Monday, July 15, 2013

Is that a spaceship in your backyard, or did you just have one too many rumbos?

When I was young and foolish and drank A LOT, I went out one night with my brother and, well, drank A LOT. It was around Christmas;  back then, both he and I always went home to stay with my parents for a week. 

We got separated at one of the night spots and I went off home by myself, quite a few stations past pleasantly tipsy, but pulling up short of blind, legless maggotted. 

It all seemed so uneventful as I crept up the dark front stairs (read banged back and forward from one wall to the other), tiptoed across the lounge room (damn, why is it so hard to tiptoe in wooden platform shoes?) and genteely prepared myself for a well deserved slumber (ripped off my clothes, felt around in the dark for my jarmies, whisper-shouted, 'Fuck it' when I couldn't find them and dropped onto to the bed like a bag of wet cement). 

How lucky were my long retired parents, that I was such a considerate drunk?

I fell asleep. 

And then I woke up. It was still very dark so it couldn't have been too long since I got home. I looked out the bedroom window and was amazed to see, in the field just beyond the neighbour's backyard, the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. 

No. Seriously. I'm telling you. It was fracking gorgeous; huge, round and glowing. I couldn't believe my eyes. I rose from my bed and went to the window for a better look. I sat on the window sill and looked at it, out there in the dark, its light reflected off my rapturous face. 

I decided to go out to investigate further and swivelled my legs up and over the window sill. I put one foot on the ground outside, still unable to take my eyes off that wondrous gizmo. I put my other other foot down on the ground and then... 

I began to fall. 

And then I really woke up. 

There was no goddamn ground. There was no field beyond the neighbour's yard. There was no magic glowing thingummyjig for me to go look at. My parents' house was a two story and I had been upstairs, but I was now rapidly approaching ground floor. I distinctly remember thinking as I fell, 'Oh, you stupid bitch.' 

I hit the ground in my mother's rock garden, bum first, legs tucked up as though I was bombing someone in a swimming pool and, well, of course, that was no fun. 

But how lucky am I? I wasn't broken in any drastic way that I could sense and anyhow, any physical discomfort I was feeling was soon replaced with the emotional pain of realising I couldn't get back into the house. Because of my drunken impatience, I had whisper-shouted Fuck it at my jarmies, which of course left me naked in my parents' side yard at around 2 am on Christmas Eve. 

I soon realised there was nothing for it but to run around to my parents front yard, up the front steps and pound on the front door until one of my parents answered it. I was obviously still very drunk because this was not nearly as distressing as it should have been. I actually felt pretty nonchalant about it. 

So, I did all that - but how lucky am I? When I got around the front, it was apparent my brother had come home after me and was even drunker than I, for he conveniently left the front door open. I ran inside, found my jarmies this time and fell fast asleep again. 

I woke up in the morning and the magic painkilling effects of the dark overlord, Fourex Heavy*, had worn off and well, I hurt. Everywhere. But mostly in my bum. 

I limped out to the kitchen where my mother stood at the stove, cooking breakfast, her lips pursed. I called it her cat's bum face, which wasn't very nice but she seemed to wear it every time I went out drinking. Also, instead of speaking in complete sentences, she grunted a lot. Such is the price you pay for drinking to excess under your parents' roof.

I went up and stood beside her. 'Guess what I did last night?' 


'I sleepwalked'


'Out my window.' 


She stopped, spatula frozen in mid-scrambled-egg-stir, as what I'd said sunk in.'You what?!?'

We went to have a look out the window, silent as we stared down at the spot where Mum's beautiful flowers lay in a crushed and mangled heap, like some demented crop circle approximately the size of my bum. 

But how lucky was I? Less than a foot away from where I landed after falling out of a second story window, was a half metre tall metal stake marking off the corner of my mother's garden. 

How. Bloody. Lucky. Was. I. Shudder. 

Anyway, I tried to get by without seeing the doctor, but by late afternoon the pain in my lower back had become excruciating and I took myself off to the local hospital's emergency room. 

The doctor was a nice efficient young woman who didn't raise an eyebrow when I told her how I'd injured myself. I left out the part about seeing something beautiful that may or may not have been a flying saucer and just went with the old narcoleptic stroll out a very high window explanation. 

She had me x-rayed and sure enough I'd broken my tail-bone but there was nothing to be done for it but rest. She gave me pain-killers and saw me to the door. As I was walking out, she looked me right in the face, totally deadpan and said, 'So, what really happened?' 

It's worth noting here that I never ever slept in anything less than full dress again. 

* A potent strain of Australian bitter beer

Check out my novel: The Anzac Girl

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