Blogs are like Tequila. They should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Accidentally Pissing People Off.

I have come to notice something in recent years, something upsetting. I seem to have a particular skill, and I’m not talking about assembling burritos when driving (I’ve only done it once, but it was seriously skilful. Sour cream and everything). It’s not a skill that I like or have worked at. It’s not a skill that comes in handy. This skill comes out on average around once a week, and always ends in sadness on my behalf. What is this mystery skill?

Accidentally pissing people off when I am trying to help them.

I first noticed it a few years ago on a tram. A (red-eyed, twitching, most likely high) man was obnoxiously wondering where the tram stopped. He continually asked the quiet, well-behaved tram patrons, “Oi! Does this bloody tram stop on Clarendon St or not? The fucking driver just ignored me when I banged on his glass.” I hadn’t heard him the first few times because I had been listening to some bad-ass, cutting edge Backstreet Boys tunes on my iPod, but I had noticed the uncomfortable air on the tram. I took my headphones out just in time to hear the druggie mouth off again, demanding some help. My inner Girl Guide stood to attention – she was trained up every Tuesday night from ages 8-12 to help out people in need (and know the feather pattern of a New Holland Honeyeater Bird, which comes in handy SO often...). In my kindest, most considerate voice, I said to the man who was annoying the shit out of everyone, “it does stop on Clarendon St just near Max Brenner’s. Actually there is a map just here, if that helps you”. I kindly pointed out the map, and gave him a big smile, pleased that I had done my Girl Guide leader from a decade ago proud  (her name was Tawny Owl, she was all about helping the strangers and singing Kumbaya). But I might as well have yelled it at him, spat in his face, and said something rude about his mum for the reaction that I got. He stared at me angrily for a full thirty seconds – while I nervously cast my eyes around the patrons wondering what the hell had actually come out of my mouth for him to look like that – and then he said, “there is no need for you to be such a BITCH about it”. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at my feet, feeling ashamed for my obviously horrible behaviour. He continued, “I just asked a bloody question and then you try to make me look like an idiot, you unhelpful BITCH” (yep, he said it in capitals both times). I questioned my entire existence and dumb personality. I got off the tram at the next stop, before he could fight me for his honour or lack thereof, and felt confused and guilty. A feeling I have since labelled Accidental Bitch guilt.

A member of the Accidental Bitch brigade.

A week later, I was on another tram (going past a different Max Brenner’s – I tend to navigate by chocolate). A small, angry Asian lady was demanding some help. She looked up at me and said something very loudly in what I first assumed was Chinese. I smiled at her and said “I’m sorry?” as my inner Girl Guide rubbed her hands together in gleeful preparation. She repeated the same sentence, and I realised she was asking me a question in English with a very heavy accent, because I had understood the word ‘does’. So I repeated ‘does... sorry?’ starting to feel bad for not listening better in my seven years of Chinese lessons*. She repeated her question again, not slowing down at all to help me understand her, and starting to get mad at me for being so thick. I thought I had figured it out. “Oh! Does this tram run all night? I think it will probably go to about midnight.” She yelled at me “GAHH!!!” and stamped her foot, then repeated her question again at full volume, shaking her fist in my face. Finally I worked it out. “OH! Is this the 109?” and she nodded angrily... and then I unfortunately had to say “Umm.... I don’t know” at which point she stamped her foot again, gave me the finger and walked away in a huff. Once again, as I had only a week earlier with my last Girl-Guide-gone-wrong experience, I got the Accidental Bitch guilts. It was not her fault, she was probably very frustrated (and maybe in need of some anger meds). It was my fault. I had tried to help someone again, and done it so badly that she gave me the finger. That’s when I realised I had this skill. I could piss people off without even trying – in fact, the more I went out of my way to help, the more I pissed them off.

