Friday, December 26, 2008

Post Xmas

With the day finally finished, the mad, hectic 'organization' of it all over, guests gone, most of the dishes done, but the dining table(s) still arrayed with sparkling green, deep-red and silver bunting, still taunting with erect candles and their gothic veniform drippings, some forgotten half-empty bowls of gravy, cranberry sauce, sugar… E@L comes in from a few minutes in the back-yard and sits for a final drink. A softie, dry ginger. Jeff Buckley's arrangement of 'Halleluiah' is playing softly in the background.

The general run of the benevolent hereditary sarcasm that had peppered the day with shouts of laughter and with raised eyebrows, winks, smiles, smirks and guffaws, had ballooned everybody's mood.

Cries of "Nice one, Gordon" and protestations of "Now look here, Ramsay," only generate a "Get the fuck out of my fucking kitchen," response to the chattering ladies. The F-Word comes to the kitchen again.

If it isn't Gordon Ramsay, it's Nigella, or sometimes a mix of the two that the self-proclaimed sous-chef (under mum) of the day is channeling. That someone approaches the crowd around the cheese and pre-dinner drinks table and states, "Now I want you to know love you all, you are my special darlings, but if anyone touches the oven temperature again, they are fucking dead, OK?"

Yes, Gordon cooks Nigella's semolina-bruised roast potatoes in lard, and this year he is determined to get it right. Even if it means swearing in front of mum!

And the jokes and laughs continue. Luckily the one non-family guest is a comedian by trade and falls easily into the taunting and cross-table conversations.

Adrenalin and coffee, beer, champagne cocktails (just Moet and Cointreau), a Brown Bros Pinot Grigio, a Mt Edelstone Shiraz, a quick hit of bronchospasm inducing back-yard cricket - yowser, over the fence E@L, 6 and out!

And so E@L was firing on all cylinders. Who knows, who remembers where he went, whom he ran down on the way…?

And so here he records a hodge -podge of snippets - no apologies for mis-hearings, mis-quotations, grammatical and artistical corrections or even outright inventions - it's all for the blog hits!


"Ignatius Loyola as a childhood hero? What, was Torquemada not an option?"


"Why are the heterosexual couples just living together and all the gays and lesbians trying to get married?"

"So, whatever happened to 'Nature Boy' across the road?"
" 'Nature Boy'?" - comedian b-f does a fairly good impersonation of The Toxic Avenger… (He'd already popped some plastic laurel leaves around his brow and set his face into a mask of divine acceptance and forgiveness for a fairly good Jesus Of The Sacred Heart… His next routine will be a Family Christmas Lunch for sure.)

"But aren’t you a pilot?"
"Haven’t you been paying attention for the last 20 years? What am I everybody?"
"Radio-ologistical, X-ray-sound, or something…?"
"But you're always talking about travelling, I thought you were a pilot."
"Yeah, so the only person in a plane is the pilot."
"Well, you could be a hostie!"

"I think there's too much sarcasm." Said seriously.
"I don’t think there's enough." Said with a straight face.


All happy Christmases are the same, and we love repeats of a good TV series, of a good movie, of a successful day, but an unhappy Christmas is very unusual round here. But they can happen, for some.

After all the personality peccadilloes have been dissected and the accusers in their turn accused and demolished - all in the good family fun of character assassination - with mixed emotions and bloated, churning stomachs, people start to head off home.

However a flatness descends after one or two words are spoken amongst the last ones standing (or sitting), not so much in accusation as in disappointment, about a certain character trait. True words, plainly spoken, in response an outrageously provocative taunt, but with no veneer of sarcasm to make them easily laugh-off-able, with a hint of bitterness and suppressed anger that just makes one wonder what happened to the pleasant ferocious sarcasm of just a few minutes ago. Ouch, E@L takes a hit - a cartoon in his Christmas present book: 'hey, kids, these are real arrows!' Revenge? Bitterness, was it?

Inter-family barbs can scratch and tear with their sarcasm, but to the thick-skinned it is all merely a series of tickles, however one special person still has the ability to injure... Not everyone heard it, no-one comments, it was part of a general multi-voice chorus, perhaps it wasn't meant to be taken so seriously after all.

