Author Archive for amanda

23
Jan
13

(somewhat imagined) wildlife warrior

I should preface this post with the admission that I have a lot of free time on my hands. And in possession of an iPhone, this has resulted in the ratio of actual phone time (i.e., calling and/or messaging), to playing (somewhat) stupid (yet fun) games significantly in favour of the latter. Really, my iPhone is not really a phone; it is a phone masquerading as a portable game console which occasionally alerts me that it is Cheap Tuesdays at Blockbuster.

As such, while browsing new apps to download I have developed a certain tendency (read: become addicted), to playing particular games daily. Even against randoms who are probably in their tweens.

Confession (though I am not sure I am alone in this one considering the number of Facebook friends I have who are currently beating me on the leaderboard), I quite enjoy Bejewelled Blitz. You know, the jewel swapping game where you make connections of three of more (five gives you the ultimate take-out cube thingo) gems. I’m not sure, but I think this is because if I am feeling underappreciated, I get some kind of instant gratification. ‘SUPER!’ and ‘INCREDIBLE!’ are along the lines of what the Bejewelled Blitz man tells me. Too right. I just swapped four purple jewels together. Therefore I am awesome. Do I want a bonus gem boost because I am so awesome? OF COURSE!

On the other hand, I have got this game called Panda Jam. This was on recommendation from my sister who has apparently also become frustrated (despite being several (and by several I mean basically at the end) islands (apparently pandas live on islands ranging from volcanic to icy) ahead of me) and stopped playing. What is this Panda Jam? Luckily for baby pandas, not something which you would spread on toast.

It involves baby pandas who sit on coloured bricks while their mother stands at the bottom, unable to save them herself – why? I do not know, can’t pandas climb things? – therefore enlisting you to save them. From the evil baboon thing who apparently wants to un-save (I’m not entirely sure if he wants them dead, or just stuck on top of said coloured bricks) baby pandas by adding extra rows of bricks sending – hopefully un-vertigo-suffering pandas – higher.

Here is a screen shot to give some idea of what I am talking about.
pandas

To save the baby pandas you need to make brick connections of three or more so they can drop safely to the ground. When baby pandas are saved, mother panda has a big happy panda smile and assumingly is off to feed baby pandas some bamboo before their next unfortunate climbing adventure.

If you do not save baby pandas in a certain number of moves, then baboon monkey rubs his hands in glee, smiling in that baboon way (much like that monkey in the Lion King (though he was friendlier and wiser, and had nothing to do with any pandas btw)) saying ‘You have run out of moves! Plan your every move!’. Though, with the evil grin and Mr Burns-ish hand-rubbing I imagine he is laughing at my stupidity. Not even behind my back – in my face, how rude.

This game started out being fun. I saved some pandas, somehow linked the idea of saving pandas to the World Wildlife Fund due to their symbol, and was pleased I was doing some wildlife work (yes it’s all connected…)

But then we get to the point where my panda-saving abilities are becoming less successful. Where did these frozen blocks come from which you have to unfreeze before you can clear them – even on the apparently misleadingly named ‘Volcano Island’?? AND HOW did evil baboon monkey find the time to develop this new ‘spell’ where he can tornado up a storm and shift the baby pandas when he thinks you’re about to win? The sneaky bugga. That baby panda was almost returned to its mother! Damn you, baboon. (Side point: you know you’re never going to save baby pandas when the baboon can’t even be bothered tornado-ing them around to elude you – this has happened to me several (read: frequently) times and left me rather disheartened).

An unfortunate side-effect of this has been my questioning aloud the involved parties – the baboon, the mother panda, the baby pandas (or my own mother if she is in ear-shot).

Baboon, what’s up with the hatred against baby pandas? What have they done to you?

Mother panda, why did you not teach your pandas to climb coloured blocks? How did they get up there to begin with? Look, mother panda I rescued one of your baby pandas, doesn’t China have a one panda policy?

Baby Pandas do you not want to be rescued? Didn’t you learn your lesson? I can’t see you anymore! Come back, baby panda! Noooo, fine sit up there then.

And furthermore: are pandas and baboons even from the same place? Why the pandas? Do baboons eat pandas? Are there pandas still in the wild? I thought they were only in zoos. Do pandas live on islands? Can one panda have that many babies?

