Love’s Labours Lost at Lamonts

Marron and embarrasing recollections at Claisebrook Cove

You know, I seem to be suffering from awful amotivational syndrome at the moment. Now that’s usually a term used to describe the effects of pot consumption, which certainly isn’t the case here, but it’s a fairly accurate description of how I’m feeling. Mentally dull, detached and completely unmotivated to do anything at all.

Which is a problem because I’ve got to go to work tomorrow. I mean I’ll go, but I don’t know how well I’ll be able to concentrate. Guess I’ll just have to suck down the caffeine and manage as best I can.

I have had a reasonably busy weekend. Went around to Rebecca and Dom’s new place in East Perth then we went out to lunch at Lamonts at Claisebrook Cove. I had the marron which was nice, but involved a fair bit of work because (Lamonts being such a classy joint) they serve them in their shells and you have to dissect them before you can eat them. This to my mind is the kind of thing they should handle in the kitchen, but then what do I know about the lifestyles of the rich and famous?

Anyway it was a good day out, although one odd note was that one of the waitresses seemed awfully familiar. She kept glaring at me too, although I don’t know if this was because she recognised me, or if she objected to my continual glancing at her to try and figure out who she was. I strongly suspect she was a girl I went to high school with, a girl that I shall refer to as Sam.

Sam wasn’t at St Francis’s for very long, I think she was there for about a year, year 9 or 10 perhaps. She was actually the cousin of and shared a surname with one of the more dominant Rebels, which (to my somewhat deranged mind) gave her a certain edge – a frisson of danger if you will – although hardly knowing anything about her I can’t say whether this impression was in the least bit accurate.

Of course as with most of the girls at my high school that weren’t actually physically deformed I thought Sam was pretty cute and had a bit of a crush on her. However any vague hope I had of getting to know her was ruined by a totally ridiculous – and in hindsight fairly funny – incident that took place one day after school while waiting for the train at Central Terminal.

There were a bunch of us who used to hang together on the train. Justin Simes, Carl Taylor and a few others, occasionally including the unpredictable semi-bully Megsy. We’d sit up one end of the carriages (these were the old diesel belching monsters that ruled the rails before electrification) in what was almost an old fashioned compartment between the passenger doors and the inter-carriage door. You could comfortably seat eight people in there who would be pretty much hidden from the rest of the carriage. We got up to all kinds of chaos on those trips home – the most memorable being Mike Harris’s mooning the cars at the Farnborough level crossing – although I was usually more of an uneasy bystander than a real participant.

On this particular day most of the gang were absent. It was just me and Justin waiting for the train. And surprisingly – to me at any rate – Sam. I don’t know if she and Justin were friends, or if she was just bored, but she wandered up and started a conversation – a conversation including the both of us.

I did my best to be cool, although on the inside I was doing the usual geek “oh my god oh my god she’s talking to me oh wow oh wow don’t blow this man just be cool man just be cool” thing. The three of us chatted for a minute or two, and then she suggested we moved further down the platform where there were some seats free. We assented, and I bent down to pick up my bag.

Now you need to know some things about the equipment I used to carry to and from school. My bag for instance. It was one of the standard, shapeless, green, zip-up bags with two straps and the school crest on the side that we all had to use (in my last two years they expanded the rules to include green backpacks with the school logo, but I never had one of those). In any case mine was fairly old and beaten up, and the zipper was so temperamental that I often left it unzipped.

And you need to know about the files we used. Everyone was required to have a large lever-arch file to store their school work in. I could never be bothered to actually clip anything into it, I’d just shove it in, resulting in it acting merely as a cover for a huge pile of loose leaf papers (my year nine social studies teacher used to take great joy in grabbing it off my desk, taking it up to the front of the room, shaking it out in front of everyone then making me pick it all up – but then he was a sadist who called people ‘gecko-head’).

Anyway on this particular day on the railway platform with Sam and Justin I grabbed my unzipped bag – containing my file – and swung it in a carefully calculated cool and nonchalant motion up to my shoulder…

Unfortunately I only happened to grab one of the straps. Also my file was sticking out the top, paper side uppermost. The bag swung around in a graceful arc, and right at the top of its ascent launched my entire term’s work out in a high velocity wad that quickly separated and landed gently all over the railway tracks.

I stood there in shock, with an expression on my face not unlike that of a stunned mullet. Sam burst into immediate hysterical laughter, as did numerous standers by. Much to his credit Justin immediately jumped down onto the tracks and started gathering everything up (this being quite safe as the station was the end of the line and you could see trains coming for a good kilometre away). I chased down the papers on the platform and before long everything was back under control. But any small chance I might have had of not looking like a complete dork in front of Sam was totally shot, and I never spoke to her again. She left the school not long afterwards.

So that’s one of many incidents of humiliation from my high school years, brought back to mind by possibly running into the girl involved. At least I can actually laugh about it now 🙂