Tagged: bluntness

Toilet terrors

Reader warning – This post contains MANY mentions of toilets and toilet-related topics. If you’re offended by ones, twos or threes, please stop reading and I promise to write something less offensive next time. Seriously, stop reading now.

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I spent New Years Eve this year on a houseboat. My first houseboat as a grown up and definitely one of the best new years eves that I’ve had in recent times. I spent close to three days cruising around, napping, swimming, eating and drinking. It was great. However, as always one thing loomed in the back of my mind the whole time… ten people, one toilet.

I’ve always had something of an issue with travelling toilets, whether they be bus toilets, train toilets, portable toilets, plane toilets, boat toilets, or even just public toilets. I’m a nervous pee-er at the best of times and just the thought of using a tiny toilet that had been given a thorough workout by ten people at once was enough to strike fear into the heart of me (that, and the prawns that were due to spend two days sitting in the esky before they made the menu).

Alas, I was pleasantly surprised that despite my concerns, there was some unspoken agreement to keep the toilet pristine and, besides one early incident where I found my self ankle deep in toilet water before I’d even used the thing (don’t ask, I still have no idea what happened!), it stayed as fresh as a daisy until the last day, when above-mentioned unspoken agreement went out the window. No judgment there – if we’d all held on as long as I had, I envied anyone brave enough.

When I got home several days later and rinsed my feet for the umpteenth time since nearly losing them to the toilet caper, I started thinking about my apparent fear of public toilets, porta-pottys and just travel toilet use in general.

On reflection, I think it started at school camp in year 9 when we had a complete toilet set up at our campsite in the middle of the wilderness…

Although it was nerve-racking peeing while risking being eaten by some kind of wild animal (most likely a wombat or koala given the location) or ending up with a flashlight on you in your least dignified moment, it was great! You were out in the wilderness, roughing it like never before, exposed to the elements and living the dream. On a giant toilet. In the middle of the bush. What more can you want in life?

Well… one thing you can NOT want is to three days later have to carry that damn toilet out of the campsite, contents and all…

Never. Again.

Ten or so years later and I was facing the ultimate challenge – travelling. Well, not just travelling, but travelling through South America, where you can’t flush the toilet paper in the best of places. Cue many awkward TP related moments, several episodes of charades with hotel staff and many, many moments of pure horror and dry retching… and that was before I’d even experienced the Inca Trail.

By then, I’d master the dodgy toilet, I was even confident going with no toilet (always with paper, sanitizer and some foliage) when it was warranted, but nothing prepared me for drop loos. Foot markings or no foot markings, I took one look at it and proceeded to pop down as many gastro stop tablets as I had on me! Despite my best efforts to just not pee for three days, I eventually braved the drop toilets, torch in mouth, praying for my life… and you know what, with a bit of concentration I had it down pat!

Three days later, as we brushed our teeth, I was recounting the story of how I’d overcome my fear of drop toilets to my tent mate, with all the details… the near misses, the misses, the nerves, the successes, the failures… I was blabbering on for no less than five minutes until “Cough, cough… erm… Tennizzlle… the whole camp site can hear everything you’re saying”… Eek!

When I think of bad toilet experiences, however, there’s no doubt that the first thing that jumps to mind is travelling through Romania on one of those Europe tours with fifty young drunk people. Note to self – when on a month long bus trip, do not take the seat next to the toilet. I mean, sure, it might remain locked unless in case of emergency… But it’s all fun and games until someone washes the lettuce in the tap water… and let me tell you, that theory about lighting a match – IT DOESN’T WORK!

We were about 20 days into the trip when we got to Romania and three days into an outbreak of gastro. Stops were few and far between. I was barely breathing and had a permanent flow of hand sanitiser for fear of catching something. The bus toilet was not an option, even in an emergency.

We’d been on the road for several hours before we stopped outside a service station. Thrilled to have the opportunity to escape the smell of the bus and find a working toilet, I bolted for the closest convenience store and ran for the restrooms. Caught up in my desperation, it took me a moment to realise I was heading into ankle deep water which had all sorts of unpleasantries floating in it… dry retching, I turned around, ran out the door and straight around the back of the service station.

