sabato, ottobre 13, 2012

This is how commies turn fascist

Met four very different Justice of the Peaces yesterday. In one case, I suspect the furthest-right party in the country just got my normally-pinko vote because of how nice the ones at the local MP's office were. In the other case it's a good thing this isn't one of those states where everybody walks around packing heat, because I'd have blown kneecaps off at a minimum. It isn't a good idea to antagonize a lady in her eighth month of pregnancy.

It had to do with the letter dissolving the PACS with Bluebird, which, going as it is to France, had to be in French. So far so explicable. I'm sure the French will raise their whole separate suite of roadblocks, France being what it is, but for now they're not the problem. The French consulate needed me to get a JP to witness my signature of the document. I figured that would probably be fine - just do it as a stat dec.

Now, the odds of finding a JP anywhere in Australia, especially New South Wales (the most populous state, and apparently one of the worst for second language education) that speaks even the basic French that was involved in the letter are probably less than 1%, because this is a monolingual dump. This is the only country I'm aware of where educated people who consider themselves intellectuals can be monolingual. Wholly monolingual. Chestnuts about stupid American monolinguals don't stand up to scrutiny; I've never met an American who couldn't fathom the basic concept of say, Spanish or French existing through a few words, a few lessons. I've certainly never met an  American with pretensions to intellectualism like that. Basically, I'm talking about having enough knowledge of another language to make fun of it. Not even that is on the cards here.

That rant aside (for the moment), I understood there was just about no chance of me finding a JP within a day's drive that could understand French. But I expected a stat dec would be okay, or just a little JP stamp next to my signature on a French letter (yes, the condom euphemism has struck me too), given all the consulate needed was a validation of my signature.

Was it, fuck. As far as the first two JPs were concerned, anyways. Long term readers remember my frequent struggles with Belgian Kafkaism. I can sincerely state, and I've thought long and hard about this, that all of the Kafkaesque bureaucratic nonsense in Belgium that I ever butted heads with never quite equalled the idiocy of the over-pickled middle-aged painted bimbo (she looked like one of the blonde bitches from Muriel's Wedding with the addition of a slightly updated haircut and about 30 years) at the courthouse explaining to me over and over that the content of the stat dec didn't matter to her, but she couldn't accept the content because it was in French. She ended up in that rhetorical hole when I offered to write down a side-by-side English/French translation on the stat dec, so that it could be ensured, one assumes, that I wasn't writing down a violent anarchist manifesto involving blowing up her house and workplace in my kooky man-man language that she would be  consenting to with her signature.

To be fair to her, she called in one of her colleagues to back her up - an incredibly lazy sack of clock-watching shit the F-word and I had already had to suffer when getting some docs certified for our mortgage - which he did by saying it was my problem with the French consulate, and I should sort it out with them. Expressed himself rather rudely, which I'm not too sore about, given he had that sort of swollen non-sun pinkiness that betrays he's gonna die of something heart-related soon, so it's not as though the world will have to bear him for long.

Finally - since this was all at the local courthouse, and you never know when I'll run into them in less auspicious bureaucratic circumstances - I thanked them very kindly for all of their help (which felt quite good, since I doubt even those sorts of mouth-breathing inert troglodytes could have missed the sarcasm) and left. If you read the last entry about Bluebird, you may appreciate that yesterday was a difficult day. I was, after all, carrying out a step that severed the last lingering paper-tie to a fairly unfortunate chapter in my life, but which my crocodile brain was warning might end up messily. So as I left the courthouse, I was distraught that everything hadn't been tied up.  But I decided to try again, and went to the only other JPs I could find, at the local state MP's office. I was feeling a little iffy about it, preparing myself for another round of bullocks, especially given the political context of him representing the furthest-right party on offer, and me being a foreign dago with a stat dec in a foreign dago language.

Was it iffy? Was it, fuck. The lovely ladies there didn't bat an eyelash. They told me the same thing as the courthouse JP - the content doesn't matter, a  JP just signs off on your signature - but followed that idea to its natural conclusion - so it doesn't matter that it's in French - instead of derrrrrrrrr. I wrote it out, rang a little bell when it was done, and another JP came out and excused herself for, I suppose, not having instantly appeared out of thin air, because they'd been having a little morning tea with mudpies (a sort of chocolate cupcake). I told her she was lucky; she looked at my belly and said "actually, I think I'd better get you one too."

Short version: first people I saw were impossible, obstructionist civil servant cunts happy to waste my time and theirs because French made their brains explode; the next set were employees of a right-wing, nationalistic party who helped me as instantly as they could without bending the space-time continuum, and gave me a cupcake.

lunedì, ottobre 08, 2012

Bluebird's final chapter

Being such a fluttery little creature, or these days such a fluttery enormous creature, and having practiced the sort of Jungian analysis that lets me perceive myself as a collection of historical selves, sometimes it's hard for me to understand that today's Mistress La Spliffe is the same person as Mistress La Spliffe several years ago. Nothing special there. But the past sometimes does intrude on the present.