Last week I was walking through the park near my house and I noticed a little boy wandering around by himself. I would have guessed he was about 7 years old. He had a big backpack on, and a running-away-from-home jaw set. He looked lost and very sad. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him because I was very worried. I could not see one parent around that might be his, and he was wandering near a main road. The Girl Guide inside of me jumped up (she’d been laying down for a while, eating Girl Guide biscuits and practicing her New Holland Honeyeater bird call) and made a quick and easy decision -  follow the lost little man and make sure he got home or to a parent safely. So, from a respectable distance, I changed my path to follow the little soldier for a few minutes. I watched him as he walked past a skate park and kicked the wall. I watched him as he walked into a crowd. And then I watched as his grandmother appeared from the crowd, took his hand and gave me the finger** – apparently she had noticed me following him, and had either been offended by my assumption of his lack of care, or thought I was stalking him. I wanted to go over and explain to her why I had been staring at her grandson for a while, and perhaps suggest that she doesn’t let him stray so far in a huge public park, but my scars from past experiences stopped me. Not only did I accidentally piss another person off, I also managed to make myself look like a paedophile.

There is not much I can do with this skill of mine. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I don’t want to stop trying to help people, because occasionally I manage to actually help them and get a nice reaction that doesn’t make me feel like an Accidental Bitch or a child sex offender. I’ll definitely keep trying, because I was a good Brownie Girl Guide, full of helpfulness and bird knowledge (the New Holland Honeyeater’s scientific name is Phylidonyris Novaehollandiae. Boom) and I took the Brownie vow - Lend A Hand. I’ll keep pointing out maps to druggies on trams. I’ll keep following un-lost boys through parks.  I’ll doing everything I can, however offensive and unhelpful, to Lend A Hand.

Even if, thanks to my accidental skill, all I get in return is a finger.

*The only thing I remember from SEVEN YEARS of Chinese lessons, is "Can I go to the toilet please", because it was the only way to escape the classroom.

**Although I was depressed about a Grandmother giving me the finger, I was quite impressed by her phalangeal dexterity and lack of arthritis. Hope to be like her, abusive qualities aside.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. Just follow the cries of "you unhelpful BITCH".

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Get Jealous Of Fictional Characters.

I got to work last Thursday morning with eyes swollen to the size of tennis balls and a massive headache. I opened the door, took one look at my boss’s red eyes and downturned mouth and barely even had to ask the words “Offpsring finale?” before I knew the answer. Women all over the city looked similar that day, because we’d all watched our Patrick’s funeral the night before. Patrick. Patrick, Patrick, Patrick. Why, God, Whyyyy? I was extremely depressed after his funeral, but I have to admit something - and I may have to go into hiding after admitting this to avoid a violent wrath from females everywhere – I’m kind of relieved Patrick died. Not because I’m tired of watching that dream hunk every Wednesday, not because he was anything less than perfect – because I was getting weirdly jealous of Nina and her awesome, exciting, crazy, drama-filled, perfect-partnered life. This is embarrassing to admit, but it’s true.

I get jealous of fictional characters.

Honestly, I do love my life. I am living the dream (the ‘largely-out-of-work actor’ dream, that is). I am doing what I love surrounded by people whom I love, with plenty of naps and chocolate. But get me on a good fiction story – Offspring, Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code, Wallace and Gromit – and suddenly, my life is more boring than watching painted grass dry and grow. I want to be fighting for my honour in a boxing ring yelling ‘Adriaaan’ with blood pouring out of one eye. I want to be offering myself up as Tribute to save my little sister and stab some guy with arrows. I want to feel alive by holding a live bomb inside the live chest cavity of a live patient in the ER of Seattle Grace Hospital.  I want to be a fictional character.

I have never been able to read Harry Potter books over and over. That’s not to say I’m not a huge fan – by all means, I mourned Dumbledore with the best of them*. But every time I read one of the books or saw one of the movies, I would get all caught up in the world of witches and wizards - where everyone kept wands up their sleeves and it was cool to realllllly love the principal of your school, where you had to be brave and “Expecto Patronum” your way out of life-threatening situations on a daily basis, where no one got in trouble for getting lamington stains on their work uniform and forgetting to pay parking tickets - and I would feel... deflated. Because the most dangerous thing I had done that day was lick an envelope, or stir a hot drink with a plastic spoon. I couldn’t read the books over and over again because I couldn’t handle the post-Hogwarts come down. My life just seemed so un-special. I even had to develop my own mantra for the excitement crash – “at least MY world is REAL”.  I found that if I repeated that to myself when I was mourning the Hogwarts life I never had, it would bring my feet back to the ground and my Hermione-based envy would slowly subside. (It was largely Hermione-based envy. She was always right in the thick of things, cheering on Harry, making out with Ron, making naughty potions... and I was always here in the real world, reading about her adventures and eating my non-magical toast with a jealous pout.)

