Harold Bishop has a posse

The Rae St Institute > Blog archive > Melodrama and the threshold of bullshit

Now I'm not cold and lifeless, I'm not unemotional or detached (usually..); but I HATE soap-opera bullshit (as in when it happens for-real-like, not the TV stuff, which I just plain don't watch) -- The whole you-fucked-them-so-he-hates-her and they-aren't-speaking-to-you-and-everyone-is-being-told-you're-a-prick and now-your-friends-aren't-talking-to-you sort of bullshit. I have zero tolerance for it, and I try at all costs to discourage it eventuating among those around me, and to avoid it when it happens, and as a rule do my best to not put myself in the centre of such scenarios..

But when two good mates haven't been speaking for 3 months because of soap-opera-bullshit of the grand tradition, and in the same zeitgeist is this whole compartmentalisation of your friends because whole groups aren't talking to each other because of it, and you're staying out of it, so you're talking to everyone, and everyone wants you to do go-between stuff for them, and you refuse, and people get shitty, and you're limiting your involvement to occasionally nudging people to get over it, but more often-than-not just changing the subject at all costs...

But you're still stuck with shuttling to the wrong side of the city just to even SEE certain people because they can't come to your side anymore because of other nearby residents who they used to be good friends with but because of all the shit that's going on they feel like they can't ring YOU even though you're neither of the people involved in the stoush. Then people are rude to you because of this stoush even though neither you or the person being rude to you are part of the stoush yourselves...


.. this is where the intolerable becomes unavoidable. A million "because"s. A cacophony of compounded silly reasons for people being rude.

Now the two mates concerned, err, 'X' and 'Y'
, have been mates for about 5 years. I've been mates with them for about 3 years, and I currently share a house with one of them. The last few months have been grinding and rocky, some people have made nudges for a make-up, some have suggested that they should never speak again, some have suggested violence, or at least pointed out that violence would have eventuated had they been in certain people's shoes.

I'm not going to go into what the stoush was, because I deliberately don't buy into the melodrama-gossip thing, but, as in all melodrama, there is a happy ending.

Last night, X and myself headed off to Y's house with an unsuspecting (and alarmingly attractive) French Canadian girl in-tow, dropped into our midst by a mate whose place she's staying at..

And we drank, and we drank.. as Y made good on his appointed role of Funniest Man Alive I laughed in a way that had FrenchCanadianGirl repeatedly making comment on the strange noise.. X and Y kept the old-school banter going, as if nothing had ever happened; as if they HAD been speaking for the last three months.

All was right with the world again. No more soap-opera crap.

At some point you have to realise that all of the bullshit doesn't matter. Your mates are your mates, and if you did the wrong thing, then work around it, apologise (or don't), talk about it, argue about it, even fight about it, just move on -- when there's extended periods of not-talking, and the whole exclusion zone thing that eventuates, when other people stop talking to each other because you're not, and rude exchanges happen between friends who are neither point A nor point B of the melodramatic binary system.. it's gone too far. Way too far.

But all's well that ends well. Order is restored, and without fisticuffs, firebombings, table-smashing, speedboat gun battles, or court cases featuring the line "Your Honour, if that IS your REAL NAME.."

Though if I was to put myself in the same situation I know I wouldn't be as level-headed as I'm pamphleteering for... all likelyhood I'd probably leave town for a few days to work out what the fuck to do. Though that's from experience. Getting on a bike and riding 3.. 4.. 500km is one of the most clarity-inducing things you can do; just after Christmas I did Shepparton-Albury; empty country roads and no people for two days.. in November I rode Broken Hill - Mildura -- 300km of desert, one roadhouse, and one idiot -- to and from Ballarat several times last year, a myriad of trips to Noojee and similar in previous years.

In fact just being on a bike and doing some serious distance is a very cleansing thing in itself.. you sweat like crap (cleans the skin and gives you this healthy glow -- after my desert sojourn quite a few people commented on how well I looked, though admittedly that's partly because of getting sun for a week in Sydney beforehand, ie being outside and not living my usual nocturnal windowless existance), you keep yourself fit, you see things you would NEVER see from a car, you feed your conscience, and most of all you get time to think, particularly if doing long country road distance where the intersections are few and far between, and you don't have to spend half your time working out where the hell you are.

I just realised my best photos in this vein by far are a batch I shot in Vermont South at ~4am in September 2002.. but shot on film, shall have to scan them.

Tonight after FINALLY seeing Team America in a cinema I floated around taking photos of empty streets. Empty suburban streets in the early hours are great; big empty spaces without cars; deprived of their contemporary 'normal' context and repainted closer to their original state -- remember inner melbourne has beautifully planned roads, but they weren't built for cars.. no traffic noise, the only noise your tyres. Particularly on a clear still night like tonight; then merging back into the traffic, flying down Alexandra Parade with drivers confused when you're sitting on 55km/h and overtaking them; the rushing wind in your ears, well tuned bike underneath running like clockwork (previous times when my bike wasn't as well maintained riding like that at night had a certain climax-scene-of-a-sci-fi-film feel about it, where the bike shook and rattled and you almost weren't sure whether it was actually going to hold together).

In halcyon-days of the X/Y crew, we used to drink after work in the city on Friday nights, then head down Elwood-way to continue the session well into the early hours (of Sunday, usually). Everyone else would cab it, and I'd (mildly sloshed) jump on the bike and bucket down there. Not only would I be stone cold sober again by the time I reached the destination, I'd usually beat the cab travellers by a good 10 minutes. Nobody could work out how I did it, and some theorised I was jumping on a train or somesuch. I'm half unsure how I did it too, but it was primarily based on a combination of absolutely hammering the crap out of the bike/legs system (pent up energy in my legs from standing all day at work then sitting down for four hours), and the odd clear-run through the lights on St Kilda Rd, or taking backstreets and hammering it moreso (and more dangerously).

The nights themselves were not a good way to clear your head (unless you're from the make-a-sandwich-with-an-angle-grinder school), but just getting out there and clocking up some solid KMs at a high rate is great therapy.

Many years ago I used to regularly (more than once a week) get up at ~3:30-4am and ride more than 100km before 10-11am. I'd ride Carnegie - Alamein - Camberwell - Fairfield - Merri Creek to Coburg - Moonee Ponds Creek to Broadmeadows - West Sunshine - Footscray - CBD - Prahran - Carnegie.

I think I really need to start doing that again.

In other news..

... in space. Even when I'm talking shite in French I generally drop in "... in space" somewhere. I think the brothers Chaps may be tapping my phone conversations and/or reading the transcripts of the thorough police surveillance of my living room.

The combination of a bottle of red, Phillip Glass music and blogging at 3am puts one in a pensive mood. (This has been a public service announcement)

1 Comment - [post a comment]

fluffy, Monday, March 21, 2005, 6:05 AM
I've been reading more and more of you crazy road bike types. makes me want to go out and get something extremely lightweight and learn to maintain it.



Is Carlton not a cyclist's paradise? Wide, quiet, tree lined streets with a fat grassy median strip and then you've got a bike lane to boot. What more could you ask for? Oh yes - the whole thing is FLAT. No hills! Canning Street is very good for giving a tail wind both ways. I heart you Carlton. My Mum asked me if it was a bit dangerous riding to work and I assured her that I was safe because I go from Brunswick to Fitzroy, ie. through Carlton.