Black Dog

Posted in dentists, despair, diet, movies, Mr Grumpy, news, rants, teeth by expatatlarge on February 11, 2009

As I left the supermarket tonight after doing my post-sashimi-dinner shopping, I felt a wave of immense sadness come over me. For no obvious reason, I felt like shit, like crying, like getting pissed on martinis all by myself. I got into a taxi without any delay and helped the driver navigate the tortuous route to my place, all of 500m away as the crow flies. I kept wondering why I would suddenly feel this hollow blackness throughout my gut. It still has not passed. My comments on other blogs tonight reflect the bitterness of my mood.

Was it merely bad sashimi? (Good name for a band?) Or that that plate of so-so sashimi was all that I had eaten all day (since breakfast, I mean)?

Was it something of the ‘black dog’ that afflicted that wonderful peacemaker Winston Churchill, something of the ‘black veil’ of Rick Moody [sic], something of the ‘visible darkness’ of William Styron? No, I am not the depressive type. I don’t think. Probably why I am not as creative/productive as I should be – too busy having fun, mostly.

Was it the thought of all those people killed in the Victorian bushfires?

Was it that there was no-one in when I had come home earlier this evening? The house echoed a stillness. I hate being alone too long, the silence bugs me, that sense of rejection it implies, but I also crave the gratifying solitude I gain when I am rejecting someone who is sitting right near me. Go figure.

Was it that the Pub Quiz I was so looking forward to was cancelled as everyone is out of town except two of us. We need 5 to make the team and I only found out at the last minute – hence, no I didn’t call you, and hence the sashimi and green tea dinner rather than fish’n’chips and multiple Kilkennys.

Was it because I didn’t bring my iPod on the walk to the supermarket and had to listen to my own maudlin thoughts as I rambled up the street, rather than the wailing blues guitar of Buddy Guy (as I am now – a great version of Lay Lady Lay)?

Was it that one of my good buddies has to have surgery soon for a serious prostate condition and he is younger than me.

Was it that I am a just morose bastard? Sometimes this is true.

Was it that I am fat and horrible and ugly and a total bastard? That couldn’t be it – hell, I revel in being such an anti-social anti-fashionable anti-stereotype… type.

Was it that there is a fucking Harry’s bar everywhere you turn these days! I met the Harry’s guy somewhere at a wine-tasting once. You can have too many Harry’s Bars, trust me. Just like you can have too any franchises in general, too many Credit Default Swaps (overvalued cows), too many fatally flawed acquisitions, too many bad debts in your portfolio, too much hubris and bravado and pay too big bonuses to idiotically greedy CEOs

Was it that there is an immense world depression around the corner and that no-one looks anywhere near like knowing what to do to prevent it?

Was it that I will no doubt lose big time on my purchase of a unit in Noosa? At least in the short term.

Was it that I laid out my revised book plot to Izzy (the flat-mate, remember her?) last night then went to bed and slept without writing any of it down. And the essence of the plot twist comes from a memory – I just realized that I had been a genuine bastard to someone once, and hardly even thought about it at the time. Probably ruined their life. No, it wasn’t you.

Was it that I won’t be going to Tokyo for the training in April after all, and miss some great food (the training will be crap and tremendously ad hoc as usual). (However No1 Son and GF will coming up to Singapore for a few days in April! I feel better already thinking about that! Except I have nowhere for them to sleep yet.)

Was it that I spent 3 hours this afternoon with my mouth stretched open while someone constructed some serious new infrastructre in there, the way Ivor Kants put together a maze of scaffolding inside Judy Morris’s tiny bathroom in Peter Weir’s 1979 gem The Plumber. I tried to wash out the noise with some iPodded Beethoven but it didn’t work. The drill and the violin kept harmonizing in my sinuses… The partial cap that kept falling out over the last month or so was broken and had to be reconstructed – I had to sell some CDS to the tune of $1260 for the privelege.

Was it that the anaesthetics are wearing off and I am merely ill with my tooth’s slow fading memory of the pain it felt but couldn’t tell me about at the time.

Was it that I buy and buy all these fucking books without the possibility of ever reading them. Am I a fucking idiot? Currently a fan of pretty much anything published by New York Review of Books. Most of their mid 20th century lost European classics turned up on my desk yesterday, courtesy of Amazon. Fuck the current zeitgeist, take me back to Paris or Berlin with all the other expats, exiles and émigrés.

Was it that The Boss has just sent out an email reminding everyone (um, that’d be me) that office hours are 8:45 to 5:30 and asked everyone (um, that’d still be me) to honour them. The current Boss is about be upgraded with a new model, actually an older, more establishment guy and we are all quaking in our lazy boots. Turn up on time? What next, paperwork?