After each unsuccessful save I lose one heart (a life) which will only be restored in half an hour. Half an hour of what? Dead pandas? I’m not sure. But at this rate, it appears perhaps I am no wildlife warrior…

26
Oct
12

number your preferences

I know we’re all over politics really. That is, unless it has something to do with either stockings + heels (even low ones at that) + grass = face plant, lewd gestures and words that rhyme with banker, ‘claims’ of misogyny, or houses being raided before breakfast, but there is a very important election about to take place.

I heard this morning that Barack Obama is apparently the first president to vote before the official election date. But this probably shows the extent of my knowledge of American politics. Here is Obama singing ‘Call me maybe’. And this is all I know about Mitt Romney – he can do it (Gangnam) Mitt Romney style (watch those videos – they are rather amusing). There is probably more important stuff about each presidential candidate’s views about defence and the economy, and Michelle Obama planting things, but this is not the point of this post.

The important elections I am referring to are significantly closer to home and could affect the ways we can lead our lives!

That’s right. It is council election time. So important. (For those who do not possess the extremely useful power to detect sarcasm in writing or sms, the aforementioned sentences are examples of Amanda being sarcastic).

Do people even know (or care) what councils do? I’ve not had anything to do with my local council apart from that time when I emailed my councillor several (it ended up making me feel like I was harassing her) times for a journalism assignment on proposed changes to a ‘dangerous’ intersection (what they ended up doing to said intersection actually made it worse), and when council actually contacted me. Personally. In the form of a parking ticket attached to the windshield of my car.

Since that ‘incident’, my views towards my council – forget all that bin collecting, park maintenance, library services crap – have been largely unfavourable. Especially after I sent them a very nice letter back which said this:

‘To Port Phillip Parking Services

Yesterday I received a parking ticket after parking in the Coles Supermarket car park and would like to offer an explanation which could hopefully allow the fine to be dropped.

Admittedly I parked in a space that had a time limit, however, I work at said Coles, and when I arrived to begin my shift I found there were no all-day staff parks left.

As such, I parked as close to the all-day parking as I could, conveniently for customers, away from the parking spaces closer to the supermarket entrance, and left a note on the dashboard of my car apologising for parking in this spot, but explaining the lack of staff parks left.

Normally, it would be reasonable to find time in a work shift to move my car, but as it was a busy Monday morning/lunch period and my shift did not warrant any tea breaks, I was unable to find the opportunity to leave the registers in order to move my car.

The offence time is credited at 2.12pm, and I finished my shift at 2.30pm when the car park was largely uncrowded.

I would like to think this is a legitimate reason as to why I could have the parking ticket excused.

Regards, Amanda’

Maybe I should have approached council with a stick instead because apparently ‘the inability to secure an all day parking place does not exempt the driver from the Road Rules’ and ‘the infringement notice will not be withdrawn’. Pfft (said with unimpressed look holding unimpressive letter).

ANYWAY, back to the matter of council elections. I was at work the other day being my friendly, yet rather efficient self all ‘hellooo how are you’ etc when I happened to serve an overly friendly guy. As it was a nice day outside which we both commented on, I asked him what he was up to for the rest of the day (as I type this I realise that it looks like a ‘call me maybe’ scenario (hey I just met you, right here on checkouts, but here’s my finish time, so call me maybe..) but it wasn’t, really it wasn’t) and he told me he was campaigning.

‘Oh yes?’ I queried, noting his very bright yellow t-shirt with red lettering. ‘Who’s Peter De Groot?’ ‘I’m Peter De Groot!’ he declared. I dead-panned, feeling like an idiot. He smiled and almost laughed. ‘Why haven’t I got any propaganda from you?’ I asked, still feeling like an idiot, until he explained that since apparent boundary re-drawings I wasn’t actually in his electorate. So at least I felt slightly better I didn’t recognise his face.

When I got home lamenting the fact we had only got propaganda from two of the four candidates I finally opened the unexciting looking mail I had got and found it was from the candidate running under the same party as him. The fourth candidate hadn’t sent anything.

I went to vote early and for the first time at any election I didn’t take propaganda from all of the candidates crowded outside the door. Peter De Groot was there too. I wondered if he recognised me as the idiot from the supermarket.

