Thursday, April 18, 2013
JV: What do you live with Simone?
Simone: My husband likes drinking wine out of red wine glasses. But he leaves the glasses hanging around and doesn’t wash them. We don’t have a dishwasher, so I keep telling him to wash his glass when he’s finished but he doesn’t. So I’ve taken to every glass he doesn’t wash up, I smash it. So we now have plastic wine glasses.
JV: You smash them?
Simone: I don’t mind drinking my drink out of plastic. I’ll drink out of a tea cup.
JV: So if he doesn’t wash it up, you smash it?
JV: So you have none?
JV: So you were getting tired of this?
Simone: Quite. Because they’re very easy to knock over. When they’re round the kitchen sink.
JV: Are you saying he should do the dishes more often, or just when he’s drunk red wine he should go over and wash his glass.
Simone: Just wash the glass.
JV: A rinse out, ready for washing?
Simone: Wash it out, dry it off, put it away.
JV: And should he do that if he has a cup of tea?
Simone: No. Because that’s not a long stemmed glass.
JV: Why is it that you need them washed straight away?
Simone: Because, it’s very easy to knock them over. Our kitchen is not very big. It’s a tight galley. So we now use plastic wine glasses.
JV: So it’s only the long stemmed wine glasses that you insist on being washed up.
Simone: And put away.
JV: Is your husband there?
Simone: No. He’s walked away. He said he should be ringing to complain about me smashing them.
JV: Well, I do think smashing them is a fairly extreme response. Has he gone out to buy a half dozen more.
Simone: No he doesn’t dare. The fact is, someone gave us some. But there in a box and we’re only using the plastic.
JV: You are sounding fairly extreme to me Simone.
Simone: When I married him fourteen years ago, I didn’t know he couldn’t cook. And he looked at me one night and said, “What are you cooking for dinner?” and I said, “David, I don’t do a cooked dinner at night and I’m not about to start now.”
JV: And this didn’t happen until after you were married?
JV: Can I get back to the wine glasses? I just want to get this straight in my own mind. You want him to wash up the glasses because if he leaves them hanging around the kitchen, they might get broken?
JV: But when he leaves them around unwashed, you smash them.
JV: Doesn’t seem odd to you? You smash them so they won’t get broken?
Simone: Only way to stop him.
JV: Wow. You two have an interesting relationship.
Simone: He never leaves the toilet seat up. That’s how I knew he was the man for me.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
JV: What do you live with Helen?
Helen: I live with a man we call the Silverback Gruntler.
JV: The Silverback Gruntler...
Helen: Yes because, well, he’s silver and middle aged.
Helen: And he gruntles all the time. It’s this low level grumbling that goes on as he appears and disappears throughout the house during the day. *makes gruntling sound*
JV: And that’s more of a gruntle?
Helen: Yeah well we think it’s a gruntle. It’s like he’s disgruntled with life and so he’s gruntling about it.
JV: And is he articulating something? ‘Oh I couldn’t park the car properly and I don’t know where the keys are...’ Are there things that he’s actually gruntling about?
Helen: Little ordinary things like, he’ll go to the shop for me and ring me on the mobile and say ‘they don’t sell butter. I’ve been down here and there’s not butter. They don’t sell it.’ And I’ll say ‘it’s Woolworths, of course they sell butter.’ He’ll go ‘Nup. Nup. I’ve looked and I’m telling you Helen, I can’t find it.’ So I’ll say ‘look where are you now?’ and he describes the shop to me. I have to tell him which aisle to go down and while he’s walking along I can hear this *makes gruntling sound*
Helen: The only time he doesn’t grumble is during council clean up. The night before council clean up he almost changes the oil in the car. Then he’s out first thing in the morning and he brings home machines. And he is a genius at fixing machines, I must admit.
Helen: But he brings home all sorts of things. Computers... Big plasma television sets are his favourite. We have seven of those in the garage.
JV: You’ve got seven big plasma TVs?
Helen: Yes, including a 60 inch one he got when he was working at the Opera House and they threw it out.
Helen: And he colonises every available space in the house with his machines. So I take the machines and, the next time there’s a council clean up, I throw them out again after his collecting thing. Then he grumbles about not being able to find his machines. He walks around the house going ‘I’m sure I had one of those. I’m sure I had one. I wanted it for the spare parts. Oh they’ve gone, they’ve gone.’
Helen: He’s just absolutely amazing. I fear sometimes that the shed doors will roll up and a music machine...a large machine with lights will roll out with my husband at the helm of it because he just...well I don’t know what he does with these machines.
JV: Oh, I see. You suspect he’s making something kind of...he’s a Caractacus Potts. He’s making some sort of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the garage.
Helen: He must be doing something with them because, y’know, apart from grumbling and being up in the shed with his collection of machines there’s really not a lot else he does.
JV: Right, and has he always been a grumbler?
Helen: Oh yes.
JV: Right. So, when you married him did he go ‘Oh, the priest is late...’
JV: ‘Those cars were ridiculously expensive!’
Helen: (laughs) You’re obviously related to him.
JV: Helen, otherwise a delightful man?
Helen: ...yes...No, no, yes he is a delightful man. Other than the fact that...I think he’s a very negative person so he always sees the worst in everything. Except when it comes to a loose machine that’s flying around on the road, then it’ll be perfectly useable but everything else in life will be *grumbling noise*
Helen: So I think, yes he is a delightful man and he’s got a lovely sense of humour when he’s not grumbling or fixing machines.