Or was it that the world truly is meaningless and shite and so are we all in despair if we have half a brain to recognize this, and that my blog is just a scrap of electronic toilet paper floating out to cyber-sea…


Actually I feel much better after typing all this. I feel like some emo teenage girl who has had a big heart-to-heart on Facebook with her closest 5,644 friends.

Who said catharsis sucks?

Ah, time for that martini.

And how was YOUR day?


Coffee Grounds For Divorce

Posted in coffee, dentists, fortune-tellers, horoscopes, teeth by expatatlarge on January 24, 2009

Unlike some cynical readers of this blog, I DO have great faith in horoscopes (Chinese and, um, non-Chinese), just as I find Divine Intervention a useful tool when I misplace my house keys (a quiet prayer up to St Anthony and hey presto!). I also believe in Santa Claus, transubstantiation, virgo intacto parthenogenesis of male children, routine miracles at Lourdes, ocular bleeding of statues, pigges bones*, papal bulls, touching wood, avoiding black cats, Babylonian haruspicy, and of course the venerable Tooth Fairy, who is playing me a fair treat of late with this fucking dental cap (about half a tooth actually) which keeps falling out.

Three times tonight during a Lebanese meal at the famed (and nearly empty) Abu Ali Restaurant the bugger came loose. There must be something happening. The remnant tooth is cold sensitive without the cap firmly pressed into it. I really need to put several hundred dollars under the Parkview pillow of my Tooth Fairy Dentist when I get back (if ever) to Singapore, to sort this out this entire buccal mess once and for all (or until the guarantee expires).

So, at dinner tonight, as I am fossicking in my mouth yet again to resite the errant ceramic, one of the local ladies offers to read my future from the dregs in my coffee cup!

Of course I trust her that the patterns in my life will play out according to (or caused by?) whatever patterns the dribbling coffee dregs will make in my cup. It only stands to reason. Perfectly normal thing to believe in…

– Thurth, I say. Bru moth thuum warrrn. (Sure. But you must tell me all!)

So when the tooth-cap is pushed relatively firm into its cavity, I turn the finished (not empty) cup of thick mid-sweet Turkish brew upside down in its saucer and several kilograms of cosmic dark matter, err, mushy coffee sludge slides down the inside of the cup, creating (I presume) forms and appearances of great moment and significance for her to divine. I pass the cup, still upside in the saucer, across. She waits for a minute or two, then turns it over.

– You are in love, Sir Ekpat, she says right up.

– I am? Who with? I look around. Laughs, smiles.

– You are not in love?, asks one of the other ladies, one I was careful NOT to look at – a bit too eagerly, I think.

– Not that I am aware, no, I am not in love, I laugh.

– Well, you have a big heart, a wide heart full of love, says the coffee reader, nodding as if that was what she meant in the first place.

– Of course I love all of *you*, I say. (Thinking, big heart? Maybe she has seen some evidence of long-standing hypertension induced cardiomyopathy?)

She tilts the cup around and looks at it from another angle. She peers into it with concentration, she seems almost embarrassed by it what she finds there. What is it? I have a pornography obsession? I will die a Mulder death?

– There are two women.

I sigh…

– Well, I *was* in Bangkok earlier this week, and it’s only natural, a man has his urges, irresistable really, and when it doesn’t seem to upset anyone, and the price is reasonable…

– You are in love with two women, she says.

Coos and laughter from around our section of the table…

– Well, no, I am not in love at all, I insist.

– There are two women though.

The other lady leans across and looks into the cup. – Yes, she is right. There are two ladies.

Why do I get the feeling I am being set up here?

– Well maybe it is my mother and sister. They are the two women in my life…

– Yes, maybe that is what it means, she shrugs, unconvinced.

She passes the cup to her friend, whispers to her and smiles back at me.

– She knows what will happen in your future, how you will live long time, when you will die, from this, says the second lady, smiling also.

– Yep, sure, I say. I believe you. The tooth falls out again as I try to chew a tough slice of babaganoush rolled in very thin bread (fed in with three fingers).

– Nnuth knellm unn urrr nf nnnn oooh zaarrr. (Just tell me where and I won’t go there.)


* Ne was there such another pardonere.
For in his mail he had a pillowbere,
Which, as he saide, was our Lady’s veil:
He said, he had a gobbet of the sail
That Sainte Peter had, when that he went
Upon the sea, till Jesus Christ him hent.
He had a cross of latoun full of stones,
And in a glass he hadde pigge’s bones.
But with these relics, whenne that he fond
A poore parson dwelling upon lond,
Upon a day he got him more money
Than that the parson got in moneths tway;
And thus with feigned flattering and japes,
He made the parson and the people his apes.
But truely to tellen at the last,
He was in church a noble ecclesiast.

Pasted from http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext00/cbtls12.txt