I had a particularly surreal day yesterday.
I went over to Morley to do some shopping, nothing surreal about that, I’m just setting the scene. I needed to get some expanding gap sealant to fill various holes around the apartment that were letting things like cockroaches and pot smoke in. I also needed some new shoes – my old ones have some major holes in the soles which isn’t a problem in fine weather but causes some problems when it starts to rain, and since Autumn finally seems to have arrived I figured I’d better do something about it.
(Actually I did try and do something about it with a bit of amateur shoe repair. I cut new soles from some plastic sheet I had around and stuck them into the shoes with my hot glue gun. This didn’t really work, the plastic was too stiff and started cracking as soon as I put them on and the hot glue didn’t seem to stick properly anyway. The repairs on my slippers went perfectly though.)
So I wandered around Morley buying hadware and shoes and such. Then it was back to the bus station where the surrealism started courtesy of an old woman who seemed to be entertaining herself by hitting people with her cane and ordering them to smile. THAWCK! “Smile!”. She wasn’t hitting people particularly hard, being a feeble old woman, but it still seemed somewhat counterproductive to my eye. Once the bus arrived she grabbed a seat right at the front and replaced the cane-thwacking with grabbing people’s arms in a vice-like grip as they went past. GRAB! “Smile!”. She was probably insane 🙂
So the bus started off. It was a different number to the one I used to catch (since I only have to get to Bayswater now I have a wider selection of buses to choose from) and took a much more direct route without all that annoying rat-running through tiny suburban streets around the aquatic centre. All was going well and quite normally when the driver’s two way radio suddenly crackled to life and filled the bus with a conversation between a guy and girl planning to meet up at “The Deen*The Aberdeen Hotel that is, a popular nightspot – or so I’m told“. Apparently their mobile phone signal had got tangled up in the ether with the frequency used by Transperth buses. So, we journeyed down Coode Street listening to them deciding what time to hook up (they eventually decided ‘around 6:00’) and an interminably pointless story about how the guy had convinced the DJ at the Deen that he was ‘Kevin’s brother’, despite not actually being so. Thankfully they eventually hung up 🙂
So I arrived back home and got to work doing handyman-like stuff. I was minding my own business drilling some holes in the bathroom wall when there came a loud THUMP THUMP THUMP at my door. Not just a ordinarily vigourous thumping, a distinctly angry thumping. So I got down off the chair I was balancing on and carefully opened the door, holding the hand drill ready in case I needed to defend myself.
Standing on the other side was a middle aged tattooed man in a singlet with a distinct smell of Jim Beam*Or something quite alcoholic. What am I, a brewer? around him. “Have you got my dog in there?!” he demanded, with both vigour and spittle.
I was struck dumb for a few seconds in sheer confusion. “No” I finally managed to blurt out.
“You sure?” the guy demanded, slightly less violently and apparently a bit confused himself.
“Yeah” I answered, stepping aside to let him see into the apartment. “No dogs in ‘ere mate*In situations like this it’s best to address people as ‘mate’ and drop your ‘H’s. It makes you sound like a true blue dinkum bloke rather than a potential dog thief.“. He peered inside uncertainly for a few seconds, muttered “OK then” and walked off, probably not entirely convinced.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no idea who this man is, or what’s happened to his dog. I’m vaguely worried that he’s going to come back with the police and a warrant to search my unit for pilfered canines and then when they find nothing I’m going to be sat down at a table and have a bright light shone in my face while a Seargent shouts “We know you took the dog, what did you do with it you sick freak?!”. But then vague worries like this are just part of my day to day existance anyway 🙂
So yes, very surreal.
Talking of surreality I have to mention a paper headline I saw earlier this week. Charles/Camilla Wedding Postponed for Pope’s Funeral. Show that to someone five years ago and they wouldn’t believe it. There’s been an inordinate amount of media fuss concerning the Royal wedding this week, at least one TV station broadcast the whole thing live, which seems particularly pointless to me as the show would have gone something like…
Shot of Windsor Castle. Car drives out of Windsor Castle and down 50 metres of road to Guild Hall. Charles and Camilla get out of car and walk into Guild Hall. Half an hour’s footage of outside of Guild Hall. Charles and Camilla walk out of Guild Hall and get into car. Car drives up 50 metres of road and into Windsor Castle. Shot of Windsor Castle. End broadcast.
OK, they may have broadcast the blessing ceremony in the castle after that (I neither know or really care) but still, do we really need to see all this in real time? It’s enough to turn you into a Republican.
