But perhaps the greatest thing about spring is all those events! All of a sudden, people who you thought were dead start organising things, or attending them, and be all chatty and propose various alliances and so on. At first it is a lovely feeling, being wanted, appreciated, and most importantly offered lots of complimentary champagne, but then – oh but then! You realise you are but a pawn in this celebratory game. A pawn who is part of a list of pawns that is a longer list of pawns than the list of pawns some other person throwing some kind of celebration - perhaps involving prawns - has.
And these people who appear as if out of nowhere. At first, their re emergence is fun, a little frolic if you will – but soon you remember why you thought they were dead – turns out it was just wishful thinking. They are annoying, and you want to sever all ties immediately, preferably with a rusted chainsaw. You will manage, but it will take another 3 – 6 months, and then you will make the same mistake all over again the following year. But fuck all that – the awesome thing indeed is all the parties, the promise of an even more partacious summer (yes, that is a word), and in my case, all beautifully capped off with early autumnal birthday celebrations before we begin the slow trudge back into Winter. Don’t get me wrong – winter can be pretty awesome too, but there is simply no denying it is summers hangover.
This particular spring is, I am afraid to say, quite familycentric. A spring wedding is on the cards, and while the marriagees are friendly enough sort of people, they run the risk of Too Much Family Exposure Syndrome (TOOMF). You see, some families are like a delicate ecosystem, and are not to be messed with. After years of trial and error, and even a few deaths and international migrations, the Clarks have worked out an arrangement which ensures Maximum Enjoyment © and Least Frustration ©.
While I advise such an arrangement, the crux of the issue is that we avoid each other for 364 days a year, so that the one day we do actually see each other is not marred by stupid activities, comments or general behaviours which may have occurred in the last year or so. It is instead fuelled by a genuine want to be in each others company. Sort of. By and large, people are pleased to see each other – with the exception of Fandango, who I suspect is rarely pleased to see anyone, let alone random bits of family - , do the standardly superficial catch up on each others lives, eat a lot of food, drink a lot of piss, and tell a lot of stories. Hoorah!
Unfortunately, a spring wedding is in great danger of sapping all of that goodwill in one fell swoop. I experienced the first taste of Family Spring just last Saturday when attending a Hens do for the bride to be. All the aunts were present, as was my mother, and of course VG. Now, as anyone who knows me would realise, I was way out of my depth, and was relying on VG to navigate the unfathomable seas of Girliness, Hens Protocol, and of course, Alcohol Provision. She possesses all of these talents, and more. This is why I married her, you see.
However, even with all of this preparedness I was still a little bit surprised when I arrived, to find a room full of women. My little, round and behatted rudder frottered off into the sea of clucking aunts, and I became more than a little bit awkward about my surrounds, and indeed my general place in the room. So I stood in the doorway a bit. It wasn’t until the third or fourth prompts to get out of the doorway from the one person, and indeed the ushering from a drinks waiter, that I relented and attempted to stroll into the room, all casual-like. The aunts, sensing my general discomfort with the situation, took great pleasure in mocking me, by stuffing me into grapple like ‘hugs’, all the while tsking various items of clothing, or laughing at my general demeanour. I hastily set about acquiring more champagne.
So, it was inevitably strike one in a long list of social events to occur prior to Christmas. I say long list, but it’s really just one more event – the wedding itself. But it will be long, and tedious no doubt, with the added bonus of hired hotel rooms for wedding preparation, promises of room service lunches, and christ knows what else in store. Regardless, it will certainly break the three-hours-and-no-more family rule.
But it has given me some insight into the very nature of spring. In reality, the whole spring/summer thing in Melbourne is quite a novelty – will it be 40 degrees? At some point, definitely – but on any given day, it’s just as likely to be some kind of hailing thunderstorm, or even a cool 18 degrees. This makes every day - let alone event - new and exciting, and another opportunity for exotic and mostly disused dress-ups. For the entire 5 or so months, Melbourne is one giant return to childhood and fancy dress, only now, we’re allowed to drink and stay up past our bedtime.
And the Hens day was no exception. There we were in a room full of 20+ grown adult women, all of which were sporting completely impractical handbags, accessories, jewellery (are these all the same thing? I don’t know), a variety of dresses that would seem impractical for virtually any occasion I would ever attend, and bracelets big enough to knock out and kill your grandmother with. Now that’s dress-ups if ever I’ve seen it.
But it turns out that even adult dress up parties have their limits. A bit of a family scandal has erupted over a recent piercing in the family, sported by the ever noble Fandango Jones. His mother could be heard snapping “What do you mean he can’t take it out for the wedding?!” over the general Hens day din, soon to be followed by a later comment from my very own mother, telling me just how traumatic it is when “your children go and get pierced like that”, no doubt referring to my own collection of mother-traumatising piercings. So kids – clothing dress ups are okay, facial ones are not. God help us if they ever see the tattoos.
But tell me, what are you looking forward to this Spring? I’m hanging out for the first barbeque of the season (Cup Day of course), complete with stupid clothing, painfully bad attempts at neighbourhood graffiti, and of course, a great deal of splendidly refreshing summer drinks washed down with deliciously charred and condiment smothered meat.
Plus I saw a real life bee swarm a couple of weeks ago, so I’m kinda hopeful they’ll come and abduct the neighbours kids. You know, turn them into bees or something.