But suddenly a rent in the balloon of mood has brought E@L out of his personal stratosphere… and when the air is out, it is out…


And so E@L, who obviously can give it but can't take it, lies supine, flat on a bench in the dark and waits, facing up, letting his eyes adjust to the backyard at night. The sky is clear above and the moon not yet risen. A swathe of stars cuts across the canopy. Immensely far away. So fucking BIG. How BIG is this universe? How long would it take for him to go there, to see that little speck of twittering light up close, to have proof that it is actually a mind-numbingly immense roaring furnace, a relentless energy factory that has been churning up hydrogen and spitting out helium and all the low mass atoms for billions of years. But it is just a dot from here, a dot that can only be seen when someone bothers to find a dark yard at night and to look up. An immensely powerful thing, massive, for all intents eternal. If it came closer it would fry all our lives, swallow the entire planet, crush our solar system, no disaster movie would be big-enough, yet no-one knows or cares about this star. "Now" here is 900 years ago there. It has no impact on how we live today, on how we get our roast potatoes crisp.

Yes that giant star by Orion, it is Rigel, or Aldebaran? E@L always gets them mixed. He looks away, toward the Seven Sisters, but slightly off center, to see these soft muses more clearly.

How large it all is. And of course, how small is E@L in this broiling cold emptiness of the universe. What impact is anyone making on any of this? What could it possibly matter?

E@L comes inside, pulls out a dry ginger to washes down his medications - nerve growth, pain relief, arterial relaxation, inflammation suppression, cholesterol inhibition, anti-histamine - and sits at the incompletely cleared table.

His mother wanders past on her last trip to the toilet. She gives him a hug and kiss goodnight.

"Thank you darling, you did a marvellous job today."

"Yeah, but I was too loud. Why do I always shout and carry on when I get excited? I can say the nastiest things."

"Oh, don't be silly. You were terrific, it doesn't matter. Everybody loves you."

E@L sighs. All mums say that. (Well, they should.)

It is late, he is tired. The universe doesn’t sleep - matters of stellar matter that don’t matter need to keep on doing meaningless powerful things on a cosmic scale, they have no option but to continue what they started back at the dawn of time - but E@L must ponder deep trivialities and try to sleep…


Have a fucking nice one everybody.


[Addendum - slept like a log...]


savannah said...


expat@large said...

ditto back at ya...

Indiana said...

Merry Christmas to you too buddy :-)

See you soon...Martini's at Mortons?

expat@large said...

Back Sunday...

savannah said...

pulling the rug up before you leave? ;) xoxo

expat@large said...

Sav: would love to... Donated my room to my cousins instead! Let the PotGC attack them tonight!

Paula said...

Darling Brother,

You were a true 'Ramsey' in the Kitchen - loud, abusive (in fun), and witty; plus the potatoes were cooked to perfection!

Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" is beautiful isn't it? Your cousin Terry commented on it tonight - his favourite! Christmas can be a bit emotive, due to catching up with loved ones who we don't see that often, memories of the past etc. We all get a bit sentimental! You're loved SO very much by ALL your family you know...


Dick Headley said...

Thank you E@L, you did a marvellous job today.

expat@large said...

Paula: thanks, I thought overall, everyone performed really well - maybe I just went a bit far on occassion - I don;t always have to perform lkike that, but the adrenalin was so pumped...

But the meal served on time! You did a great job with the food, oh yeah, excellent gravy, turkey was done beautifully, (and nicely carved!), etc...

We'd all like to thank the Acacdemy...

DH: You sound like my mother.

Paula said...

DH: You're right - E@L did indeed do a marvellous job, and he was thanked profusely by Mum and me both (I was his kitchenhand / maid! He's a great chef, but a hard taskmaster, I can tell you...)

expat@large said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
expat@large said...

Rambeaux: we all are what are we are... THIS is thing to revel in, the thing to celebrate on Newton's birthday. if we were all the same, how fucking boring would that be?

Please teach me how to play the syncopation to that blues song, it was truly astoundingly good.

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