Although peeing in the open two metres from a service station in the middle of outback Romania sounds horrific, it was then and there that I realized how far I’d come. I may still have a completely unreasonable fear of porta-loos and public toilets, but give me wide open spaces, some paper and hand sanitizer and I will be just fine!

And that’s why I stopped driving to work in my thongs…

Yep, you read it right. Last week I drove to work in my thongs and it ended in disaster.

For those of you from the USA who read my blog, I know, I know… and yes, I was driving to work in my thongs – two of them – and when I got there I realized I had no shoes on!

Confused? Don’t worry, so was I!

As everyone in my life knows all too well – I am a complete shambles at the best of times. I fall over, run into things, accidentally tell strangers that I love them, forget how to get home and vomit regularly. However, in recent months, I had been reaching all new levels of coordination and things were going swimmingly.

No longer was I the bitter, sarcastic blogger who dated psychopaths and had an unreasonable fear of fake hair… As I said to another blogger several months ago, it’s hard to blog sarcastically when you’re happy with life… (and yes, contrary to popular belief, I had been getting out of the house at that point in time!)

Alas, it all came unraveled when I wore my thongs on the drive to work on Thursday. I had stayed at my boyfriend’s house, which sends me on a total different route to work and it was one of the first really warm days of the year, so I had just thrown my thongs on at the last minute as I ran out the door, not thinking much of it. I’m someone who avoids shoes at all costs, so I always keep a pair of work flats on the car floor for everyday use.

Unfortunately I didn’t think much of the fact that I had sent my car in to be serviced either, and the car that I had borrowed (strangely) did not come with a pair of emergency shoes on the passenger side floor. So, to cut a long, dramatic morning short, I turned up to work with no shoes, frantically yelling out to a colleague across the carpark something along the lines of ‘My shoes! My shoes! No shoes! No shoes! OMG! Shambles! HELP! HELP!’ while waving both arms frantically in the air…

Ah, you know that look of panic people get as they desperately think of a way they can pretend they don’t know you? Yep, that look is ALLLL too familiar for me!

So half an hour and one trip to Kmart later, I had a pair of $8 shoes making my feet sweat and I was back on track. Or so I thought…

This morning, I took the same route to work. I was back in my own car (spare shoes and all) and for a Monday, the day was looking fine. About half way through my drive, I switched my handsfree thingemy on in case I got a call, as I’d thrown my bag somewhere in the back of the car and had no chance of reaching my phone if I needed it.

Beep… Beeep… attempting to connect… no phone found… attempting to connect… no phone found…

Shizzle.

After a small panic, I ran into the office, waving my arms in the air like a madwoman. My colleagues have come to await the daily drama that tends to signify my arrival, so there was an air of anticipation as I ran into the office yelling ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got my shoes! I DON’T have my mobile phone but it’s going to be OKAY!’

Being a Gen Y girl and lacking the ability to memorise a single phone number since about 1999, I had no idea what my boyfriends phone number is. So I called myself. No answer. Redial…

‘oh shizzzzzz’

Yep, oh shizz indeed! But we had a plan, boyfriend would drop phone to my office at lunchtime and I would buy him lunch, which I did. I was all ‘sit down, get comfortable, let me buy your lunch and drink and prove my gratitude for you driving halfway across Melbourne for me…’

And then it fell apart…

In an effort to be super helpful and after I was clearly told the squeezy ketchup sachet wasn’t opening, I insisted on having a crack at it and with all my strength, attempted to outsmart what was, I swear, the most complicated condiment packaging ever made.

Unfortunately… the ketchup won…

We were both covered. As was our table, my bag, the entire pile of napkins on the table, the chair next to me… and the random stranger sitting no less than two metres away from me.

I spent the entire afternoon pulling pieces of dry, crusty ketchup from my ponytail and fringe while randomly bursting out in fits of giggles.

I took it as a sign I had been neglecting my blog.

The universe has spoken. I will blog more.

I will also stop wearing thongs in the car…  Except on weekends and public holidays.

And possibly also eating ketchup.

Also – I’m still scared of fake hair.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Arrrrrrrghhhhhhhh! I just sat down to write a post and realised that – shock horror – I haven’t posted since 5 June! 5 JUNE! I’m not even joking! Fail! Fail! Bad terrible blogger! How will I get discovered and have my life story turned into a made-for-television movie acting like this??

