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October 2020: Do I Have Thrush? photo

Part 1

I just painted my nails and now I need to wee. Everytime I paint my nails I immediately need to wee. It’s pavlovian. But also I think I need to wee more because I might have a UTI. Because apparently I’m not peeing enough after having sex with my boyfriend who I can’t say too much that he’s my boyfriend because he’s very recently divorced and his ex-wife is a bitch. 

It’s nice to be having so much sex. And I guess also I’m wearing lots of tight cotton shorts with G-strings, so I think I might have thrush. Dunno. I’ve only had thrush a couple of times and I don’t think I’ve ever had a UTI. 

I really just wanna go to a doctor so they can crank open me and swab me up and then send me on my merry painful-when-I-pee way. But the biggest problem with interstate relocation in a pandemic from Melbourne to Hobart, is that I miss my Melbourne doctor. He is friendly and bulk bills. I like having the government pay for my doctor visits. He works out of that clinic on the corner of Sydney Road, opposite the 7-Eleven. After I visit him I often walk up the road and get an okay bánh mì from the closest vietnamese bakery. 

I tried to find a doctor who bulk bills here in Hobart. I’ve asked around and people are like what are you talking about? A bulk billing doctor. Are you poor? But Tasmania, as a whole, is poor. Everyone here is poor, apart from those netball mums who send their kids to the rich schools.

I Googled bulk billing doctors in Hobart and it gave me a national health hotline and then said there’s one after-hours bulk billing doctor but you have to be on a Healthcare card to get him. My Healthcare card was cancelled at the start of the year; I was apparently earning too much with my casual job at a bookshop.

I found a doctors’ clinic but they’re closed on Sundays. And they don’t bulk bill. I found another doctors’ clinic but the reviews are very very bad and they don’t usually bulk bill. They only sometimes bulk bill if you start crying. Or that’s what some of the Google Reviews said anyway.

Next, I searched ‘sexual health clinic Hobart’ because apparently everything in Hobart has to be either obstufacated or spelled out. For example: I went to Service Tas to get my Victorian Learners Permit (Ls) changed to a Tasmanian Ls so I can take my Probationary (Ps) test in Hobart. The woman asked me if I wanted a logbook and I laughed and said, “No of course not. I’m 28. I don’t need a logbook” 

She said, “We don’t care how old you are. You have to log 50 hours of driving before you can take your test.” 

I said “But what about all my years of driving in Melbourne?” 

She said “Were they logged?” 

I said “No of course not because I’m 28 and I haven’t had to log my hours of driving since I was something like 23.” 

And she said “Well they don’t count then.”

That piece of information about me needing a logbook was seemingly hidden as some sort of general knowledge thing. When I told my friends in Hobart about needing to log my hours they all kind of were like Well, of course you have to log your hours. Duh.

Turns out there’s a sexual health clinic called Clinic 60, but they’re not taking any walk-ins. I have to call to book anyway because they don’t have an online booking session but they’re closed on weekends and today is Saturday. I just want to book online because I had to move back in with my mum and the idea of her overhearing me saying “It burns when I pee” is mortifying. Especially because she was the first person who told me I’m supposed to pee after sex anyway. But sometimes when sex finishes I don’t want to pee. I just want to touch and kiss and lay there still sweaty and stuff. How soon after sex do I have to pee anyway? Immediately? Should I just piss in my lover’s bed?

Feels weird to call him my lover because he’s my boyfriend but I can’t quite call him that in case his ex finds out he has a girlfriend then she’ll probably try and stop him from seeing his baby or something equally hurtful. Because my boyfriend is a dad.

I escaped the pandemic in Melbourne because my lease was up on my sharehouse and I missed my mum and wanted to have loads of sex. Casual sex in Melbourne was illegal under the covid restrictions.

Instead I’m in this weird situation of having a boyfriend who I can’t say is my boyfriend. And finding it basically impossible to take responsibility for my sexual health without it costing me $120 at a minimum. (Swab, blood test, urine test. I’m sure I’d get half back on the Medicare rebate, but still. It’s the principle of the thing.)

I go upstairs to my mum’s room and help move a mini fridge onto the desk in her room. She has several sets of crutches, a walker and this hovering seat thing with handles that you place over the toilet seat. My mum is getting a hip replacement in a few days and won’t really be able to do too much immediately afterwards.

“Mum, do you think I’m hanging out with [my not-quite-boyfriend] too much? Do you think I should give him space? I think I have thrush, also.”

She turns the radio off. “He’s an adult man. He can speak up for himself if he needs space.” She looks at me. “Does it hurt? Should we book you into a doctor?”

I feel like I don’t have enough friends here in Hobart, back in Melbourne I have loads of friends that I can just call up and hang out with almost at any point. But here I can’t bug my not-boyfriend because he’s a dad who works full time and I am under-employed. I’m not unemployed because I’m still receiving the government’s covid payment ‘Jobkeeper’ from my bookshop job in Melbourne. But I’m worried  if I don’t return to Melbourne before xmas I might get fired.

My friend Giselle texts me about her life in Melbourne, tells me she misses me and asks if my boyfriend-but-can’t-say-is-my-boyfriend and I are “Offish”, as in official. I say I miss her too and I miss my life in Melbourne and that “I dunno, haha.”

