I wrote the following essay in the middle of 2001, while attempting to learn Italian in the city of Livorno, Italy. It was about June, 2001, written over the course of a day wandering around the ancient township of Lucca. It needs a re-write, I'd say, but see how you go......
WHAT DO I WANT?
(Italy, July 2001 (begun at Pisa train station, en route to Lucca)
Good bloody question David…….not that I require 98% of these but in no particular order. here goes…
I want more money than the Pope but I don’t want it to change me. I want to be able to fly like superman and do vertical take-offs to awe-inspiring pieces of music from the likes of Pearl Jam, Rage, and that song, ‘The Captain’, by Something for Kate, for instance and- fuck it- matchbox 20 as well. I want to be able to talk to the animals but only the good ones, you know, the sharks, the birds of prey, the dogs, the whales and all the fish. I want to swim surrounded by an entourage of fish who for the time being listen to me and don’t eat each other. I want to remain hopelessly in love forever. I want a healthy self-belief and I want to be less self-conscience. Do I want to be different? I want a cock that doesn’t deflate after midnight and a lot of wine. I want to be smarter than I am and I want my arguments to make sense! I want to be able to put my feet up whenever and wherever I like and have it not deemed offensive. I want to sweat less and to be thermally cooler. I think I want less hair. I want to be able to play the cello. I want to wake up tomorrow and know Italian. I want to be less shy initially. I want to be able to shoot cum across the room if I feel like it. I want to understand electricity and motors. I want to have a natural rapport with the lower-middle class drinkers but then again do I?? I want an F-18, a Spitfire and a sense of direction. In fact, I want to know where North is, all the time, like one of those fuckwits in a Wilbur Smith novel.
And I want The Force to exist.
I want to be able to butterfly for more than 30m. I want to possess complete and unbridled generosity (I want to be less selfish). I want suffering to exist but for it not to be real. I want 50m viz most of the time - but not if this lessens my appreciation of it! I want my mountain bike to have perfectly functioning gears and brakes and I want never to be hit by a car. I want a big beautiful motorbike and I want never to be hit by a car. I want the Chinese government to get the fuck out of Tibet.
I hate them.
I want an endless supply of good gunja, coke and ecstasy and I want never to get caught. Actually, I want it to be legal for me and all my friends if they so choose. I want to be able to get drunk more easily. I want to love riding horses and I want them to like me ( the capacity to speak to them, not withstanding). I want not to feel lost on this train….no…that’s a lie. I do.
I want to understand how insects think and communicate and be able to grasp their perception. I want my hearing to be better. I want to be able to surf and to know and understand the ocean like the back of my hand and I want to feel great in any sea, on any vessel. I want to be a natural and funny public speaker and I want to be a stand-up comic, good enough to bring a roomful of people to stitches for a while. I want to get published and bring people to laughter and tears with my words, and to make the reader ponder their world, if only for a few moments. I want to have a gift for drawing and painting. I want to love all cheeses. I want to have an incredible house with a big woody kitchen that feels inviting like an old friend and be happy to live in it for a while. I want a thick lazy coffee table that I can be stood on and be used as a bed sometimes.
I want to know how to salsa and tango and I want to want to dance at every opportunity. I want to know how the Romans and the Egyptians and the Incas built all the stuff they did – ie. I want to sit there time-lapse wise and actually watch them do it. I want to know how humans can build bridges and plane wings and stuff that’s exactly gun-barrel straight, pardon the pun. I want to know how NASA can send a probe to Jupiter and get the angle of orbit-entry correct to within 0.02 of a degree, or whatever the hell it is. How do they do that? I want white and black and new and old Australians, of every colour, creed and background to somehow and someway co-exist with real happiness, and for the differences there-in to be truly appreciated.
I want to have read the classics, but then again, what a crock of shit. I want to remember all that I’ve forgotten and all that I never bothered to learn about plants and I want to know if they really do have any kind of awareness, and in what form it takes (like this grass I’m lying on now, for instance).
Once, as a single man, just once, I want a seductive sexy and older woman to gobble me up on the street or a café somewhere and whisk me away for a sexy few days. I want all cane toads, rabbits, foxes, mice, cats, that thorny-bush thing and any other introduced species detrimental to Australian flora and fauna to disappear instantly. I want to know exactly how many bricks built the fortress wall here in Lucca, Italy.
I’ve just thought of a skit…..
A roman guy walks into an ancient hardware store…
“Yeah, g’day, listen….. I’d like enough bricks to fill up Sydney Harbour and I’d like the last of them to be delivered by sometime late next century.”
I want to know if there really is life after death and I want to meet a ghost- a good one. I want a bookshop. I want to act in a movie. I want a kick-arse wine cellar and I want the patience to nurture the good ones and take the time to appreciate and detect the difference. I want a Fiat bambino 500. I want to go camping in Australia and I want a good tent and some real hiking boots.