You know when your Dad has to go into space to drill a hole in a comet so the world won’t be destroyed? Yeah, neither do I. Because my life isn’t cool like that (though my Dad is very cool. If the world had to be saved by irrigating a comet, he’d dominate). So when Bruce Willis had to save the world with his massive drill (amazingly, that’s not a euphemism) in Armageddon, I was totally jealous. No one requires my skills to save the world. To be fair, my skills are more along the lines of cracking inappropriate jokes and guessing the colour of Clinkers, so it’s not overly surprising that I’ve never been called on to be the world-saving hero. But I still feel depressed every time I watch that movie because I haven’t had the chance to sacrifice myself and drill into a world-threatening comet, forcing sexy Ben Affleck to cry with love into his space helmet as the rocket ship departs for Earth, leaving me there to save the world and make a moving satellite speech to my daughter Liv Tyler. Sure, it sounds ridiculous now, but when you compare it to my adventures of today - washing sheets and sending emails - the heroic martyrdom sounds pretty appealing.

Augustus Gloop: He fell in a river of chocolate, and topped my list.

It doesn’t even have to be a spectacular world-saving hero to make me envious. I get jealous of regular, everyday characters that just have a lot going on in their lives. Nina. Meredith Grey. Augustus Gloop. Veronica Mars. Dora The Explorer. Characters with regular human features and huge levels of excitement. I find my life quite exciting... sometimes. (Last week I went to Safeway instead of my regular Coles... living on the edge.) But as soon as I compare it to a character in a show/book/movie that I like, I turn green. And not in a cool dramatic way like the Incredible Hulk. In a jealous, alone in my own boring bedroom way... like the Incredible Sulk.

It’s all a bit nerdy, really. I do let my imagination run away**. That’s why it’s kind of good for me that Patrick died (that’s what I’m telling myself, to try and fill the Patrick-shaped hole in my heart), because it pretty much ended my Nina jealousy. It’s the one thing I don’t envy - fictional characters have to attend more funerals than the White Ladies. Patrick, Dumbledore, Lily Kane, Denny Duquette, all the Sharks and all the Jets... someone good always dies. If I really was one of the fictional characters I’m jealous of, I’d have to stock right up on black dresses and never get too attached to people. So, although I long for a bit more adventure in my day-to-day life, I know deep down (and was reminded by the douche who hit Patrick with his car) that I’m extremely happy and lucky to be me, in my pleasantly undramatic life, where I don’t have to worry too much about my loved ones regularly getting ‘Avada Kedvra’d and/or drinking poison and/or drilling holes in comets (though for God’s sake, everyone look both ways before you cross the street so you don’t get Patricked). There’s just one thing... please, pretty pretty please, for the envious sulker inside of me longing for an adventure worthy of a fictional character, promise me one thing...

If you ever need someone to destroy a comet, or take a bullet for the president, or find the Holy Grail, or break out of prison, or deliver a baby on top of a mountain, or save the world in a cape and high heels... call me. I’m so ready.

*No joke, after I read about Dumbledore’s death, I immediately joined the website It comfortably fed my denial... until JK confirmed in the next book that yes, D-dore was actually properly dead-dead.

** In fact, my imagination is the only part of me that is capable of running. The rest of me struggles with a slow jog.  

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably not saving the world by drilling a comet, unfortunately.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lazy People Deserve More Credit.

