Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pleasing Yasmina Part 2

‘So isn’t my phone the coolest!’ trilled Yasmina as Laura’s mum's car roared away from the school gate.
‘Oh, totally.’Laura nodded obediently.
‘And wook!’ Yasmina put on her simpering "cute" voice. ‘He’s even got a wittle smiwey face on the screen! I’m going to call him Bwadley!’
‘Oh, it’s so wicked.’ Laura agreed breathlessly, reaching out to touch the gleaming new phone.
Yasmina whipped it away and began tucking it into the tight pocket of her expensive jeans. ‘Is Bwadley's wittle swiley face peeping out?’
‘Yeah! It looks really cool!’ Laura nodded.
‘Can you make sure he can see out pwoperly? I want him to wook koot.’ Yasmina rolled her jazz-ballet hips at Laura and looked her straight in the eye. ‘Make sure he can see out.’

Laura crouched down. She adjusted the phone so the smiley face on the screen peered over the edge of the pocket. The smooth metal phone felt heavy and solid and the jeans felt soft and stretchy. She wished she got comfortable jeans from the surf shop rather than rough yellow-labels from K-Mart. ‘It’s not worth it, Muffin Tops!’ Her mum would laugh and pinch her tummy. ‘You’ll just grow out of them!’
‘So when are you getting your phone?’ asked Yasmina suddenly, causing Laura to wobble on her haunches.

Laura steadied herself and pretended to concentrate on getting the phone to sit just right. She didn't want to look up at Yasmina's raised eyebrows.
‘I don't know. Soon. Mum doesn’t really have enough, um … time, to take me this weekend.’
Yasmina gazed down, hands on hips, saying nothing.
‘There’s your wittle phony wony!’ Laura squeaked to disguise the effort she had to make to stand up.
‘Oh isn’t Bwadley wooking koot?’ simpered Yasmina. She leapt into a pirouette and grooved off towards the vacation care building.
‘Yes he is!’ sang Laura, dancing after her.
‘So what are you getting for your screensaver?’ called Yasmina over her shoulder.
Laura stopped dancing. ‘Um … a frog!’

The vacation care centre was in a transportable classroom that smelled like PlayDough, instant coffee and detergent. Everything was organised into ‘corners’: the board games corner, the craft corner, the reading corner, the TV corner and the computer corner. No one ever used the board games (‘the boring games’, Yasmina had scoffed when Laura suggested playing one), the crafts or the books unless they were banned from the TV and the computer. The TV corner only showed videos for little kids in case parents complained and the computer corner was always elbow-to-kneecap with boys waiting semi-patiently for their shot.

When Laura and Yasmina’s eyes had adjusted from the spring sunshine, they saw the vacation care manager, a tall man with floppy grey hair called Terry, shaking hands with a younger man wearing a whistle around his neck.
‘The sumo suits are in my van,’ the young man was saying. ‘I just need you to show me where to set up.’
‘Great great,’ said Terry. He steered the man past Yasmina who stayed in their way and Laura who stepped out of it. ‘Morning girls! (Look out Yasmina) Come and I’ll show you the gym.’
‘Sumo suits?’ hissed a boy who was ninth in line for the computer.
‘They’re those things in Austin Powers where you wrestle each other!’ said his spiky haired friend. ‘I’ve got the movie at home.’
‘Oh wicked!’ cried a chubby cheeked boy, hooking his arm around a thinner boy’s neck. ‘I’m gonna verse you!’
The thinner boy shook him away, pouting at the floor. ‘I don’t wanna do it!’
Soon, every boy in the room was charging around, sizing one another up, pairing off and sulking about not having a partner.

Laura rolled her bracelets and prayed that this wasn’t a compulsory thing like ice skating and the beach. She hated being in front of people and trying to do things she wasn’t good at. She hated the half-embarrassed-for-her, half-laughing-at-her look that people got on their faces when they watched. She hated the loud laugh she did to pretend she was having fun at playing the fool. And the gulp she did in between laughs to stop herself from puking with embarrassment. She hated the way someone would always say ‘atta girl!’ or ‘good effort!’ when it was over.
She hoped that Yasmina would find it as distasteful as she did.
Terry came back into the room and clapped his hands loudly. ‘Right! Everyone onto the listening mat! Now! Computer off!’
The kids around the computer sighed as one in disappointment.
‘Okay. As a last day of holiday treat, we’re all going to do sumo wrestling for the next two hours! Now, I want everyone to follow me in a neat line to the gym.’
All the boys bounced on their bottoms, hugging each other with glee.

Yasmina wrinkled her nose and a wave of relief washed through Laura’s stomach. If Yasmina didn’t want to do it, it meant that they could sit on chairs up the back and indulge in Yasmina’s favourite pastime: acting bored and paying people out.
She was safe.

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. ...I *love* the description of the vac care centre - so true.

    ...and thank God that the conversation I participated in/read here the other day didn't descend to this situation!


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32