Contrary Clarissa

One thing strikes me about Clarissa at the moment. I have no idea where her head’s at (so to speak). She’s just all over the place. One moment it’s fighting for Somalia, the next moment it’s crocheted bicycle covers. I’d say it was hormones if…you know….

We went to the Brunswick music festival the other week and now she’s asked me to knit her a pair of socks. I looked rather dubious but she said ‘Oh, they aren’t for me’ (that was not a great surprise since she doesn’t have any feet). ‘They’re for Greg’. She simpered. Honestly, simpered. There is no other word for it. We’d been to see Greg Champion, you see, and Clarissa has been giggling ever since.

I figured she needed a reality check. ‘Clarissa’ I said,

(a) Greg has a beautiful girlfriend, have you thought about that? You saw her that night.
(b) He is tall. You know what they say about tall men. Big feet. NOBODY knits socks for men with big feet, let along for men as a favour to somebody else.
(c) What about Fevola? You can’t be carrying a candle for Fevola one day and fancy Greg Champion the next. Get some consistency, girl.’

As usual she had an answer for everything.

(a) She may be a beautiful girlfriend, but can she write? I’m going to send Greg some songs for him to play on Sat morning. They’ll be the funniest, cleverest songs he has ever received. They will make him fall in love with me.
(b) His feet aren’t that big, really, he has quite refined feet for a man of his size. AND you are a fast knitter, are you not? She stared at me. Daring me to disagree, I suppose.

She muttered something about not liking how Fevola had played on Saturday. It’s all very well, she said, to get those goals at the end when they are desperately needed – she was talking about the game against Brisbane – but if he’d gotten them earlier on they wouldn’t have been desperately needed, would they? It was logic hard to argue with. But was it enough to make a girl turn from Fevola to Champion??? I feel like there is more going on here than I’ve been told about….I’ll let you know if I uncover what the real story is.

Clarissa surfs the Net.

Clarissa is thoroughly mollified since Sonia has written in to confirm that she is indeed real. But now that she’s found out how to use the internet she’s been surfing about to find references to herself – as you do.

‘Can you believe this?’ she said to me as I was cutting the lemon slices for the drinks. ‘Somebody wrote a post about me called Meet Clarissa, HAL’s better half.’ She’d printed it out for me to look at. ‘Hah’, she snorted. ‘Better half. More like better three-quarters – and then some, wouldn’t you say?’. Well, I would have, but she pushed right on.

‘Not to mention he was just a character in a movie. It’s hardly the same thing at all.’ She sipped at her G&T and continued. ‘As for that Stanley Kubrick….well, you know I went on that cruise with NK [You can read about that here]….she was telling me -‘ I’m sworn to secrecy, sorry, so I have to cut it off right there.

Clarissa dons an apron.

I could tell as soon as she came in today that she’d found out. I bustled her out to the garden, made the G&Ts on the strong side and waited for the outburst.

You see, somebody named Al wrote in the other day and intimated that Clarissa, much as he loves her, is a figment of my imagination. I thought about deleting the comment there and then, but let it go and hoped Clarissa wouldn’t get wind of it. It turns out one of the astronauts’ wives reads the blog and told her.

‘What does he mean?’, she said,

I’m glad to see….your imagination continues to run riot.

‘Without me there wouldn’t a spaceship up there which didn’t come back to earth by falling down’. She handed me her empty glass. ‘I’ll have another one of those and while you’re making it, listen to this. The Space Station is changing crews at the moment. So, 3 o’clock this morning I get a call. It’s Michael Barratt . Guess what he wanted?’

I passed Clarissa over her drink. She didn’t really want me to answer. ‘They are cooking pancakes. They want to know if they have to flip them downwards on account of being Up There. Honestly. That’s what I have to put up with. So I say to him, “Michael. You are up there with the Bodies in the Space Environment experiment studying the effect of gravity on you humans and you can’t even figure out its impact on a pancake. Get a grip lad. I’m going back to bed.”‘

I went to speak, but Clarissa hadn’t finished yet. ‘I’m going to ask for a payrise. It’s one think keeping the darn things up there, but cooking lessons too. It’s way beyond the call of duty don’t you think?’.

Clarissa’s brush with the dark side.

I cannot begin to tell you how worried I am about Clarissa. She came over the other day dressed like this:

Clarissa in army gear
Clarissa in army gear

I went to make her usual gin and tonic, but she said she’d prefer Somalian Tea
Obviously it is some reaction to that terrible hostage situation where she was taken by Somalian pirates. Click here for the details. I’ve started wondering if she is suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

And while I was in the kitchen grating the fresh nutmeg with which Somalian Tea apparently has to be made, she hopped on the internet in my computer room. When I came in she hurriedly closed the screen she was on, but later on, after she’d gone, I followed her tracks. She’d googled Somalian Liberation Army and – try it if you like – you are truly on the dark side within a link of there.

What IS she thinking? Of absconding back to Somalia??? Of joining her captors? What about all that money Obama paid to set her free? TAXPAYERS’ money, I might add.

There must be hope for her yet. Notice the head gear in the picture. She should be wearing a military beret, but even in her unbalanced state of mind, a smart felt hat was as close to a beret as she could bear to get.

I’m tempted to call Neil. Perhaps he can get her out of this fug she’s in.

Clarissa needs a break.

I’ve scarcely seen Clarissa over the last couple of weeks and yesterday when she dropped in she was exhausted. We were sitting in the garden having a martini and she was drinking hers out of a straw. Forget picking up the glass, she couldn’t even drag the olive out. That tired.

