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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Patrick

I'm in the ramen noodle place in North Park with Patrick and because Patrick, who is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops, and who smiles a lot and looks like a bit like a shambolic Richard Gere, was late, I've already finished eating my noodles but he hasn't, so while he eats and talks, I listen.
Firstly Patrick tells me about a woman he knows who lives across the street from where he lives, a woman who invites him over at night and then gets drunk and abuses him.
'I call her 'Drunk Annie', he tells me, 'because, well, quite literally she is always drunk,'
I laugh at this and then Patrick tells me he has never been a drinker and that he hates alcohol.
'You know how drinkers think they are so interesting after a drink?' I hate that,' he says, 'because they're NOT!'
Then he tells me about his living situation.
'I'm staying in, well, sort of a field, really, in a sort of...shed,' he tells me, 'behind a mates place. In Cranbourne,'
Cranbourne is an outer suburb of Melbourne, and it seems, that because of his age, Patrick hasn't been able to find a room to rent in the city.
'I show up at these places, you know, shared houses, and these women answer the door and they're all about 30 and they look at me as if I'm some old perv because I'm still looking for a shared house to live in at my age,'
I laugh at this too, and then, as Patrick lifts the bowl of ramen up to his face to eats more noodles with chopsticks, he tells me about his mother.
'I mean, you'd think,' he says, as a small section of ramen flips out of his mouth and lands on my knee, 'you'd have read at least ONE book in your bloody lifetime, but she's never bloody read anything,'
And then while I'm looking down at the bit of noodle on my knee and wondering what to do about it, Patrick tells me about his sister, who he is staying with.
'She's never cooked a bloody meal in her life,' he tells me, 'and there's no breakfast in the house and she lives on protein shakes and cigarettes,'
I laugh at this and then Patrick tells me about his brother.
'He still lives at home with my mum,'
Then Patrick tells me that he has no pension and no real home and is going back to Australia to no job.
'No job, no pension, no house,' he says, as we sit under an early evening's sun on a slate bench at a communal slate table at the noodle bar in North Park.
I say 'never mind, me too', and then Patrick tells me he went to film school.
'I went to film school,' he says, 'but I didn't finish. They kicked me out in my third year,'
I'm not surprised by this but I don't say that and then Patrick tells me he needs to get out of Cranbourne.
'It's not even really Cranbourne,' he tells me, 'it's about 15 minutes out of Cranbourne and it's only got one shop and a pub. It's fucking dismal,'
Then, when there's a break in his talk, I take my chance and tell Patrick that maybe he should use his film school skills and write a screenplay and write a film about a middle-aged man who lives in unsatisfactory circumstances in an outer Melbourne suburb, and that he could call it "Getting out of Cranny",'
He tells me that he still does sometimes make films, with his friend, Paul, a crane driver, but that Paul is unreliable and often drunk.
I suggest to Patrick he find another collaborator.
He laughs at this and tells me to shut-up.
'Shut-up, you're talking too much,' he says, 'and I'll never finish my noodles.'




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