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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

130th email

From: Stacey Marchenkova
To: Dom Borax
Sent: Sunday July 15th July 1999, 2:51 AM
Subject: Had an adventure

Dom...I have to tell what happened to me today at work…

...there I was in the this large office in the Guide Dogs for the Blind building in Wharf Street…each cubicle was filled with canvassers guilt tripping strangers into buying junk… “You can see. They can’t. Buy a scented candle…”

Anyway…it was about 3:00 in the afternoon…I had my torn page of the telephone directory in front of me…I had a ‘W’ page and was systematically working my way through, scratching off each name with each rejection…

It had not been a good day…I had only sold a set of barbeque tools…and three calendars of posed Guide Dogs re-enacting scenes from famous films…you know…like…

--two guide dogs standing on the bow of the Titanic, looking toward their future…

--A Guide Dog, gumping it up in special man’s clothes, sitting on a park bench with a box of chocolates in front of him…

--A Guide dog poking his head through the axe splintered bathroom door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…

Okay I made that last one up…but…

For some reason this day had been really hard…it was driving me crazy and I had become truly defeated and insecure because of the barrage of rejections…

I mean, I know it isn’t personal…canvassing is annoying and most people hate to be bothered with unsolicited calls…I do after all…I know what it’s like…

…but sometimes…on those grey days…it gets to you…

I mean…when over one hundred people…for a brief second…hate you …what’s a girl to think?

So it was with this lump of loss that I cautiously rang BC Williams in Paddington…

As he picked up, I knew he was going to cut me off in seconds and onward I’d go into this severing hell of continuing low self esteem…

So – with no energy and a pitchless tambre…I started with the sanctioned and mandatory introduction constructed by some Guide Dog Bureaucrat…

I knew it by heart now…

“Hello, Mr Williams? My name is Stacey and I’m from the Guide Dogs for the Blind. How are you this afternoon?”

Now at this point I usually hear the click of the phone hanging up or a multitude of replies based around a common and vulgar goodbye theme…

But this time, I got a different answer…

“I’m good Stacey. How are you?”

I couldn’t believe it…someone was being nice…so I quickly put down the hovering pencil that was close to scratching his name out of the telephone directory and replied…

“I’m good…thanks so much for asking…no one ever asks…usually they hang up…”

“Well that’s not right.” He says…

“No it’s not, Mr Williams…” I reply.

“Call me Bill.” He says. “So how can I help you this afternoon, Stacey?”

“Well, Bill…I’m trying to raise money for the Guide Dogs. It’s for training. Would you be interested in making a blind person’s life a little easier?”

“Of course I would,” says Bill, “What would you like me to buy?”

“Well you can make a small offering and buy a set of beautiful, specially designed tea towels. You get three for thirty dollars and they’re really tasteful…I have some in my own kitchen.”

“But will thirty dollars really make a difference?”

“Every bit helps, Bill.”

“What’s your most expensive item?” He asks.

“Well we have this cotton underlay from Jason that keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer.”

“That sounds good. How much is that?”

“Three hundred and fifty dollars.”


“I know it’s a lot of money.”

“I’ll buy two.”


“Okay make it three.”

I couldn’t believe my luck…I quickly got out of pad and starting taking his details before he changed his mind…I got his full name, credit card number…everything…and in one short call I had made well over my daily quota…

After I finished gathering the information, I prepared to say my final thanks when Bill said…

“So has that made your day a better one?”

I replied that it had and launched into my final thanks.

“That’s good. I am so glad to have done something decent on my last day. Thank you, Stacey.”

And he hung up…no goodbye…he just hung up…and I was left with the declaration that this was his last day…what did he mean…? Last day for what…? Last day of the holidays…? Last day of smoking…? Last day of life?

My God, was BC Williams of Paddington trying to kill himself?
Was this his call for help?

Am I meant to help him? Is this what this day’s about?

