I've had a wonderful couple of weeks attending a truck load of Adelaide Fringe festival events on behalf of the Independent Weekly newspaper/daily online service and now I'm tired, tired, tired. My eyeballs feel as though they've been lacquered in honey and rolled in gravel and I think I've run out of friends who are:
* have a babysitter on tap
* students with big gaps between lectures
* retirees who are NOT bowling, golfing, singing or pub grubbing
* folk who like to stay up beyond 9pm
* silly enough to enjoy being picked up in my dented, dusty old car; or
* get a perverse thrill at witnessing my tragic attempts at trying to find a free parking spot in the city.
On two occasions I've gone to a show as Nigel No Friends. The first was to see the brilliant trio 'The Hounds of the Baskervilles' act out 'Every Movie Ever Made'. It was at 11pm and there were no takers amongst family, friends or babysitters. In fact, with the big Four Oh staring me in the face later this year, it is now evident that my comrades definitely fall in the 'not after nine o'clock' variety (as do I normally, esp on school nights). I put on a good act of breezing confidently into the Garden of Unearthly Delights on my Hans Solo; pen and notebook in hand so that it was obvious that my role there was not to hook up with a lonely trapeze artist with a chubby-mummy fetish, but to work.
The second time on my jacksy I was feeling much more down in the dumps. Sometimes it's horrible being a parent, especially one that is trying to 'do the right thing' in terms of discipline, learning a valuable lesson, showing that there are consequences and so forth. Sapphire was going to be my 'plus one' to see 'Men of Steel', another clever trio of puppeteers who use kitchen implements, food and splattered ponchos to act out all sorts of crazy adventures. Unfortunately, Sapphire had told a few fibs a couple of days in a row. Her heinous crime involved looking me straight in the eye and answering, "No Mum, the chooks haven't laid any eggs today, I checked."
This has been a long-standing issue for our eight year old. She had been begging Love Chunks for some chickens for well on a year and, when three arrived (whom she called Hermoine, Luna and Ginny), they scared the living crap out of her. "They don't have any lips, so I don't know if they're pecking at me to hurt me or if it's because they can't kiss!" Fair point. We bought her a huge pair of gum boots that make her resemble a blonde Julia Roberts in the first scenes of 'Pretty Woman' but the collection of the eggs is still a chore she does her best to avoid.
It was therefore time to dole out a punishment for the lie - there were nine eggs sitting in their house, so she'd achieved a truthless trifecta. Love Chunks met my gaze briefly in a reassuring, 'Yes, we're in this together and must stand firm' kind of look, so I said: "That's IT Sapphire. You are not coming with me tonight!"
Flouncing out of the house towards the bus stop I could hear her anguished wails behind me. I felt like such a frigging heel. I had been really looking forward to taking my little darling chattery bird to a show that was G-rated, having a hot chocolate afterwards and a wander, hand-in-hand, through the Garden of UDs. Instead, I was alone once again, surrounded by grandparents, couples and kids. Trying to look as though I was busy writing wasn't a success because I dropped my pen and it slipped through the bench seating to the dim darkness of the ground far below. Oh and a flying piece of popcorn shot down my cleavage.
The third time as Desperate-and-Dateless-Dag will be tomorrow night, this time for a serious piece of theatre as part of the Festival. No babysitting options or favours to call in; just exhausted parents and maxed-out-mates wanting a quiet night in. Thank goodness I got Jill to come with me last night to see 'Puppetry of the Penis'......