JV: Well Helen it does sound like you live with a lot there really. Thank you for reporting it this afternoon.
Helen: You’re more than welcome and if you’re ever in need of a giant TV just let me know please.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Fairlie: Oh James look it’s probably a bit soon to be calling back...
JV: No, no it’s lovely to hear from you again. For those of you who haven’t been listening to This Is What I Live With in the last few weeks, Fairlie is married to umbrella man. This is the man who scours the streets. He loves a broken umbrella. He loves the long bits of wire from street sweepers because they’re very good for fixing umbrellas. He fixes umbrellas, puts a name on them and then guards them carefully forever more. This apparently Fairlie is not his only odd thing.
Fairlie: No, well look I heard you talking about the scarcity of hankies not long ago and how they’re an endangered species.
Fairlie: And I think, if they’re not tucked into people’s hanky drawers, a lot of them might be at our house.
Fairlie: This is another hideous specialisation of my husband’s scavenging disease. Winter’s far more of a strain because it’s the cold and flu season. He goes out on his morning walk and he has a gift for finding them. You’ll never guess what he picks them up with.
Fairlie: The point of an umbrella. Ahhh!
JV: So you mean he find discarded hankies, as in the cloth things people blow their noses in...
Fairlie: That’s the one.
JV: Not paper tissues?
Fairlie: No hankies. He brings them home and he sterilises them in nappy cleaner.
Fairlie: And then he launders them very carefully and he puts them in this little camphor box that his mother gave him.
JV: Isn’t that lovely.
Fairlie: And I swear that he’s collecting an alphabet of monogrammed handkerchiefs. Don’t ask me how many are in there. It’s like the Bluebeard of hankies to me, that box.
JV: Wow. So does he specialised in the monogrammed hanky?
Fairlie: Well when we can get his hands on them. He comes home and he shouts ‘the Lord provideth’ which is pretty rich because he’s not at all religious.
JV: And ‘the Lord provideth’ is an indication that he found a hanky that morning?
Fairlie: That’s it.
JV: And how often might he find a hanky?
Fairlie: Well in winter it’s more prolific. I tell you what, I’m the first person in autumn to be having a flu vaccination.
JV: Right. Yeah.
Fairlie: Just one more thing is soft fabrics. Ah, towel rags that he finds that people have discarded that they’ve used to wipe their dipsticks with...
JV: Oh yeah?
Fairlie: He washes and bleaches them, and he’s a dainty sew-er. So he hems them and then they become dishrags.
JV: Well isn’t that handy. That is good. Look at the savings there.
JV: Now the hanky...I’m not looking for them, but I didn’t know you could find discarded hankies.
Fairlie: Well somehow, it’s like socks, they have a way of coming out of people’s pockets. You’d be surprised.
JV: But do they make it out onto the street? I mean, as you’ve observed, the hanky is an endangered species.
Fairlie: No, this is on his morning walk at Ferry Wharf and at bus stops and...
JV: Right. So people play drop the hanky.
Fairlie: And he picks them up with the point of the umbrella.
JV: Wow...and you would estimate there’s, what, one hundred in this camphor box?
Fairlie: I’m not looking in there. It’s the Bluebeard’s chamber that camphor box.
JV: So he’s got a glory boy kind of thing?
Fairlie: He does but no, there’s many of them there.
JV: I mean you’ve said before that he’s a delightful fellow.
Fairlie: No, he is. He’s a gorgeous person.
JV: Just a couple of those sorts of things. It doesn’t sound like you’re suffering here.
Fairlie: No, but don’t be thinking we’ll be sleeping in on New Year’s day like everybody else. There’s rich pickings to be had out there.
JV: What? Umbrellas and hankies?
Fairlie: Oh, all sorts of things from the revellers...the unsuspecting revellers.
JV: Oh so he’s up early?
Fairlie: We’re up early.
JV: ‘Come on Fairlie, let’s be going.’
Fairlie: Let’s be going.
JV: And where do you head to? Where are your favourite gathering spots?
Fairlie: Oh well Bondi beach is rick pickings.
JV: Yep. You could pick up whole people there.
Fairlie: He’s very good about handbags and wallets though.
JV: Do they go back?
Fairlie: They go back.
JV: Is he a metal detector person?
Fairlie: No, no he doesn’t want any fancy....no he’s not into gimmicks like that.
JV: Right. Just what the Lord provideth.
Fairlie: Yes...And, by the way, all those friends in adverted commas that are bringing broken umbrellas to us, it’s not funny.
JV: Yeah. Could they stop now.
JV: Well Fairlie you’ve booked a regular spot here really. I’m starting to see it perhaps as therapy. Would he like to come on and talk to us?
Fairlie: Oh I wouldn’t say he’d do that.
JV: Right okay.
Fairlie: I might be sailing very close to the wind with this phone call.
JV: Yes, okay. Well if you catch a cold while you’re sailing close to the wind...
Fairlie: Yes imagine when the swine flu epidemic was coming, how nervous I was then.
JV: But if you do catch a cold you’ve got some hankies so that’s good.
Fairlie: I’m not allowed to touch them. I’ve told you, they’re in that camphor box.
JV: Wow Fairlie, thank you so much and please call any time. Thank you for those participating in This Is What I Live With I think we all feel a little bit better about ourselves.