I quickly rustled through his details and got his address…I handed in my sales dockets to the manager and checked out…

I didn’t have much money…just enough for a taxi…I jumped into the taxi and anxiously pleaded to the driver to make it quick…

Soon after I arrived at BC Williams house in Paddington…it was a nice house…a renovated Queenslander decked out in federation colours with a well kept wrap around veranda…the Garden was decent too…a green thumb with a lovely sense if symmetry had obviously beavered away here …

I slowly moved through the garden and approached the front door...but as I reached it…I thought; am I crazy for doing this…? It is a little obsessive…what if it was nothing…? What if it was innocent and now this sad sack from Guide Dogs was about to invade a stranger’s life…I should leave…I should leave now before it gets truly mad…

I started to back off…

…but as I did I thought… if he is trying to kill himself…I might be able to help him and if I weigh it up…I’m willing to be viewed as a stalker on the off chance that this man was preparing to truly slip away…

So I knocked on the door…I waited…I could hear the soft slap of loafers as they padded down the wooden hallway…they neared the front door…I took a breath…the door opened…

“Bill?” I asked.

Bill stood in the doorway of the home. He was a man in his early forties…

…he was little portly.

…his clothes where neat and perfect.

…his hair was shining in the dust infused afternoon sun that echoed
through the hallway from the rear living room window…

…his face was kind and recently shaved with two small patches of stumble below the chin.

…his nose was strong…roman strong…

…and his eyes were cloudy…the colour had gone completely…

He was blind.

“Yes.” He said.

“I’m Stacey.”

Bills eyes shut a little trying to place the name, “From the Guide Dogs.” He said ”Yes, Stacey, of course! How lovely to meet you. Are you here to sell me dog this time?”

Bill’s eyes opened. The gossamer sheen lingered.

“No.” I said a little nervously trying not to look at his milky eyes.

“Are you here with my underlays? That was quick.”

I started to feel awkward. He didn’t seem suicidal. He seemed normal, happy even. What was I doing here!?

“I’m not here with the underlays.”

“Do you want more money? If it’ll make your day easier, I’m happy to buy a couple of tea towels too.”

“No, I don’t want more money. I just wanted to ask; are you okay?”

“Well I’m fine. Thank you for asking. But you didn’t have to come all this way to ask. You have my number.”

At this point I heard a woman’s voice calling from the back of the house.

“Bill, make sure you have your passport.”

A woman, also in her early forties emerged into the hallway…slimmer than

Bill…she was also perfectly groomed with just the right amount of design in her fashion…

“Darling…this is Stacey from the Guide Dogs for the Blind…she popped by to ask if I was okay. Stacey this is my wife, Katherine.”

I started to feel awkward as Bill’s wife approached me.

“That’s kind of you. I didn’t realise Guide Dogs had such great customer service.” She said.

Bill put his arm around Katherine and smiled genuinely at me.

“Well to answer your question, Stacey. I am fine. I’m a little sad. You probably picked that up on the phone didn’t you?”

“I did.” I replied. “Why are you sad?”

“It’s my last day in Brisbane.” Bill said.

“He’s going to Berlin.” Katherine clarified.

“Work. And a new life.”

“He loves Brisbane.”

“Love and hate it.”

“And you’re sad because you won’t be together for a few months, right.” Said Katherine as her eyes peered over her glasses, wryly challenging.

“Of course, darling.” said Bill playfully.

Katherine hit him on the shoulder with the affection of a wife and true friend. Bill laughed.

“So why aren’t you going with him?” I asked Katherine, starting to feel a rush of embarrassment.

“We just sold the house and I’m waiting for settlement. Then I have to finish up with my job. Get the kids out of school. Fix up the Storage. Wait patiently for those woollen underlays to be posted.” Katherine said, again looking over her glasses at Bill as he stared ahead.

“Ah, but those woollen underlays will come in handy for the Berlin winter. They really keep you warm in winter don’t they, Stacey?” asked Bill.

“Yes they do. They do.”

We talked for another five minutes…all very polite…eventually I quietly excused myself with a lie…

“Well I should get back to work.”

Bill and Katherine nodded. They thanked me for my concern and waved me goodbye as I walked out of their property and back onto the bustling gentrified streets of inner city Paddington.

And as I passed the large Antique Centre…I started to cry…a sense of sadness welled over me unlike I’ve ever felt…was this my lot? Was this it? Did I truly have to manufacture drama out of other’s people’s happiness just to make myself feel alive…?