Picture this. This morning, I was in bed (also accurate for ‘this afternoon’, ‘all day yesterday’ and ‘right now’) and felt the need to use my laptop from the comfort of my blankets. My laptop was on the floor about a metre away. Rather than swing my feet out from the warmth and take one step to pick it up, I slowly pulled the heater by the cord so that it scooped my laptop into my outstretched hand, while I remained fully tucked and cosy under the covers. And then I had two things – my laptop, and an immense feeling of pride. That’s right, pride. If you too are proud to be lazy, blink once! I won’t ask you to do anything more strenuous, because I know you. I am you. I am lazy, and I am damn proud of it. If you are judging me for being a particularly lethargic sloth, then it is important that you read on. Because, my overly-energetic friend, this is my belief.

Lazy people deserve more credit.

Too often I will end a deliciously lazy day, where I have spent majority of the day in my trackies on my laptop, with a non-delicious aftertaste of guilt. Why? Because I know from Facebook that other people spent their day off working out at the gym, reading Bill Bryson, curing cancer, baking thousands of treats for homeless disabled blind dogs and recycling. If you are one of the culprits who posts not-so-subtle Sunday statuses bragging about all the crap you ‘achieved’ with your productive busy-ness, then here is my response. Firstly, I don’t necessarily believe you. I think you might be telling fibs to make yourself feel/look better. (Next to the ‘like’ button, Facebook should have an ‘I call bullshit’ button.) Secondly, I don’t necessarily care. Nothing bores me more on Facey than a mundane boast along the lines of ‘200 squats at the gym this morning! Now to get all the Christmas shopping done in August, cook a super-healthy meal for the whole neighbourhood and then read A History Of Everything’. Thirdly, whoop-de-fucking-doo. I could have achieved everything you did in half the time and with a quarter of the effort. Because I am a lazy person. And ‘lazy’ is just a derogatory term for ‘efficient’.

Laziness inspiring brilliance.  Brilliance mowing the lawn.

Here’s the thing – I do all the regular tasks that should be done in a day, but my laziness has inspired me to create shortcuts so everything gets done faster and with less effort. I don’t see that as a bad thing. It gives me more time for the things I love doing, whether that is getting back into bed and working on my laptop, or going to the gym (hahahahaha, just kidding) or watching an entire season of a TV show (which I can claim as ‘studying’ because I’m an actor). But the reason I have time to do all the fun lazy stuff (other than the obvious reason of ‘being an actor gives you a looooot of free time’) is that my laziness means I get all my tasks done extremely efficiently. Example - I make my bed every morning, BUT.... I make my bed while I’m still in it. Rather than stand up and do the traditional flick and tuck, I stay in bed and move my arms and legs like I’m making a snow angel, until all the covers have quickly shifted into place. It’s quicker and warmer and easier. I don’t know Mensa’s guidelines for letting people into their smart club, but I’m pretty sure that makes me a genius. Also, I can iron any wardrobe item with my hair straightener. Why? Because my hair straightener is permanently accessible and located in the same room as my clothes, whereas the iron is all packed up in the laundry cupboard next to Effort and Strain. And don’t even get me started on getting out the stupid ironing board. So I have become prolific at GHD-ironing, which is faster, easier, and yields the same results. Vacuuming. I know which power point is the most central in the apartment, and I strategically reach most of the rooms from there, because unplugging and replugging is a time-wasting pain in the ass.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great work ethic. Somehow, I often describe myself as ‘hard-working’ (particularly when applying for jobs) AND as ‘lazy’, (particularly when quitting gym memberships). I really am both hard-working and lazy. I am a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma (...covered in blankets, eating bacon). It’s just that my work ethic is more situation-dependent than a social smoker. I have to be motivated to spark up. If it is something I am passionate about, then I will work my ass off (except my ass always stays resolutely attached). And some of my passions take a lot of frigging energy – acting, dancing, kickboxing, stalking the Bondi Vet... I get home from these activities utterly exhausted (and occasionally with a restraining order) because I worked really, really hard. So my can of whoopass does get opened on a regular basis. And yet, at the same time, I am also the Queen of Lazyville. It’s not a title I sought out in life, but occasionally being an actor means I have a few days in a row with absolutely no commitments, absolutely no money and absolutely no reason to not stay in bed most of the day watching Community. I will get up to shower, do any social activity that involves eating, and log some stalking time if the BV is in town*. I will extremely occasionally make it to the gym (to use the spa) or partake in some cultural/educational/degustation-al activity that will improve myself as a human being. But other than that, I will probably be doing something idle. And society should be more okay with it... because we owe a lot to laziness.