I have so many posts planned to write and I’ve been sitting here, staring blankly at the screen unable to finish even one of them. So, to get myself back in the blogging space I have decided to FINALLY pass on the Beautiful Blogger Award that was kindly given to me last month.

The guidelines are as follows:

  1. List seven random facts about yourself
  2. Post a link to the blog of the person who nominated you
  3. Link to seven other bloggers who are deserving of the award
  4. Let those bloggers know that you have nominated them

So, seven random facts that you don’t know about me already…

  1. I just scored some sweet-as pink flamingos for my front garden, which are currently brightening my life. How COOL are they?!?!?
  2. I HATE winter and am struggling as this is the first full winter I’ve had in a long time. I mean full as in I’m not chasing warmer climates this year, unlike most! Nope, no trip to New York this year… or Hawaii… or anywhere… two more months. TWO MORE MONTHS and it will be over!
  3. Earlier this evening, I deleted someone from Facebook who I had been meaning to delete for ages. I’m not a Facebook hussy and like to keep my friends to people that I actually don’t mind sharing my life with. This person was not one of these people. It’s a long story.
  4. I haven’t cleaned my house for WEEKS! True story. I can sense your judgement and I’m committed to cleaning it this weekend!
  5. My favourite city in the world is New York. Nothing beats summertime in NYC!
  6. I desperately want to go to India. Like, soon. Like, desperately! Like, for serious!
  7. I might have cooked my dogs a steak for dinner tonight. Hold your judgement.

Post a link to the blog of the person who nominated you:

The lovely Jennifaye! Yep, go check out her blog! She writes much better than me AND she doesn’t abandon her followers for five weeks in a row… eek!

Link to seven other bloggers who deserve the award:

  1. http://raisingmyrainbow.com/ – If you haven’t read this one already, do it now!
  2. http://gojulesgo.com/
  3. http://pithypants.com/ – why branch out on my recommendations when they’re so funny?
  4. http://catherinebuday.wordpress.com/ – The tips for a summer day took my mind of the crappy weather for a moment…
  5. http://searchingforagentdalecooper.wordpress.com/ – Okay, so I haven’t read this properly, but it’s a blog dedicated to Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks!
  6. http://livinginfairyland.wordpress.com/
  7. I’m out of suggestions, so I’m sticking with 6!

Let them know they’ve been nominated – I’m on it!

Woo hoo! Real post coming soon, I promise!

Will Write for Food

Last week I quit my job.

Most people who know me saw it coming, but for the many people I know through work, it was completely unexpected. So far, everyone has reacted with ‘Omg, what’s happened?’ and I suspect, knowing my tendency for dramatics, they are assuming that I cracked without warning, slamming the manual lift door while screaming ‘I QUIT!’ and storming off down La Trobe Street.

Alas, it was not so exciting and unlike the time someone put spag bol all over the bin in the midst of a bug infestation or the time I realised someone was stealing the toilet paper (I still have my suspicions, but no proof), there was absolutely no hysterics.

Resigning was a massive relief and although I had a TINY panic attack in between being offered my new job and quitting my current one, it wasn’t long before I was getting excited about taking a huge step off my current career path and throwing caution to the wind.

There’s something liberating about having absolutely no idea what the heck you will be doing a year from now, and, to quote my ever-unreliable Fortune Telling Fairy Cards, I am moving forward fearlessly!

Gone are the days of work-related panic attacks and swatting bugs as I sit at my desk – it’s time for freedom, creativity and full, uninterrupted nights of sleep! Woo hoo!

As mentioned above, I do have a new job lined up, which I am very excited about, but leaving my current role will also allow me to look into new opportunities, to focus on my blog and what I really want to do – to DANCE!

Okay, that was totally a joke, but I have spent a fair chunk of the past few days thinking about the future. Now is the time to work out exactly what I want to do and how to do it… But in typical Tennizzle-style, I have become overwhelmed by the decision.

Ideally I would win lotto and spend the next few years jetting around the world, renovating my house and volunteering my time to the greater good… however accepting that this is not going to happen and that the chances of anyone paying me to hang out with my dogs for a living are just as low, I am going to need a more realistic plan.

I have decided to focus on copywriting, but without it being part of my everyday work.