I want never to develop prostate cancer and I want a pair of coloured jeans. I want to work for an advertising company and be encouraged to smoke a joint, during work, in the name of creativity. I want to live and meditate with the Buddhist monks for a time in an attempt to attain enlightenment, but not for years. Does this defeat the purpose?
I want to experience true happiness and contentment in my waking life, like one of those healers. I want to see that date palm in India that’s as large as 2 soccer fields. I want to come up from an incredible dive in the Pacific ocean, adjacent to Chile somewhere, with the mighty Andes towering over me. Can that be done? I want to dive in the Sea of Cortez and swim with a Hammerhead and have us salute each others’ uniqueness, and I therefore probably want a sensational underwater camera.
I want my mother and sister to always be happy. I want to be able to hit a one wood long and straight 70%, rather than 10%, of the time. I want to be more forgiving- of myself and of others. I want never to be in a plane crash. I want to go gliding. I want to hang-glide without injury and I want to parachute. I want to jump out of a plane at night over thinly scattered cloud under a daylight-bright full-moon…..that’d be fantastic. I want never to bungee jump. I want to fully understand gravitational mathematics to the point where, if I wanted to, I could calculate the probability of another planet existing, undiscovered, in our solar system. I want to know the how’s and why’s of Fermat’s theorem.
I want to understand computers better and I want to witness a space-shuttle launch a few hundred metres from the launch pad. I want to know if I produced a book of incredible cloud photos, could I sell the bloody thing? I want to learn how to become more patient. I want to function in the real world a little better, although having said that I want never to fill in a form- ever. I want to live without unreasonable fear for 12 months. I want to be in a fight one day, give abit, get abit, but prevail in the end under heroic circumstances and come out with my nose and teeth intact. I want to witness a spectacular blazing airline crash but for no-one to be killed (or is this perhaps why they’re so gut-wrenchingly incredible to hear about?). I want to be more confrontational. I want a better road sense. I want to be a fighter pilot and lead my F-18 Superhornet squadron into a wargames battle high over the north Australian desert against a mixed squadron comprising Russian mig 29’s, American F-15’s, F-16’s and British tornado’s and while hopelessly outnumbered, you guessed it, prevail in heroic circumstances.
I want to go back to that day in May of 1990 at Princess Park, Melbourne, and watch Bradley’s goal against the West Coast Eagles. I want whaling to cease immediately and forever. I want STD’s not to exist and condoms never to be needed. I want globalisation and the fervent economic rationalisation of the planet to cease and the populations of North and South America, Asia, Europe and Africa immediately reduced by 50%, but to include none of my friends, none of their friends and probably none of theirs. I want the European Euro to be abolished and all currencies returned to their original form. I want a photographic memory - actually I take that back, just a better one. I want to know how to build tables and houses and I want to both understand, and be skilled, at renovating. I want to travel back in time and watch Mt.St Helens erupt along with Santorini and Krakatoa and Mt.Vesuvius and I want to be on that ship that, in 1911, recorded the 33metre wave in the Pacific Ocean. I want group decisions to be easy and quick and for everyone to be happy. Do I want perfect vision? I want a car. In fact I want a great new car- apart from the bambino- that’s low and wide and purrs with an evil grin. I want to hang up washing only once a month and I want never to stand on bindi-eyes.
I want to lie on my death bed with no regrets and to feel wonderful and blessed with the life I have led and I want to be looking forward to the next bit, be it whatever or nothing. I want to snorkel with a pod of wild dolphins. I want more dinners with friends with good food and wine. I want the courage to do a solo dive out of a small boat a long way from shore on a glassed out day to go and hang at 30m, just watching and waiting to see what turns up. I want to know if letting a bottle of red ‘breathe’ really makes a difference. I want to know exactly why putting a teaspoon in an open bottle of champagne or beer lengthens the gas retention time. How the fuck does that work? I want a coffee machine and a heap of those little espresso cups. I want not to get so depressed at times (although I think I need it). I want to know if keeping in touch with ex-girlfriends is a good idea or not (I want to know if I’m thinking too much here).I want the ozone layer to return in all its glory and for skin cancer to disappear. I want never to be attacked by a shark or crocodile. I want to know why my grandparents took me to see Jaws when I was 8. I want to know what my other grandfather made of his time in the POW camp- I want him to be able to talk about it (did I already mention that I want not to be selfish?). I want a DVD collection that magically records my dreams every night such that I can play them back as a movie, anytime I like. I want to be a radio D.J and marvel the world with my humour, wisdom, incisiveness and view of life.
And that’s about it.
Oh yeah, I want to be an unbelievable exponent of the torpedo kick, and I mean unbelievable. I wanna be able to kick a torp‘ 90metres on a still afternoon with the sun setting behind a mountainous background. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
have a nice day, and may each and every action contain some measure of future good....