My Friend Bryson

“Living in Brooklyn was great. We don't regret moving.

Maybe I'll be creative again.

Or maybe, I've been putting creativity into my life for this past half-decade. Maybe, I don't need to hold my breath until the next time I'm given a microphone and a full room's attention.

Maybe being a better person is a form of creation. Much more creative than a tight five.”

—Bryson Turner, May 4 2019

I think about Bryson and his blog every time I think about writing a post. Is my blog like his? Am I like him? God, I hate the word blog. It’s not a cooler thing to call it than weblog. From here on, Bryson’s weblog will be referred to by the name Bryson gave to it and has stuck with all these years: The Comedy Hajj. “Hajj” like the Islamic pilgrimage (I just looked that up). Calling your online journal The Comedy Hajj is just so Bryson. He is not Muslim. Or maybe he is by now.

The Comedy Hajj is a very different weblog from mine, from any that I’ve read. Most of the time, a person starts one of these things in an attempt to communicate clearly with an intended audience. The Comedy Hajj, to me, reads as a diary that is not meant to be read or understood by anyone but Bryson. I don’t know if I should even be telling you about it. Might be a huge betrayal of Bryson’s trust. Often, his posts read as cryptic poems. Information on his life is scant. One typical sentence reads, “Meeting on Tuesday with the owner.” The owner of what? And what is the purpose of this meeting? In Bryson’s world, you fill in the blanks.

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Bryson was my friend, and a comedian, and maybe still is a practicing comedian. There are passing references to comedy in TCH, beyond the name. He clearly still thinks about comedy a fair amount. But although I am an avid reader of his posts, I know very little about Bryson’s current life. What does he do for a living? Unclear, though he does say his job provides “meaning and challenge.” I know he loves his wife and their two kids. For the life of me I can’t find any posts about their births. They just showed up. 

I became aware of Bryson when I was just starting out in comedy. I’d been obsessively reading websites like “The Comic’s Comic.” Bryson was featured on that site for winning Funniest Person in Austin. Soon after that I saw him at an open mic in Michigan, where he was visiting for a festival. I thought he came off dickish onstage, and that he was being blatantly rude to my friend Adam Sokol (he wasn’t, Adam insists). 

A few years later I’d moved to New York, and so had Bryson. I got to know him, and he was nothing like the arrogant asshole I’d pegged him as. He was kind, open-hearted, and as insecure as anyone else. He had big questions on his mind, and always came up with weird answers to them. 

The first time I booked him on the weekly show I had with Adam and Nate, he didn’t show up or reply to my messages inquiring where he was. When I saw him next in person, he said he had just been laying in bed, sad. I almost respected it. I knew what it was like to feel too down to go out and do comedy, and, rude as it was to do a no-call-no-show, it made me like Bryson more. 

He came to visit me at my Starbucks job once. He knew how that job made me feel. We sat at a table and talked through my lunch break. He said, “I know you probably feel like you’ll never get out of this job. But you will.” It meant a lot to me, hearing that. He also said Eytan Kurland was the next Bill Burr. If you know who Eytan Kurland is, well, he did not become the next Bill Burr (all due respect to Eytan). With Bryson, it was always a cup of wisdom with a spoonful of what the fuck is this guy talking about? 

Over the next couple of years, Bryson’s ideas about What Comedy Is became further and further out, and the younger comics who followed him into the Madness were off-putting to me. One in particular did not smell great. Bryson posted something on Facebook about his new personal rules for comedy. “A conversation counts as a set” was one. I at first thought he meant a conversation from the stage. Like, if he wanted to spend his couple of minutes onstage at the creek talking to another comic who was waiting to get up, he could count that as a set. Made sense! But he meant a regular everyday conversation, with anyone. If he spoke to a person for a couple minutes during his day, that was a set, and he would not need to do any stage time.

