Day one- Wednesday
The day started off fairly well, as I was partially amazed and ever grateful that I still am employed by both of my workplaces. On Tuesday, I had accidentally driven a ride-on lawnmower into a creek, and assumed I would be fired, as this was at least the 12th incident involving myself and the ride-on in the last 2 months. Yet once again my boss surprised me when he came to observe the scene; instead of berating me, he just laughed and took a photo with his mobile, claiming that this ranked up there “with the greats”. Also, the mower was salvaged with only two popped tires to show for the ordeal, so the only punishment I received was staying around for another 10 minutes whilst my co-workers made fun of me.
As soon as I had finished work, the spritely form of Joe Woodhead arrived to collect me and deliver us to heavenly Shoal Bay. And note that I will call him Joe and only Joe- none of this “Joseph” rubbish for me. I mean, if one of the most prominent words in that guy’s lexicon is “Maggot”, then I feel he loses the aristocratic tendencies associated with such a name.
After about as uneventful car trip as you can get, (this is not a slandering; I’d take one of these over an action-packed journey anytime. Leave that kind of excitement to Jason Bourne) we arrived in paradise. Alright, it’s probably a bit unfair of me to continually refer to Shoal Bay in such a reverential tone. To be completely honest, at first glance I was decidedly underwhelmed; the holiday house fit that could “sleep ten people” was way smaller than I had imagined. See, living in a large double storey construction has given me a warped view of how much space every person should have. With a double bed in my room (and there still being room to do what you please), I immediately assume that everyone lives like this. And to be fair, most people do. So when you are confronted with 3 sets of bunk beds within a 3 metre radius, a mild freak out is apropos. Luckily, I managed to score one of the top bunks- the bottom ones bring out the claustrophobe in me- and with no one choosing to sleep in the adjacent bed, I have plenty of leg room.
However, within an hour or two, having explored the place a bit, my first impression of the place proved to be inaccurate. Here I am, in a holiday house with a large backyard, surrounded by architecturally beautiful houses, with the beach a mere 2 minute walk away, and I’m complaining about the reduction of personal space in the sleeping quarters? Shameful.
There was one small aspect of the entire Shoal Bay experience that still disappointed me, despite its triviality. Brennan, who had arrived about 5 hours before us, had promised that he would have passed out by the time we got there. He didn’t.
In fact, the rest of the night was a minor blur to me, most likely because of my alcohol consumption which, whilst possibly classed as “excessive” by doctors, pales in comparison to (for this time) anonymous others I may or may not associate with. Speaking of alcohol consumption, it was a great disappointment this morning when Cameron Ball choose to inform us that he would not be travelling to Shoal with us because of an undisclosed medication he is taking. He claimed that his prescription did not encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or gross amounts of direct sunlight; in other words, “a happy lifestyle” (quote: Evan Stephens). But it got me thinking about a few things, namely, what medicine, nay what anything, is going to promote copious alcohol digestion and skin cancer?
Starting off, we (being myself, Brucy, Evan, Brennan, Joe and The Artist formerly known as Chris) had a few cold ones. Followed by another few. Followed by a semi-drunken walk along the beach. Actually, I am quietly impressed by the scope of the situations that a walk along the beach encompasses. Whether it be drunken, romantic, or simply for fitness, there seems to be no circumstance in which a walk on the beach fails to deliver the goods.
This walk quickly degenerated into a bit of a tackling match, as each of us attempted to assume alpha-male status. I believe I succeeded. As we reached our undetermined destination, a few of us (Brucy and Evan choose not to accompany) thought it would be a terrific idea to enter one of the many caravan parks around this area; perhaps some lovely ladies would greet us? Sadly, we were to meet no one other than our shadows, and I was left to rue the concept of caravan parks. Do all these people bring their caravans with them, or are they already there? If they bring them, then where do they hide them at their normal houses? I rarely see a caravan parked on the front lawn, redneck style. Are these people ashamed of their indulgences, and only admit to it when surrounded by multitudes of others in the same predicament? Should there be a Facebook group titled, “I don’t want my friends to know, but my family is addicted to caravanning”? And if they are already there, well, who chooses to stay in a caravan over a hotel room? How could any businessman think that having a sprawling caravan park is better than a condensed multi-level facility? Ah, I’m much too full of ridiculous questions.
Upon reacquainting ourselves with our house, I embarrassingly threw up, earning myself the title of “Vomitron”. This is one of two running titles this week; the other, “Maggotron”, is awarded to the person who falls asleep/passes out first, and Evan was the proud recipient of it. There’s an undeniable Transformers vibe running through our house, but so what? Transformers are awesome.
To be fair to myself, the vomiting debacle (which is really, really rare for me- truthfully!) was less of a “I’ve had way too much to drink, and am totally plastered” chunder and more of a “If I can throw up now, and feel pretty good in the morning, then why not?” kind of thing. I didn’t have that much to drink Mum and Dad, so please don’t get angry!
