Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Four things meme

Bobciz has hit me with a meme. This is the Four Things meme. I don't really like memes much, but I'll do this one.

I am supposed to tell you about four jobs I've had, four movies I could watch over and over, four places I've lived, four TV shows I live to watch, four places I've vacationed, four websites I visit daily, four favorite foods, four places I would rather be, four albums I could listen to over and over, and four people to pass this along to. However, since I never watch TV, rarely watch movies, and don't particularly want to be anywhere except here right now, I'll skip those ones.

Four jobs:

My first job was as a fruit picker and packer. I worked for my father, every day of the summer holidays. It was sometimes fun, and sometimes just hard work. It was very badly paid. I was child labour.

My next job was in an office, and I started that one when I was fifteen. I was promoted three weeks after I started work, and I'm still quite proud of that. (I am less proud of inadvertently firing one of the juniors a year or so later.)

While I was a student I had various jobs. The briefest lasted two hours, and that was the only time I've ever been fired. I was working in a very posh restaurant (washing dishes), and the cook fired me for laughing. This was his fault, however. His frypan was on fire. When I pointed it out to him he told me angrily that it was meant to be flaming, was I an idiot? and when I said I didn't think it was supposed to be flaming that much, with the flames shooting up through the extractor fan, he shouted at me that I was a stupid know-nothing, and when I shrieked and jumped up and down and pointed he finally turned around. When he saw the flames he went into hysterics and started dancing around the kitchen, shrieking, eventually picking the frypan up and throwing it in the general direction of the sink. That's when I started laughing. And he fired me.

(You would have laughed, too.)

How many is that? Three... all right. Another holiday job I had for six weeks was in the quality control section of a canning factory. I was in the complaints office. That was fun. Most of the complaints came from pensioners worried that their can of baked beans wasn't quite full, or concerned about hard bits they found in the cat food. (Fish eyes.) Then they'd go on for pages, in faint, quavering handwriting, extending their complaint to include the state of the world in general and how things had changed since they were young. I enjoyed responding to these lonely but often interesting letters, adding my bit to the form replies.

One memorable letter was from a woman who had discovered two cans of beetroot in the back of a cupboard when she was moving house. She was not complaining. She said she knew the cans were at least ten years old, and hadn't expected the beetroot to be edible. But she had opened one to see how well it had lasted, and the resulting explosion had taken out her kitchen window. Nobody was injured, fortunately, but the other can was now sitting in the middle of her lawn, nobody would go near it, and the dog refused to come out from under the bed while it was there. Could we please send a bomb disposal unit?

It was a very funny letter. (We sent a rep.)


Four places I've lived

I lived in four different houses in one year, once. All were in Wellington, and I didn't want to move, particularly, from any of them. But I was renting, and I kept moving into places where the owner would then decide to sell. One time the house had new owners when we moved in, so we thought we were safe, but they suddenly got into financial difficulty and we were told we had to move a week after we'd moved in. There were three of us, and we had just unpacked.

The advantage of this constant moving was that every time I moved I got rid of more stuff. The last time I moved (the fifth time) was to Japan, and I was down to one suitcase, which contained almost all my worldly possessions. All I'd had to sell was a bed, and I left a few books and things at my brother's house. The disadvantage of moving (besides the general hassle) was that every time we moved the cat went missing for two days. We would lock him in for a day, but he'd be bouncing off the walls and refusing to eat so we'd let him out, and he'd disappear. But he always found his way back to the new place. I think he was going back to the (last) old place to make sure he hadn't left anything behind.

He also ended up with ragged ears, from having to defend new territory so often.


Four places I've vacationed

Malaysia (several times, and I'll be back), Europe (last year), China, India. Other places too, but I'm sticking to four.

The best one was Malaysia, and particularly the first time. I wanted to go to the beach. I'd been very ill from an accident, and was still in pain. The Man didn't like islands (resorts, touristy, etc), but I wanted sand between my toes. We got lucky. I've never been back to this particular island, but The Man has, and tells me that it is now spoiled. But when we arrived, on the ferry, we were blown away by the beauty of it. It was exactly how you imagine a tropical paradise to be. Also, I stepped off the boat and onto the beach and THE PAIN DISAPPEARED. It was a miracle. I had not been pain-free for two years. I had forgotten what it felt like to be without pain, and hadn't thought that it would ever be possible again.

