Waking, driving and the magic of relief

Annoying things in life

Article by Rob Andrews
Every morning at about 7am, my five year old daughter wakes me up with a cuddle. This is by far my favourite time of the day. I then stagger out of bed over the protestation of muscles I never knew I had but that seem determined nonetheless to remind me that today is going to suck. Meanwhile, my daughter has sprung out of the bed as if she was wearing pajamas with rockets standard. And she wakes happy. Not adult version "I'm going to be positive today" bullshit type happy either. I mean, cocaine addled purple unicorn riding junkie happy. I wake ready to punch the person foolish enough to be responsible for said waking. I don't, which is just as well.
The bath is pure relaxation. It's where I catch up on my reading and use the jets to eliminate the tiny bits of toilet paper that accumulate inside my bum during the day.

I then go through the normal process of cleaning myself, dressing myself, feeding myself, relieving myself and driving myself to work, (mum would be so proud). I am lucky enough to own a nice shower as well as a deep spa bath. I love them both and they serve very different functions of which cleaning is wholly secondary. The bath is pure relaxation. It's where I catch up on my reading and use the jets to eliminate the tiny bits of toilet paper that accumulate inside my bum during the day. The shower, in contrast, is where I have my best ideas, do my deepest thinking, and where I use the detachable shower head to remove the tiny bits of toilet paper that accumulate inside my bum during the day. I find that a hairy body is great at catching the unwanted flotsam and jetsam of the air. My bellybutton for example somehow seems to catch enough lint during the day to knit a small sweater vest. It never fails to impress me and disgust my lovely wife.

I find breakfast problematic since while breakfast is supposed to be the meal that gets you moving, for most people this really means coffee. Coffee has helped millions of people to artificially motivate themselves to go to work. Unfortunately, I simply cannot abide the taste or even the smell of coffee. This means that I can either motivate myself for work, (which will happen the day the earth explodes and not before), exercise, (which should happen the day after), or eat copious amounts of sugar. As a result, my diet for the last few years has consisted of chocolate, in bar and milk forms. I have therefore watched myself go from square shouldered to round, from fit to flabby, from brawny to fourteen months pregnant with twin calves.

I know all of the service station attendants by name and I like to pretend that they're nice people who aren't given to judging the customers that frequent their stores, particularly the ones that walk out with an armful of junk food before 8am.

Driving to work is probably the same the world over, stupefyingly boring. It doesn't really matter what amazing views you get to see on the way, the sheer regularity of the drive make it so monotonous that your eyes seem painted on. You will see the same people sitting at the same bus stops, the same workmen fixing the same stretch of road, even the same cars puttering along below the speed limit to your front and burning up the road and filling up your mirrors to the rear.

Music would be an excellent diversion from this drudgery if you could find a single radio station willing to play more than one song in a fifteen minute stretch in the morning. Instead, you get well paid voices chatting about politics on one band and celebrity boobies on the other. Now, I appreciate celebrity boobies as much as the next person but radio is a questionable medium for such a visual appreciation. Most of the radio in the morning is dominated by ads or news and radio ads are the absolute worst of a terrible industry.

They seem to consist entirely of ads with 'clever' word play, (repeating the same word over and over), irritating sounds like sirens, bells and whistles or the host talking at top speed or else attempting to make tyres seem hilarious and hemorrhoids serious and failing at both.

The combination of these advertisements combined with the specious jabbering of the slack jawed hosts somehow relegate the FM band to second place behind its AM band competitor.

The AM band is the stomping ground for talkback radio, news and other channels seemingly followed only by middle aged kooks composing symphonies in their underwear. Talkback radio is a concept that, in theory at least, shouldn't possibly work. It consists of listening to Grandpa Simpson types bang on about their latest 'crusade', supported by breathless callers who preface almost every statement with the sycophantic 'love your show', or 'thanks for being the voice of the people'. Perhaps the hosts of talkback are more honest than their FM counterparts. Instead of discussing celebrity boobs, most of them are celebrity boobs.

The tedium of the run is exacerbated by the straight and seemingly endless roads. The only feature on the way is the permanent speed trap which has the dramatic effect of slowing the traffic for the fifteen seconds it takes the cars to move out of its mothering gaze.

The absolute worst feature of the drive to work is the destination. A drive to the beach is an entirely different experience, despite the similarity and distance to a drive to work. A trip to the beach is one marked by anticipation and fun whereas a drive to work is notable for its ability to make one want to snap kick oneself or another in the head. The two trips therefore feel like different time periods relative to each other. That Einstein guy was onto something. It is therefore a relief when the drive to work comes to an end.

[pic2]Relief is in itself the greatest and the most underestimated of all human emotions. Don't believe me? Drink twelve Diet Coke's and wait until your bladder is about to fill up your lungs. Then, take yourself to a toilet, (as urinating in public is generally frowned upon, as the good people at Sydney's premiere casino once made very clear to me), and enjoy the ecstasy that is relief. All competing emotions owe their popularity on Hallmark Cards to relief. What indeed is love except the relief that tonight you can cuddle a warm body rather than masturbate with a cold palm? What is orgasm if not the relief felt from the release of one's inner sleaze? What is charity if not the relief from middle class guilt? What is friendship if not the feeling of relief that somebody, somewhere is as weird as you are and is prepared to talk to you for ten minutes without wanting to punch you in the face?

When a loved one survives a horrible disease, the joy we feel to have them , in a sense at least returned to us, is in fact relief that they're not dead. So if you are depressed, or if you feel as if you cannot find happiness in your life, the answer is relief. Go to a dodgy looking Mexican restaurant, eat ten tacos, go and do a big poo and enjoy the greatest feeling that humans are capable of experiencing.

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