A gorilla in the corner
It’s not uncommon for me to consistently put my foot in my mouth, and as you thumb through the pages of this journal you will soon discover an underlying theme of embarrassment and humiliation that reeks through the text and into your pores.
I half expect you to stop reading, and hastily retreat to that little shelf you have in the cupboard under the sink that is filled with ancient roach traps and metal scourers, all in an effort to retrieve the fetid rubber gloves you have stuffed beside the bottle of armour-all, just so you can stop that icky feeling whenever your fingers dance across the keyboard and read these pages.
For me it’s always been natural to eat my own words, or recoil in absolute horror at the useless tidbits of information that occasionally pour out of my well fed cake hole; no more so then when I casually walked around Robina Town Centre.
To those uninitiated with the Gold Coast, Robina Town Centre is a gargantuan eyesore, smack bang in the middle of an extremely busy thoroughfare that extends from the Pacific Highway all the way up to the back roads of the Northern Gold Coast.
It is a shopping centre that has undergone numerous transformations, and in an effort to survive against other centres, RTC’s latest incarnation scrapped the traditional layout to cram in as many pretentious over-priced fashion outlets as possible.
I’m convinced in the future that’s all human beings will use as currency, fashion. Stroll through your average shopping complex and count the number of fashion stores in comparison to other retail outlets. I predict a day when social economic boundaries no longer exist, and the traditional methods of detecting ones social status will be through the type of car they drive, no longer in how they present themselves aesthetically.
The upper class is slowly disappearing.
Think about it; political correctness and social equity means that nobody can be excluded from shopping, dining or even visiting certain places. We no longer save money how we used to, and have a lot more disposable income. We splurge on expensive restaurants more frequently, and even those people who were once excluded from high society now have a place at luxurious nightspots, sat next to Gordon Gecko.
The boom in media, agriculture and property also means that people who come from less desirable backgrounds now infect cultured society.
Fashion, once the last bastion of urbane sophistication, is now blurred and shares the same air conditioned strip as Sportsgirl, the Apple Store, and Borders Books and (shithouse) Coffee.
Once Mercedes drops their price it’s all over red rover.
Alas, it was among the homogenised fashion strip of Robina Town Centre that some friends and I decided to pop into a uselessly named men’s fashion store; you know the ones, with a double syllable name that sounds like it’s meant to be foreign, but is actually just a mish mash of nonsensical phrases.
Phonetically I think it is pronounced Lee-Chay.
Wow, pretentiousness has reached new heights.
The thing that annoys me about pretentiousness is when the people instigating the snootiness have absolutely no reason to do so, other than to appear that they belong to a different social or economic grouping.
Newsflash, Tusk on Chapel St is very average; it takes too long to get served, the coffee is no better than anywhere else, and the prices are inflated because the owners realise that dumb schmucks like you will pay extra to be sat there.
It’s an amazing social phenomenon that says more about the consumer than it does about business.
Again, I digress.
As we walked past Litche, my other two friends conversed.
“Jeff”, Antonio remarked, “There’s a really cute girl that works here that I think you would really like”.
We all stopped, looked at Litche, and with the promise of a cute salesgirl drew as closer to the shopfront.
As we approached we noticed huddled into the corner of the window display was an extremely muscled man in a shirt so tight it looked like he was being strangled by blue-green algae.
It seemed odd; his hands danced over the knobs of the mixer, and occasionally his hands would move backwards and forwards over the CDJ’s and spin the decks backwards.
He certainly looked the part, well, he looked like he had been watching other DJ’s in clubs and was copying action by action what he had observed the night before at a techno trance neon super rave.
As his hands danced over the equipment, nothing happened to the music.
Ok, well obviously he’s previewing the mix in his headphones first (which in true club DJ style was glued between his raised shoulder and his ear) I thought.
Seconds later the next song awkwardly shuttered into life, and without so much as any sort of mix at all, he simply pressed play on the CD player and switched the fader from one side to the other. As he did so, his hands danced across the knobs of the mixer once more, and he began to play with the CDJ’s like he was Qbert defending his title as one of the most awesome scratch DJ’s ever in existence.
I giggled, and as I did so the cute salesgirl who we had been warned about approached out of the gloom.
“How are we today guys?” she asked.
Jeff, being sickeningly shy and coy offered up a simple “Good thanks” and casually browsed the brightly coloured men’s shirts that were adorned with price tags so ludicrous that they bended the very laws of physics and the universe.
The salesgirl, noticing my complete disinterest in any of the clothes (not to mention the fact that their XXL was really only a traditional L) turned her attention to me, and offered me a passing comment.
“Do you like our DJ?”