So far, I have taken the massive steps of purchasing my blog domain (check it out, I’ve dropped the ‘wordpress’ from my site, la di da!) AND getting my own personal domain for the future… I haven’t quite worked out how to set up a website or get it hosted, but I’m on my way! I can feel success in the air!

I’m starting with a bit of blatant self-promotion to people I know professionally and am hoping to start putting a portfolio together in the coming months. As a result, my blog will be growing and although my regular, neurotic posts will continue, I will also be using this page as a means of collating writing until I have a proper website.

In the meantime, if you see someone with a sandwich board reading ‘Will Write for Food’ standing outside Flinders St station next month… please stop by and say hi!

Yams, Turnips and Other Life Challenges


When it comes to vegetables, I am the first to admit that I am absolutely clueless.

I’d like to claim I grew up in a vegetable-free household which would explain this and several other unexplained mysteries, such as why the heck I can’t use cutlery like a normal person, but it would be a lie.

Adding to the confusion, I was a dedicated vegetarian for seven long years and I still have no idea about vegetable-related matters!

I recently found myself making a salad at someone else’s house. I was trying to be all helpful and enthusiastic, but quickly found myself having a small panic attack when faced with something I suspected was a zucchini, green skin and all, and didn’t know what the hell to do with it… peel it? Don’t peel it? Slice it? Bake it? Throw it in a cupboard and pretend it was never there…?

Turns out it was actually a cucumber and yes, you can eat the green bit!

This is just the most recent of many situations I’ve had resulting from my lifelong vegetable confusion. Others include:

The Yam

I’d heard of the elusive yam but was pretty happy living in the knowledge that it had never crossed my path. It just didn’t sound like a friendly vegetable, or a tasty one for that matter, but more like some kind of angry little man in a cape wielding a Bamm-Bamm style club.

That was, of course, until I blogged several months ago about my fear of mashed potato and for some reason, these yams kept coming up in my comments.

Do you like yams?

How do yams make you feel?

Do you eat mashed yams?

Things were getting weird.

I was confused and finally accepted that it was time to consult my friend Google.

So, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the yam equation, here it is:

Yam = Sweet Potato = Awesome!

Kumara

You know those cultural miscommunications you have when you are so clueless as to what is going on you just smile and nod and accept that you will never know the truth? For me, Kumara was one of these.

For quite a few years, when kiwi friends kept saying things like ‘it’s kumara, right?’, ‘does this have kumara in it?’ and ‘I’m going to get kumara on the side’, I was seriously confused. Initially I thought kumara was a bird or maybe a person, but after much smiling and nodding and a whole lot of confusion, I realised they were simply trying to say ‘sweet potato’!

Better than that girl I once heard about who told her boss at a staff event at a chalet that he ‘had such a nice long deck’.

Ah, bless those little kiwis!

However, the real beginning of my vegetable confusion can only be blamed on one vegetable…

The Turnip.

Many years ago, while still reasonably new to the world of vegetarianism and after a chinese doctor told me I was going to die if I didn’t eat meat, I made it my mission to learn to cook vegetables.  I bought myself a cookbook, aptly titled ‘Learning to Cook Vegetarian’ and dog-eared the pages of anything that looked even remotely manageable (ie. Had less than ten ingredients) for experimentation.

One of my first attempts was some kind of baked creation, which seemed pretty straightforward. I copied down my little list of ingredients… garlic… onion… potato… turnip… turnip? Turnip! What the heck was a turnip?

Keep in mind here that this was before the days of Google on your phone, or even readily available high-speed internet, so my investigation of what the heck a turnip was consisted of squinting at the photo in the recipe book and by process of elimination and some vague recollection of a turnip character in a childrens book I had read long ago, came to the conclusion that it was a root vegetable with a sprout, which may or may not also have big eyes and wear a pair of runners…

Not one to shy away from a project I have committed to, I decided not to scrap the chosen recipe and chose another, but to take my new found knowledge to the supermarket to source the aforementioned turnip and everything else that the recipe called for and, of course, me being me, I got everything else and left the turnip for last.