I love waking up in his bed in the morning, and leaning over and kissing his shoulder. He doesn’t wake up in my bed in the mornings because my bed is too small for both of us. He’s had more dinners with my mum and I, than any of my other ex’s combined. I wasn’t planning on ending up in any kind of heart-swelling thing because I’m going to go back to Melbourne in maybe January or possibly February anyway. The last time I was in love I probably wasn’t a very good partner. And then when we broke up my heart hurt so badly I got a dentist to extract all my wisdom teeth when I was wide awake. I thought I had successfully built up enough walls so I wouldn’t fall in love and then inevitably get heartbroken ever again. But my dad died last year and so ever since it has been very hard to not feel in the throws of emotions.

At least by the time I finish typing this all out my nails will have finished drying, but my pussy still burns. I want to pee again even though I don’t need to. Perhaps I should be chugging down cranberry juice. But according to Pedestrian.tv all cranberry juice is basically sold out because of @420doggface208’s TikTok of him skating on his longboard down a highway drinking cranberry juice and singing along to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. I wish Fleetwood Mac would cure my burning mystery. Google’s fifth result tried to convince me it’s cancer so fuck knows. I’ll probably just revert to what I did when I was 17. Especially seeing as I am living back in the very same bedroom I used to live in when I was that age and I am still struggling to find even the most remedial shitty job here in Hobart. I used to just ignore the feeling and wait for it to go away on its own.

I went for a Christmas casual job at the cruelty-free bath bomb and skincare retail shop, well-known for its overpowering scent. I got a group interview there and was weirded-out by the first ‘game’. We all had to go around  in a circle and say three lovely things.

The very perky manager said, “You’ve probably all played this game before. Its called Three Lovely Things” 

All the women went “Ohhhh.” As though they all knew the game. 

I’d never heard of the game and I waited for more rules but that was it. We just had to say three “lovely” things about ourselves.  I was the first person after the shop manager and I couldn’t stop thinking of three interesting facts rather than three lovely things. What the hell is a lovely thing? Everyone just said interesting facts about themselves as opposed to lovely things. I have naturally soft skin. That is a lovely thing but that is far too intimate to tell a group of giggling strangers. I said that I am a comedian, used to write for VICE before VICE Australia died, and I have a tattoo of a dog on my shoulder. I didn’t describe the tattoo beyond that because the dog itself is smoking and drinking a beer and I didn’t think that was very “lovely”.

Also on their employment form they emphasized over and over how they are super inclusive and really into diversity hiring. I’m out as bisexual, but I don’t really see how who I choose to fuck can really make me a better cruelty-free bath bomb shop employee but I ticked the LGBTQI+ box anyway. I’m also mainly in the closet about how I feel about my gender. Because secretly, inwardly, my pronouns are she/they. But I ticked the ‘other’ box in the gender section because I really want a xmas casual job and maybe my extremely private and squirmy feelings can make up their queer diversity hiring quota. To clarify, I guess I’m female-nonbinary? I don’t really get it and I don’t want to look too further into it. At the moment I’m too busy trying to get a xmas casual job, logging enough driving hours, helping my mum prepare for her hip operation, worrying about maybe getting fired, and feeling secretly confused about the status of my not-quite-offish relationship. Also having a vagina on fire.

When I got to the cruelty-free bath bomb shop, the manager immediately got us all to write our names and pronouns on white sticker labels and stand in a circle. Everyone had written she/her. I could feel their eyes take a second glance at my pronouns as if they were all checking they read it correctly. The manager then called us ‘ladies’ and I knew that I made the wrong decision to come out publicly at the Hobart branch of the cruelty-free bath bomb shop on a wednesday evening, the night before a public holiday. The rest of the interview no-one used anyone’s pronouns, we all just said each other’s names.

It didn’t matter anyway, as it turns out I am quite sure I fucked up the interview because I don’t care about the cruelty-free bath bomb shop. I do not like baths, especially those with fizzy glitter. Their products are too expensive for my taste. I prefer to get hair conditioner in a bottle not in a bar. I didn’t know they don’t sell sunscreen until I was in the store for the interview. I just clearly wasn’t a cruelty-free bath bomb shop fan unlike the other five women who were there for the group interview. I tried to talk about my transferable skills from working in a bookshop, and touring my comedy shows internationally, and writing funny articles about sex and dating for VICE. But there was this tall blonde girl whose birthday it was that day, she used to work at The Body Shop. So everything I said came out a  very unlovely and like I was  needlessly showing-off. Opposed to everything The Body Shop chick said because The Body Shop as a previous workplace was king.

Maybe rubbing all the cruelty-free bath bomb shop products over my arms and then after the interview going to a party for a beloved local publican and feeling a bit overwhelmed at the party and missing my boyfriend who I can’t say is my boyfriend because he was in Launceston that night so I quickly fingered myself in the bar toilets with my “yog-nog” human skin milk-covered hands, was what gave me a UTI. Or is it thrush?

Maybe I can tell myself I don’t mind that I can’t say that my boyfriend is my boyfriend. Because it means it’ll make it easier to extract my hot and beating heart from his when I leave this paradisiacal island state at the end of the summer.

Okay, my nails are fully dry now.

Part 2

My nail polish is half chipped off. I didn’t get the job but I did get thrush.


image: Aaron Burch