The homesick blues

9 05 2002

So, generic cialis there another Thursday and Giles the Manchurian and Noodle the … Macslandian (parental estate) stroll down to Brewerkz for lunch. There are plenty of cheap eats in the vicinity of the office, viagra usa hospital but what narrowed down the field of lunch choices for the both of us was the possibility of a pint to go with it. Oatmeal stout. Not to be sneezed at. And only $2 if you order it with the lunch set. Extremely cheap for Singapore.

Much of the conversation is simply venting, venting, venting about work. Giles has a vent, then I have a vent. It’s fun, really fun to have a good whinge about it, and he being the pom…. Hang on, actually I held my own there. Maybe even hogged the conversation? Anyway, anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to sit with me over a beer and listen patiently while I moan about ‘being on the wrong road’, just insert your own experience here and the scene will be set.

Brewerkz is a brewery. Sometimes it really reeks. Of hops in the vat doing what hops do; the stench of yeast gettin’ it on; but sometimes just a weird burnt steak smell which obviously has nothing to do with the brew. Vegetarians might want to skip this next meaty bit…

I miss Aussie steak. Tender. Mmm. I can see the bloody redness of a Porterhouse winking at me, of the iron screaming out, “You know Janeen, if you ate me you’d have so much energy! You’d stop moping about the office in a jiffy. You wouldn’t fall asleep at 2.15 this afternoon.”

God, how I miss it.

I’m aware of course, in the back of my mind, of all the steaks that I’ve eaten that have been less than exemplary. Ones that have firmly inserted themselves between the 2nd and 3rd molar, only to bug me all afternoon and remind me that really, being a vegetarian wouldn’t be so bad. That gristle is a word that sounds unpleasant because it is. But I’m not thinking of that now.

The New York steak here is as thin as a piece of toast, so I decide not to order it. But now I can’t help but think of The Kingo, nestled there in the armpit of Parliament House. Can you still cook your own steak at the Kingo? I’m sure someone will tell me that no, they’ve revamped it, turned it into a drive through Steak-a-ria. Or they’ve gone the other way and not only do you have to cook your own steak, you have to core the tomatoes and rinse your lettuce to make your own salad. ‘Oh, and while you’re here, flush the beer lines…’ or something like that.

But now I’m thinking of the REAL New York steaks with the blood and the iron and the ‘they really don’t make knives big enough to cut this’ mentality. Charred black on the outside, bright red on the in….

Don’t get me wrong; the food here is out of this world most of the time. Food from the hawker centres—mmmm, cheap and tasty. But every now and then, when I’m feeling really tired, my corpuscles scream for the corpuscles of another. I yearn for a good steak. Or even a half decent sandwich actually. Fresh bread. Avocado. Shaved chicken breast. Some kind of mustard with bits in it. No, replace that with Branston pickles.

Sometimes, when Mum and Dad phone me up, the whole time I’ll be thinking of how they’ve probably just scoffed a Sunday roast, with the gravy and the peas and with the crunchy potatoes that Mum (god knows how), manages to conjure. Is there lard involved? Ghee? Have I just typed ghee because I like the way the word sounds? It drives me nuts. Sometimes I think I can smell it through the phone.

We share a Brewerkz pizza, Giles and I. It’s ok. The pesto is pesto-ie enough. Crunchy crust. We leave, legs a bit wobbly. Full to at least the knees with an afternoon drunkenness. I have a bit of a snicker because I have to write an email about wedding anniversaries this afternoon for a campaign. Should be good. Nice ‘n’ romantic.

We listen to Cream when we get back to the office. I have a silent whinge in my brain about my wasted time, how I never picked up a guitar, how I could play this solo on Crossroads if I even knew what I was doing. I think about saying something to Giles, but I already know what the response would be.

“Do you even know the difference between a fret and a plectrum?” he would ask in that ridiculous accent, and I would have to stomp back to my desk and sulk all afternoon.

It’s been one of those days. On the down side of the roller coaster. I catch the No. 143 bus home in the afternoon. Double Decker. Go to the top deck. Swaying around at that height seems to cheer me up, though occasionally I hit my head on the window when I lean too close.

A life filled with blows to the head. And now? Now I’m going to watch some censored tele. I’m not sure which disturbs me more.

Toodle-Noo. Here endeth the missive.


©Janeen McCrae 2002



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