Soon enough, he started to drift away, doing fewer sets (not sure how many conversations he had during this period). I heard a rumor that he was pursuing a professional basketball career, that he was sincerely trying to get into the NBA. One of the last times I saw him do comedy in New York was at a large cafe in Park Slope, where he hosted a show with two other guys. One of the bartenders there became his wife. I think she had a kid. Now they have another kid. In his blog she is often referred to as “Butterfly Starfish.” They now live in Virginia Beach. 

I never stopped looking up to Bryson. Even as I questioned everything he posited about comedy and life, I listened intently to what he had to say. He was an example for me of how to get through depressions, how to cope with failure, how to be more open. I do wish he’d be more open on The Comedy Hajj, be a little clearer about what’s going on in his life, how he feels about it, about stepping away from comedy and immersing himself in domesticity. I need the example. I look up to him still.

And often, he does provide clarity, like in the quote at the top of this post. Does he believe what he said there? Will Bryson come back to comedy? So many comics just stop. Much of the time, it makes sense for them to stop. But Bryson is way too weird, too unique, to just hang it up and work at a desk the rest of his life, isn’t he? Aren’t I? Or maybe a stable, predictable, “normal” life really is the most creative thing for him to do now. God, that’s so Bryson to stop being creative, and claim that he’s more creative than ever. And it’s so me to say, “You’re on to something there, Bryson.”

That said, I’d still like to see him do a tight five, which, knowing Bryson, would quickly turn into a very loose twenty or thirty.

The Strip

I think brick-laying is in my future. My mother-in-law knows a lady who knows a guy who needs some brick layers, or something. I like working outdoors. I have never laid brick before, but I assume it’s pretty easy to smooth out the mortar, like smoothing out ice cream with a spoon. It’s not a great sign that I had to look up “what is the stuff that goes between the bricks” to find the word mortar. I knew it was mortar. I am ashamed. 

I don’t know if there are jobs here in Melbourne that all the comics do, like in New York. Over there, the jobs were dog-walker, temp, and mover. I was all of those things, often at the same times. The one comedian job I never got to do as a comedian in New York was comedy. Very hard to get paid for that in New York. I remember being at the Comic Strip, on the upper east side. I was waiting to audition to get passed there for late night spots. If passed, I would get to come back to the Strip on certain nights at 11pm or some crazy hour and get on stage for about three minutes. It was an insane system that seemed designed to dissuade young comics from trying to work there. 

I got there early and a comedian I recognized came out of the showroom and stood before the bartender. I expected him to get a drink, but no. The bartender gave him money. And the comedian put the money in his pocket! Like it was no big deal, like he’d been paid before. For comedy! Then he walked out, and as he did I gave him my classic half-nod, which he did not see. But that’s the beauty of the half-nod. If you don’t see it, did I even nod at you? You could argue that I didn’t, and therefore I am not embarrassed. 

I thought, wow, I am gonna be just like that comic. Someday soon I’m gonna amble into this dump at a way more reasonable hour than 11, do ten minutes of pure gold, and leave with money. I could even do pure shit and leave with money. 

I did get passed. The person in charge of passing comics was probably younger than I was, and I think his dad had worked there or something. He said I was okay, but that he wanted me to come back for a second audition. I did so and it went well and he passed me. It was a great feeling, and I was excited to start doing those spots. But then that guy was let go from the club almost instantaneously, I don’t know why. When I showed up to do a late night spot, a woman asked who I was. I told her and she couldn’t find my name anywhere in the club’s records of who passed or whatever, so she wouldn’t let me on. I didn’t have the balls to push back at her, or maybe I was too tired to argue because it was 11pm, a full hour past my preferred bedtime. I never did get used to being up late for comedy, and it made me wonder if I could ever be a comic, really. I still wonder. 

I never went back to the Strip, but I did pass it a few times while riding shotgun in a moving truck. If I choose to be a mover in Melbourne, there won’t be a lot of stairs. There aren’t anywhere near as many walkup apartments here. And even better, nothing is open late. Showing up for a spot at 11pm? That’s not gonna happen here. And if I’m “passed” at some club? and the person who passed me gets fired? and when I show up, the lady doesn’t know me? It’s Australia, so she’ll probably be a lot nicer, and just write me down as “passed.” Honestly, fuck that lady.