So I rang the guide dogs…quit my job…I can only take so much rejection…

I then called Marcus…met him…dumped him…
I mean it’s only been two months and it’s already hard work…

I then rang my father…told him that he’s one of the worst fathers ever…

Then I rang my mother and told her I loved her…

Finally I came home…counted my money…worked out I needed just a little bit more for a one way ticket to Asia and started writing to you…

And now I feel happy…I really feel happy…


PS I wouldn’t mind living in Berlin too…one day. Would you like to live anywhere else?


  1. What a truly beautiful story. I think Stacey has redeemed herself in my eyes.

  2. Oh my....I'm sitting at work with VERY watery eyes....that was sad and beautiful and uplifting and happy all at the same time. *Sniffle*

    Oh Stacey! What a beautiful wake up call for you. :-)

    I wonder if she'll go to Asia?

    I agree with you Stephen - that's my favourite Stacey post so far.

  3. I was surprised she mentioned nothing of Keith...heh weird. But she did seem to have one of those life changing events that make you look at the world a little differently. Seems she truly cared for this man.

  4. Oh wow. That was intense.
    I know what she means about the job difficulties, I am also a telemarketer although my job entails selling newspapers that benefit no one but the owners of the companies.
    I was once again about to give up on this story because I didn't see it going anywhere and it was getting aggravating. This redeemed the entire thing. I think it's amazing that she just went to his house and had the guts to see if he was really ok, that's a true sign of character.

    I am so happy that she quit (Also a bit jealous).
    I am so happy that she called her dad and told him what she needed to (Again, jealous)
    And I am SO happy that she finally broke up with Marcus.
    It really shouldn't have taken this long to figure out that relationships shouldn't exist solely on good sex.
    I relate so so much to Stacey now and its starting to weird me out a little bit.

    This is awesome.

  5. Wow, just, wow. Like you say, this is definitely Stacey's best email yet. I think this gives us followers a different insight to who she really is - a person who, thanks to one small phrase, will suddenly go to such lengths for a person she has never met nor spoken to.


  6. Great stuff. I like how she's leaving the ball in Dom's court.

  7. I cried.

    WE cried.


  8. Wow. the line I feel happy, I really feel happy, sent chills up my spine. Finally she's letting down her guard. The raw Stacey I like...
    And on an unrelated note, I am now an uncle. My brother's wife had a beautiful baby girl yesterday. Since I see you guys as my internet family I figured i'd share.

  9. Best e-mail ever. Love it. Beautiful.

    Chris, a world of congratulations and good luck to you!

  10. Hey folks, Let's all cut and paste this one onto our facebook status with the heading: , and put the bored olives url at the bottom.

    This one should be a gift to the world!!!

  11. Hey folks, Let's all cut and paste this one onto our facebook status with the heading EMAIL FOUND ON ABANDONED HARD DRIVE and put the bored olives url at the bottom.

    This one should be a gift to the world!!!

  12. The Borax Redemption. An Academy Award winner for sure!

    i'd have to agree with everyone here. what a redeeming email. Like Steph T, I too was starting to tire of the talking/typing dog charade. This is raw, powerful and refreshing. we havent seen an email like this from Stacey for a long while now. Could it be because she broke up with marcus that she feel unshackled now?

    If there was a time for Dom to grow some, now is the time dammit! if he doesnt make a move, im going to .....Germany!

    come on Dom.. do it for you.. do it for me!

  13. Dom HAS to respond now. If he doesn't, he doesn't deserve Stacey. Yay for dumping Marcus, the man was a tool!

  14. Definitely a favorite. This was so beautiful. I can't wait to see what Dom has to say to this!

  15. What an e-mail to catch up to! I am so impressed with Stacey now. She's finally revealing her true self.. no fronts, no hidden messages; just Stacey being true to Dom and herself. FINALLY!

    @Chris: Congrats on the new addition! Is this your first niece? XD

    OT: I am now a mother to a bouncing baby boy. He was born on Jan 28th after an hour of active labour lol. He's a fat little man at 8lbs 13oz (4009g) and 21.5" long. Him and his big sister combined are sure keeping me busy.
    I'll be lurking though fellow Bored Olivers.
    Thank-you to all for the well wishes from the previous entries. XD

  16. Congrats PennyPup!
    Be glad that he wasn't like me at 9lbs 8oz :p
    Hope the transition goes well!

  17. Liz, redemtpion seems to be a common theme in this posts comments section. I don't think I was aware that readers were still harbouring such lurking deep feelings aginast ourb Stace'.