In the end I ended up voting for his suggestion after careful (kinda) reading of what three candidates proposed to do and where they were sending their preferences. Whoever the fourth guy was, he wasn’t viewed very favourably by the other three which I took to mean he was too right-leaning and potentially could be scary-religious or family first scary. My second preference went to another random, but at least her name was Amanda (haha). The fourth guy’s propaganda came yesterday – leave it to the last minute, the poor bugga missed out.

So yes, council elections (despite the emphasis and time the lady at the polling place spent telling me how to write numbers and repeatedly questioning me on whether I had voted at any other places before then) are on. Yay. Now to eagerly (re-read notes about sarcasm further up the page) await the results.

As long as the garbage trucks run on time?

17
Oct
12

Sweeeet…

(I preface this blog with the admission that this is an article I submitted for my uni assignment – we had to write a travel story and while I was not going to be going anywhere exotic, I figured that if I had to venture out of my hobbit hole (yes, again – it does happen on rare occasions) I might as well make it worth my while and add in an element that would be to my liking – chocolate. Justifying chocolate eating by linking it to a uni assignment – moment of smartness! And also, considering this is a story never going to be published I might as well publish it myself. Ehh why not! ha)

Sweeeet… 

It’s time we discussed the c-word. “Hi, my name’s Kristen…” she starts, surveying the ten of us forming the semi-circle before her “…and I’m a chocoholic.”

According to a recent survey of 2000 people conducted by chocolatier Max Brenner, Kristen is in good company – Victoria harbours the most chocoholics in the nation, with many freely admitting they keep an emergency stash hidden from potential thieving partners, children or housemates. Chocolate certainly appears recession-proof – a sweet treat to lift one’s mood when everything else feels like shit. But with the downfall of iconic Australian retailer Darrel Lea, are other chocolatiers merely doomed deer in headlights?

I’ve decided to embark on a journey. “Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination…” I sing off-key to my mother a la Willy Wonka, though I know she won’t need much convincing to join me on the ‘Chocolate and Historical Treats Walk’. The downcast skies over Melbourne are failing to put a damper on my disposition as we arrive breathlessly, fresh off the (late) tram in Melbourne’s Block Arcade, the tiled floor scuffed by the many feet that have passed through.

Positioned under the airy domed roof outside our first stop, Haigh’s, the ten of us audibly twitter amongst ourselves – another older mother-daughter combination from Adelaide, two bottle-blonde Tasmanian friends, a petite woman visiting from Thailand already laden with shopping bags, and a trio of fellow Melbournians including the sole male participant – awaiting the start of our chocolate adventure.

Kristen is our tour guide. Toting an ‘I’m a chocoholic badge’, she grins at us; blue eyes not betraying her excitement.

After dispensing stickers declaring we too are chocoholics, she must be familiar with the hungry stares and announces she’s going to get the first tasting plate. Clutching a tray laden with chocolate she reappears, the eyes following her like a cat stalking a mouse. “So what I would say is start off with the white and then work your way up to the dark,” Kristen expertly advises, likening chocolate tasting to wine tasting.

I’m given a roughly-broken white slab, punctuated by dried strawberry chunks and, after taking the first bite, have forgotten everything Kristen has said about complexities and what was it? Wine? The strawberry hit explodes over my tongue. Delicious. Salivating, I can only faintly hear my mother in the background. And this is only the first piece. More to come. Significant yay.

I surreptitiously look around to see if anyone is watching (despite the fact they too are engrossed in their chocolate) and drop my remaining chocolate into the strategically placed plastic container I’ve concealed in my handbag for later. My mother enjoys a champagne truffle, coated delicately in icing sugar, followed by milk and dark chocolate buttons and our last Haigh’s treat – jade-green peppermint chunks in an intensely dark chocolate wedge.

“I love their dark chocolate the best, which is good because I know that dark is better for me,” Kristen enthuses, justifying her addiction. “But Haigh’s has got a beautiful lemon myrtle truffle here enrobed in white chocolate and that’s just divine.”

Throughout our sampling we are told the history of Haigh’s – born in Adelaide in 1915, uniquely making them a fourth-generation family-owned chocolate manufacturer and retailer. I listen, but I’m sure most people remain occupied with the tray on which chocolate is still residing.

Inside the store itself, a line of people snake around the counter and between the chocolate stands, obscuring the view of the indulgent treats on show. We buy Haigh’s signature chocolate frog, but before any more impulse purchases, reassemble to make our way across the road to the Lindt cafe.

