We recently sold our car. It’s no biggie because we live in inner-city Newtown where we can walk to everything except a butcher, because: vegans.
Dave wanted to head to the Moore Park Supacenta to check out several pieces of furniture that he has been dreaming of buying for our home when we win lotto. Getting there without a car, a taxi or an Uber is not straightforward. It takes multiple buses and a walk, or one bus and a long walk. We opted for one bus and a long walk because Dave is currently well, strong, sufficiently oxygenated, and we were feeling adventurous.
It was raining, it was quite cool, and there were sodden mashed figs covering a great deal of the paths which challenged my ability to stay vertical and messed up our shoes. I had no idea where we were for much of the journey and had to trust both Google maps and Dave, which incidentally, were in total agreement with each other. I, on the other hand, took the dissenting position and maintained that we were heading in the total opposite direction until our ginormous destination materialised from behind the misty rain and fig trees and I was forced to admit that I may have been just a little off base with my sense of direction.
The good news is that once we arrived I got to sit and lie on many couches to thoroughly test them out. I discovered that the Supacenta has free wifi so on our next journey, after we win lotto, I fully intend to watch Netflix whilst supine to ensure that any selected couch can accomodate my Netflix needs. My patience with our mission lasted at least an hour longer than Dave anticipated it would and when we left the Supacenta I picked the correct direction in which to head. Dave was suitably amazed.
Our journey reminded me of a particular ill fated trek that I took around Niagara Falls in Canada in the Winter of 2001.
Me: “You know what this reminds me of?”
Me: “That time I was travelling with Tor and Simon.”
Dave: “When it was really hot?”
Dave: “When you got to your destination easily and it was open?”
Dave: “When you were in a great mood?”
Me: “I’ve told you this story, haven’t I?”
Dave: “About ten thousand times. You’re going to tell me again, aren’t you?”
Me: “So, it was super freaking cold. Like, minus a million degrees. I was wearing that hood that I only deigned to wear when it was minus a million degrees because it made me look like I was ten.”
“We wanted to go see a movie so we asked directions for how to get to the theatre. As usual, the locals told us ‘It’s so far away! Why don’t you get a bus? No one wants to walk that far in this weather. It’s going to take you at least an hour.’ We were young, we were Australian and tough, we were…. poor. So walking was our transport of choice. Besides, every time a local had given us an estimate of how long it would take to walk here or there they had drastically overestimated the timing and we had always shaken our heads and laughed at how completely off base they were.”
“We set off. I was in my hood. You know, the one I only wore when it was minus a million degrees? The one that made me look like a kid? So anyway. It was snowing. It was windy. It was icy underfoot. For about fifteen minutes were just could not stop marvelling at the fact that we were in Canada. And it was snowing and windy and icy. We were talking and laughing and skipping and almost falling over and throwing snowballs and Simon was tickling me and Tor was taking photos and it was magical.”
“But then my gloves started to get wet. My fingers started to get cold. My ears were feeling chilled, even inside the hood – you know, that one that made me look like a toddler? The ice was really slippery and I began to long for a railing along the length of the footpath to stop me face planting it into a snow bank. Tor put her camera away. I could feel the cold creeping through my feet and up my calves. We stopped skipping and started shuffling, single file, hands in pockets, head down against the wind, our breath fogging the air. Every now and then one of us would look up to check a street sign or review the map drawn on the crumpled diner serviette. Tor and Simon banned me from looking at the map, because: entire lack of sense of direction.”
Dave: “Oh, really? I would never have guessed….”
Me: “Locals looked out of their living room windows and shook their head at the trio of penniless tourists trudging along in weather that no self respecting Canadian would brave. Every now and again a ute would drive slowly along the street and spray dirty sleet in our direction to shoo us along.”
“We eventually made it to the movie theatre. We longed for heating, a bathroom and endless streams of hot chocolate. Instead we were confronted with a ‘Closed’ sign. We stood there in silence. We shifted a little closer to each to share what little body warmth remained and let the reality of our situation slowly penetrate our semi-frostbitten consciousness. Simon turned away first. Tor followed a moment later. I reached out and gave the door a hopefully rattle. Nothing. Tor and Simon were waiting for me a little way away. Tor patted me on the back. Simon punched me on the shoulder. We set off in single file for the bus stop and retraced our journey back to our home away from home – Dad’s Diner – for…”
Dave: “A restorative meal of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.”
Me: “I guess I really have told you this story ten thousand times then, huh? Did I also tell you the story about that time in Washington when we accidentally arrived on the day of the Presidential inauguration and we couldn’t find anywhere to stay? And that time when we were looking for a supermarket for hours? Ice was also involved. Oh, and that time in Italy when were trying to head to that awesome youth hostel which was only open in summer but we didn’t know that until we rocked up and it was closed. On a Sunday. When no shops were open. I was starving, you know how I need to eat all the time? I didn’t yet like olives and pancetta so that was a bit of a problem. And there was a train strike. So we were stranded. And then there was that time…..”
Dave: “Are we there yet?”