I wasn't born here but
Yesterday morning it was drizzling slightly, and after calling out, 'See ya later' to Love Chunks and Sapphire I heard the tell-tale thunder-rumble of the tram further up Mt Alexander Road and knew that a quick sprint would mean that I'd make it in time to climb on.
I did just that thanks to my beautiful, fully-healed, perfectly functioning Achilles and held a rather dramatic half-lunge pose to keep the doors open because out of the corner of my eye I could see a couple running - less athletically than moi, to be sure - to make the same tram.
"Thanks," they puffed in gratitude, before fumbling for their tickets.
Both were dressed like they'd just been to Woodstock - cheese cloth, ethnic scarves, copper bangles and long ratty hair. He held a small ukelele.
A few moments later the bloke seated across from me grimaced. The hippies were singing. In rush-hour. In Melbourne. On a tram crammed with expressionless commuters determinedly hiding away from any opportunity for unwanted public contact with ear buds or iphones.
Uni dude slowly peeled off his enormous Sennheiser mega muffs and raised a pierced eyebrow. I saw this as an invitation to speak.
"No, you're not wrong; it's Hey Mr Tambourine Man."
Plunka Plunka Plunka Spoong. One of the strings was clearly on the loose side.
Plunka Plunka Plunka Spoong.
"In the jingle jangle morning I'll come following you....."
Novel-reading nurse next to me joined in. "Well good on yer for letting them on," her voice laden with sarcasm but her face with a smile. Asian Student next to Sennheiser Scone snorted and made brief eye contact before returning back to his tiny black screen.
Don't cry, Kath. Not here.
A fair number of passengers got off at the Queen Victoria market. The advertisement on the shelter was promoting ANZAC day. A snippet from Fallen, by Laurence Binyon was in large, flowery letters; lines I'd read many times before:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The tram sooned filled up again with more office workers and market shoppers with bulging jeeps and trolleys. A young guy with enormous holes in each ear and a dripping gun tattooed on his neck helped an elderly Greek lady with her cart. "Sank you," she said, patting his arm. "You kind."
Don't cry, Kath. Not here.
Little Lonsdale Street. My turn to get off and try to run across the road before the traffic changed. Also time to buy a coffee to see me through what was going to be a long day. Moving countries means a dauntingly long To Do list and Insomnia is now the reality. Like being able to read music or dance, sleep is something that other people do; an instinct I don't seem to have and a skill I'll never possess.
"Large flat white please. Skinny, thanks mate." He nods at me. I'm familiar enough for him to recognise, but not full-time enough to be on first name terms. He returns to the hawking and spitting sounds of the shiny metal machine and I share a small table with another woman waiting for her latte.
She's reading. The Age. From Saturday so she's clearly catching up on all the weekend supplements. It's the section I write for. Sorry, wrote for. Jumpin' Jatz crackers, it's my article.
For gods' sake keep your enormously insecure ego under control and don't tell her that you wrote it.
Don't cry Kath, not here.