Thursday, September 01, 2005

Nostalgia: Making the present look crap.

Last night I went to meet my friend Jenny, who is my best friend. I met Jenny through an orchestra in which we both used to play the cello from the age of maybe 13 to 15. Maybe younger than that.
Every Monday night we used to grudgingly go along the music school, sit wearily upon the hard plastic chairs and shiver through an hour and a half of various bits of Mozart, Bach, Brahms and the rest of the crew.
To shake things up a bit we would sometimes try to subtley de-tune our cellos so that we could have to waste a bit of time tuning them, shaking our heads in badly-faked exasperation. Other times, when the going became particularly tough or we had been told off for talking for the fiftieth time in the last ten minutes, we would play the whole piece on open strings, without putting our fingers on any notes. With a ten people-string cello section it wasn't that obvious what we were doing, it just kind of subtley making things sound all wrong.
I know, I know, rebellious. Rock and ROLL.

So Jenny and I have been good friends since the old days of Monday night orchestrations, and then we went travelling together before we parted ways to go to different universities. She went off to Nottingham and I went to Warwick.

I treasure the memories of travelling with my Jen. Sometimes when we meet up we get out those memories and unwrap them, telling each other stories we both already know, recalling people we met and loved, places we stayed.

Last night we did that.

We remembered my nineteenth birthday, spent in a banana factory on the East coast of Australia in a place called Tully. We started work at 6am, and stood in 2 inches of water in a production line in the huge fluorescently lit factory, packing bananas in boxes until 4pm. With two fifteen minute breaks. In the whole day. That's a LOT of banana packing. Jenny was standing behind me, and we spent the whole day telling each other variations on the following joke:
What do you call a really cunning popstar?
Wiley Minogue.
Variations can be, for example, What do you call a popstar that floats on the surface of water? Bobby Williams. Or What do you call a popstar who has to shave their whole body every day? Mariah Hairy.
You get the picture. I didn't say they were good jokes.

We remembered the time I fell off my moped in the Cook Islands and spent an hour taking photos of a really insignificant looking crab because (as it later transpired) I was in shock.

Also the time we watched a lightning storm whilst camping in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, and stood in awe as the raggedy streaks lit up the sky like a network of luminous veins from horizon to horizon.

Climbing in Thailand, sky-diving in New Zealand, diving in Cairns.

The people we wanted to be, the people we secretly fell in love with, the people whose necks we would have cheerfully wrung.

The time I got sunburnt so badly that I had blisters all over my back and arms for two weeks, making putting my rucksack on impossible. Jenny's run in with bedbugs, resulting in five pence piece-sized bites agonizingly erupting all over her legs. Sunbathing topless for the first time. Getting our noses pierced together. Not, like, pierced together so that we were joined at the nose with one bit of metal, no, I meant at the same time. Then mine being wrong and my nose swelling up inside and the man having to wrench the piercing out with pliers in an operation that took twenty minutes of screaming and swearing (me) and being in danger of testicles being ripped off (him).

We don't always talk about travelling when we get together. We discuss our career plans, our love situations, our families, our living situations, everything that best friends talk about. But sometimes we open the box where we keep our mutual memories and re-live the experiences that bonded us so tightly. Last night was one of those times, and it was lovely.

And, before you ask, yes. There was wine. I am not ashamed.


Blogger Dancinfairy said...

Wow. I am so jealous. I wish that I had seen and done a lot of the things you did. I have always wanted to travel but fear of going alone and never having the means to go when others did have transpired to keep me here in the good old UK. That and my fear of bugs.

Thanks for your lovely comments today it has made the hangover more bearable!

4:15 pm

Blogger Doug said...

I finally submitted my paperwork for my passport today. IN October, I will be visiting Germany (beggers can't be choosers) which will be my first EVER experience out of the country (I haven't even been to Canada which is, Oh, 5 hours away).

5:32 pm

Anonymous number1hypocrite said...

Wine + Good Time + Nostalgia Trips


The Win.

5:00 am

Blogger C said...

hmmm... wiiiine.

Red or White?

1:33 pm


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