Blue-rinsed and Botoxed: Life among the plastic people. (Reprinted.)

Tongue-in-cheek journalism; a provincial newspaper is kind to its valued citizens.

After this story was posted, the next issue of Beaudesert Times, Wednesday August 29, announced its sale to Fairfax Regional Media.


Within the cheap, cardboard pages of the district’s once family owned, now Fairfax, weekly paper lie little journalistic gems that can reward the avid reader who ventures beyond the letters page. Such quaint reporting as a road fatal involving an articulated vehicle and a motor-cyclist who was minced beyond recognition “was believed to have been caused by the impact.” Another classic, told with much bucolic affront, was of the theft of the Anglican Church letter-box. Naughty and anti-christ as that was, the crime compounded because the item had recently won a prize in the annual fancy-box competition, and do you know what Laze and Gen of Queensland, while it didn’t win, or come second or third for that matter, seventh prize is still ok and worth a mention in the monthly minutes.

A recent Wednesday’s p2 story tells of a “shocked” woman whose kind sister brought her a large egg for breakfast. The shock continued when another egg was found within, Russia-doll fashion. Bejesus ‘an all, both had yolks and both contained “white stuff.” While I wouldn’t get out of bed for less than a four-egg scramble, her freak egg, she claimed, made for a huge repast. And guess what? It was delicious, would you believe and, “…after all that they tasted exactly like normal eggs.” It shows what a cutesy, lovable and happy little community we are dunnit like, which recalls a happy Christmas occasion fondly related to its readers by this very same news organisation of Christmas breakup when the Shire’s blue collar Works Department jollied themselves around a plate of meat pies.

Flip over to page seven if you are in the circulation area of the weekly parchment under review dear fascinated reader, and you will see a photograph and story of an octet of dedicated and concerned members of a community who feel their fellows have misread their altruistic intent with this rejection bringing about the closure of their little club. As I read their spokesperson’s impassioned plea for recognition, I ask myself why could not fortune or chance have led me live near such lovely caring gentlefolk as these who would offer me a kind word and might possibly ask of me every now and then if anything could be done to improve my lot.

I could do with some of this understanding and genuine love. My flat projects into the car park but most of the others are in shaded and generally pleasant circumstance although clumped together. Such intimacy in a purposely intended youth resort would be considered most favourable to bed-hopping young and promiscuous, meat and potatoes as it were, but is not practical in a society of selfish, aged gentry. With consideration for one’s fellow beings now passe, arrangements like this can’t work.

Flat one over the way is an investment property. Its nearby owner forced to rent when offers nowhere match market. Situated beside a loose, cheaply paved vehicle entry, every egress comes with carbon monoxide and clacking pavers. Its owner preferred to utilise it for stray trade, and well done, I thought. My flat cops every cubic whiff of those car’s carbon monoxide, irrespective of the wind’s direction.

Owner Solaug is one of those stereotyped false old plastic tarts nearing the end of bang-bang and is putting a few memories in the bank, but the need for capital and a poor market led to her renting the place to a young couple.  How gracious her concern for oldies who, she suggests, “do not want to comment.”  I am tempted to seek residence in this kind woman’s area and get involved in her proposed ‘senior group’  whereby I hope, if this story is followed-up soon, her concern for the olds will have been satisfied.

Without realizing I had erred and admitting my naïvety, I moved from my then residence hoping to evade motor and cigarette toxins having been assured that non-smoking was a covenant or condition of entry to the precinct. To my horror, and too late I found I had been lied to. Fancy being lied to by a real estate property manager called Butcher. I had moved into a quasi Housing Commission estate where door-slamming, the coming and going of arguing welfare tenants and the on-going repair work on broken cars made life uncomfortable for one preferring a non-threatening life-style.

And a bit about Tim the Garbage Nazi.

Tim is of scant build, 67 kilos would pull him up, 78 years of age and about 167 cm, snowy hair becoming the focus when trims are deferred. His mien was that of a comfortably off retiree, back-room boffin was my first thought, proving close to the mark. Polite but distant, inclined to the discourteous, a surprise to find this effete private gent was the garbage nazi. We tentatively tested each other with unimportant talk but his rude and annoying trait of cutting me off mid-sentence quickly became a put-off. I attributed his ignorance to a dearth of cerebral companionship.

A valid complaint was his frustration at residents using all eight bins simultaneously when filling a couple at a time would be energy-conscious by halving the number of hydraulic lifts with fewer CO fumes. The bins stay on the footpath and are pulled to the kerb on collection days. After lining them up one collection morning and feeling unwell, he afforded me great honour by asking me to pull them back from the kerb after clearing. A far greater honour though, would have been asked to place them on the kerb. Apparently I wasn’t regarded as being up to that task without an element of doubt.

He had a heart scare the day before and was pensive with body movement, fearing each one his last. I was going into town for supplies next day and offered to do his shopping. His curious retort that he didn’t want my charity took me aback somewhat as I hadn’t offered a loan, I had no idea he was financially embarrassed and pride was playing a part. To my greatest distress I ignored my instinct which was imploring me to walk from this churlish old man.

A 18 year relationship with an ageing comfort lady, while essentially platonic, doesn’t stop Tim paying for the pleasure of her company, and explains why he can’t replace his rusted, unkempt, shit-box Celica. He moved her into a nearby flat paying the bond and two weeks rent, and nothing more was forth-coming. She paid nil rent and was turfed out three months later. Her goods and chattels, a house of cards built with bric-a-brac, disappeared the same way they had arrived, by degree, in bits and pieces in the pimp’s car and in Tim’s clanking and disintegrating shit-box.

What he gets in return for the fiscal fawning is his concern, of course, but these pampered, ignorant dregs do not return favors or help an ailing benefactor, and to suppose she would automatically respond in kind is so alien to her mind-thought as never having entered her ambit of thought. She is much like Maugham’s drab and conniving Mildred, a leech who returns her backer little or nothing except heartache and despair, a fact he acknowledged when accepting my offer of help.

Despite his misplaced suspicion of me as a do-gooder who must be punished, I readily agreed to pay a couple of due accounts at the post office using cash drawn from his ATM account, the pin number of which was written on spiral-bound stationary measuring 20 cm X 13 cm. Spiral-bound memo pads is stationary which I thought a relic of the past and to see it still in use interested me. A few days later, I found a hand-printed note in my letter-box sternly telling me to turn the TV down and it was written on the same size spiral-bound paper that the OBB had used on his note with the PIN number.

Tim’s flat is too far from mine to be irritated by electronic noises even on the quietest night, yet he passes it to get to his car and once commented my tv was audible. I checked with another tenant if the tv was over loud and got a “never hear it,”report.

Nearby lives an aging Botox babe whose swollen ugly dial doesn’t auger well for her gender. Called out to me on Wednesday 29 February, wanting a lift to town for Anglican communion, offering ‘petrol’ money. Now, a 58 km return trip I would be happy with $20, still waiting and being avoided. Nice bitch. Talking ….



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