Go to hell, The Comic Strip

Go to hell, The Comic Strip

 



Lindsay

We were staying in this beautiful vacation spot called Apollo Bay, located on the southern coast of the continent. We were in a caravan park. On our first night there, I volunteered to stay in the caravan while our daughter, Olive, slept, so Jen could go and spend some time with her family. I was content to have the alone time. 

I had the TV on. Watching TV in a hotel/motel/caravan is never fun. There are never premium channels, or even many basic channels. In Australia, options are even scarcer, at least for me. There were only two shows I recognized from the States: Fixer Upper, a home improvement show about a charming interracial couple from Texas who try to fix up crappy homes for broke-asses. And Seinfeld. Good old, reliable Seinfeld

But after one episode, I didn’t care to watch more Seinfeld. As much as I admire Larry David’s “no hugging, no learning” approach to TV writing, when I’m feeling a bit down and disconnected, I like a little hugging! A little fake warmth goes down easy. And maybe Seinfeld, the real-life guy, has tainted Seinfeld the show for me somewhat. He makes me uncomfortable with all his rich guy opinions and his comedy-worship. I was watching some episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. The other comedian in the car said something to Jerry, something along the lines of, “Isn’t comedy great?” And Jerry goes, “Yeah, that’s why I don’t want any awards for it.” And I was like, no one asked you if you want awards, dude. It sounds to me like you want some awards! Anyway, I know Jerry’s gonna read this so I’ll move on. 

I kept flipping and came to a program that turned my whole evening around: The Masked Singer Australia. That’s the name of the show. In the US, we have The Masked Singer. Here, it’s The Masked Singer Australia. There was an alien or a lion or something singing onstage, looking like no celebrity you’ve ever seen, I’ll tell you that. It was quite a hell of a disguise. Everything about the show was bright and colorful and people were cheering. I liked it. I’ve never watched The Masked Singer, but if it’s anything like The Masked Singer Australia, I bet it’s pretty good. 

The judges or guessers or whatever they are started talking about who might be behind the mask. I noticed one of the judges had an American accent. My ears pricked up. She looked like no one I knew, at first. But when they came back from commercial, I looked at/listened to her some more, and thought she looked a bit like Lindsay Lohan. Then I looked and listened even closer and realized, yeah, it was Lindsay Lohan. 

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I knew I would not be changing the channel. I was so heartened to see Lindsay. I felt so connected to her. Us two? Winding up in Australia?! What are the odds? Surely it was not something either of us planned on. Both of us had every opportunity to avoid moving to Australia. I could have, I dunno, pushed harder at comedy, or focused on something else that would have been more lucrative, a career that would have been impractical to leave. Lindsay Lohan could have not done so much coke. And let’s be honest, we both could have laid off the booze. Her more so, probably. 

Like me, Lindsay was nothing but thrilled to come here. “Each week will be so exciting to watch who performs and try and guess who's behind the masks,” she said in a statement. “I feel honoured to sit on the panel and be a part of such an amazing show.” (Judging by the letter u in “honoured,” this was probably the work of an Australian publicist, but I’m sure Linds was more than happy to sign off.)

And then, like me, Lindsay was hit by the stark reality of moving to a new country. Sure, she and I can speak the same language as the Aussies (usually), and we can learn quickly enough how to drive on the left side of the road (if she’s allowed). We can trade the taco trucks of LA and the infinite pizzerias of New York in favor of world class Asian food (and flavorless I mean wonderful meat pies that my wife loves). But one thing about Australia will always cause Lindsay and me to stumble: We. Don’t. Know. The. Celebs.

I felt for Lindsay as she struggled to come up with one famous Australian person. At one point she guessed that the masked singer was Russell Crowe (a New Zealander, but that’s not why it’s an insane guess). I’m pretty sure she guessed Jaden Smith at one point, but she may have said Willow. And honestly, I think I would have done only slightly better than she did. Here are the names of the singers who have so far been unmasked on the show. 