With pretty much no idea what I was actually looking for, I had been standing in the root vegetable area for a good twenty minutes, reading all of the price labels when I found it. The excitement was overwhelming:

Turnips – $3.50 per kg | Beetroot $4.00 per kg

I looked up to the corresponding box and to my horror, there was no separation between the two vegetables – just a whole load of round things rolling around in one big box!

Having never seen beetroot except from can, I had reached a whole new level of confusion. Refusing to accept defeat or ask for help, I took a gamble and grabbed what most closely resembled the turnip I had envisaged – I figured if they had been stored in the same box without proper labels, there can’t be much difference anyway… Right?

Wrong.

Needless to say, to this day, I have never cooked or bought a beetroot OR a turnip ever again.

Other awkward vegetables I have encountered include ‘Green Onions’ (which, it turns out was my Fast and Fabulous cookbook seeing how far I would go to find a vegetable that DOES NOT EXIST), ‘Chinese Leaf’ (otherwise referred to as any leafy Chinese vegetable, walking around the markets asking for Chinese Leaf is not recommended!) and ‘Pepper’ or ‘Bell Pepper’ (which, contrary to popular belief is referring to a capsicum, NOT a chilli!) amongst many, many others.

On a side note, a few weeks ago I finally worked out how to install emoji emoticons onto my iPhone. Clearly a fairly simple task once you realise it’s an app.

My newfound love of emoticons was going well, I’ve been throwing them in here and there to create confusion or make a completely unclear point. In the midst of a recent texting conversation, I needed to throw in something completely unexpected. Insert Emoticon:

Think to self: A PURPLE zucchini! Of course! No one will see it coming!

The response: “Eggplant?”

😦

How Not to Call in Sick

I personally, am not a big fan of faking sick days. I live in fear that if I pretend to be sick the universe will come back to bite me and one day I will be genuinely, horribly ill and I either won’t have any sick leave left to take, or no one will believe I am actually sick.

As a result, I have a bucket load of sick leave accrued. True story. It would be more if it weren’t for that awful, seemingly never-ending bout of conjunctivitis I was cursed with back in November (how does a full grown adult even catch conjunctivitis these days, anyway?), which took over my life for a good three weeks.

But to the point – given my lack of expertise on the matter, this post is not about how to call in sick. I, clearly am not an expert on that topic as more often than not I am sent home after being identified as a potential source of contagion for some all-consuming super bug that is trying to destroy the entire human race… Nope, this post is about my experience of other people calling in sick, which, in my workplace, they have to do directly to me.

The scratchy throat

Something that continues to baffle me is that everyone who calls in sick, regardless of whether it’s for a stomach bug, headache, sprained ankle, dizziness or fatigue puts on a scratchy throat voice while telling me they’re not coming in.

Omg, I don’t care if you’re taking a mental health day to go get some fresh air by the beach, but if you’re going to lie to me, at least think through your whole act before you attempt to convince me!

When I answer the phone and you sound like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, my heart honestly skips a beat. My overactive imagination has already assumed you have been taken over by an evil spirit/woke up in a bath of ice with your kidneys missing/are on a mission through the depths of hell to save the human race, all you need to do is be creative. Ideally, the conversation would go like this:

You (Cue Gollum-esque voice): ‘I just don’t think I can makes it into work today…’

Me: ‘Oh, no! What’s happened?’

You: ‘They cursed us. Murderer they called us. They cursed us, and drove us away. And we wept, Precious, we wept to be so alone.’

Me ‘Serious?’

You: ‘Oh! Cruel hobbit! It does not care if we be hungry. It does not care if we should die! Not like Master. Master cares. Master knows. Yes, precious… ‘

Me ‘Did you just call me a Hobbit?’

You: ‘Yes, gollum. But perhaps we sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my precious. It likes riddles?’

Me: ‘I’m confused… but you sound terrible, maybe take tomorrow off too?’

But alas, no one is even remotely creative when calling in sick and the conversation is more along the lines of:

You (Cue Gollum-esque voice): ‘I just don’t think I can makes it into work today…’

Me: ‘Oh, no, you sound terrible! What’s happened?’

You: ‘I hurt my foot.’

Me: ‘Okay… Make sure you get a medical certificate!’

The pre-planned day off

A word of advice to anyone thinking about pulling a sickie – do not tell your boss the day before that you have a tickle in your throat and think you need a day off just in case you get sick.

