I am back in the land of the living, holidaying (ostensibly) in Oz. I am enjoying (compared to England) abundant sunshine, although I seem to have brought the rain with me, as there were thunderstorms in Brisbane and now the skies of Armidale keep clouding over. However, one cannot complain because we are in the sixth year of a drought, which has been so bad and so constant that a miniseries has been made about it, starring a girl I used to go to uni with. All those European morons who believe that global warming is good for their climate ought to come to Australia, where one farmer shoots himself every four days.
Now I need to pick up the thread of my last narrative where I left it, viz., at H-‘s trivia quiz night. I only elected to go to this because I wanted to get out of London into the country and, unbeknowest to most I (because I do not broadcast my weaknesses) I am an utter failure at trivia and Trivial Pursuit. It ranks among the games that frustrate me most, second only to Pictionary in which I am always handicapped (yes, literally), because I can never hear what the other team is whispering, thus it takes me twice as long to figure out the picture. Make that three times as long if H is drawing because he is so literal and God forbid if he must draw a human, because it can’t simply be a stick figure but must be graced with ten fingers and ten toes and a willy if it is a man.
The night began well, however, because H and I covered most of the art pictures. After which we sunk into a bemused silence, although I broke out of it into song when I heard H whisper an answer to a question about which children’s TV show was about to be resumed. ‘The Wombles of Wimbledon womble again,’ I sang. I am quite sure that these are not the correct lyrics, but that was always what I heard, and what I always sang, and I was subsequently shushed furiously. I had had more than my customary 1.5 glasses of wine by this point, so I was not to be blamed: the friendly man next to me kept filling up my glass. However, the answer was something like Pokemon, and H- could not get it because she works until late and is never around to watch kids programs and I don’t know why Other Half knew not the answer, perhaps because he flagellates himself with his enormous bunch of keys around this time.
In order to overcome said handicap of not being able to hear questions, or of hearing the question incorrectly and shouting out a totally random answer, which I have been known to do at times, the nice MC gave me five questions at a time on a small slip of paper. Naturally my team took advantage of this and peered at the small slip of paper (seeing as I couldn’t answer any questions, I had to render myself useful somehow), until I noticed the neighbouring table getting antsy and asking the MC why I got the questions.
This is probably the most unfortunate thing about being deaf, particularly as I speak well and I am good at faking hearing (it’s amazing how many people think you’re hanging off every word when you smile charmingly and nod in the right places) – people just don’t know I have a disability until I tell them. And, when I do tell them, they don’t understand how severe my lack of hearing is, nor how difficult it is to cope with it, because I pull off hearing with such aplomb. Perhaps I ought to wear a t-shirt that says, ‘Yes, I’m deaf and have big tits, and I also have nearly four degrees and a published novel so don’t talk to me unless you have read Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower Came.’ Or I could (and this is H’s favourite suggestion) drag my leg around as though afflicted with a club foot. However I prefer to wear my killer stilettos and put up with people’s misconceptions.
And, I am ashamed to say, my almost-four degrees didn’t come in handy this evening, particularly when I was utterly convinced that the Franklin River was in Ohio when it lies, in fact, in Tasmania, and was one of the controversial environmental issues in the history of Australia. Naturally, when I heard the answer, all this came flooding back, and shall remain forever branded in my memory along with H-‘s look of complete incomprehension that I could not muster my own country’s geography. Well, no one can say that Oz isn’t a big place.
The next day however, I engaged in one of my better talents: shopping. I revisited my shoe haunt, Duoboots, and acquired a new pair of black suede shoes, and had to sadly relinquish the red shoes I’d found because they were almost identical to another pair I already own. Then H- did an evil thing and showed me a new shop full of many lovely expensive girly goodies, and I was persuaded to part with an unhealthy number of pounds for a new cardie. Bad, bad H-.