Think about it. Most inventions were invented to make life easier. Why did some smart guy invent the wheel? Because dragging shit is hard. Why did Edison invent the light bulb? Because he couldn’t be bothered lighting all those damn candles. Why did Alexander Graham Bell invite the telephone? Because he couldn’t be assed walking to his friend’s place. They say “necessity is the mother of invention”... but surely, that’s just another way of saying “I cannot be screwed doing this. I need a shortcut”. Some inventions are more openly lazy than others – the Clapper (‘screw getting up to turn the lights off, clap clap!’), power steering (‘I refuse to turn my wheel more than a quarter, dammit!’), escalators (‘I’m gonna stand right here and let the stairs climb themselves’) – but I reckon laziness played a part in most of the things we use every day. Cars. Washing machines. Remote controls. Dishwashers. I actually have cousins who are inventors, and more than anyone, they support my laziness-inspires-creativity argument. They see a task that takes effort, and they create something to take the effort way. They've built an empire on laziness. I fucking love them for it on a daily basis. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing fast and with little effort.

Tapi by Dreamfarm - They get a free plug for supporting lazy people. Legends.

So if you’re a lazy person too, don’t feel ashamed. Don’t let society or the Seven Deadly Sins ever make you feel bad for being sloth-like. Because ironically, lazy people are the ones who make the world go round. They get shit done quickly and with little effort. They don’t create drama, because they can’t be bothered dealing with the fuss. They do things right the first time, because they don’t want to risk having to do them again. Even Bill Gates knows it. “I always choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”**  Lazy people deserve recognition and respect. So if you, like me, are inspiringly and creatively lazy, then give yourself a pat on the back.

If you can be bothered.

*In case you were taking me seriously, I don’t actually stalk the Bondi Vet. That’s what I told the court and I am sticking to it.

**Definitely not relevant to Internet Explorer, which was not designed by a lazy person, but an inefficient busy-body who likes to waste time with complicated pop-ups and bugs. 

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She doesn't move very fast.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Soup, Porridge and Pyjamas.

In case you didn’t know from all the cold, rain and extra kilos, it’s winter. And you know what? This winter is killing me a little bit. I actually quite like winter. I like the clothes, I like being snuggled up in blankets, I like roasting chestnuts over the open fire while I lay on my bearskin rug and drink port (no wait, I’ve never done that). But somehow, this winter has tricked me into liking three things I have never liked before – in fact, they are three things that I have always disliked so intently, the act of disliking them is a part of my identity.

Soup, porridge, and pyjamas.

I fucking hate soup. Soup makes me angry. And a lot of my close friends know that. If you invite me over for dinner, and soup is the only menu item, be prepared for a stony-faced dinner guest. Soup is not a meal, it is a glorified drink. It does not make me full. It does not make me happy. It does not impress me that you can take a bunch of real food and squash it into a runny bowl of slop. If you serve me soup, it better come with three things – an apology, unlimited delicious bread, and a main course afterwards. Otherwise, I will be clenching my jaw with annoyance*. But this winter, something weird happened.

I started having soup for lunch.

