Wednesday, March 28, 2007

At My Desk....

What sort of lunatic's desk do
we have here?

For those of you in your frighteningly late thirties and beyond, you may remember seeing Ita Buttrose in her role as editor of the Australian Women's Weekly, sitting elegantly in her editorial office, looking serene, in-control and thoroughly capable of running the best-selling women's mag in the nation, raising two children and writing a weekly column.

My desk, on the other hand, is not quite up to Ida's level. You will see that I have four chocolate bars between my keyboard and the computer screen, whereas I'm sure that Ida had some TAB (only one calorie!), a couple of mandarins and that new-fangled healthy stuff called yoghurt. The chocolate bars are there for writing research, however I've had to buy them several times again since then due to my complete inability to have any kind of control over my appetite.

Whilst Ida no doubt had some beautifully framed and artfully arranged photographs of her (then) young children, I'm almost there - young Sapphire features in three aluminium frames but Love Chunks....? Well, he's stuck on the wall, in a joke picture he sent me years ago in which he stuck his head onto some steroidal muscle mutt's neck for a laugh. Even now people come in, have a chat for a while and then notice the photo and look startled. "Um, is that what your husband, LC, looks like...? He's a strong feller, isn't he?" Ida might have flung away her first or second hubby by then, because I don't recall too many mentions of her 'man' in those heady columns of 1976, but then again I was only scouring the mag for any mentions of Abba or the cute little chap who played Storm Boy.

Regrettably this photo is clear evidence that I strayed and betrayed my loved one. That's right folks: my Farmers Union Iced Coffee (FUIC) was temporarily put on the shelf for the day as I chose a 'Classic Cafe Latte - 99% fat free'. My face is flushing with shame just typing those words out. I can assure you that it was just a temporary case of insanity and won't happen again. There is also my 2-litre water jug that I usually get through in deference to the scads of articles about the importance of drinking eight glasses per day. I'm not sure what else it's supposed to do for me - clear cellulite, rejuvenate skin cells, add an extra 'glow' but my bladder sure gets a work-out. It's a good thing the ablutions are only a few steps away from my door....

Ita probably had her secretary on constant rotation to and from the Cafe Bar for her refreshments. Those funky pale brown machines with round, dark brown knobs were quite the rage then and you knew you were really in a cool dude's office or staff room if they were installed. However, I do recall once trying the 'chicken soup' dial and regretting it the instant the enamel on my teeth dissolved and my left leg developed a nervous tic. Canapes at the end of year Womens' Weekly do were very likely to involve cubes of coon cheese on toothpicks with mini-pickled onions, jatz crackers and bacon dip and - if the crowd were hedonistic enough - some Lolly Gobble Bliss bombs to wash away their Summer wines, Hock-lime-and-lemons or Claytons mixers ('the drink you have when you're not having a drink').

On my desk is an apple, as an ever-so-slight nod to the importance that health and well being play in my life. And now, several weeks later, it looks even more artistic as it has slowly withered and shrunken inside itself and left a sticky brown puddle near my mouse pad. On better days, I tend to apply the One Piece Of Fruit + One Chocolate Bar = Nothing was Eaten Rule. That is, the goodness of the fruit completely obliterates the evil of the chocolate, restoring the equilibrium. Sadly, no diet magazine or nutritionist yet subscribes to this theory and nor do my thighs.

Naturally Ms Buttrose wouldn't have had a computer and her secretary was probably on an electric typewriter and post-it-notes were not invented yet; so they will excuse the mess I have under, on, beside and around my computer. If those sticky squares were ever displaced by an unexpected gust from the air-conditioning duct, my life would fall into complete disarray. I'd forget everyone's phone number, all my various log-ons for the intranet, home email addresses, internet sites, blog forums, online banking and finance requests. Ita might have had a flip top address book with neat, hand-written address cards inside. My writing is indecpherable at best and a good imitation of sanskrit at worst.

Ita was always pictured perfectly coiffed, wearing chunky gold earrings and fully lipsticked, with floaty scarves, perfectly matched clothing and sky high heels. A far cry from my make-up free face dotted with pimply land-mines amongst the plowed wrinkled furrows. Sensible flat shoes, K-Mart trousers and any top that's clean complete my ensemble with maybe a home-made necklace thrown on if I'm feeling adventurous. My preferred look is black - for slimming and invisibility effects - if only I could paint my nose that colour as well......

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