Maybe it’s a country thing to talk about the weather, but today it was 45 degrees in Schmoebs.
That kind of heat physically stings bare flesh after two seconds in the sun and makes you feel like putting on sunscreen just to make the ten step trek from the office to the Portaloo. It’s a different, more stickier heat than Alice Springs where I used to live, where by the time you walked from your office to your car you could feel beads of sweat rolling down to your ankles and your mouth would be sucked dry of all moisture. To venture anywhere without a water bottle was totally ridiculous. I used to keep a constant eye on bom.gov.au and watch the temperature rise and fall.
When I first moved to Alice I lived in a loft of a small apartment with a lovely optometrist, her one eyed fish called Captain Jack Sparrow and my Carolla called Daryl. All the hot air from the whole apartment would rise up into my room, where my tiny old aircon and ceiling fan would put up a meager defense. I’d lie awake at night those first few weeks with wet towels on my head and whenever I’d feel the slightest hint of a cool breeze I’d jump up and squash my face up to the fly screen and smile.
Up in that loft I tried to teach myself the harmonica. The apartment was next to a major intersection, railway, ambulance station and in the summer months a drinking camp would establish itself in the nature strip across the road. Lots of romantic bluesy background noise for my lonely harmonica.
At first I’d dress up in my best dresses and go to the theatre alone. I joined every committee, went to every gig and signed up for the cabaret. I slowly got used to the smell of my own sweat and the fact that there were no recycling facilities. I discovered the joy of swimming in an outdoor 50m pool with the sunset reflecting in the water. Discovered the simple pleasure of measuring out fair trade chocolate almonds into paper bags organic honey into recycled jars at the The Aghan Traders.
My housemate threw a Friday 13th party and I dressed up in a low-backed tight black velvet mini dress with long sleeves I’d found at the op shop, cats ears and a tail. The first dude through the door had asunglasses tan and wore boardshorts. He looked me up and down slowly then said ‘How much do you charge per night?’ When I didn’t respond he said ‘Y’know, because you look like a bit of a hooker.’ Things improved when I met a peroxide blonde girl who’d also moved up the same week. This shared common experience must surely meant we’d be BFFs!
She did introduce me to Jagerbombs, gambling, Nintendo (all of which I’d previously hated) and a totally babin’ guy in a grey suit, all within 24 hours. After spending a day at the races we all went back to my new BFF’s house to play wii tennis, which seemed so much less lame when playing it with a grey suited gentleman! My new BFF drove The Suit and I to my place, where we made out a little bit in the car but I politely/coyly gave him my number and explained that ‘I don’t fuck on the first date’.
The very next day we began what would be a week long text conversation which would result in plans for him to cook me dinner at my house that weekend while I made desert. Donna Hay’s chocolate mousse recipe would surely seal the deal!
For the uninitiated, to make mousse* properly is a two-day process. The day before, you must beat or whisk a whole lot of shit together for ages, leave it to sit for a few hours, then stir through some other shit. For best effect melt some dark chocolate into intricate patterns on individual sundae glasses (purchased specifically for this purpose) and refrigerate these so the chocolate hardens. Then pour the mousse mixture into these glasses and leave in the fridge overnight.
Then all you need to do on the night of the date is play some Michael Jackson and spend ages picking an outfit and making a playlist while you wait for 7.30pm to roll around!
At 6pm I received a text: ‘Not feeling up to it, sorry.’
Here are some theories I came up with as to the meaning behind this text:
A) I have explosive squirty bum diarrhea and I’m vomiting up corn I don’t remember eating (ie actually sick)
B) My friend/relative just died (ie major incident)
C) I forgot we had a date and got uproariously drunk at lunch (ie douchebag)
D) I met someone way hotter and more interesting this morning and now I’m tired from shagging them all day (ie major douchebag)
E) I’m just not that into you despite all the promising text I’ve sent all week (seeming more and more likely)
All week I had been looking forward to a good home cooked meal, good conversation and the good-kind-of-nervous-that-comes-with-not-knowing-what-will-happen-next feeling! Now there was nothing good on television, nothing in the fridge for dinner, my three other friends were busy and my old friends were in time zones where it was too late to call!
I wondered if I should have tried fucking on the first date, or just stuck to the tried and true ‘only date people you’ve been friends with for at least 18 months’ policy that had worked for me my entire life.
In the end I found Pirates of the Caribbean in my housemate’s DVD collection and settled down to eat four sundae glasses full of chocolate mousse with Johnny Depp.
*a variation on this awesome recipe is to use your favourite flavour of chocolate – mint is delicious.