I wondered whether this was too pissy to post about. Then I had a look through the Lad Litter archives. And came to the conclusion that this might just be the equivalent of a Foreign Policy White Paper by comparison with some of the complete piffle I've churned out on this blog. Plus, it gave me a pretty good excuse to use the title of my all-time favourite film to head up a post. Evocative, no?
I'm on Facebook. I have the security settings on Friends Only, but my name and profile image are searchable. I'm not on it all the time like some, but I do attend to it by putting up the odd smart-aleck comment on my wall and the occasional patronizing and by-no-means-heartfelt "like" on friends' wall posts. It's the nature of the medium, boys and girls. Facebook, where the shallowness glows wanly through even the densest layers of mock-sincerity.
But I'm not really as cynical about Facebook as all that. No, if used for niceness and goodness instead of meanness and rottenness, it works pretty well. Except for the people who seem to think you're important enough to send a friend request to, but that you lack the critical cachet needed for them to actually reply to any message you might send them.
But as I said, it's not like I check in on Facebook all that often, just now and then. So it was something of a surprise to find about a month ago that I'd received a message from someone whose name I didn't recognize. The message wanted to know if I was the same tall Lad Litter with long blond hair who'd gone to a particular inner suburban high school. She identified herself by mentioning that she'd dated a mate of mine from those days. I told her I remembered her well, but not to leave the porch light on for any long blond hair.
I also let her know that I hadn't maintained contact with her old boyfriend for long after school had finished and had no idea where he might be. That didn't seem to faze her, so we exchanged messages about current events and figures in our lives and briefly and superficially discussed my reluctance to engage in any cavalacade of reminiscence about that time. It's been quite a lovely correspondence.
But back in 1976, she used to wait in the mornings at the Mt Rd tram stop at the top of my street. I'd cycle past on the footpath on the other side of that busy road. She was on her way to the Catholic girls' school in North Melbourne and used to wait there with a friend. We'd be looking at each other as I rode past, the two girls and I, but without any interest, just awareness. Some mornings I'd wave to them, but I can't remember if they ever waved back, or just rolled their eyes. If it was eye-rolling, someone had given them sound advice.
It was such a small part of all our days that I'm sure none of us gave it much thought at all. Besides, they looked a couple of years younger than me too.
Late December of that year seemed replete with balmy, well-lit evenings and it was my ritual to walk our dog across the park out the back of our place, south along the Moonee Ponds Creek valley, and have a cigarette in one of our kitchen window’s blind spots. Once I'd crested the low hill that put me in Travancore, walking through the naturalized aniseed, I met a bloke I knew on his way to see a mutual friend and neighbour of mine. We smoked and then headed back in the direction of my place. As soon as we'd retraced my steps over the hill, we saw two girls sitting having a chat right in the middle of the park.
Our path was going to take us close by them, but before any awkward encounter could take place, my dog Tiger had sidled over to make friends. The ol’ tail-wagging icebreaker was in top form and seemed to be demonstrating an aptitude for social graces that would elude me for quite a few years more. It was about then I realized it was the two girls from the tram stop. And they’d both turned out to be very attractive.
My Facebook correspondent, Leslie, was tall and with long straight brown hair parted in the middle. It’s a look that just always seems to work. As well, she seemed graceful and smart. Her friend Lisa was a stunner. Maybe a bit Mia Freedman-ish with a dash of Sigourney Weaver, although both were unknown in 1976.
But they seemed okay with our gormlessness. So it was nice to learn a couple of weeks later that Lisa had met this guy she really liked. Yeah? It was my neighbour, whose girlfriend lived in Lisa’s nearby street who told me this. He’d heard it from his girlfriend. And his girlfriend reckoned the guy was me.