‘Oh, you’re sick? Is it really bad? Do you think you better go see a doctor?’

‘Yeah, pretty bad, definitely need to see a doctor…’

‘Great! Make sure you get a medical certificate while you’re there!’

‘Oh… erm… I… erm… I dunno if it’s that bad…’

‘Look, we don’t want you getting any sicker, so better safe than sorry! See you tomorrow!’

Eating bad sushi the night before your last day of work

When you’ve requested to finish your employment contract early so that you can fly to another country to start a new job and your manager has done everything in their power to negotiate this for you, but has only been able to get your last day to be one day after you requested… the bad sushi the night before line is just not going to cut it.

Just call and say:

‘You know how I said I booked my flight for Wednesday? I actually booked it for Monday night and I’m calling you from overseas. I’m sorry’

Not:

‘No, no, that echo you hear is not from this being an international call, it’s just from the evil sushi I ate last night, it’s making my voice echo…’

Guess who’s getting on a flight back to Australia to fulfill their employment contract!

Lesson learnt!

Calling in Sick By Proxie

Ah, this old chestnut! When you can’t even be bothered feigning illness, just get someone else to do it for you!

And most of the time, you don’t even need to call, just text:

‘Sick as. Tell boss, pls. Lol. Thnx.

Alas, there is pretty much no chance that anyone is actually going to believe you, even if you are lying on your death bed.

Luckily, you’re most likely at the beach or somewhere equally relaxing, so you’ll be fully alert to deal with the fallout from your behavior.

Additionally, if you make a sudden recovery and retract your sick text halfway through the morning, you might convince a co-worker or two of your magical healing, but your boss will suspect you’ve lied to attend a job interview, so blocking your (currently public) Facebook page in advance is highly recommended…

And we all know how THAT story ends, don’t we?

Crazies on a Plane!

Over the past few years, I have travelled a lot… and by a lot, I mean A LOT. I am actually more comfortable with a 14-24 hour international flight these days than a 1.5 hour domestic one. I have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because on a long flight, I know I’m stuck. I can’t see the end of it, so I resign myself to spending a good chunk of time reflecting on life, eating bad food, having conversations with myself and reading trashy magazines… all those little things I don’t get to do in my real life.

Having flown so much, I consider myself something of a plane master. I have the toilets and emergency exits down pat, I know which toilets are busy when and exactly when to bolt there to avoid the post-meal un-pleasantries that can make or break a long-haul flight.

I’m also an expert on the look that says ‘I take no responsibility for the state of that toilet, it was like that before I went in’, the one that says ‘if you only have one meal option left do not ask me what I would like or I will lose my shizz at you’… oh, and let’s not forget ‘touch me one more time and I will make the rest of this flight hell for both of us’… Unfortunately the look that says ‘touch me one more time and I will rip your throat out with my bare hands’ is not plane-appropriate and should be saved for that awkward moment when you see your seat invader/psycho seating companion at the luggage carousel… by then, it’s game-on!

Alas the highlight (or lowlight, depending on where you’re sitting) of any flight is the abundance of weirdos that you encounter.

I don’t think I’ve been particularly unlucky on flights. I once saw a girl who had been wedged in the middle of three seats with an obese man vomiting his guts up on the window seat to her left. The flight was full and no matter how much she begged, there was nowhere for her to move to. Her face is still burnt into my memory and every time I think my seating companion is bad, I think of her and am grateful that the worst of mine only threw food scraps at me while they thought I was asleep…

But while they may not have been THAT bad, there have certainly been some interesting people who I have encountered along the way. So, in honour of them all, I have written the following:

An Ode to the Crazies – An open letter to all the nutters who I have been (un)fortunate enough to encounter along my travels.

Hello there…

You probably don’t remember me, but we spent a significant amount of time together. More time, in fact, than I manage to spend with some of the closest people in my life over a six-month period.

Maybe you thought my short legs and apparent ability to curl up into a compact unit made me the ideal seat buddy. Maybe you were impressed by my lack of luggage in the overhead compartment, leaving ample space for you and your seven bags (I like to be prepared to evacuate with all my belongings in case of an emergency). Maybe you saw my copy of NW tucked into my seat pocket and thought you might be able to have a crack at the crozzle while I was on a toilet break… or maybe, you didn’t notice me at all.