The famous Lindt balls are the colours of the rainbow, but it is the macaron tower, standing there in all its glory which takes the cake (pun intended). Macarons (“the French call them delice”), made famous by Adriano Zumbo in Masterchef, are what we’re all waiting for, its ganache centre calling my name. I bite into my milk chocolate macaron/delice and a small piece falls evilly to the floor before I can uncoordinatedly catch it, the sweetness of the light almond meringue filling my mouth. Savouring my morsel and learning about Lindt’s patented process called ‘conching’ – properly conched chocolate won’t be gritty or untextured – Kristen hands out sample bags and the next destination on the tour of yum continues.

Located in a strange, out-of-the-way narrow alley is Chokolait, its dark brown wooden tables not leaving a lot of room for those who want to get their keys cut next door. Ross, the owner, greets us with Chokolait’s signature dish, a hot chocolate shot – a concoction of half-milk, half-dark pure melted chocolate. Lifting the glass to my lips, the thick chocolate elixir glides down my throat and I figure if this were in some chocolate river, much like Augustus Gloop (yet obviously classier), I would also risk being sucked up a pipe. I’m slowly succumbing to what can only be described as a state of chocolate drunkenness.

This is the only Chokolait and it relies heavily on regular customers. Ross describes the current chocolate scene; there has been a notable shift from regular milk chocolate to darker varieties, due to dark being a ‘healthier’ option – therefore less guilt.

“They would usually move from milk chocolate, maybe to a half-half and then to a light-dark chocolate maybe 52/53/55 percent,” he reflects. “And then gradually you find customers start to enjoy the dark chocolate and they want something a bit more intense and a little more interesting.”

You can tell Ross is passionate about his chocolate. His eyes are lit up in excitement and the grey curls under his black beret flutter with every animated head movement as he tells us about the interest in single origin chocolate. Leaving us with confident predictions for chocolate’s future –different countries and differing cocoa contents means combinations and flavours are endless – we are cheerily waved goodbye.

Back into the arcades, my hidden container has slowly been filling up.  We’ve not eaten that much chocolate but I feel as if I’ve scoffed ten Cadbury blocks. Given orange cointreau truffles while listening to the history of Koko Black I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Ogling the chocolate in my hand is a middle-aged couple attempting to get in on the action. I manage not to voice ‘my precious’ and sidle away before they get the idea and move on.

Kristen is now explaining tempering – heating and cooling the chocolate to distribute the crystals – in front of a large glass window where the chocolatiers are hard at work piping chocolate into moulds. In their tall chef’s hats, they work with machine-like precision to produce the sweet treats filling the glass counter inside the store. Single origin chocolate is also popular at Koko Black – they even stock a block from the Dominion Republic at 100% cocoa.

Largely affected by the chocolate haze which has settled over us, Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie for afternoon tea seems perfect. Mounting the chunky grand staircase to the second floor, the low lighting is just right as we plonk ourselves on the couches to consider cake-selection. Interestingly, no one has picked a cake with anything to do with chocolate.

Carefully trying not to squish our decadent (non-chocolate) cakes – I’ve got a strawberry tart, my mother a citron one – it’s ‘cakes to go’ as we descend the winding staircase and out to a late Melbourne afternoon.

My sweet tooth aches – it looks like it’s time to find a salty potato chip to lick.

Hungry for more?

Melbourne Chocoholic Tours, created by self-confessed chocoholic Suzie Wharton in 1995, offers eight tours from Friday through to Sunday visiting chocolate shops around Melbourne city.

http://www.chocoholictours.com.au/index.html

Phone: 9686 4655

‘Chocolate and Historical Treats Walk’

Time: Friday 2pm, 1.5-2hours (with all destinations visited at a leisurely pace)

Cost: $37 (all-inclusive)

Stops: Haigh’s, Lindt Chocolait Cafe, Chokolait, Koko Black and Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie (afternoon tea)

Gift packs containing chocolates from one of Melbourne’s top chocolatiers and/or chocoholic badges can also be purchased at an extra cost.

Chocolate Bites

–          Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and has been shown to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels

–          A small square of quality chocolate a day can lower your blood pressure and cut your risk of heart disease

–          Chocolate works like a mild anti-depressant as it increases serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain making people feel happy

–          Australians eat on average 5-6kg a year each!