    Though it is refreshing that a number of you have found some sort of reconection..

    I too find this email moving. There is somnething to aspire to in it and I really like that in it, there seems to be a comforting cause and effect -

    a simple act of caring results in a profound truth.

    So let's all be kind can caring to at least one person today, I reckon.

  18. Miss Holly, what an azming reaction. And she should go to Asia. Where abouts? I vote for Thailand.

  19. Ellas Mum, true she didn't mention Keith. But It diod make me wonder how Keith would have responded to this situation. Man, there's a thought.

  20. Steph T, good to read your voice again.
    (Makes me wonder about other Steph, Hiranga and Ipshi - hope you guys are alright an lurking)

    Like you, I was finding it frustrating as well. It seemed like they'd fallen into a pattern of avoidence and needed to step up.

    I think it's fascinating that readers where getting frustrated as were Dom and Stacey, methinks. They too, needed to step up and take control.

    I guess life can be a little easy sometimes.

  21. Pete Kent, wow back at you. I've noticed your comments are positive and kind. I reckon you might be a really nice fellow.

  22. Chris Dixon, the ball is truly in her court. I also understand your busyness but take great comfort to know you're there - in the shadows.

    Hope this year is going well. Let me know if you find your way to Sydney one day.

  23. Anon (1:42) We cried? Who's we? Who is various? How many and how do you read it? This got me all curious and I await for YOUR next post.

  24. Uncle Chris, congratulations. I am certain that many readers will nod and lift their virtual champers glasses to you and your family. Please pass your best onto your sister -
    and perhaps inpress that Stacey is a good name for a girl :)

  25. Oops sorry, Chris reread you comment - should have read brother. Not sister. Sorry again.

  26. Jason, you are a nice man too. I think I might be really fortunate to have such decent folk readiong and commenting. Thanks guys.

  27. Anon (6:30 and 6:31) - I presume you're the same person - thank you so much for the shout out adn the idea of sharing. I would welcome this idea warmly as I'm always trying to encourage new readers. So if anyone wantsw to take up Anon's idea. Please go for it.

  28. Nabs, The Borax redemption - love it. Sounds like it should star Matt Damon.

  29. Aon (:46 - "Marcus was a tool"
    I don't know why but this made me laugh a lot.

  30. A Man de Clark, I think like Pete and Jason you might be a really lovely person. Thank you for all your doing in pitching the blog -twitter, facebook etc. I really appreciate.

  31. PennyPup, congrats on your little man. First Bored Olives Birth. I love it. Truly.

    And please keep those notices coming. Makes the world feel nicer, I think.

  32. Haha it's still not as big as my 11 lb cousin!
    PS So sorry I forgot to say congrats to the lovely Christopher as well.
    Tell your brother that we wish him and his family (including yourself) all the best :)

  33. Congrats to Chris and PennyPup, very exciting news.

    What an email, I am a bit late getting to this one, but worth the wait. Looking forward to the response from Dom, it seems Stacey has stepped up and started cleaning up the emotional baggage. Funnily enough I have been doing similar and making some big decisions about what I want from my life and work, I think this email was very timely in reminding me what I love about my chosen proffession but also that I want to be able to say I am happy. I see lots of change for me, lets hope for Stacey and Dom too!


  34. Steph T, how big is your eleven pound cousin now?

  35. Cindy, sounds like you're going through a lot at the moment. Good luck with it all. I am certain that we all here are sending you damn fine vibes.

    And please feel free to unload here. There a general spirit of kindness lurking, I suspect.

  36. He's super tall and really skinny, which makes his fat babyness even funnier :P

  37. I don't know about the others but I know Ipshi is alive and kicking :-). I've not got to speak to her a lot lately but we've been friends for years and she actually introduced me to this site. I'm sure she's still reading but i'll let you guys know she's missed in the comment department, I know it will make her day :-).


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