Thursday, April 05, 2012

Whinging about friends

Well known Melbourne drag queen Renee Scott died a couple of days ago. I should qualify this as I think she lived as a woman. As Pokeys was a gay institution for many gay and lesbians, so was Renee who performed there for pretty well all of the time Pokeys was open. Maybe a reader or two might have been to Pennies, at the same venue.

It was sudden, a heart attack at the age of 61. The last time I saw her, she was behind the bar at The Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda, The Prince, when I sat outside in winter sunshine one afternoon and drank a refreshing beer. She looked good for her age. Maybe there had been a tuck here and there.

I emailed a couple of friends the same link as above. A micro second after I clicked send, I regretted doing so. Sure enough, my regret was soundly based.

He rang ten minutes later. I/we email him which reminds him of us, and he rings. I let it go to the answer machine and he left a brief message. Shortly after R arrived home and chastised me for not answering and insisted I call him back.

I protested.

It is absurd. If I wanted to speak to him on the phone, I would have rang him. Instead I sent an email because I didn't want to talk on the phone, something I generally dislike doing anytime but I know at times I have to. All very well for him. He is retired with spare time. I work over forty hours a week, usually spend over an hour each day commuting and we have seen him three weekends in a row. Enough. He asked what we were doing over easter. I told him, which truthfully included no time for any catch up with him. He is a bit lonely, even though he has a somewhat neglectful partner.

I have learnt two lessons. I will no longer email him unless I am walking out the door. I will no longer tell R about such an email and phone call.

You may well think I am being an utter bitch to a friend, but if things don't work for me, they won't work for the other person either. I do with good grace, or not at all, unlike some people who do something and then moan and whinge afterwards, just as I am now because R was insistent that I call him back.

Speaking of phones, just as dinner was served tonight, Tradie Brother rang. I answered because if I call him back later, he will probably be four sheets to the wind. For once he may have had an excuse. He had to put his twelve year old Labrador down today.  We saw Aus just a couple of weekends ago and it was clear to us that we would never see him again. He was your typical big slobbery Lab, always with a smile on his face. The kids are so sad too about the loss of their childhood dog but I am a firm believer in the old quote, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.


  1. I agree with R on this one. Hiding things from your partner can lead to all sorts of trouble when you are eventually caught out :-).

  2. You are sooooooo right. Life circumstances change, friends lose touch, family members become characters you don't recognise any more. Just because someone was a great friend in high school doesn't mean you want to share confidences now.

    You said it all yourself - spend time with people with good grace, or not at all. Moaning and whingeing afterwards would be even bitchier.

    I think I love labradors more than I love human beings *blush*. They are such loyal, friendly, trustworthy friends, and handsome as well. When my last black labrador died (of old age), I was grief-stricken. Your nieces and nephews will be too :(

  3. Anonymous9:41 am

    You're right, it is better to have loved and lost. My neighbours growing up were never allowed pets, their Dad said it would be too sad when they died. Poor kids.

    You do what you have to do with friends, we're not here to judge, well I'm not anyway.


  4. Windsmoke, you are right. I have been known to say 'I don't know why I tell you anything', but I continue to do so.

    Hels, I have never wanted a lab, but only because they are so big and have such a huge presence. Labs are a lovely breed of dog. The kids dog before was a black lab, this one was fawn. They've seen out two. I suppose I was really more annoyed with R whose opinion is welcome, but I can deal with things in my own way.

    Fen, it is almost child cruelty to not allow pets. Of course it is sad when they die, heartbreaking at times, but that is life.

  5. Ah, I'm sorry Aus has moved on. Labs are such great dogs!!!

  6. Friendship can be tightrope sometimes. You want to be there for them in their hard times but there are also times you need some space for yourself.

    I'm not an animal person but I do see the charm of labradors.

    By the way, it is a relief that your comments box has the option to subscribe to follow up comments, once more.

  7. I have teddy bears, they don't die just get moth eaten, no feeding, no grooming although I sometimes knit a new jumper for one or the other.
    Nephew is still grieving for the cat.