I turned and looked at Popeye, he still had one ear of the headphones off, and his dancing hands resembled those of someone whose oven mitts had caught fire putting a pizza into a wood stove.
“Yeah, he’s, errrr…..” was all I could say.
The girl smiled politely and began to walk off.
“He’s not actually doing anything” I blurted out.
Did I just say that? It was in my head a second before, but somehow I just blurted out exactly what I was thinking to the back of the salesgirl’s head.
She turned around, still with the polite smile on her face, “Sorry? I missed that” she remarked.
What do I do? Do I continue telling her what’s on my mind, or for the sake of Jeff do I just keep my stupid mouth shut and pretend that I said something completely different? I mean, this guy could be her boyfriend for fuck’s sake…..but, in that case then do I really need to keep my mouth shut?
“He’s not actually doing anything” I said louder.
Yep, fuck it. Enough small talk, I’m telling her exactly how it is.
“You don’t like him?” she asked.
“Well I mean you can’t really miss the Gorilla in the corner” I blurted. Wait, did I just call him a gorilla? Why did I do that?
She awkwardly smiled.
“I mean, he’s pretending to do stuff on the mixer” I continued. The music was a little too loud at this point, and either she didn’t hear me properly or she was pretending to have misheard me so she could get a clarification that I had actually said what I just said.
“I SAID HE’S PRETENDING TO DO STUFF” my voice boomed over the top of the loud tune.
Whether in defense of the DJ or just in general interest, she casually asked me, “Do you want to have a go?” and swept her hand towards the DJ like a girl on the price is right motioning towards an overpriced set of gold clubs or a jet ski.
I didn’t know how to react, and just casually shook my head, gave her a slight smirk, and shifted uneasily on my feet.
“Are you a DJ?” she asked, and turned herself around to walk back towards the counter where she had just emerged from.
I cast a brief glance to my left, where my friend Antonio was watching me with a smile on his face. He shook his head, baffled at my small talk, and continued to browse clothes.
The girl hadn’t got more than two steps away before my brain decided my foot wasn’t lodged firmly in my mouth far enough.
“I’m kind of a DJ” I sheepishly responded.
KIND OF? What did I mean by that? I’m not a DJ, the closest foray I’ve ever had into being a DJ is getting drunk and making that ‘wicky wicky’ noise with my mouth as I stood over someone else’s Technics 1200’s.
She turned back, and again, awkwardly asked me to repeat myself.
“I’M KIND OF A DJ” I shouted back. Why was I saying these things?
“What does kind of mean?” she quizzically asked. Her question was valid, I mean, I didn’t even know what I was talking about. I had no answer, in fact, for a millisecond I asked myself the very same thing.
“No it’s ok, it’s nothing” I joked, and began sifting through electric blue button up shirts on a rack in front of me. I pretended to take a keen interest in them in the vain hope the girl would turn away and walk off, however somehow I had piqued her curiosity, and she began to probe me some more.
“Are you a DJ? Do you want to have a go?” she asked.
“No no it’s fine, I’m ok”
“So you’re kind of a DJ?”
She wouldn’t let it go.
“If you want to have a go, just go and jump on” she barked back at me. I used every ounce of my strength to not throw in “That’s what she said” at the end of her statement.
She began to walk off again, and for some bizarre reason my brain decided that it was at this precise moment to respond to her question.
“I’d rather be doing something more constructive” I said, “like save children or something”.
Speaking to the back of her head, she turned around and asked me to repeat what I had just said. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what I had just said myself, all I could remember was the line about saving children.
“I WOULD RATHER BE SAVING CHILDREN” I shouted, trying to be heard over the top of the music provided by the gorilla in the corner.
The awkwardness was compiled by the fact I had to shout my responses back to her, at the time I felt like all the magic had been lost as I had to repeat myself more and more.
Magic? Was I kidding? Looking back it was the most uselessly awkward small talk in history. I would have got the same reaction had I simply said “I’m a kiddy fiddler” to all and sundry and went about sifting through the racks for bargains.
This time she didn’t respond, she just murmured “Saving Chidren?” softly under her breath, gave me a strange look, and cast her gaze in the direction of my friends.
“Right, let’s go” Antonio grabbed me, and motioned Jeff towards the exit.
As we passed by the gorilla, I received a slap across the head.
“It’s been a while since you’ve spoken to a woman huh?”
As we stumbled awkwardly into the distance, I looked back over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of the ape. His hands continued to dance across the decks as though he was channeling the creative spirits of Grandmaster Caz and Kool Herc.
As I watched him slowly fade into the background of people, I came to a sad and frighteningly real conclusion:
Even a simple simian had a better grasp of social intercourse than I do.