Coming Down

Almost like the Lost Weekend.

No snakes came out of the walls, no bats flew around my room.

1945-The-Lost-Weekend-08
Scene from The Lost Weekend, a Billy Wilder film starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman (1945).

But I had some really weird dreams and I was pretty much incapable of doing normal things without being clumsy.  I walked into walls and felt disoriented. On the up side, I felt none of the usual leg pain.  That was remarkable.  It was actually a pleasant buzz and I sort of liked it.  But I was fully aware that I was not in operational mode and should not, for instance, be driving a vehicle.  The GP did not mention any side effects like this when she prescribed this medication.    I learned about it on the web.

Maybe the GP did not anticipate my reaction at the dose prescribed.  Perhaps I am sensitive to this drug, or the other medications I am on interacted in some way.

Whatever, this morning I still felt a bit wonky so after tending to the laundry, feeding and playing with Zeus, I spent much of the day in bed enjoying some more weird dreams.  All a bit surreal, if not psychedelic.

Before I did I spoke to the neighbours who were up early raking up leaves in their yard. They asked how I was and I told them I was still a bit stoned and told them why.  My natural honesty and frankness coming out.

It may be coincidence, but shortly after I spoke to the neighbours, the boss called on the phone.  I told her about the state I was in and why.  She was very supportive.  I promised to get back to normal before I drive up to town.

I shall not be taking any more of these pills until I have spoken again with the doc.

When I was 16 I had a similar experience taking some medication prescribed by one Dr. Ogg at the Bexley clinic in Remuera.  He was supposed to be curing my stammer.  I know he started me on Mogadon, then switched me to something else.  I don’t know what it was; the pills were stamped with the letters OCPA.  I was stoned out of my head for months until Peter Gruebner, my form teacher and subsequent friend and role model, contacted my mother to say the school thought I might be a drug addict.  She flushed the pills down the loo.  I went through a difficult withdrawal period.

Mind you, I never stammered while I was taking those pills.

I was riding a 250cc Triumph Tigress at the time.  FSM only knows how I stayed alive.

I did not like giving them up though.  The withdrawal was difficult.  I don’t remember much about that time, except while coming down I had a fight with my brother for some reason I do not remember and smashed my guitar over his head.  That ended my future as a rock star and set me on a different path.  I never did learn to play.  A tragic loss to the world of music.

That is not going to happen again.

 

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Extreme Sport

This photo of the Fitzroy river in flood under the Willare Bridge, on the road between Fitzroy Crossing and Broome, was published on FaceBook a while back.

It reminded me of when I drove that way, going to a meeting in Broome in the Holden Colorado.  The river was not so high then.   It was in the dry season.

fitzroy

As I approached the bridge I saw a rental campervan parked on the verge at the end.

A young man was climbing on the parapet in the middle of the bridge and  was clearly about to jump in.  I pulled up beside him and wound down my window.  He looked nervously at the Shire logo on my Colorado, then returned my friendly smile as I said “G’day mate. Having fun?”

“Yes” he answered in a German accent.

I knew it. Tourist.

“You know that’s pretty dangerous”.  I said.

“Oh no! The water is very deep. We checked first before we started to jump”.

“Good”, I answered. “How long have you been swimming here?”

“About twenty minutes.  It is not illegal, yes?”

“Oh it is not illegal. But I am thinking you should stop. Twenty minutes should be just about enough time for the crocodiles to realise you are here. They will have heard you jumping in, with all the big splashes you must be making.”

“Crocodiles?”

“Yes. Big man-eating salties live in this river.  If it was only freshies I’d say go on and have fun. Freshies are harmless.  But salties… They eat people”.

He called out urgently to his companions below, in German.  I recognised only the word “Krokodil”.

He looked very pale as he waited for his companions to scramble up the bank..

“it is not a joke, yes?”

“No joke mate.  This area is full of crocodiles. Be very careful where you swim”.

We talked a little more. They had driven up from Perth. They were heading for Darwin.   It seemed no one had told them about the crocs in this part of the country.

Tourists.

Outback Spaceman

I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I’ve got speed
I’ve got everything I need
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I can fly
I’m a supersonic guy

I don’t need pleasure
I don’t feel pain
If you were to knock me down I’d just get up again
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I’m makin’ out
I’m all about

I wake up every morning with a smile upon my face
My natural exuberance spills out all over the place
I’m the outback spaceman, I’m intelligent and clean
Know what I mean?

with apologies to Neil Innes
HDR_0375

Back to Billiluna yesterday and finally started on cleaning up the donga.  Committed genocide on a billion spiders that festooned the walls and ceiling.  Some looked as if they might be redbacks who had moved in during my absence.  I spent a lot of time cleaning up the deliberately spilt food and herbs and spices, scrubbing and bleaching and sorting out the stuff thrown on the floor, at least where I needed to walk.  Bedding all washed and sanitised with Domestos.  Unpleasant little gifts uncovered and removed as I went.