  8. It is a horrible thing to lose a four-legged family member. They can do the unconditional love/forgiveness thing better than those of us humans who are not perfect.

    Last year, the Other had to say goodbye to Toby Cat, after 21 years together. Really, a pet can be the equivalent of a partner given the amount and length of time they spend with us, the adventures we share, the stories and memories we retain about them and so on. So, my condolences to the whole family.

    I'm 100% in agreement about the friend you emailed. It sounds like the somewhat neglectful partner is a straw being clutched at, and probably compounding your friend's loneliness. Or reinforcing his conviction that he doesn't deserve or can't have better. Learning to live single; to live with oneself, can be one of life's hardest lessons.
    As for R's thoughtful and caring nature - and he does sound thoughtful and caring - you must do a Nancy Reagan and just say no. Friendship should not be an all or nothing proposition, and your friend needs some boundaries, and the only way you can set them is to be yourself.
    Your friend needs a dog; preferably a mini schnauzer of something of a sensible size which does not shed. Rescue him one.

  9. PS 61 is awfully young.

  10. Rubye, of all dogs, labs give without wanting anything back. They don't know ulterior motives.

    Victor, the lack of me wanting friends is concerning. However, the person I am talking about is an hospitable and generous and kind friend. But he has his faults too.

    I have been meaning to email you about that. It was nothing I did but glad to hear you don't have to obsessively check my blog anymore :-P

    Jah Teh, do you remember Sebastian Flyte with the teddy in his back pocket? I suggest nephew get another cat, but maybe not at this time.

    FC, we have seen out three cats and two dogs, from young to old. The last died about 2000. One dog and one cat were extra special and we grieved badly.

    The friend's partner is faithful, but on his terms. He is somewhat younger and not Aus born. He is not an animal person at all, even though a significant part of his working life was about animals, the kind we eat.

  11. thanks to Fbook St.Kilda Group I saw the beautiful send-off Renee got from her friends.
    Country Life magazine pronounced Slobradors the greatest companion dog of all, but they didn't mind the one I just did for 2 weeks - totally UNtrained. it was a nightmare despite him being very sweet. I hated his dumb owner who told me he is sulking and pining for me. Puppies must be gently trained to Sit Stay Come or everybody's life is hell.
    Wishing you all a safe and Holy Easter.

  12. Em Stacks, the Fbook tribute was good. I saw no one in the photos that I recognised. Sister was all gung ho to take their dog to obedience classes. It was went by the wayside. She does get off the furniture every time you tell her though, but that is it.

  13. So sad when a doggie dies - still miss the lovely Thorn - am now afflicted with two cats. You reminded me by your writing about Renee's death of the old Star hotel in Newcastle - there was ariot when they closed it down - it had a sailor's bar out front, a gay - show bar in the middle and a jazz bar out the back. Don was in the gay bar with a mate (!!) watching the show when we picked each other up - and it lasted - the shows were for Newcastle in the early 70's amazing and free but for the alchohol

  14. MC, I have heard about that. I must follow it up. How amusing that you met your prospective husband in a gay bar. It shows you were both socially tolerant in early days.

  15. Andrew there is an old term called "A Renaissance Man" - Don was like this. He worked with heavy earthmoving guys but his bst friend Alan, was gay and he stuck with us after Dons accident unlike the men he worked with. Don was straight but in being straight he admired beauty from all sides if this makes sense. Why he was so special and couldn't really cover this in the book was that he was tolerant of all but didn't suffer fools gladly and there were many fools who were politically correct. He was just a country boy with a big mind. When our friend Alan (as well another Mackay - no relation) died a year before Don he was heartbroken although they used to verbally abuse each other on the phone - in an ocker sort of way...good times!

  16. MC, I think you have mentioned most of this at some point. What a great phrase, a country boy with a big mind. It has been a while since Don died now, but I think you are still in a fairly early grieving phase and there is nothing wrong with that at all. He was relatively young and you were too. I expect the death of your life partner when you are older is easier to take.