Gretel Killeen

Brett Lee

Nikki Webster

Wendell Sailor

Darren McMullen

No American knows any of these people. Ones a cricketer, another a footballer, and the rest who knows? Lindsay has been baffled by every single reveal. She is only representing her country. She’s done the US proud.

Lindsay reportedly will not be returning for The Masked Singer Australia’s next season. An unnamed source’s quote reads, “She was tricky with demands and had a complete lack of respect for time schedules.” But I know better. Their real reason for “giving her the sack” is, She doesn’t know who the fuck any of us are.

But I know who you are, Lindsay. You’re an American Icon, one who gave me the warmth I needed on a cold, lonely night at the bottom of Australia.

Depression

The depression has come. Not a debilitating kind. I’ve never been too debilitated by depression, really. I just get a bit hopeless, angry (usually at me), want to escape my own body, be dead (but just for a few weeks).

I don’t talk about my mental health much. I’ve tried to talk about it onstage, but it always felt like whining to me, or sympathy-seeking. I am scared of being seen as attention- or sympathy-seeking. (But any person who does standup is attention-seeking, I guess.) I become extremely self-conscious if I talk about it to anyone. Embarrassed when they don’t get it, and even when they do. My depression level has never risen to such a degree that I can’t eat or sleep or get to my job, so why talk about it? Let other people—the really depressed people—lead the charge on destigmatizing mental health. That’s always been my backwards view on it. The people who are too depressed to get out of bed should not only get their depressed asses out of bed, but lead the charge in destigmatizing their inability to do so. 

If you’re gonna talk about depression as a comic, you’d better have some serious depression experience. Like Gary Gulman, who has a new special premiering this weekend on HBO called The Great Depresh which I can’t watch, because there’s no HBO in Australia. Which, how depressing is that? If nothing else depressed me about leaving the USA, that sure as hell would. 

But if you move to a new country and don’t feel some depression, you’re an asshole. Whoa, wait, I don’t mean that. Sometimes when I’m depressed I say things I don’t mean. But if you moved countries ever and didn’t get depressed, like, fuck you. That’s all I meant.

I’m trying to be proactive about it, though. I think I found a therapist, and I still take meds for depression, which I’ve done for almost ten years , which my mom and sister tell me I need to stop taking, but the times I’ve stopped taking them have been bad, so I think I will never stop taking them. But still the hardest thing about depression, for me, is talking about it, being honest about how I feel and what I need from the people I love. 

My wife asked me last night, “What can I do?” 

I said, “I dunno. I guess you could, like, tell me it’s gonna be ok?” Even that was hard to ask.

She told me it was going to be ok. 

I said, “Ok, but, like, could you, like, hug me when you say it?” Incredibly difficult to ask for that. But she hugged me and it felt nice and afterwards I waited for her to call me a “big girl’s blouse” or some other weird Australian insult. But she didn’t. Pretty cool. 

It’s nothing specific that I miss about home. I know I’ll be back to visit soon enough, to eat my mom’s cooking and binge-watch her HBO. It’s just having to feel around in the dark for a new life that I think has offset my brain chemistry. The mere idea of making new friends is exhausting. Being legally prevented from finding a job and establishing a routine is bad for my head. What a great time this would be to catch up on all that great HBO programming. Goddamn. I might just steal it. Then I can wait for my depression to subside while I’m in jail. Or “gaol,” as it’s spelled here. Jesus Christ this country is nuts.

This was a very brave post.

Cockroach

This post is a transcription of a journal entry I wrote on April 12, 2018. It’s one of those things I’ll try to keep in mind when I miss New York, or feel bad about moving to Melbourne. Not that Melbourne is without cockroaches, though there are reportedly fewer here than in Sydney. But Jen and I had back-to-back infestations in two of our Williamsburg apartments. If that were to happen here, I’d be surprised. And who knows, maybe I’d even find it a little comforting.