I got a better idea of what was gone, and what was not.  I hate to add up the cost of what I have lost.  Sentimental value aside, I think it possibly amounts to around 15 to 20 grand.  It is ironic, isn’t it, that a few blogs ago after the first burglary, I wrote that I had too much stuff and I needed to figure out what to do with it.  I guess that problem is solved.

Finally, having made a good start on the mess, and finding myself psychologically stable in the face of this shit heap,  I decided to sleep and start again in the morning.  I set up my CPAP and settled down on my mattress with a sleeping bag. Within minutes my skin was crawling and I was being bitten by something tiny I could not see or catch. Cooties?

Sod this.  I can cope with the smell of pee and the other adversities, but this was too much.  I pack up my kit and drive back to Halls Creek, itching all the way, arriving at the SPQ around midnight.  Hot shower, clothes into the washing machine to soak with hot water and bleach, then to bed in what seems to have become my second home. I shall try again next week after giving the place a good permethrin spray and airing out.

For those newcomers who have not been following, the story so far:
I live in a remote community in the outback in a small portable home called a donga.
I was burgled twice in a month while I was away from the place, the second in particular being very devastatingly thorough in removal of my property and destruction of what was not taken.
CPAP: Constant Positive Air Pressure machine. A device for those who suffer sleep apnoeia. I am one.
SPQ: The Shire of Halls Creek Single Persons Quarters,  A sad lonely place for people who have no one to love them.  Elvis called it “Heartbreak Hotel”.

Now read on…

Superstition

I just posted this on the Halls Creek Community Facebook page

To the person who broke into my donga in Billiluna, stole my possessions and trashed the place, and wrote nasty things on my wall:

I forgive you. If you were hungry, I would have fed you. If you needed something I would have tried to help. I am sorry you had to act so badly, but that is on you, not me.

But I am really sorry for what is likely to happen next. You should know that among the spears, bows and arrows and carvings from my family in Solomon Islands, were two genuine antique war clubs that were used in warfare back around 1912 or so. They have a very powerful blood curse on them. Before I became their guardian my brother in law had to make a strong protection charm for me. Anyone who steals, mistreats them or damages them or uses them without protection is likely to have Very Bad Things happen to them. I hope bad things have not already started and you and your family are safe. I would not wish the Solomon hikaluzi on anyone. Please return them to the Shire office before something terrible happens. Tataru nomana Koa goi. (Good wishes to you).

No point appealing to their sense of fair play. Maybe this will work.

Found

One of my colleagues (my boss) travelled down to my home and started what I could not; cleaning up the mess left by the vandal thieves. He also spoke to the community about why I was not returning yet.

He came back last night with my grandfather’s fob watch (smashed) and my vintage 1978 dive watch that is unharmed and still going. They had not been stolen with everything else, but had been tossed into the trample pile along with my cds, DVDs, books, and other things that the thieves had no use for, so did their best to smash.

The dive watch was robust enough to survive that treatment.

In my mind that dive watch had become a symbol of all I have loved and lost, and all I have done in my travels round the world. Losing it had brought about a despair I could not overcome. Regaining it gave me a new resolve to deal with the other losses and get on with it again. I had not consciously focussed on that one thing in the midst of overwhelming loss of valuables and collected memories but having done so has actually in the end proved beneficial to my mental state. Because I have it again.

I think I can get back on the horse now. I am not sure if there is a life lesson to be drawn from this, and I truly don’t know why, of all things, it was the watch that was the focus of my angst, but having recovered it has made me feel so much better. Since the incident, I have been very ambivalent about returning in spite of my confidence that it was not a community member who had desecrated my home. Now, once the Shire have improved the security there, I am happy to go back and once more try to help the youngsters find their way into the future.

I have to add that I work with awesome people.

Salt

Last night I dreamed a memory; a rare thing.

We were swimming in warm, clear Northland waters near Matauri Bay.

We were nude, save for mask and snorkel.

Dappled light rippled over your form; floating, freed from gravity.

I was thinking you were the most beautiful thing I have ever seen;

Within the water or without.

Then you swam away.

I awoke: salt sea pooling on my pillow.

(C). 2017 ARF

Rebel

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants windows are all bright
With the faces of the children

And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call Him by the prince of peace
And they call Him by the Savior
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavour

And they fill His churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in Him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations

And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment

In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There is a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Browne