07
Sep
12

the ‘travel’ article

I think it is rather amusing that I am checking this dashboard feature on my site to see if anyone has actually read my latest post. Considering the count is ONE and I know that person has been me, I would think not. Haha.

Anyway, I’m going to attempt to keep this up. Let me explain this subject I am doing at uni, it’s basically feature and travel writing. Something which I don’t reckon I am too good at really. In class we were moving onto the topic of travel writing and when I basically laughed in the tutor’s face when he asked me what travel writing I read, I knew I’d be in a bit of trouble. I guess it’s just one of those things which I cannot get my head around. The examples he provided as ‘travel’ writing were so different from each other it’s hard to see them both being in the same genre/style. This is probably because I think of travel writing as something where someone has gone somewhere exotic – basically overseas. But apparently travel writing is different to what I had in my head as this guy has actually written travel stories and therefore apparently knows his shit.

This is what I submitted in class and (believe it or not), it was considered to be travel writing. The brief was ‘write about where you go on the weekend because you’ll all be going out SMILEY FACE’ (side point: because I’ve pointed out many times in class how boring and old-lady I am he even said ‘YES EVEN YOU AMANDA!’), and obviously I don’t leave my hobbit hole unless it is to go to work, I counted five minutes down the road and into work as ‘travel’.

 

The doors remain closed. Stepping back a bit, I scan the vicinity hoping no one has seen my door-entering failure, but the old Greek man entrenched on the park bench smiles at me and waves. Bugger. Making exaggerated arm gestures to catch the door’s sensor finally gains me entry to the well-walked, scuffed linoleum corridor and my place of employment. The supermarket – Coles to be exact. But, I am not here to grocery shop. I am here to work, the familiar beeping of checkouts welcoming me home.

Bright pink eco-friendly (though perhaps not as environmentally-friendly as hoped), bag slung over my shoulder, I notice my work pants are tucked into my boots, the very same pants I have been wearing to this establishment for a good six years. Perhaps too long? As I pass the coffee shop guy, greeted warmly by his booming South-African accent, I meander over to the self-checkout desk to check the roster, adjusting the collar of my latte-coloured work top; a colour I still think makes us staff look like safari rangers or big-game hunters if we toted spear rifles and donned wide-brimmed hats.

Next to my name on the roster is the number 2 – one of the registers that was notoriously targeted by the machete-wielding bandits a few months back, and too, one of the registers which sees the checkout chick not only serving regular customers, but also demanding smokers, fools who use the supermarket as a bank and solely want cash out, and also halfly overseeing the self-checkouts, given exasperated looks by customers when the robotic lady tells them they need to wait while someone verifies the contents of their bag/asks them to return their items to the bagging area.

Picking an aisle to get out back to clock on, I mentally make a shopping list in my head – milk, shapes (definitely pizza), ooh oreos 2 for $3! – and regret my choice of the confectionary aisle. Shoving my stuff into my small locker, I pick up my water bottle and wander down the stairs, waving at Andrew from fresh produce. It is already busy for a Sunday morning, but this is no surprise.

I type my numbers on the screen and ‘Hi, my name is Amanda’ pops up. ‘Hellooooo’ I say to my regular customer, stretching out the vowel, ‘how’s things today?’ – a somewhat usual start for my many regulars which I’ve gathered over the years – they’re the ones who ask me where things are even if I’m shopping wearing track pants and looking particularly scummy. I scan through her crackers, bread, milk, newspaper, broccoli (code 30), carrots (code 6) brown onions (code 50178), at a rather effective and efficient speed – I’m good like that. Stooping down to retrieve her Horizon blue 50’s, ‘no flybuys right?’

What a morning. What a routine.

 

I titled that piece ‘Amanda’s exciting adventure’, no exaggeration.

Strange what you can get away with sometimes really.

05
Sep
12

a ramble

I feel like I have been slack. Not that anyone reads half the shit I put on here, but more to the point, I’m doing this subject at uni (the last one I’ll have to do assuming I don’t fail and then wow, actually graduate with a masters (but that’s another story, one for another day if I decide to keep this up (again, not entirely too decided or committed to that idea yet)) which actually makes us write things. With the aim (apparently) of actually getting published.

