Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fly on the Wall

My second opportunity to be a fly on the wall also came during the Brisbane Writers' Festival.  Due to lack of time and finances it was difficult to find events that I could attend and justify financially.

The All-Night Literary Love-In  at the Brisbane PowerHouse was, at forty dollars for 10 hours of straight event, the best bang for the buck.

Still nursing a baby (who survived the night without me) and still feeling frumpy and overweight and extremely suburban housewife amidst the thirty something, no kids and dual career sleek chic and stylish professionals, I walked in alone, found a spot with my cushions on the floor and settled in - with caffeine pills - for an all-nighter.

It started with a tribute to Dave Bowie, with various artists interpreting his songs in their own styles.  Some were quite raunchy, leaving me feeling even more suburban un-cool, since it was the weekend after Aidan told me that girls were exposing themselves to him at school and I was not in the mood to have a penis wagged in my face or to be kissed and straddled.  Maybe I'm just too old for this sort of thing.

Fortunately the Bowie impersonations stuck to molesting chic, young, male members of the audience.

I met another couple my age.

Some of the presenters were famous television personalities I recognise every now and then on the rare occasions I watch TV.  Nice thing about being in Australia, I don't know who is famous and noone cares or acts famous.  Just artists sharing their work. 

But I stayed silent as the presenters went about the room.  And maybe I did look very suburban frumpy - I must have scared them - because they stayed away from me too.  Did I have a sign tattoed to my forehead saying I had a minivan parked in the carpark next to their two seater?!

After 2AM people started dropping like flies. 

Suburban housewife this, I popped my pills and kept right on going until morning.

I participated in yoga at 4 AM.  Quietly.

I did the sexual awakening workshop at 5AM.  Gazing lovingly into the eyes of other middle aged women - and one young male free spirit - as we circled the room and...heck, I don't remember what we were supposed to be doing.  The couple who led the workshop were this pair of hippies my age who obviously thought they had great sex together all the time. 

And also obviously had no kids.

I then managed to stay silent during the sex workshop where a woman read from her piece on bestiality.  Which has been banned from Queensland. 

Where, once again, all I could think was 'why.'

She also used the word 'cunt' a lot which later on, during the panel discussion that followed, turns out isn't as offensive to Aussies but is very offensive to Americans.

And I DID NOT, I repeat Liz and Lori and Anita and Nicole and Cara and - oh good Lord, all of my veterinary friends - I repeat I DID NOT raise my hand and say that as a veterinarian who has actually manipulated horse genitals and as an American, ew ew ew, and once again, why?

The writing wasn't bad but had this woman ever SEEN the underside of a male horse? 

Ew.  Maybe I am just way too suburban after all.

It took all I could to not raise my hand and say it.  Imagine the look on everyone else's face when the frumpy quiet lady to the side actually stands up and starts talking about horse genitals?

Next year I am going to stand up and say the word 'fanny' out loud for five minutes and call it poetry.

I came away from the night realising that we write some things because we can, not necessarily because we should, that we do it for the same reasons Americans want to own guns, for the principle of it, so that we aren't suppressed, so that we keep our freedom of speech alive.

I was so proud of myself for staying silent the whole night.  I feel like I can become myself, I can grow and mature, I can hide away in the midst of this cultural hothouse.

I have all the time in the world to get to know these people and let them get to know me.

In the meantime, I am enjoying getting to know the satisfaction of keeping my secrets to myself, of knowing who I am without having to bounce it off of everyone else.

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