Some thoughts on the common comma

I like commas. I use them quite a lot. Perhaps too much, but then my punctuation has always been a bit odd.
I like my weird punctuation. I have carefully nurtured it through the cycles of high school and university essays. It thrived in academic writing. The humble semi-colon enjoyed a great vogue in third-year anthropology. I felt skewed grammer was part of my voice.
Not an ideal mindset for a wannabe journalist, I’ll grant you.
And now the official style guide has declared war on the comma, having achieved a one-man victory over the apostrophe.
Don’t worry, old friend. These unedited ramblings shall be your sanctuary in these troubled times.

Curriculum Vitae

How does one get to the point of ultimate job satisfaction?
I don’t mean the height of ambition or even the professional peak. Rather, a feeling of contentment that the way things are is the way things will always be.
When does one say: here, right now, in this role, in this place, I shall stay, slave and be happy until I reach the federally appointed retirement age? Stop looking over the fence and decide this grass is green enough, thanks.
Now, it’s not that I don’t like my current job. It’s quite good, actually. But it is always, irrevocably, my current job. Try as I might, I can’t remove that temporal, temporary component. I enjoy my current job. But I can’t remove the end point, the drive to move on.
I’m always looking ahead, planning the next move – not necessarily to a different company, and certainly not chasing more money (journalist making money – to make a hollow laughing).
It is always the search for a new role, a different experience. As progress it’s not so much sideways as circular; I’ve plotted the next six moves without penciling in the end game. I’m still planning what I want to be when I grow up.
Not sure what I was expecting really. A twinkly light and a message from behind the water cooler: bring a folding chair and a packed lunch, we’re going to be here a while. It’s as naive as waiting for a parted crowd when you meet the one. As naive as belief in the one itself, given up at about the same time I realized Price Eric was unlikely to relinquish his aquatic bride to marry me. I’d given up on true love for years, but still cling to a true career.
Unending job progression is particularly prevalent in my generation. I say job rather than career, as I’m not sure to what extent the latter benefits from a CV that can span the Nullarbor. After all, employment is just another from of relationship, and a ream of one to two-year stints would flash ‘commitment issues ‘ in red lights on a first date.
But it does seem to be a recent phenomenon, this office full of new guys. Time was you found a job and tread your groove there for the next 40 years. Though it is arrogant of me to patent the trend for the under 25’s.
It is so hard to find someone who consciously made that decision to stop. Most fall in love, buy a house, have a family, and stick with their lot. Absent are those who spiraled through the market, unencumbered, until they had what Oprah would call and epiphany moment and found where they fit.
Or perhaps I am seeing this wrong, and the epiphany came instead to those who become entangled with life and realised that, at the end of it all, it was just a job.

Lipstick is bloody wonderful

I am concerned at how much better I feel with lipstick on. Makeup has become such a routine that I sometimes forget its purpose, which is to make women feel better about themselves. That’s why American women spend $8 billion on it each year. Because they want to feel worth it.

Nothing brings this home more than red lipstick. I feel like I have cheekbones now, although that is probably due to constant pouting. It’s a veneer of glamour, and you feel the need to dress and carry yourself to match.

That statement is both shallow and woefully unoriginal. In fact, I think I remember a Maggie Alderson column on exactly the same topic a few years back. But still.

Red lipstick is the bomb.

It’s the same as wearing scarf, in that it looks natural on some people and those people naturally look better. I’m not one of those people, being traditionally more of a jeans and black t-shirt frame of mine. It takes a significant event, or a significant amount of alcohol, for me to dress up.

Except since I moved to Bunbury, I dress up all the time. I’m dressed up now, trailing a fifth outfit with my new $20 boots, complete with scarf and of course red lipstick. I’ve given in to my body, and the untapped wealth of op shops have welcomed me with open arms.

I have finally discovered what my former flatmate, the wonderfully sartorial Lisa, has been happily practicing for years – that throwing on some red lips and a scarf will make you instantly feel, and consequently look, a hundred times better.

The problem with this rule is that it requires a certain amount of confidence to walk out the door, which is why Lisa rocked it so well. Because if you don’t believe you can pull off such high attention touches, you can’t. You just look as sheepish as you feel. But it’s so much fun, I just don’t care.

So I think it’s time that my lippie makes the transition from solo montage dance party to the workplace. And this is my undertaking to you, my non-existent online community.
Tomorrow, being Thursday March 18, 2010, I will wear red lipstick to work.

Strong drink is a mocker.

I don’t like Drunk Calla very much. She is, in fact, exactly the kind of person that I love to hate, or at least mock derisively.
Drunk Calla is loud, and cruel, and impulsive. She also makes things up, and neglects to tell me so I can explain apologetically to concerned friends.
I don’t know what nobody has to know. I didn’t tell me.
My partner once told me, in all seriousness, that he’d given up weed because he didn’t want to be dumb, he wanted to have a PhD.
I’ve never really tried weed. A sensible choice, I think, for someone who gets paranoid delusions from goon and juice.
My brain has a tendency, after a few drinks, to lock down and tell me absolutely nothing at all.
Drunk Calla keeps secrets from me.
But Drunk Calla’s not always around, more’s the pity. She surfaces but once or twice a year. The rest of the year I’m merely Calla, drunk; the same person bar a slightly flushed complexion and an increased belief in my dancing prowess. A normal drunk, as it were.
But I’m never entirely sure when Drunk Calla will surface.
So now, I don’t really drink at all. I drink beer, because I either have to drink it very slowly or sit hiccupping quietly in the corner all night. And while hiccupping away sadly may still seem like an embarrassing way to spend an evening, I can at least remember in the morning why I feel so ashamed.
Of course now I am a hard-core vegan (or have a book on it in any case) I can avoid beer and wine on moral grounds. After all, yeast and fish scales have feelings too, or at the very least I ought to have feelings for them.
I suppose I could drink spirits, and hope Drunk Calla has matured. But I don’t suit being a vodka and tonic girl, and I can’t afford the shoes to match.
So I’ll guess I’ll just stay me, and hope one day Drunk Calla will have the good sense to just fall asleep.
And then I might see you out sometime. I’ll be the one hiccupping in the corner.