And of course the whole thing has stirred up the Republic issue again. The Republican Movement celebrated the wedding by having a Yum Cha breakfast on the basis that this was a ‘very Australian’ thing to do. I would suggest that it’s actually a very chic and trendy thing for rich middle class yuppies to do, which only confirms my views on the hardcores of the Republican Movement.
I should probably clarify my views on the Republic issue here before I receive a whole load of hate mail or something. I’m not a Republican, but neither am I a Monarchist. I’m a Status-Quoist. I don’t really have any problem with the way things are run at the moment and as such don’t see the need for all the bother and expense of changing things. I mean, OK, technically we’re ruled by the Queen, but it’s not like she ever does any serious ruling. She just rubber stamps all our laws by proxy via the Governor General. If she was bossing us around all the time I could see a reason for getting rid of her, but she doesn’t, so why the problem?
That said, if the majority of the Australian population want a Republic (which polls suggest they do) I have no objections. I think the whole debate (on both sides) is akin to arguing over which end to crack eggs, but people will have their weird little obssesions about ‘freedom’ and such, so what can you do?
(Mind you, the day Camilla becomes Queen is the day I lead the march on Government House with a flaming torch – but a lot of Brits seem to think the same way, so what are the odds of her actually becoming Queen? Princess Consort is a much more reasonable compromise).
Anyway, enough on Charles and Camilla and onto the other major story of the week, the Pope, or rather the new Pope that the Cardinals are going to elect in a few weeks. There’s some pretty scary candidates being talked about, some real hardcore fire and brimstone types, particularly a few of the guys out of Africa. But they probably won’t get in. The College of Cardinals has shown itself pretty good at selecting moderate*Moderate for the Catholic Church that is compromise candidates over the years rather than anyone too controversial. I could go off and research the various candidates at this point, but that sounds like too much work, so I’m just going to take the easy route and turn to good old Saint Malachy 🙂
Saint Malachy (for those not in the know) was an English Bishop who in the middle ages was paid to make a pilgramage to Rome by someone else on their behalf – which was the kind of behaviour the Medieval church found perfectly acceptable (and Martin Luther so annoying). In any case he made it to Rome and on arrival (so we’re told) collapsed to the ground and started muttering away uncontrollably in Latin. These days we’d diagnose him as suffering severe travel fatigue and put him to bed with a cold drink, but the Romans of the day decided he was in a prophetic trance and one of them was quick enough to jot down everything he said. It turned out (we’re reliably informed) that he was running through the tally of future Popes, giving a short Latin motto or description for each one. Almost as soon as he finished theologians got to work trying to make it all match up, and the great game of predicting the next Pope based on the prophecies of Saint Malachy began (and has never really stopped since).
As with all vague predictions (Michael De Nostradame anyone?) you can basically make the prophecies of Saint Malachy say whatever you want them to. Probably the biggest problem lies with the fact that for a lengthy while in the middle ages there were two rival lines of Popes (one in Rome and one in France) so you can pick and choose as to which Saint Malachy was meant to be talking about (some even try to fit them all in, but this isn’t hugely popular as it means you tend to run out of predicted Popes in the 18th or 19th century and where’s the fun in that?). But eventually over the years a general concensus has been reached on who fits where, and we can confidently report that the next Pope will be De Gloria Olivae or “The Glory of the Olive” (whatever that may mean).
(For the record Pope John Paul II was De Labore Solis which may refer to him being born during a solar eclipse, his working in a limestone quarry during World War II for a company that used a sun as its logo, or perhaps nothing at all).
So, we’re going to end up with “The Glory of the Olive”. What can you say about that? Except idly speculate about the new Pope having some connection to Judaism, or ‘working for peace’, or coming from an olive growing region, or having a fondness for stuffed olives at Papal tea-time.
Much more interesting is the Pope after De Gloria Olivae, who will be Petrus Romanus – “Peter the Roman” and the last Pope!. Malachy (presumably having got all the preceeding stuff off his chest) gets positively chatty with this one informing us that…
In persecutione extrema Sacrae Romanae Ecclesiae sedebit Petrus Romanus qui pascet oves in multis tribultionibus; quibus transactis, civitias septicollis dirvetur; et Judex tremendus judicabit populum.
Or in English…
During the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church will sit Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep during many tribulations, and when these have passed the city of the seven hills will be completely destroyed and the great Judge shall judge the people.
That’s right people, the destruction of Rome and Judgement day! Something to look forwards to there and only two Popes away! Good old Malachy, knew to end it all with a bang rather than a whimper.
So, let’s all keep an eye on whoever the Cardinals elect, and see who can be the first to connect him to olives, glorious olives 🙂
I was going to write more, but I’m all worn out now from sarcasm, so you’ll all have to wait for the next installment in my amazing life. Yawn 🙂