Roach Photo/Killing by: me

Roach Photo/Killing by: me

4/12 Thurs

I’d finished an episode of Fargo. Jen was asleep. I opened the closet to hang up a hoody and saw on top of a hanger that held my Pistons sweatshirt, a cockroach clinging to it, vertically. It didn’t move, besides its antennae. I was immediately upset. Stood staring at it. This would be hard. The way its body was situated made swatting it w/ a shoe or other object impossible. The best course, it seemed to me, was to snatch the hanger off the rail at lightning speed, and if it jumped off I’d stomp it, or I could trap it in the sweater. 

I grabbed the hanger and the roach disappeared, as if anticipating this move. I regrouped. I hated my life. I wished I’d never been born. I realized I was frightened, I was scared to hunt the roach in the closet. I was sickened and spooked. But I turned the flashlight on my phone on and began searching. I took things out of the closet. It’s a mess in there. And then I saw its disgusting antennae swirling around, sticking out the top of a pile of shoes. Again, there was no quick way to kill it. Could either grab the antennae or push the pile down in hopes of crushing it. But the antennae vanished. I flattened the pile, but in removing the shoes found nothing. Then I saw his terrible shadow in the light of my flashlight. Where was it? Was it a he? 

Went back to the other side, it wasn’t on the vacuum like I thought. But I heard its legs on the wooden floor. So awful. Finally it started scurrying around in front of me, running out of the closet and I fucking demolished it under my flip-flop. 

I hate roaches so fucking much.

This week hasn’t been a great deal of fun. 

Preston

About eight months before I met my wife I heard this song called “Depreston” by a new artist from Melbourne named Courtney Barnett. It’s about house-hunting in a suburb of Melbourne called Preston. I didn’t like it or not like it. I’m gonna go ahead and say: it’s fine. But after meeting my wife, I definitely liked asking her, “Have you heard this song ‘Depreston’? What’s Preston like? Is it really depressing?” And when she took me to Melbourne for the first time, I actually got to see Preston. Again, didn’t like it or not like it. It was fine. 

It never occurred to me that parts of Australia could be depressing. The entire continent is sold to the rest of the world as an unending sun-and-beer shower in tropical paradise. Australia is not a regular country made of cities with some nice areas and some bad ones; it is one big shirtless party, where the Fosters is a-flowin’ and the pelicans are a-helpin’ little fishies find their dads. 

Now that I’ve married an Australian and spent time here, I know it’s not so different from America. It has its gorgeous areas and its goddamn hideous ones (nothing on the level of Gary, Indiana, or someplace like that; I mean “ugly” relative to, like, Sydney). It rains as much as anywhere. There are days where you walk outside and just go, “Ah, god. Nope!” There are towns you can’t imagine anyone wanting to live in. There are people who are not hot.

On hearing “Depreston” for the first time, never in a billion years would I have predicted that I might one day call Preston home. Jen and I visited there to see her friends last weekend, and after finding out how much space we could get for a third of what we were paying in Brooklyn, I’d move there in a heartbeat. Life takes you on some crazy turns.

We listened to “Depreston” in the car the other day. I like it better than I did when I first heard it. Barnett’s accent still bugs me. Some Australians are just too damn Australian. Oh, and I’ve been informed that the town filmed for the “Depreston” video is not actually Preston, so if you watch the video below, just know that it isn’t Preston. But probably looks about the same.



Standup

I’m not allowed to work in Australia until December. I applied for my partner visa, which cost us quite a sum, and was granted a bridging visa while the partner visa is being processed. But, because I already have a tourist visa, the bridging visa will not be active until the tourist visa expires (in December). It’s confusing and stupid. Just cancel the tourist visa, Australia. They won’t. So poor Jen has to apply for job after job (a more laborious process here than in the States), while I do what little I can to make that not suck so much for her.

I need to become a famous comedian in Australia, like right now. That would solve everything. My set went well the other night. Pretty okay. I think I told only one real joke, and the rest of my set was just ideas. I thought maybe I had more jokes in there, but I played the set for Jen, and we both realized, yeah, not really any jokes besides that one.