The night ended relatively early, as we all went to bed (minus Evan, who was already face down in his bottom bunk) at about midnight. We watched the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder (my team) beat Portland in possibly the best NBA game I have ever watched. There seemed to be a block a minute, one guy fell from about 7 feet in the air and landed on his back after a block gone wrong, and Kevin Durant did his thing. Honestly, if you’re an NBA fan and don’t like Kevin Durant, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. A 6’9”, super-skinny, unathletic dude succeeds on the basis of his sweet jump shot? Gotta love it.
Day two- Thursday
My premonition regarding the whole “Vomitron” incident was proven correct today. I woke with a tremendously clear head, and proceeded to consume a couple of bowls of Coco Pops with everyday ease. I really don’t know how anyone can argue with Coco Pops as the ideal breakfast cereal; sure, they may be loaded with sugar, but don’t you want a cereal that gives you energy whilst simultaneously tasting like a bowl of food for gods? I challenge you to find a better cereal than Coco Pops.
In the morning (or what was left of it), we chose to visit the actual beach. This is about the point where I started to differentiate our trip from that of the people in the legendary reality television series “Jersey Shore”, a show that you MUST watch. See, in that, they live in a precinct supposedly located on the beautiful shoreline of New Jersey, America, yet in the whole season, not one of them actually visited the beach. Instead, they drank until they were clichéd blind, and embraced their shared Italian heritage in a manner best described as inflammatory. As one of the characters, Sammi Sweetheart, declared in the opening episode, “If you’re not a Guido [slang for Italian-American], then get the f*** out of my face”. And if you are a sad individual who analyses each and every word I use, and have found a problem with my terming of the people in a reality show as “characters”, then you obviously don’t know how these shows work. By focusing on a singular aspect of their personalities, they create these one-dimensional constructs that supposedly are manifestations of that person’s nature, but really couldn’t be further from the truth. And the sad thing is, there are people who aspire to be like this, who want nothing more than to emulate their idols and live a semi-prone existence. But that’s another issue.
Once at the beach, we engaged in some classic catches, though it soon became apparent that our inability to actually throw the entire distance between each other was a notable hindrance. After a lacklustre effort (and then doing some other random crap that I don’t feel like delving into) myself, Evan and Chris went off in search of fish and chips. The representation of this great Australian staple was greatly reduced, though only in its traditional sense. What I mean by this is: there were many places that advertised as having fish and chips. However, most of these came with salad. Not to sound like a guy with a Southern Cross tatt on his shoulder, but every true Aussie should know that unless you are in a formal restaurant, fish and chips DOES NOT come with salad. They should come in a flimsy cardboard container, preferably wrapped in a newspaper that has become see-through due to the incredible quantity of grease dripping down. Luckily, after coming across about five of these impostor shops, we discovered “Aussie Bob’s”. I think the name says it all.
Another boozy evening was in affair, until Brucy’s 24 year old friend came over. And by friend, I mean potential sexual partner. And yes, she’s a girl. As we enjoyed a hotly contested game of bocce (myself and Brennan scoring a grand total of zero points), Jess pulled up in her car of sorts, and Brucy was instantaneously transformed from one of the lads into a pandering mess. Trust me, it was a sorry sight. With the exception of our behaviour in light of Jess’ arrival, this trip has easily been the most chauvinistic and misogynistic 24 hours of my lifetime. All the respect for women, built up by our mothers over 19 years, has been eroded by a house with a Dustbuster holder built into the wall. Brennan, one of the more complacent members of our travelling group, seems to perpetually be geared up in board shorts that say “Liquor in the front, Poker in the back”. Even though I don’t particularly like to big note myself, I have refrained from participating in the metaphorical woman-bashing, as my morals are incorruptible. Ah, who am I kidding: I love big noting myself.
In case you were wondering, we are subsisting on more than just pure alcohol. For dinner tonight, the old staple of spaghetti bolognaise was rolled out to universal praise; the fact that the spaghetti had not been strained was lost on our quasi-inebriated minds. Of course, this is shaping up as the first and only delicious home-cooked meal that we will eat this week, as accumulated hangovers are not really conducive to effort in cooking. In fact, they’re not conducive to effort full stop; I think that by day five, we will just be sitting catatonically, awash in a sea of body odour. I can’t wait.
A couple of last notes in regards to day two: at approximately ten thirty, we received a visit from the local police, warning us about our noise levels. It appears that the neighbours do not appreciate our propensity for screaming, nor the rule in King of Beers that made it essential that every sentence contain a swearword in it. However, their distaste for our voices has been matched (and then some) by a few of the guys’ abhorrence with clothing. This culminated in Joe sitting out the back with no clothing on, smoking a cigarette and wearing a towel in a manner reminiscent of Borat’s mankini. Easily one of the gayer moments of the holiday.
Brennan has been passed the mantle of both “Vomitron” and “Megatron”, after residual fragments of his projectile vomit were found in the bathroom. None other than yours truly deduced it to indeed be the work of regurgitation, as it was mainly small, bite sized strands of spaghetti (which I’m sure you wanted to know).
It is unclear whether Brucy and Jess have engaged in anything remotely carnal. Jess insists that she does not think of him “in that way”, but I struggle to find another reason as to why a woman would come and spend time with a bunch of guys 5 years younger than her, and when she only really knows one of them. I must give kudos to Chris though, who is currently perfecting the art of cockblocking.