It’s all the trouble they are having at the space station. ‘If it isn’t one thing it’s another’ she said to me. ‘First Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper loses her tool box.’ ‘Well,’ – Clarissa is relaying to me what she said to Heide – ‘I said to her “If you’ve looked in all the obvious places, look in the silly spots. Could you have put it in your undies drawer? Or in the freezer?”‘

Clarissa shook her head. ‘How can you just lose a $100,000 tool box? She thinks she dropped it while she was out walking….they call it space walk. More like spaced-out if you ask me’.

I passed Clarissa her olive and she munched for a bit before continuing. ‘Next up there’s a problem with the solar panelling and now the equipment they are using to turn their pee into drinking water isn’t working either.’ She shook her head. ‘At this rate, I’ll just have to head up there myself to sort things out.’

Now she glared at me. ‘Trouble is, I’ve been invited to another tupperware party and I really don’t want to miss this one.’ Oh dear. She’s never going to forgive me for what happened last time. Especially since she found out there really was a stripper…

Clarissa backs Palin all the way.

‘I don’t understand why they keep criticising Palin for being a dummy. WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING A DUMMY? That’s what I want to know. If I can keep the space program going more or less on my own, I really can’t see why Palin isn’t able to make the President’s decisions for him. How hard can that be? It’s only one country. I’ve got the infinity of space to worry about.’

‘So’, I asked, ‘You’re going to vote Republican?’ Clarissa’s American, you see, so she does get to vote if she wants.

We were sitting outside surrounded by the detritus of the Melbourne Cup BBQ. Clarissa munched thoughtfully on a left-over sausage before replying: ‘Absolutely. We dummies have to stick together’.

Clarissa finds out more about the French Revolution

‘There, there’, I said, patting Clarissa on the – arm -. ‘I’m sure she died proudly, knowing what a difference she’d made.’

You will recall that Clarissa’s niece has been doing the family history. She’s found out more about Clarissa’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great- great-great-great-grandmother, Fi Fi, and her role in the French Revolution. Thus far all Clarissa knew was that Fi Fi, who had been Marie Antoinette’s dummy, was saved herself from the guillotine. Now more has been uncovered.

It transpired that Madam Defarge took a fancy to Fi Fi and kept her there, right in the front row before the guillotine, where she knitted. Evidently Madam Defarge realised the usefulness of Fi Fi to a knitter. Often Fi Fi would sit there wearing some recently finished garment knitted by her new mistress and she felt terrible as she watched dummy after dummy, facing a terrible death, with their aristocratic owners.

She decided she had to try to save them. Some she helped escape with the aid of Alex von Fersen the Younger. At the same time she convinced the other knitters in the front row of the guillotine’s audience that they too could find benefits from the use of a dressmaker’s model. As these knitters spent some of their time making socks for Robespierre and other members of the Committee of Public Safety, they had only to say what they wanted and it was theirs.

Still, this state of affairs could not go on forever. Robespierre felt that the knitters – the front line of the revolution – were being corrupted by this taste for the property of the aristocracy. No matter that their jumpers fitted better for the use of the dummies. No matter that the saved dummies, sitting and watching the bloodshed would cry ‘Vive La France’ whenever a head rolled off the stage. His mind was set.

Madam Defarge was publicly dressed down. And Fi Fi was put in the dungeons. Count Alex made a heroic attempt to help her escape, but it was not to be. She was betrayed by a fellow dummy, it is believed, a dummy she thought was her friend. She languished in prison and eventually died there, a lonely, forgotten figure.

Clarissa gets an invitation.

Clarissa is so excited. She’s been invited to a Tupperware Party and she’s never been to one before. She’s going to get a cheese holder, and a baking tray, and a plastic Breville Whiz and -. She thinks there is going to be a stripper. I keep trying to tell her that the girl who is holding it is married and her husband would not appreciate strange men disrobing in his house. She doesn’t believe it for one moment. Apparently all the Tupperware parties she’s heard of have had strippers. Must be a raunchy lot, those astronauts’ wives.

Anyway, there is worse news to come for Clarissa. She was relying on me for a lift but I can’t go. I haven’t told her yet – I think I have to get a couple of G&Ts into her first. Even then – well, I’m a bit put out just thinking about how she’ll feel, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe if I finish the hat she’s been at me to knit her that would soften the blow. If only she wasn’t SO excited about it.

Clarissa is in love.

Last night we went to see the great Mikelangelo performing with the Black Sea Gentlemen. Clarissa was completely taken by the man. His grooming, his deportment, his appreciation of hats – she might have swooned with delight if she were able to. And then – when he stripped down to his magnificent underwear – it was all too much for Clarissa.

It’s easy enough to tell. Look at these pictures she took. She’s usually quite a good photographer, but when she’s overexcited, it’s bad for her camera work….

Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen

Clarissa confronts the inconceivable.

Clarissa and I were in Albury on the weekend, checking out the movies in our hotel when we came upon Red Planet.

At the point Clarissa and I started following the movie the astronauts were in deep trouble, not least because Amee, the artifical intelligence machine that is supposed to help them goes feral. Amee decides to kill the astronauts, all three who are left.

Clarissa was clearly profoundly shocked by what she saw. Yes, I thought. The servant turning on the masters is disturbing to observe. But it wasn’t quite how she saw it. ‘How could she? She’s their superior in every way. She has the intelligence and the strength of all the astronauts put together. For her to attack them – well, it’s like a human being putting mice in a container and then taking pot shots at them with a rifle. How could she?’

At any rate, the movie certainly had me a bit rattled. In future I’ll be thinking more carefully before getting into a full-blown argument with Clarissa….even if she thinks that’s something she’d never do….