I had a pain-free week populated by lovely (and not very many) people, funny policemen in the village (who forced us to eat durian, which I will not do again thank you very much), children, goats, and cats. It was HEAVEN. And even though the pain returned when we got back to the mainland a week later, the island had given me hope. One day I will be normal again, I thought. It is possible.

So that will always be a special place for me.


Four websites I visit daily

Bloglines, for my blog reading (so I don't have to insult anybody by choosing only four); GoogleNews, for my news fix; Yahoo Japan weather for the weather report for my area; and ... I don't think I have four that I read daily, aside from blogs. Most days I check my Yahoo mail, but not always.

Four favorite foods

That's a hard one. I like eating, as long as I'm not cooking. (I think The Man feels the same way. He also likes eating as long as I'm not cooking.) I'll do meals I've had, instead:

Breakfast in Kuala Lumpur: Roti chanai, dahl, and teh talek.
Lunch in an outdoor cafe in Prague: Cheese and meat platter with lots of different kinds of bread and a glass of wine.
New Year food in Japan: Zouni, Tai, Gomame, etc
Christmas dinner at the Hilton. (Especially the Christmas pudding. With brandy sauce.)


Four places I would rather be

I'm happy where I am right now, but when summer comes around ask me again and I'll say ANYWHERE EXCEPT HERE. Summer in Japan is not reasonable.


Four albums I could listen to over and over

I don't listen to music except when I'm commuting, and then I tend to listen to Tom Waits (any of various albums); Rickie Lee Jones (any of various albums, but the early ones rather than the later ones (except The Evening of my Best Day, which is her latest studio release, I think)); Kate Bush (particularly Ariel (warning: annoyingly slow-loading website; go to Amazon for a quicker look at the album)); some Bob Geldof; and some classical music downloaded from BBC. What else do I have on my iPod? Some other music, but not a hell of a lot because the CD player in my computer is now not working properly so I can't add anything new. I'm limited to what I already have and what I can download. (But will sort that something out with the CD player SOON. I'm getting tired of the same things all the time.)

That last paragraph got infected with parentheses. It must be time to stop.


Four people to pass this along to

Anybody who wants it.


Kevin B. said...

What, no Durian on your favorite foods list? ;)

Well, I've heard that you either love or hate durian... I once had a girlfriend in Jakarta, who loved the stuff (for that matter, my Filipino wife likes it too.) I tried some kind of durian iced drink/desert in Jakarta and didn't care for it, but my gf at the time said it wasn't fresh in season, so I couldn't judge it fairly from that.
I also tried durian flavored ice cream there, which flavor resembled what I'd imagine the taste would be if one soaked a used dishrag in onion juice and let it mildew. Except it was also sweet and cold.

tinyhands said...

So I had to look up durian at wikipedia (even before Kevin's comment) and this is my favorite part- "Its name in Vietnamese, sau rieng, means 'private sorrow'." - although there's another anecdote about it being likened to eating custard in a public lavatory.

Badaunt said...

'Eating custard in a public lavatry' more or less sums it up. The taste isn't bad but the aftertaste is HORRIBLE. And it repeats on you. Every time you burp for the next couple of hours it's like someone farted in your mouth. (Not that I know what that's like, but I can imagine, after eating durian.)

The skins were dumped in a rubbish pile behind the village, and when we first visited the village (via a jungle trail) we smelt it before we saw it. Vile, vile smell. Better hotels (and some not so good ones) have notices in the lobby saying 'NO DURIAN', and for very good reason.

Kay said...

Guilt will haunt me for days for erasing Badaunt's Blog from my Visit Daily three sites (and for changing the meme to three instead of four). What can I plead? I do check Badaunt daily.....but thought I would appear COOL if I put Sudoku and I wish I could take it back! Guilt, how you burn!! Searing.....

Pkchukiss said...

Come on guys, Durain couldn't be that bad. In fact I find the after-taste absolutely heavenly!

Being able to taste it long after you eaten it is sort of a nasal nostalgia.

But in case you hate the after-taste, there is always water with dissolved salt, or mangosteen to get rid of it.