Jokes! is that all there is? Is that what I was put on this planet for? Jokes? I don’t know what my relationship to standup is ultimately going to be here. Sometimes I wish I’d never tried it that first time, on the tenth of June, 2008, at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, Michigan. I wish my friend Adam Stanton had never insisted he and I both try an open mic on the same night. I told him I didn’t think I could be good at it, but he convinced me. I bought the goddamn Judy Carter Comedy Bible from Borders and read almost all of it. I got five minutes together and practiced it. I told Adam I was ready. He balked. Couldn’t do it suddenly, and I was unable to convince him the way he’d convinced me. So I went up anyway, got some laughs, got actual applause after my first joke, and was hooked. A feeling of pure elation that I’ve been chasing ever since. I moved to LA, then back home, then to New York. Doing standup the whole time, sucking at it, hating myself. Sure I’ve had nights that almost were the equal of that first time, but mostly it’s been eleven years of creative failure. And it’s all Adam Stanton’s fault. I’m missing that guy’s wedding next month, actually, in San Francisco. I wish I could go, if only to shake his hand and tell him, “You ruined my life LOL.”

Sorry for being so negative. It’s just easy, being negative. I’ve always been so good at it. Feels so natural, like getting under a familiar, cozy comforter. Which is called a “duna” here. 

I actually love that I’m in a new scene again, trying to figure shit out. But these are the facts: 34 years old, starting over in comedy, no comedy resume (headlined never, TV never, social media/real-life followings nonexistent), limited time to go hard at comedy due to other responsibilities. Maybe it would be healthier, mentally and financially, to just think of it as a hobby. I feel like I’ve really exposed my soul in this post. I need to pull back.

The Melbournians were kind to me during my set and forgiving of my lack of jokes, and they laughed sufficiently at the one joke I did have, even at some things that were just ideas. So you never know, maybe standup is just really easy here! I’m gonna own this town!

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Carlton

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This is what Whittlesea looks like. Gorgeous, you gotta admit. We’ve been here two weeks, Jen’s father just informed us. Neat!

Things are going alright. Have there been difficult moments? Oh, yes. Have there been times when Jen and I ask ourselves and each other what in God’s name we have done to our lives? There have, sure. There have been times where all I want to do is lay in bed and stare out the window and tell everyone to leave me alone until I feel better. But, luckily there is always stuff to do, and I feel better much faster than I would have had I stayed in bed. I’ve tried the stay-in-bed method. It’s not super successful.

And anyway, there has been a lot to feel good about. Yesterday we found an area in which we might like to live. It’s called Carlton. My wife and I both felt a good vibe driving through it, a sort of Brooklynesque vibe. I saw what looked to be a nice bookstore from the car. A nice bookstore is one thing I look for in choosing a place to live. Others include access to movie theaters, places to do standup, a good coffeeshop, restaurants, maybe a vinyl shop. I don’t buy vinyl, but I will go into vinyl shops and say “Do you sell CDs?” and sometimes the vinyl guy will point to a lone cardboard box on the floor and say, “Dig around in that box.” And then I get on the floor and dig around like a dog, finally settling on a dusty, broken copy of a R.E.M. album I don’t even want. 

We got out of the car and went inside the bookshop. Everything was 40% off. I asked why. It’s because they are closing soon. The fellow at the register said ten Melbourne bookstores have closed recently. 

“Oh no! Why?” I asked.

“Well, it’s very sad, mate,” he said, “but the truth is…Australians can’t read.”

“Really? None of them?”

“Not a one.”

“So…you can’t read? And you work in a bookstore?”

“Correctamundo.” 

“Damn.”

Pretty sad story, if you ask me. Anyway I didn’t buy anything. Wasn’t that great of a bookstore. 

Next, we ate at one of the cafes there. We both ordered burgers, only to be told by the nice Asian lady that they were all out of buns. “You should try the mushroom toast,” she told me. She didn’t say it just like that, but in a more Asian phrasing, which I won’t type out because of all the controversy surrounding that new SNL cast member. My opinion on the matter is the same as it always is when something like this happens: comedy is bad. Anyway, I tried the mushroom toast. Not that great! I could take the bookstore closing and the no-buns-having-restaurant as omens that Carlton is not the place for us after all, but I won’t. Jen’s into it, I’m into it, let’s freakin do it.

