I Can Count On You Like 4-3-2

[Count On Me – Bruno Mars]

I think I can hit 15 posts a month this month! WOW! It shouldn’t have been so hard but oh boy…

Yesterday I caught up with Cathy and what I’ve come to associate as “Cathy’s Group” for a joint birthday picnic. I went into the city early because my parents offered to drop me off at the station. I took the opportunity to stroll from Flinders to Melb Central – though, with the number of people in the city yesterday, it was a slow walk – and bumped into Mo- and Bon along the way. There was a moment of slight stalkerism when I did a double take to get Mo-‘s attention, but because they responded to my call, I think I was redeemed.

Spent quite a lot of time trying to buy a present. I think, from now on, if I decide to buy feminine jewelery, I’m going to try to dress more appropriately for the store, because I walked into Diva and it felt like I had neon arrows pointing at me with the label “DOES NOT BELONG HERE”.

I did manage to find presents for both Cathy and Anna – a rather cute bracelet for Anna, and a rape whistle for Cathy (it looked really cool and had real leather for the strap and I felt like it could see Cathy through her Europe Trip) – and then walked around Borders trying to find one more overdue birthday gift, only to realize I had no more money on me for such purposes, so I started wandering back to the clock where everyone was meant to meet.

Almost had to use the rape whistle when Pearl tried to hug me from behind to surprise me. Her and Sheina had gotten to the city early, and they’d just arrived at the clock as well. There was a Diet Coke retail therapy sort of area near the clock, with couches, so the three of us did some “free advertising” for them by sitting there and drinking their free hand-outs and looking like we were having a good time. It turned out to be a blessed rest, because Cathy and Carey took over half an hour to finally arrive.

After they’ve arrived, followed shortly by Jalex, it was nearly 4 pm. Cathy mentioned that she wanted to go to the Fitzroy Gardens, and that she “had a general idea” where it was. Unfortunately, her general idea included walking around the entire Parliament house instead of cutting through Parliament Square. It wasn’t that hot yesterday, but the walk was long enough for complaints to be warranted.

So we finally found the park, and a lovely shaded spot to have our picnic (which wouldn’t have been complete without an exploding bottle of coke). Halfway through, Jack mentioned that he needed the bathroom, and completely missed the fact that when we pointed vaguely into the park saying “there, there, there”, we were actually pointing at various trees he could go behind. After a few minutes of him looking aimlessly past the trees, he wandered off in the opposite direction to find an actual toilet building.

Perhaps 5 or 10 minutes later, he came wandering back, and the first words that escaped from his mouth were, “Okay, don’t go to the boys’ bathroom. There was a beat going on in there.”

His twin, Alex, responded immediately, “Oh my god, really? What happened?”

It turned out that there is actually a word for when males solicit sex in the toilets: BEAT, and poor Jack had walked in on one such male waiting for a client. His harrowing experience thus led to a full explanation of glory-holes – I learned something yesterday, and I’m not sure if I wanted to learn it. (Especially certain things about MHS.)

With the time nearing 6pm, and the winds picking up strong enough for us to be cold, we packed up our little picnic and decided to head back for Melb Central to meet up with Angie. On the way back to Parliament station, we passed the Hyatt (which was convenient because I actually was worrying about finding it on Friday but now I know where it is), and Alex said he wanted to use the bathroom (and none of us wanted to use the park bathroom after what we were told). We were worried that we couldn’t just waltz into the freaking Hyatt and use the bathroom, but Alex did anyway, and he came out full of praises about how extravagant the place was. At his words, the girls (Cathy, Sheina, Pearl and I) and Jack decided that we’d go as well – if anything just to see what it’s like inside. (Needless to say, it was obviously very glamorous and high-class, but that’s not my story yet.)

When we were done and about to leave the bathroom, Sheina mentioned that we should do the obligatory bathroom shot, especially since we were in a bathroom in the Hyatt, where there were vases. I was holding the door open, saying that we should just leave, when Jack showed up and saw that we were trying to take photos. I don’t know what he was thinking, or if he was thinking at all, but he stepped into the girls’ bathroom, grabbed the camera, and while just on the threshold of the bathroom, started taking photos of the other girls while I hid behind a door, disbelieving.

In that exact moment, a complete stranger walked into the bathroom, and I could only imagine what she was thinking as she saw Jack standing there with a camera, pointing into the bathroom. Cathy and I hauled ass as fast as we could – I just really didn’t want to get blacklisted before Friday – and managed to hold our laughs in until outside the hotel.

When we made it back to Melb Central, the Diet Coke retail therapy had been cordoned off, but because all the seats around the clock were taken, they decided to sit in there anyway. We caught up with Jackie O (oh I like writing it like that), who I haven’t seen since the first time I met her, and waited there for Angie to show up. When she finally did, she did so in the most fashionable way (late, and incredibly well dressed in her Forever New outfit because she worked there and had to leave her job at Myer and ergh what a successful girl) with Richard (i.e. Exclamation Mark guy from Pearl’s Flare performance). I was surprised to hear that they all knew and wanted to go to Giraffe cafe, and after having Jalex yell at her about how adorable the place is, Angie and Cathy thought they would check it out.

Since the last time I was at Giraffe wasn’t exactly the happiest of times, I was determined to have some fun this time around. It turned out to be pretty damn easy to do it – we started off with a game of Jenga, and my GOD that game is intense! Everyone starts breathing in sync and I’m pretty sure I was telepathically linked to my fellow game-mates Jackie and Pearl for a while there. In the end, it was Jackie’s gusto that led to her demise, as the tower came crashing down on her otherwise fluid extractions.

After Jackie left, the drinks and foods started arriving. When they’ve been adequately consumed (but not wholly), one of the waitresses brought out the birthday brownies for Cathy. Poor girl didn’t light the candles up when she brought it in, instigating some sighs from Alex. And when she tried to light it at the table, her lighter failed on her.

Another round of Jenga ensued, but this time we noticed that a table behind us were creating architecturally radical designs, and that prompted Carey to do the same. Things became ridiculous when pieces were stacked vertically on top, or on a slant. When the tower fell, a piece fell into Cathy’s ice cream. This prompted Jack to say, “Are you still going to eat that now that woody’s been in it?”

The day was finished off with a more than jovial ticket barrier lady at Melb Central. Cathy’s ticket got eaten by the machine, and so the lady stood there and had a chat with us about what we could possibly do to get the ticket back out. When the ticket finally came out, the lady took a look at it and tsked, “well, here’s your problem it’s expired.” Off Cathy’s startled shriek, she broke into a grin, “Just kidding! Have a happy new year!”

I think all staff should be like that. Enjoying their job and not putting other people down.

WELL, over 1500 words! It was a long, eventful and HILARIOUS day! There were many stories I didn’t put down for the sake of Sheina’s privacy (oops?), but maybe that sentence will at least jog my own memory.

Happy New Year, everyone, I won’t be writing in here until after we hit 2011. (I will queue up a post for midnight, though!) Have a safe few days, and may 2011 be better than 2010 if you had a shit 2010, or be better than 2010 even if you had a good 2010.

Alex.

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