This would be entirely brilliant if I wanted to get published (does a blog count? Probably not considering wordpress wants to know if I want to link in another blog and the range of people with interests who can start up a blog promoting their ideas/beliefs (not all interesting or politically correct hmm)) but again, this is of the ‘another story another day’ line. I’ll probably end up posting a few of the things for this particular class on here actually. So at least I can pretend I am being published (leave me alone in my delusional haze).

But you know, once I guess I get typing, crap does flow. I said in class (when I went, and some days I really can’t be bothered) that I write how I talk, which I’m not too sure is necessarily a good thing. But I said that in defence of the article that I submitted for the first assignment – and the reason it was largely informal and chatty.

I guess the main point of this post is to get something on this blog again. It’s been over a year, so I’m a bit outdated really. And I am moderately spurred on by the fact that I was reading this restaurant review in the Herald Sun and for research purposes (really I’m no stalker – I can’t be bothered putting time and effort into that crap) I googled her and she actually goes to Monash and her blog was like saying to me in a completely indirect (because she doesn’t know who the hell I am or give a shit) way ‘see Amanda I’ve got a blog and I’m getting out there posting actually publishable material’.

Not that this post is publishable. But I feel productive. So meh.

12
Jun
11

brewing embarrassment

It tastes like burnt.

That was my initial view and response to coffee. I’m not sure what it was, the flavour of the caffeinated beverage drunk by basically everyone was not something which I enjoyed. And that was despite the fact I am an arts student and should actually be taking coffee into lectures and/or tutorials, gripping the cardboard cup and ingesting its goodness in an attempt to stay awake and actually learn.

I’ve never claimed to be a coffee connoisseur. One of my cousins – they know who they are – is one such coffee snob. When I visited her a few years ago she promptly decided to lecture me in my coffee-drinking ways, and pointed out that there was, and is, only one coffee brand she likes to drink, therefore going out of her way to drive to places that supply her precious drop. Picky much?

Maybe because I was late onto the coffee scene I am therefore significantly more low-brow and laissez-faire about it all. After weaning myself onto coffee via the chocolate route – the mocha (mainly due to the fact that drinking red bulls in winter was way too cold), I have since become rather hard core switching to long blacks (with a tiny bit of skinny milk). My preferred coffee brand? (Don’t laugh) Gloria Jeans.

Commercialised, I know. Generic, I know. But hey, I know what I’m getting and baby I like it (the way you brew my long black (Enrique Iglesias style (and btw, he’s rather good looking these days, eh?))). Also, Gloria Jeans is easy to find. Success.

Ok so more to the point of this entry. After getting to uni early before class, I have become somewhat of a regular at the local Gloria’s. It became much of a routine –getting a coffee before class and enjoying the warmth and caffeine it provided.

‘Long black, with a tiny bit of skinny’, I would ask the trendy Asian barista, weekly. Then he surprised me.

Walking up to the counter and proffering my loyalty card (also, bonus points there, free coffee!), he smiles.

‘Do you want your usual?’

I have become a regular. Slightly embarrassed but also rather impressed I say yes and smile. How lovely.

A few weeks later though I am significantly more embarrassed. After ordering my regular, usual trendy Asian barista passes my order onto the other guy.

‘So I’m making a long white?’ he asks trendy Asian barista. He is given a yes.

A Long White? Wtf is that?

Stepping back and looking confused, I notice a huge sign behind the counter. The ‘Long White’ – an espresso with a little bit of milk.

Eh? That poster has so not always been adhered to that wall, I would have noticed! Is this something new? Is this a universal thing that all coffee houses do? How long has that poster been there making me look like a complete fool?! I would like some answers!

Deadpan. I thought it was easy to order a long black. I can’t distinguish between a cappuccino, frappucino, macchiato, or latte. I have absolutely no clue. They just have frothy stuff? I thought I had it right with the long black, but apparently I have it wrong! Oh the shame.

I feel like the somewhat regular customer I have at work and her embarrassing ‘wrong-coffee order’ moment.

The first time I serve her does not go well. Bending down to take out her groceries from the trolley is a struggle for her. As I start scanning her items, she’s up and down getting them on the conveyor belt rather haphazardly, her items rolling everywhere as the belt moves. One last reach into the trolley she grabs her chocolate and vigorously attempts to get it onto the belt. It becomes airborne and in her efforts, it hits me on the chin.