I’m mortified. I'm angry with myself. This is my IDENTITY I am messing with. I actually can’t even believe I'm admitting it now. But it’s true – I have started having soup for lunch. My only saving grace is that it has been born entirely from laziness. The only good thing about soup is that you just have to heat it up. That part of it is very appealing to my sloth-like nature. It is testament to how lazy I was feeling the other week that I actually decided to open the can of soup that has moved with me at least three times to new houses and pantries. I only still had it for emergencies – and not to feed myself. I figured if there was ever an old man with no teeth in my house who demanded lunch, I could resort to the can (I’m like the boy scouts and the Hyenas from The Lion King. I like to Be Prepared.)... but I never thought I would eat it. Things were pretty dire on this lazy, rainy, snugly day, and I opened the pantry to see two things on my shelf. Bi-carb soda. And Old Man Soup Can. I figured that, as much as I hate soup, it was probably better for me than bi-carb soda. So I heated it up. And I got out an ice-cream spoon (that’s all that soup spoons have ever been to me). And I ate the soup. And the weird thing was.... it was kind of good. When I went to the supermarket the next day... I bought more soup. Every fibre of my being was confused - my facial muscles were twitching with preparation for ‘stony-faced dinner guest’. It was even one of the posh, expensive types with organic lamb and a picture of a tomato in a meadow. And I ate it for lunch. And now it has become a bit of a habit. I have tried a couple of soups – always fighting the temptation to get angry and demand some ‘real food’ – and I even look forward to trying another one (organic chicken, with a picture of a potato in a meadow). This can’t be good... surely it’s soup that makes the slope into senility so slippery.

Soup’s not the only disastrous moral dilemma I have been struggling with lately. This winter has brought some other weird food habit. Porridge has always made me about as excited as soup. It looks like a bowl full of my textured ceiling. No really, if you look at the ceiling in my room, it looks like someone covered a paint roller in porridge and went to town (it’s actually a nice effect, however porridge-y). 

Porridge Ceiling. And a quarter defying gravity.

Every few years I would try to get into eating porridge because everyone is always banging on about how good it is for you and how it keeps you full all morning and blah blah blah, but I never really got into it. I would try equal parts porridge and honey, or putting heaps of fruit and crap in, but I still didn’t like it. And then this winter, it happened.

I started eating porridge for breakfast.

And I’m loving it. I’m fearing for my identity and aging tastebuds, but I am loving it. Bit of honey, bit of cinnamon, sliced-up banana. Sit in my rocking chair. Do some knitting. Talk to the grandkids. Delicious. I even look forward to getting up in the morning so I can eat it. Also, because the first thing I see in the morning is my porridge ceiling, so it’s kind of a subliminal hunger signal. But I’ve had porridge ceilings before, and never have they worked so strongly, so it must be this winter. What is this winter doing to me? Don’t get me wrong, I love trying new things. I’m always up for a bit of an adventure (as long as I can fit a nap around it). But I was firm and steadfast on not liking soup or porridge, and yet these last few weeks have been all about a good microwaved bowl of warmth. But it’s not even the most shocking of all. The most shocking of all started a month ago.

I started wearing pyjamas.

I hope it’s not too unladylike for me to reveal that I’ve never been a PJ person. Underwear, yes, pyjamas, no. Pyjamas get bunched up and twisted and annoying, and quite often I will take them off in my sleep (which lead to some embarrassing sleep-overs growing up... “Morning! Oh great, Lucy’s naked again...”). When I’m sharing a room on a holiday or at a slumber party, I will wear trackies or something resembling pyjamas, but in general I have never really slept in jim jams. Until this winter. It was so cold in my bed that I made a special trip to Coles and bought the cheapest flannel PJs I could find (unfortunately they only had size 18, so they are a little roomy), put them on that night, climbed into bed... and fell in love. Now it’s kind of hard get out of them in the morning. They are so warm and snugly. Like soup and porridge. I don’t know what’s happened to me – have I aged a few decades this winter? Have I conformed to cold-weather pressures? Am I trying to be like the winter girls in the magazines who have big knitted jumpers and snowflakes in their sex hair**? I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to winter ending so I can rediscover my identity and be myself again. You'll know where to find me. Stripped off under the covers, eating solids.

*Please don’t let this deter you from inviting me over for dinner. I am an excellent dinner guest with lovely table manners and a special dinner party laugh... and only the odd outburst of soup anger.

**I am actually trying very hard to be like them. They always look hot and spontaneous. I bet they roast chestnuts on open fires while laying on bearskin rugs drinking port... I’m gonna give it a go.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably searching for a bearskin rug.