Thursday, June 28, 2012

The (Stage Whisperer) Voice… Part 2

Straight back into the countdown…

2. A Pox Upon NYC
I was very lucky to be taken to New York City by my parents at the tender age of 11.  I was most fortunate to join Mother and Father Painefull in staying at a rather salubrious hotel (starts with ‘Waldorf’ ends with ‘Astoria’).  I was incredibly privileged to be there over the week of New Year’s Eve.

An artist's rendering of my visit to NYC

My parents, New York City and said salubrious establishment were probably a touch less grateful for my presence.  Poor Mother Painefull spent a great deal of my childhood trying to get me Chicken Pox (like an instrument you’ll grow to hate and a doll that soils itself, it’s one of life’s go-to gifts), figuring the sooner it happened the sooner it would be over.  I was eternally being sent to visit kids who were going through it, but nary a spot appeared… until we touched down in NYC.

The first hint something was wrong came when I paid tribute to The Exorcist by projectile vomiting my way through one of those super trendy delis.  Mum did what any parent would do under the circumstances – she entered denial.  And thus I can lay claim to the Great NYC Chicken Pox Plague of 1997*.

I slept for 4 hours on a bench in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum while my parents took in the art.  Those were the days, huh?  Leaving an unsupervised, un-labelled child to wander a foreign city alone, infecting the populace like a vastly superior version of Home Alone 2.  I can only guess at the countless school trips I contaminated in that sitting.  They don’t call me Typhoid Painefull for nothing.  In fact they don’t at all… but they should.

Even when Parentals Painefull conceded I might be a little sick (First Sign: vomiting, Second Sign: spots, Third Sign: hallucinations) that didn’t stop them.  In order to make sure I didn’t miss out on New Year’s Eve in The Large-ish Apple they covered me in a pile of jackets, scarves and hats to hide my poxy face (and my infectious nature) and took me to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

A funny thing happened on the way back to the hotel as well – we had to try and cross Times Square.  I tell you nothing gets cops waving you through barricades faster than pulling back a small child’s hat to reveal a face that could well be the first hint of a zombie apocalypse.

1. Total Eclipse of the Heart
This isn’t the tale about me being Sick with Love.  Sorry, I’m not that girl (on what earth has anything I’ve written in this blog implied that I’m remotely that girl?).  This is the story of how I had a hole in my heart.

I have two memories that vie for poll position as my earliest, I’ve never been entirely sure which one comes out ahead.  The first is being seated at the kitchen table along with my parents and 4 siblings.  We were all in the process of eating lamingtons (cause that’s a meal here in Australia ya know) – it was some sort of treat – and someone had just said something so funny that everyone with a vocabulary over 20 words (ie. all bar me) was paralysed in hysterical, all-consuming, body-shaking laughter.  And yet for some reason the room was almost completely silent.  Because, as I later realised, that’s how the Family Painefull truly laughs.

The other is of being on a moving hospital bed watching my mother and father, dressed in gowns and caps, recede into the distance.  It’s only in hindsight that I recognise, that would have been on the day they fixed the hole in my heart.  Thank god for old school local GP’s who notice strange noises, surgeons who know what they’re doing in what is a relatively everyday procedure now and high-necked swimsuits that hide strange scars.

Painefull Out

* = the Great NYC Chicken Pox Plague of 1997 might not actually be a thing, or it might have been a thing that no one realises was a thing.  I really hold on to the idea that I have already left my mark on the city so nice they named it twice, and thus my lack of achievement later in life is just a long-foretold bout of counter-balancing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The (Stage Whisperer) Voice... Part 1

I’m currently a little bit sick of being sick.  It’s boring.  I’ve recently enjoyed a tour of some of this winter’s most fashionable cold and flu symptoms – from acute laryngitis to a chest infection, I may never truly know what’s hot, but I can tell you definitively I am currently not (metaphorically speaking, on the literal side my temperature is all over the map).  My body has been busying itself brewing some sort of super bug.

The only highlight so far was the brief interlude in which my voice graduated from pre-op onto something I decided sounded a little like Karise Eden singing.  When I pointed this out to my mother she looked at me blankly and replied “What’s a Karise Eden?”.  I had better luck when I rang Fi and performed a Celine Dion number.  “I think you mean Cher?”  Yes.  Cher.  I’ll take it.  All this was brought to a crushing halt when Mother Painefull demanded I stop calling people to sing to them if I wanted any chance of getting better.

So a return to the boredom, with nothing to revel in but the gobsmacking range of soups mum can cook.  Yes, I reverted to a sick 6 year old child, went home and lay really still while my long-suffering parents cared for me.

I also spent a week communicating in stage whisper.  Turns out, when you start whispering, other people feel the need to whisper back.  Which makes conversation stupid and oddly secretive.  Suddenly mundane things feel confidential, furtive, deserving of security clearance.  Maybe that’s the fever talking…

And so as I ponder phlegm and recall my taste buds with longing, I remind myself this could be worse.  It could be a Man Flu (that’s life and death I hear).  Health, like voters and the print media, is a fickle creature… and always in possession of superb timing.

Thus, without further ado, I give you my Top 3 Most Memorable Dalliances With Illness*.

3. This Is Starting To Burn
One of my various skills (joining the category that includes things like ‘Singing like Karise Celine Cher’) is the art of sunburn.  It’s my thing.  It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes on an overcast day at 4pm for me to light up like a fat man on a treadmill.  That and my aversion to stakes might be why some people suspect I’m a vampire.  They don’t, but it would also explain the hours I keep and the irrational enjoyment I get out of not catching sight of my own reflection in mirrors.

Of course this means the beach is my natural enemy.  I have to roll in sunscreen and double dip in clothing before I even step on to the sand.  But a few years ago, one fateful family Christmas holiday at Hyams Beach, I made the Rookie Error of missing a fundamental spot.  I burnt the backs of my knees so thoroughly that I was unable to walk properly for 2 weeks after.  It’s a devastating thing to arrive half an hour late to a meal when you feel the way I do about food**.

To be continued… (with an ill-timed international incident, a strong case of denial, a total eclipse of the heart and the mysteries of silent laughter).

Painefull Out

* = Let the record show, if nothing else this list reminds me I have been supremely lucky when it comes to general wellness.  Also when it comes to family holidays.  And scar tissue.  Not to mention parents.

** = Perhaps the personification of a First World Problem.  Woe is me.