Stunned that I’ve become the victim of a chocolate attack, I step back to pick it up. As I stand up to scan it, I notice her face. She looks mortified; her face a nice shade of crimson (probably enhanced by her enthusiastic grocery-movement from trolley to belt)

‘Omg omg omg’ she rattles off, ‘I am so sorry I didn’t mean to throw my chocolate at you. I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I’m so embarrassed I just don’t know my own strength sometimes!’

I tell her it’s ok – it’s only chocolate and I am glad it is not a tin can of tomatoes. I hope to instil in her a sense of okay-ness. She does not look relieved, her face still tomatoey-coloured and continuing to tell me about her embarrassment and shame. After paying, she quickly moves away.

The other day I serve her and the first thing she does is tell me she’s been avoiding me because of her shame about ‘the chocolate incident’.

‘I’m so embarrassed to be at your register because of that chocolate I threw at you before. I can’t believe I did and every time I see you, I try and hide. I’m so sorry; I won’t throw any chocolate at you today’.

As I scan her groceries, she again continues to tell me of her humiliation. I can’t believe she’s been avoiding me because she’s still embarrassed. But these things stick, don’t they?

To be honest, for the rest of semester I’ve been avoiding trendy Asian barista because all my I-know-what-coffee-I-am-ordering has come unstuck.

Maybe I should admit defeat – being the low-brow, commercialised coffee-drinker I am, it is only Gloria Jeans, right? And not everyone is like me and because of certain buying habits of customers gives them nicknames, right? Because, chocolate-throwing lady, there is no need to be embarrassed!

25
May
11

change please!

Today, as the clouds have cleared (on behalf of that bastard wind (and I’m not even that close to Clayton)) and the sun is shining (clearly misleading me in terms of the temperature and therefore my layering skills), I have come to two realisations.

Firstly, I may possibly have been working at Coles for too long, and secondly, I must give off the illusion that I have lots of money and am either very generous and/or can be scared into giving people money/my time.

How so?

This afternoon, I am standing in a packed tram stop (it’s not even Flinders Street) because some tram has had some kind of breakdown. I stare blankly across the road, hands stuffed in pockets, the wind blowing my hair (and wrecking the fringe) about the place. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I notice an approaching figure. Turning slightly, I am faced with an apparently poor lady wearing a beanie (I don’t know why I am mentioning the beanie – it wasn’t even one of those cute animal ones people are wearing on their heads). She is in my face. Really. Personal space!

Pulling out a headphone, and taking a step back she shoves her hand up to my eye level and shows me a few ten and five cent coins. ‘Can I have some change?’ she enquires.

Normal person first thought: ‘oh this woman is clearly poor and begging for money so she can buy something to eat/drink/smoke, I shall consider whether I can and will donate to her small change fund. Oh, decisions!’

Amanda thought: ‘change for what? I don’t have a 50cent coin to change your money for. I’m not at work, I can’t open the register’.

‘Eh, what?’ I ask back, clearly still entertaining above thought.

‘Change, to eat’ she states back, even motioning an eating gesture. ‘Oh, I’m sorry no’, I tell her.

Turning around she approaches a second person, without luck. And then she wanders away.

She approached two people at said packed tram stop – me, and a man eating a sausage roll.

Now comes my question – why me? (I don’t care about why the man was approached). I am not entirely sure of her logic.

I am going home from uni, in a giant jacket. I know I look tired and considering I failed to do my hair this morning I possibly do not give off the ‘with-it’ or immaculately groomed impression. I thought this look would mean I actually look like a poor uni student. Ok, maybe not as poor as her, but still, a poor uni student.

Maybe if she thought if she got in my face (she was kinda scary-looking) she could intimidate me into giving her money? Maybe when she realised I didn’t even understand what she meant, the eating gesturing would result in me feeling sorry for her and therefore give her some change? Maybe if she had been wearing one of those animal beanies on her head she would have had more luck?

I’m not sure. I also attract those people who hang around waiting to accost you outside Gloria Jeans or train stations wanting to chat about Oxfam or Fitness First, (or if I am with a white person, those Asian night clubs/phone deal things – not racist, strangely accurate) and feel rude when I walk away/end up taking their leaflet thingo.

Hmmm. Thinking about it though, my first thought could be perfectly plausible… and it comes on the back of half-asleep middle-of-the-night Amanda fumbling around and reaching out to grab a receipt and freaking out about not being able to reach it.

…and on that note, tomorrow morning I am going to work to greet the old people on pension day!