What happens when you leave your parents behind empty-housed and move out in the big world.
You are not a pig and this is not your sty
I had a disturbing first-hand lesson on what happens when you are too lazy to vacuum. For females, your hair will be everywhere. It’s like I’m moulting 24 hours a day, four seasons a year. Hair turns up in my clothes, my food, shower drains, and bizarrely, books. There is nothing more unpleasant than inviting a romantic interest over and have him kick up hairballs as he walks towards you. Ignoring the mess does not work. If you do happen to encounter any physical hazards more serious than hair, however, immediately Dial D for Dad. Your mother will probably freak out and lose it. Fathers will fix it.
Cooking is a crucial survival skill and you should learn it
Or there will be sad nights ahead where you eat cheese on the five crackers you have left, combined with a packet of unwanted cookies. Maybe even some fudge you found sitting at the bottom of the fridge. No expiry date? Perfect! This may seem like a sad shadow of the glamorous adult life envisioned when you previously spoke breathlessly about dreams of “moving out”. But that’s really what being a failing adult is all about: expiry dates and food poisoning.
Prepare to be cyber stalked
What happens when you have an empty nester and a readily available computer at hand? The Internet happens, that’s what. If your mum is anything like mine, get ready for friend requests on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Weibo and Snapchat. There is no easy way to go about this. You can either: 1) Deny the friendship, possibly more than once if they’re being persistent, and create a sad and offended parent, or 2) Accept the friendship and brace yourself for your mother to visually dissect every photo with a boy in it and all of the hidden meanings of your drunken body language. You know you’re in trouble when one of those photos dates back to 2009.
Pick up their phone calls and be nice
This is a case of ‘do what I say, not what I do’. I am guilty of regularly screening my parents’ calls at busy times (why must they always call on Friday nights?). Another common scenario is when I find myself swamped under a pile of assessment work. An opening bark of “IT’S NOT A GOOD TIME” and raising my voice a few octaves is a nice throwback for all of us to those golden teenage days. And nobody wants to go there again.
Every now and then, return to the nest for coddling
Even though I used to see my parents every day, they were just there, like the couch or the fridge. Our interactions were insignificant and never all that meaningful. Food would materialise in the beloved pantry and the washing would magically do itself. Now when I return to my parent’s house, I treasure these reassuring and familiar qualities - and immediately slump back into childhood habits.
I’ll eventually leave after loitering around for far too long, and I won’t say what I really mean: that I love them and miss them a lot, as shitty and MIA as I may seem sometimes. That I want my mum and dad to be happy. It was nice to be back though, and to pretend for a short while that nothing has really changed.
For anyone whose wondering why I’ve stopped writing for so long, the answer is that I landed the internship of my fashion nerd dreams after University wrapped up last year and have gotten incredibly lazy in my limited spare time.
Also, fat. Sitting at a desk all day will do that to you. I often find myself deliberating at lunch whether I can be bothered walking a few metres to cross the road, where conveniently a Haigh’s waits, and grab some chocolate. Or should I get coffee first to get my energy up cause the road-crossing is a bit exerting, and THEN go to get some chocolate? Or maybe just skip the choc and swing by this croissant place, which doesn’t have amazing croissants but just happens to be on the way between the office and coffee shop.
The point of this post is that I’ve tried to take up exercise. Jogging seemed like the easiest and cheapest thing to do so I gave it a go for awhile. Unfortunately, I was cripplingly self-conscious over my ‘funny run’, wheezing, and copius amounts of sweat.
Jogging in public
This hasn’t been too bad except I jog at night and can get pretty paranoid. I think I see a shadowy movement near THAT TREE RIGHT THERE all the time and although it does spur me on faster, it also really freaks me out. Other awkward situations involve jogging past other joggers, then slowing to a walk for a while, giving the other jogger you previously lapped enough time to jog past you, then they slow down to a walk, by which time you jog past them again, etc etc. It’s like a silent competition that I never chose to enter.
Jogging at the gym
If you like to be cooped up in big warehouses filled with grey, noisy machinery, this is the perfect place for the funeral of your fat. Personally, I only like gyms where no one looks good when they sweat (seriously, some people actually look hotter when sweaty), is good looking and fit, or knows me. Although this is then a double-edged sword because the landscape just becomes a bleak, bleak place.
Jogging with friends
This only works if your fitness levels are relatively the same. If you’re the slower friend, it’s depressing, and if you’re the faster one, it’s also depressing because you have to keep stopping. Although I can only assume this about the latter as I have never actually been the faster one.
Jogging on the spot
This doesn’t really work at all, even though I tried to convince myself for a period of time that I was actually shedding fat from hopping furiously on the spot. The pros of this type of “exercise” was that it was done in the privacy of my room, sparing me any embarrassment of looking ridiculous in public (although I felt pretty ridiculous nonetheless).
Karen Walker had me eyeing her sunnies for a very long time, first anxious and then agitated when they never went on sale. I would think a lot of bitter thoughts, like “How am I ever going to be a real fashionista now?”, while scrolling obsessively up and down the online store page. Now that it’s been a few years on, I’ve finally come to the realisation that these sunnies might not be worth it … until I’m a billionaire. Time has done it’s thing and I’ve grown to be sceptical about amount of work that even goes into making a pair of nice sunnies – really, how hard can it be? Even a pair of normal, non-designer prescription glasses (and these are the things that frame your face AND cure the almost blind) has a good chance of costing the same amount as a pair of designer sunnies, often even less.
Add designer sunglasses to my list of unjustifiable fashion dreams, under Christopher Kane’s gel clutches.
Ampersand Surry Hills is a great venue: there’s two levels, a huge balcony, cozy nooks for solo reading, large wooden tables for groups of friends, and ample outdoor seating with great people-watching views. Both stores are absolutely jam-packed with books, they literally pop up everywhere and there’s always a nice second-hand selection. The cafe pulls in large numbers of brunching yuppies/hipsters on the weekends, which means both venues can get slightly cramped.
Ariel is the bookstore of endless-time dreams. The store windows serve as eye candy to strollers on the street and I find myself walking in unplanned all the time (when intense eyeballing of the window display from outside starts looking a bit creepy). They stock the latest fiction and nonfiction bestsellers here but it’s their large range of art, design, photography and fashion books that feed the eyes and give the brain a huge creative boost. They’ve also got a great selection of postcards, cards, wrapping paper, and other off-beat, quirky books that are super fun to browse through, especially with friends.
Berkelouw has a few chains around Sydney but it’s Berkelouw Newtown that is my favourite because aside from a great book collection, this place also serves up some great food (there’s also a ramen bar on the bottom level). Berkelouw Newtown is fairly hidden away on a side street off King St so it doesn’t attract too many passersby - it’s this reason that makes it a great place to sit, read, study and eat if you’re soloing it during the day.
Not strictly a bookstore but Opus has the greatest assortment of random items that you never knew you had to have until you saw them - like Ariel, you won’t want to walk out of this store once you’ve stepped in. This is where I bought my hot water bottle that came with its own rainbow-knitted jumper (just had to have to it!). It’s a great place to buy novelty gifts for friends … and myself.
Find all the latest bestsellers here. Staff will also cheerfully order in anything that’s not in stock as well. It’s a relatively small bookstore compared to the others on this list but it just means that the stock has just been carefully screened and selected (only the best, after all).