‘I don’t want to go down there,’ she says, nuzzling against me. ‘I really don’t.’ ‘It’ll be alright,’ I say, sounding more reassured than I am. ‘But it’s dark. There’s no people,’ she says. ‘I’m scared.
The credits come up. The lights come on. No-one moves. I’m not reading the names on the screen; I’m just sitting in the cinema, allowing the feelings left by the film to linger.
There is a sound that goes with shopping malls. Shoppers chatting, cash registers pinging, phones ringing, trolley wheels squeaking, kids crying... it’s a sort of a trading tinnitus which nearly blankets my own, more physiological, tinnitus.
After a week of rain, today began as a shiny jewel, the sun glinting off droplets still hanging from leaf and gutter, still hanging in from yesterday’s deluge. Yeah, it was a beautiful day. I rose from the bed, stretched in the sun... a perfect day.
‘It’s supposed to raining,’ she says, looking at her phone. I look out the window next to the table where we sit. The sun is shining, the valley sparkling in its light. A single cloud hovers above the western ridge. Apart from it, the sky is an empty blue.
These are weird times. A peal of thunder booms so loudly the shock shakes my shack, causing a jar of muesli to freak out and jump from the kitchen shelf, and my touch-sensitive world globe to turn its light off. But that’s not so weird. Not as weird as…
A big bloke has jumped down from the cab of his ute onto the gravelly shoulder of the road. He slams the door shut, and leans back, hands on hips, stretching his back. He walks slowly around the ute tray on which is bolted one of those aluminium checkerplate tool boxes. There’s also a ladder, a broom and a couple of huge plastic buckets lashed to the tray.
There’s something weird about marching in protest through a town which is pretty much empty. Chants go up – ‘We can’t relate, change the date!’; – and signs are waved – ‘Human rights, not wrongs’; – but the streets are empty of people to hear or read them.
You can feel the sun birthing cancers on your skin. I’ve seen the ads: black blobs are already proliferating like devil spawn in my epidermis, grooming my good-natured melanocytes into unpredictable events that may well destroy me.
The reflected light ripples across the overhanging rocks. Up on a ledge, a red-neckedwallaby lifts its head, stops chewing, and looks down at me with some grass still hanging from its mouth. I’m standing up to my thighs in the waterhole. My sarong floats around me like I’m a Balinese pond lily. I’m no threat (sarong), and the wallaby recommences chewing.
I left my shack under the cliffs at the dawning hour on a clear day in the supercharged summer of the year 230 (since invasion). With my little caravan clipped securely (I hoped) to my Superoo, I nosed out of my valley, crossed Leycester Creek and was at once cruising the backroads, keeping the rising sun on my left.
Lismore. Wednesday, 9.35am. Oh dear. There are no poached eggs on the menu. I look to my friend T and raise an eyebrow. She shrugs with a sadness that only those living in the first world can appreciate. Life is... Read More →
The drug buses are lurking, Threatening double demerit points, For elves who are driving, After smoking a joint.
I hear a guitar progression rise from the dull, but pervasive, din that is Jonson Street on Sunday night. The electric riff sounds familiar, but my mind doesn’t yet connect the melodic dots to give the song a name.
When you go to Melbourne the most pleasant thing you can do, I reckon, is have a cold beer with a mate and a naked woman. That’s what I’m doing now.
It’s a gathering of the tribe. My town tribe. Friends are gathered in the pleasant surrounds of a beer garden. Thanks to the lack of walls, there are no television screens or advertising posters – just trees, tables and chairs. And us. Lots of us.
Byron Bay. Tuesday, 1.45pm Byron Bay is a beautiful place despite the pillaging by modern humans. You can still experience that beauty if you escape the tinnitus and tinsel of town and get to the beach.
I love Lismore, but... But... But... The other day, I wanted to abandon Lismore forever and move to Brisbane, or Phnom Penh, or Kempsey. (Yes, Kempsey.) Why?
Sometimes, you see something that just makes you stop in your tracks. One night, taking a leak, I saw a meteor streak with a brilliant daytime incandescence above my shack, break into three, and ditch into Jiggi Valley. I gasped and watered my foot.
Northern Drains. The future, 7.40pm ‘Hey Great-Grandpa, show us that hand-typing thing you can do,’ says Great-Granddaughter #1. ‘Yeah, yeah!’ yells Great-Grandson #2, his spectacles clearing. ‘Show us that... that...’
S Sorrensen Nimbin. Saturday, 5.40pm To see the sun come shining through, To smell the beans freshly brewed, Beats from a passing Subaru, This is the best a life can do. Leaning back, in my chair, The prodigal sun dries... Read More →
‘Whoa! Look at that!’ says a big bloke with a big red beard, pointing across the road as he leaves the pub. His excitement is so great he stumbles over the step onto the footpath, losing a thong. ‘Must have a been a bumper crop...’
My place. Thursday, 2pm. Okay, people; a thought experiment: If the Australian government were a person, would you invite that person into your home?
Oh dear. A traffic jam. The Jeep in front of me – an all-terrain vehicle capable of impressive speed – is crawling along so slowly I'm expecting its reversing lights to come on at any moment. Must be frustrating.
Friendships are important. They must be, I reckon – there are so many Facebook memes about them: Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.