I, however, noticed you and for whatever reason, maybe your twitching, seat invading, insistence to eat your food as if you don’t have hands or your tendency to touch me without reason, the memory of our time together has stayed with me ever since.

Look, I accept that you may have been travelling for the first time. You may have been overwhelmed by the size of the plane or underwhelmed by the size of your seat… I have my suspicions though, that this was not your first foray into international travel. For some of you, like the guy who kept bragging about how this holiday will take him to 10 (yep, TEN!) countries visited (Him: “I’ll bet you can’t possibly have been to any more than that!”… Me: silence… Him: “Are you impressed?” Me: “No, I’m counting… 26… 27… 28”… Awkward silence…), I know this to be a fact.

One thing you learn from travelling regularly is a great concept of both personal space and division. Yep, division. See, there’s four seats and two people (you and me)… Four seats/two people = two seats each.

This allows for the perfect amount of sleeping space for both of us. Let me be clear here, this does not mean three seats for you and one seat for me, so do not lift up all the armrests during take off, (“eet eez fur murr rooomzzz!”) before shoving your legs as far over as they go. If you can’t resist the urge, fine. But then do not kick me when the lack of arm rests means my feet encroach on your second seat. Also, throwing your food rubbish at my head when you suspect I am asleep (“I vaz aiming fur zee tray”) will result in me wishing an eternity of bad karma upon you and all that you love. Good luck with that!

On the topic of personal space, if you have a travel partner and you need to pee, please wake THEM up, not me, when you need to get out of your seat. They have an obligation to move for you, which I do not. On this note, when you or they lose your headset an hour into the flight, do not take this as an opportunity to shove your hands under my tightly wrapped blanket and start prodding around. I WILL make a mental note to slap you once off the plane. Oh, and when I notice ten minutes later that you are actually sitting on the missing headset, I will keep that information to myself as punishment.

Attempting to spot the personal details of your fellow passengers on their documentation does not come across friendly. I’d go more for creepy and bordering on crazy… You may be a US Marshall with a keen eye for detail, but no, my name is not Jane and I am not a lawyer… My name is Tennizzlle, I’m reading Town Planning for Dummies and I’m going to spend the rest of the flight regretting ever responding to your attempt at conversation… But nice try!

If you want to scare your neighbouring passengers away from you, a great trick is to start acting completely deranged as soon as the plane starts moving. Frantic coughing and hyperventilation, coupled with repeated dashes back and forth to the toilet before, during and immediately after take-off will instil fear in everyone around you. Other travellers MIGHT come to the assumption that you are planting an explosive device in the toilet or that you’re on the verge of soiling yourself… either way, I have no intention of giving up my aisle seat for you!

Most importantly, chit chat is discouraged in all circumstances, however if you feel some overwhelming need to speak to me, please keep it to a minimum and learn to recognise the signs of a person trying to finish a conversation with you. Some examples:

– Polite smile and nod while putting on headphones does NOT suggest that I wish to switch iPods so you can play me the top Christian albums of the past year.

– Polite smile and nod followed by ‘I’m just going to sleep, have a nice flight’ does NOT mean I would like to lean on you to go to sleep, but thanks for the offer!

– Polite smile and declining of your offer to spend two of your five days in Australia driving from Sydney to Melbourne to get to know me does NOT mean ‘let’s be friends!’ so please, do not add me on Facebook. In two months, when you send me a private message demanding why I haven’t made the effort to maintain our friendship despite your numerous public comments about my ‘beautiful smile’ and suggestions that I should visit you in the Texas sometime, things are going to get really damn awkward… And trust me, I will not be the one balancing a bruised ego with my semi-psychotic urges to marry a random I met on an airplane.

And finally, the golden rule of air travel… Calm the hell down! The plane may have touched the ground, but if you push, grab at or lean on me in a desperate attempt to get your luggage out of the overhead bin, I will tell immigration that you are carrying large quantities of undeclared fruit and vegetables… I’m Australian, okay? I KNOW the trouble that can cause! Have fun on your three-hour trip through customs!

*If you see me on a flight in the future, I am actually a very friendly person. However if you twitch, hit, yell, grab or add without good reason, stay the hell away from me!