this month’s grooming budget. Hope My Man is okay with a 70’s porn star esque bikini region.
Penny: How are we supposed to just be normal people?
Carly: I’m never going to be normal… Normal people don’t leave their car licence expired for a whole year. A YEAR. Normal people have a proof of residence, they go to the dentist, they understand how to do a tax return and they absolutely don’t wait 2 months to get vacuum cleaner bags.
Penny: And when are we supposed to do all this stuff? Now I must go to home affairs in my “lunch break”? Like that’s an outing that’s gonna take 20 minutes.
I walk upstairs and open my laptop and it stairs back at me blankly. Sulking. And I deserve it.
Please… just give me something. Just START. The people who make it in this world are doers Carly. Just do SOMETHING.
Nothing. Not the tiniest electric spark in any of my 10 typing fingers.
I’d been meaning to write the most unbelievable, sensational, transforming, career changing travel article for 2 weeks now. So far, nada. I feel as inspired as a turnip… and we all know that turnips are just downright dull.
Ed: You’re going to write the most amazing story; I can’t wait to read it.
Carly: You’re my best friend and you have to say that, and I love that you lie to me so eloquently even when we both know I’m stuck in a rut the size of Gibraltar.
Ed: First of all, that’s my saying. Second of all, I think you are underestimating yourself; you could so be in there.
Ed points at the Travel Magazine I’ve been studying for the last 2 hours. Analysing every page of content, planning the perfect pitch for the editor… who I plan to make fall in love with every delicious word I engrave on her inbox.
Carly: When I asked for her contact details, do you know what they said to me? They said you’re pitch better be fucking amazing. The guy said “fuck”. In an email!!! And he’s right; look at this… this is Fucking Amazing.
I show Ed an article written about a nomadic family that has been travelling the world for 13 years in a vintage car.
Ed: That is pretty Fucking Amazing. But who knows…
Carly: I’ve dried up.
Carly: Ed I’ve dried up. I used to have all this repressed creativity, in vats and kegs and boxes. There was a warehouse filled with the stuff. And every now and then when an opportunity finally presented itself, a little dude would go down and open any one of those storage units and Bada Bing Bada Boom, wondrous multi coloured ramblings would explode out of there.
Ed: You should really run background checks – sounds like that little dude was taking acid.
Carly: Well he’s gone on strike now too! I mean, do I look like someone who knows how to pump my own petrol, or generate some essential product they’ve labelled Fucking Amazing from thin air?
Ed: Is there a right answer to that?
Ed: You know, someone once told me that creative souls such as us need to play more. How can we sit behind desks for 8 hours a day and expect to step out of the box.
Carly: I’m so in the box. I am the box.
Ed: So get out of there kid.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what Ed had said. That we should PLAY more. The thick stony barriers in my mind were so unmoving; I couldn’t imagine what sort of playing I would even do. With all the to do lists, the chores, the brake pads that need replacing, the drying machine that needs servicing, the yearly check-ups expiring, the debit orders and memberships and calorie logs a suffocating cloud of strangling realness… how do grown-ups, or trainee grown-ups in my case, just play make believe?
I close the glossy magazine and as my fingers slide along the Fucking Amazing cover I begin typing. It’s a list of things I really need to do, to save all the barrels of imagination in my cellar and get my little dude in rehab so he can start hauling them out again:
1 Get dirt under my fingernails
2 Spend an hour swinging (on a swing you perv’s)
3 Re-read my favourite Roald Dhal book
4 Do some finger painting
5 Climb a tree
6 Host a tea party
7 Go one day without looking at a single clock, watch or alarm.
8 Ride a bicycle
9 Bake cookies
10. Write a love letter
As I finish I realize that I’m smiling like… well, like a little girl. I feel so excited and can’t wait to remember what it’s like to feel unrestricted, uncensored and unstructured. Maybe being a grown-up is as over rated as everyone keeps telling me it is, maybe the greatest gift we have in our creative basements is the ability to unravel ourselves and see the world as a child would. The way we used to. Without a grid of looming responsibility, expectations and order shackling the Fucking Amazing that we all have the potential to cultivate. If we allow ourselves to get dirt under our fingernails or paint on our faces, once in a while.