I have my first Melbourne comedy gig tonight. I hope it goes well. 

Driving

We have a car. It’s red. A Hyundai i30. It’s got a USB port and also a CD player. And of course the radio. Three ways to enjoy music.

As soon as we got here all I wanted to do was drive. Driving is something I’m really excited about doing now that I’ve left New York. People do own cars in New York, but in the eight years I lived there I only drove the occasional U-Haul or rental car. Or large moving trucks, a couple times. I once backed a large moving truck into a van in the flower district, demolishing the side mirror as the van’s driver stared in disbelief. That someone would just back a truck into his van like that.

I’m glad I don’t drive moving trucks anymore, and if I have to drive them in Melbourne, I imagine it will be slightly easier, except for the whole thing about driving on the left side of the road, and the steering wheels being on the right side of vehicles. That gets confusing, and whenever I turn into a road, I have to really think about what I’m doing. It’s not automatic for me yet.

The great thing about my wife’s hometown, Whittlesea, is the openness of it, the endless roads that you can stay on forever, and if my wife’s not in the car with you, you can drive pretty fast. And also play the new TOOL album really loud. Out the window there are large fields with black cows in them, or horses wearing blankets to keep warm. There are signs on the road with kangaroos drawn on them, telling you to look out for kangaroos. I never see kangaroos when I’m driving, but I do occasionally see them dead on the side of the road, often with a bit of orange spray paint on their bellies to indicate that their pouches have been checked for roos. I also see dead wombats. Never live wombats. 

I really need to internalize the rules of the road here. Leaving the gym the other day, I turned onto the right side of the road. Another car was coming down the street at me on the left side. One of us was wrong. Luckily there was a place for me to pull my car off the road before we collided. Didn’t tell my wife about that one.

Melbourne, Australia

I live here, I guess! We are at my wife’s parents’ house in a little town called Whittlesea, about an hour north of the Melbourne CBD. CBD stands for Central Business District. It’s where the buildings are.

Her parents are letting us crash here while we get ourselves sorted. I’ve decided to start a blog about this whole experience. Not living at my wife’s parents’ house necessarily, though there are a number of things I could write about it. For instance, there are four leather chairs and two leather couches in the living room alone. Friend, whatever continent you live on, that’s a ton of leather. But I’m more interested in Australia as a nation, and my living in it, navigating its complexities and annoyances.

But why, the voice in my head asks. Why start a blog? In 2019? I will answer the voice in my head with something my wife’s mother, Sal, said today. She expressed disappointment in not finding anything new on Bruce Springsteen’s official website (brucespringsteen.net), which she checks daily.

“You check it everyday?” my wife asked.

Her immediate reply: “Why not?”

Indeed, why not. This will be my new philosophy. Why not commit fully to this new Australian life? Why not start a blog about it even though no one has been interested in blogs for at least seven years?

I’ve thought plenty of things I’ve done with my life were interesting, and only when I started writing about them did I discover they in fact were not. But this time, I really think I’ve stumbled on gold. Me, a white American, living in a sorta different English-speaking white country? Talk about a fish out of water. Australians completely outnumber me here, it’s really astounding. Even my own daughter is Australian, my wife tells me.

This will be a place for me to vent about the niggling little differences between Australia and my home country (AMERICA) that will inevitably drive me insane. “Culture shock,” it’s called. I think lots of things are going to drive me a little nuts, and they’re already beginning to do that. The restaurants never seem to have hot sauce. The men’s urinal does not exist in any bathroom. Oh, and did you know that it is 9:30 AM here in Melbourne, but 7:30 PM in New York? Insane. Unacceptable. That’s the kind of thing I’ll be talking about here. Giving voice to it. Illuminating the differences. That’s a service I can provide this world.

So, yeah. This is a blog. I’m gonna stick with it. I promise to update it at least as much as Bruce Springsteen updates his.