Friday, October 21, 2011

FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY







So. Here is where I discuss the weather for a bit.  Now I always assumed discussing the weather was the great go-to topic when you couldn’t think of anything else interesting enough to discuss with another human being.  Until I moved to Melbourne that is.   Here, it’s not just small talk; it’s a way of life.  




And I’ve been here, in Melbourne, St Kilda to be exact, for nearly two weeks and I can honestly say, I do not know what in the fuck is going on.  This place fascinates me, scares me silly and makes me wonder if people actually ever sleep. Where ever I look, there is something going on.   I have been able to experience it as relatively single lass, a mother, a consumer, a drunkard and an outsider.  The best part? There is no right or wrong way to do it.




The thing is, apart from about a thousand trips to Bali in my younger years and various interstate trips; I have never known anything other than the Gold Coast.  And I love my home town, it’s part of the reason why I am the way I am today, but to me, right this very minute, it is thrilling to be experiencing something so vibrant.




Having said that, things are different here.  Good different, but different all the same.




Example 




There is less fuckwittage on the streets.  Now, I know, I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks, but I have driven an insane amount of peak hour traffic in that time in both fabulous and horrific weather. And you know what?  People are cool. They let you in, they acknowledge you when you let them merge and as a general rule, just calm. the. fuck. down. I have also come to learn that Punt Road is one letter away from being very aptly named. 




Example




The service.  Second to none.  The other day, the waitress brought me a latte instead of a flat white which I was happy to take.   I mean, one comes in a glass and has more milk, one doesn’t.  Essentially.   They gave it to me for free and 20% off my bill because they made “such a shocking error”. Um, no, a shocking error would be leaving a decapitated finger in my scrambled eggs.  It’s cool.  1000 other scenarios have ensued since I’ve been here.  Well not 1000. Sorry, I like to exaggerate a little, but you get my point, 99% of people in this town want you to walk away satisfied.  Hmm.  I’m not touching the adult stores in that sentence. 




Example


The weather. As I mentioned above, and I know Crowded House wrote a song about it but we all know the minute you can interpret the lyrics to any Crowded House song you have discovered the meaning of life and therefore, your life is over,  so this does not help AT ALL. So, I digress, yes, the weather.  So far, in two weeks, I have witnessed, without a doubt, winter, summer, spring and autumn.  One day, when sitting in the Laundromat, I honestly thought the leaves I could see dropping rapidly outside the window was snow.  It got that cold, windy and dark, THAT freaking quickly I started to freak out.  Similarly yesterday, it was about 29 degrees. Everywhere you looked people were losing their shit at the unexpected fair weather.  There were g-strings on grassy knolls, white legs exposed and dudes who had clearly been waiting an entire year to show off their polished guns, getting about inappropriately in their singlets.   We went swimming as the bulk carriers out to sea made their way to Tasmania.  It was insane.  And lovely. 




It isn’t all roses, just yesterday after a tough day, I had my first pang of homesickness and can honestly say I was prepared to pack up, tuck my fluffy tail between my legs and head home.  Partly due to the fact that I miss Maddie like I’m missing a limb, partly due to the fact that it’s all just incredibly fucking hard.  And I’m not one to complain, I just do, but sometimes, like yesterday, I just wanted to stop doing and go back to the easy.




But tonight, as I sit here and type this in the darkness of my 3 x 3 metre motel room with my family slumbering behind me, adjusting themselves from time to time due to the keyboard noise, I realise this is exactly what we need. What I need.  A change.  Will it work?  Who knows?  Is it scary as all hell?  Yep.  Will we ever regret giving it a go?  No.


Aside: Phil and the boys joined me on Sunday.  Was incredibly nice to squish each and every one of them after so long.  Maddie will be down when she graduates.

Squishing the Shit out of Jack.  Clearly he's loving it.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WELL HELLO ALBURY. GOODBYE GPS LADY FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL.










When I started this post, I had been driving for two days straight and could safely say, if it weren’t for my newly acquired GPS, I would not have made it to my destination alive.  And, even though I’m pretty sure the GPS lady wanted me dead and was often suggesting I turn down dirt tracks Ivan Milat would endorse, I can only thank her for my newly found confidence when driving around the totally foreign city that is Melbourne.


Hey, even when she suggested I had 2.5 hours left until I reached my destination on Wednesday and I could tell from the tone of her voice she was really suggesting I go fuck myself, I still wanted to give her a hug.  Sure, I was often found to be arguing with her in the car, completely alone but this did not at all seem unreasonable.  Often our conversations went a little something like this:


Her:  "Take the next right onto George Street"

Me: (Out aloud) "Um, no.  There is no George Street, what in the fuck are you talking about??" She would then recalibrate and we would get on with it. 


After a brief stop in Sydney where I slept on a very comfortable couch lent to me by the very lovely Nicky L, I made my way on to Albury.  But not before a stop off at one of only two McDonalds on the stretch for a caffeine fix.  Now here’s the thing.  There is absolutely NOTHING to see on the highway between Sydney and Melbourne.  The Hume Highway should just be rebranded the LONGEST STRETCH OF NOTHINGNESS IN THE WORLD; at least then people would be prepared.  This must be why, when people see a McDonalds, they lose their shit and treat it like a McDisco.  Seriously, people were dressed like they were ready to pick up.  Forget Farmer wants a wife Channel 9, just set your cameras up at the closest Hume Highway Maccas and you’ve got your next series RIGHT. THERE.


The other thing I noticed about this drive was the radio stations.  I mean, I took a stack of music to listen to, but if I had to listen to Adele one more time I would probably have to gouge my own eye out no matter how beautiful a singer she is.  So intermittently, I would attempt to get a radio station.  There was one in particular, an ABC station that was talking about fleas on dogs.  This was one of the questions:

Presenter: “So what is a sign your dog may have fleas?”

Vet: “The dog will be scratching itself” Fucking really???


I could also probably debate the subject of corporate tax fairly comprehensively after listening to at least three hours of information regarding this.  Any takers. No. I didn't think so. 


I arrived in Albury late-ish in the afternoon and proceeded to check into a non-descript motel with zero Wi-Fi and a studded velvet bed head.  One that I could still tune in AM radio from.  I’m pretty sure for an extra tenner; I could have secured the suite with a mirror on the roof.  I resisted.


What I did quickly ascertain was that I would need a drink that night.  No internet, limited television channels, i.e. SBS or SBS, I reckoned I’d need some company.  My inebriated mind seemed like a logical choice, so I set out into the mean streets of Albury in my jeans, tattered Beatles T-shirt and thongs.  Bup-Bow. 


See, in Albury, I could NOT for love nor money, find a bottle shop that existed outside a licensed establishment.  In turn, this meant that the bouncer at the Albury RSL club I ended up tracking down was NOT loving my jean/t-shirt/thong combination.  In fact, I think he was one sentence away from saying ‘Not in that footwear Miss’ when I walked on past him.


I ate there, the locals were lovely and I went back to my room where I was graciously offered a toke of a guy’s joint on the way up the stairs to my ‘apartment’.  I declined. 


Tune in next time to find out how FUCKING boring the drive is between there and Melbourne.  But wait, there is more.  It involves St Kilda, fare evading on trams and forcing people to make eye contact with me on the mean streets of Melbourne. Oh and getting the rest of my family to join me here.


Hope to be writing this from our own place next time and not a dodgy hotel that has blue lighting in the foyer.  I think this is where I am meant to say Ciao.