What with procreation and entering the moneyed classes and being the family's primary breadwinner, I've spent a sizable chunk of the last six weeks or so sorting out my financial affairs, in case I suddenly die, or something like that. And I've realized, or rather been forced by circumstances to pay attention to the fact, that I never properly "divorced" Bluebird. Which is basically fine, because I never properly married him. We had a PACS. Correction - as far as I know, we have a PACS. And I think I should get rid of it. The law is relatively clear, in that the PACS isn't recognized unless we're living together, which obviously we're not, and it means very little outside of France. And it could be automatically got rid of by marrying the F-word, which I would do if we return to a civil law country. Nonetheless I'd like to ditch it now.

The thing is, Bluebird, well - he's not a boogeyman to me anymore, exactly, but given how our relationship ended I do have what I consider a reasonable degree of fear of him having my physical contact details or any possible weapon to interfere with my family's safety or comfort. A PACS is easily broken with a registered letter, even without his current address - the last I have is from 2006. Remember then? I hardly do - but of course I have to provide my current address, and if his address from 2006 still works that means giving mine to him through the registered letter, which in turn goes through the French consulate here and then the greffe in Paris and then to his last known address, whether he's still there or not (ah, European bureaucracy, I missed you. A little. In a masochistic way).

It's a fear easily addressed by using a PO box that I established for work mail (no way I'm printing my home address on the million business cards I hand out all over the world; since the Delhi conference I've been getting a lot of heavy breathers on the phone and have no wish to ever have one on my doorstep) but it means that I'm now combing the internet for any association of my name with my address and getting rid of them, as far as is possible for a woman with a reasonably public job who belongs to a bunch of clubs and occasionally sends irate letters-to-the-editor.

The point of this post? I used to be retarded, and that still matters. I'm not saying I'm not anymore, just that I used to be a bigger retard than I am now, and did really retarded things like getting PACSed to a rich, beautiful psychopath. Most of the ways I was retarded are just fairly good stories now, and feel so distant they might as well have happened to another person. But just as I'm preparing for a really new phase of life - the last big rite of passage before menopause - one of my old retarded decisions is sitting there, still being something that's happening to me. I think the most unsettling thing about it isn't so much my ongoing fear of Bluebird, or my appraisal of how stupid, masochistic and self-duplicitous I used to be in terms of my romantic entanglements. Rather, I think it's realizing that however nicely compartmentalized my brain feels, the past is always there. Not some other country you can just emigrate out of. More like a messy garage attached to your house you have to try to clear out from time to time, and sometimes there are big old brown snakes living in all the rubbish who might try to kill you.

Similes fail me. The gist of all this: I want to put my PACS with Bluebird to bed, and I don't want him to be able to know anything about my life now, and I'm still afraid. This tedious, tedious story hasn't been quite wound up yet.

domenica, ottobre 07, 2012

Dreams and paranoias

Last night, I dreamt I was still pregnant, and went for a run in Scalby, close to my grandmother's house. A house I may well never set foot in again, depending on how we manage the furniture I've inherited and how fast it sells. (Which is a thought I haven't got used to since it has been the most constant building, perhaps the only constant building, in my peripatetic life; but as little as we got along I fully understand Granny was the sun that pulled the system of her establishment into some sort of order or identity, so what would be the point of setting foot in it again?) No mention of the extra 20 kgs from my dream self of course, as she ran. It was glorious. Powering lightly up hills that would have me breathing like a bellows at a gentle waddle now. Feeling that great lightness of limb which has been turning into a distant memory.

I miss running, and I miss kayaking, and I miss not giving out a fatty grunt every time I squat or roll over or get up. I like feeling Ren moving around in there, and I like how awesome my hair looks, and I like that random strangers show me some interest and kindness that is totally fucking un-Australian. And that's about all I like about being pregnant. Any fear I have of a bad labour or being a bad mum has now been almost totally overwhelmed by being sick of being pregnant. By week 37, when Ren is pretty much mature by any measure, I imagine it'll be overwhelmed completely; at the moment my only concern is he or she not being fully baked on arrival. I'm paranoid about needing specialist care here. My guess is that what's available here in L____ or Brisbane, if things go pear-shaped, is better than in even the cities in Canada, and worse than in the buttery-beery bits of western Europe, and that's not good enough for my kid.

This weekend the F-word and I discovered twin paranoias about Ren, sparked off from this sordid affair with no winners and six losers, especially the girls involved. And it's something that has been at the base of our minds since Squidsy's wife tried to split to Canada with their son. The F-word was concerned that I'll abscond to Canada with the child and without him and somehow use my massive brain power to work out a way around the Hague Convention. I was concerned that at some point he'll decide that he wants us, or at least him and the kid, to stay in Australia and under the terms of the Hague Convention I'll be stuck on this fucking retarded rock at the end of the world for the next 18 years. I think we reassured each other effectively, as far as we can. Both are far-fetched fears, for a ream of practical as well as emotional reasons.

But the fact is we both suspect that people can go a little crazy once they have children. And the fact that we have these twin guns that can be pointed at each other's heads would ordinarily be fine - the happiest of couples are happy because they have massive arsenals of pain they're choosing not to use. But we don't know what sort of freaks we can turn into once a child is involved. I guess we'll see. Squidsy and his wife are a bit of a special case - time has demonstrated that Squidsy was probably worth running away from, and his wife's big fuckup was thinking he was an appropriate person to be making babies with in the first place. And the other couples we know who are going ballistic mostly, I suspect, didn't like each other very much in the first place. But, well, there you are.