Lifting my gaze up and away from my own navel for a moment ("I can actually see it now - finally, the book fat has gone!"), a routine drive into the city to run a few errands always provides a few visual snapshots that can readily be transferred to words. At least I think so, anyway.
Crossing Flinders Street late this morning was a sweaty, red-faced young man who clearly looked very annoyed. I wondered why - the zebra crossing was buzzing with happy office workers holding buckets of takeaway coffee and scads of smugly organised Christmas shoppers and the sun was out, readying itself for a balmy, blue-skied 25C day. Perhaps it was the enormous caramel-coloured fur jumpsuit he was wearing and the struggles he was having with the cartoon cat's head tucked awkwardly under his arm. Either that or he was still recovering from hearing Beyonce's latest 'song' telling some fortunate bloke who escaped her clutches: "If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it..."
No matter. There were more pressing matters occupying my attention - finding a car park. I loathe paying for parking and seeing even a 15 minute spot that requires payment causes blood and fury to leak out of my eyeballs. Then I spotted it - a 10 minute loading zone, right next to the Independent Weekly office. Could I do it? Could I do what I have only managed to do once in my life, and that was back in 1985; could I *deep breaths, stay calm* squeeze the station wagon in the slot by *whew* parallel parking?
Nope. I drove on by, sweating like a pig and ended up three streets away behind a bloke in a white van who was gesturing at me to move back so that he could open up his back hatch. Or something like that; I just smiled and got the hell out of there. Still, it's a fear that's slowly growing on me - we've just bought a house in Flemington, Melbourne, for which there is no drive way or off-street parking available. Am I destined to spend my life circling around and around my home, waiting - dreaming, no yearning for a three-car slot that I just glide the magnificent magna straight into? Stay tuned for future articles on how I convince Love Chunks that a two-door Smart Car will of course fit in two adults, a nine year old, a friendly dog, some groceries and a suitcase or three.
At the office, I met Andrew, the new indaily and arts editor. Taylor Swift's debut CD? Why not; her inside cover shot makes her look like Paris Hilton but without the gonorrhea. God Stories paperback with an insight provided by a Divinyls guitarist who was visited by Michael Hutchence after his death? Hell yeah, I could do with a few incredulous scoffs. After mocking the reviewing material, we got chatting. Turns out he too was an employee at UniSA and has met and dealt with the Bulldog, even having to photograph her once. It was still too early to sink the boots in (figuratively speaking) together seeing as we were still assessing the cut of one another's jibs, so he changed the subject, "Look here, the critic said that they'd rather read this book than have sex." No, I didn't offer to review that one.
The orange E was flashing, so I pulled in for some petrol. Returning from the shop, "No thanks, I don't want to buy two tins of Eclipse mints to earn three extra FlyBuys points", I noted that there was a Porsche Cayenne parked behind my dented magna, engine running, designer-sunnied owner in a busy huff. Poor Love Chunks has heard my rants about 4WD owners too many times and has actually threatened to have the 'I have too much money' stickers printed to force me to shut up and finally put up instead.
I know it was peurile, but I took my time sauntering back - "Oh look, what does my receipt say again? Where's a bin to dispose of my paper? Hang on - what does this sign say - buy two cornettos and get the third free, hmmm, that might be worth considering...... Did I put the petrol cap back on, I'd better just check to make sure.
(Patting pockets, looking behind me, bemused expression) Is my mobile still on the counter? I'll go and see while I'm inside getting an iced coffee.
(Climbing inside the car after giving the driver a friendly wave, "Lovely day, isn't it") Someone must have rearranged the bloody rear vision mirror while I was out, and lord knows it's time to sort through which petrol discount vouchers have already expired.....Geez, this packet of Extra must have been lurking here since we bought the damn car....!
A few minutes later I was home smiling, sitting in the garden slurping a Farmers Union Feel Good Iced Coffee, watching Milly scratch her back by rolling on the lawn. The chooks were baw-baw-baaawing quietly and Skipper was laid up in the shade. Small things amuse small minds perhaps, but I'll take my amusement where I find it.