October 9, 2017
We land and head for our hotel.
The same place in Sydney as before.
My new room is like the last but inverted .
That feels odd.
Immediately I book a seat in the cinema and, courtesy of my being by myself, bag one of the three spare seats still yet available for the 4pm showing – the very seat I would have selected had the cinema been empty.
I dump my bags and turn around to find a waiting taxi outside, and trust my journey to its driver.
In retrospect I think he proverbially took me round the houses but I’m not too bothered.
I have time enough.
Arrived, an old Asian woman sits outside the theatre and strums rhythmically at her guitar, punting for small change.
She played only ever one chord, but her timing is impeccable.
I buy a medium Diet Coke and a small popcorn and take my seat in the packed auditorium.
It is very comfortable, though I am early and everywhere advert breaks are too long, but hey ho. An understandable and fair exchange.
I had underestimated how much my bottom would complain at how consistently it had borne my load today, but the film, Blade Runner – of some titular number perhaps, I forget, is truly excellent.
I weight-shifted like a bored kid but that was misrepresentative.
Eitherway, It’s a travel day and I don’t want to spend the majority of it alone in my room again.
I could meet with the gang, but I’m on a talking ban, so what’s the point.
Besides, they were going to go to a bar and a late showing and that would have put me too late in bed for good effect.
It’s best I am the cat that walks alone.
Afterwards I march back to my hotel, finding the roads that I had previously once traversed.
I pass pub upon pub, all spilling sounds of what I assume are local musicians. .
Hearing one, I wonder who is the middle-aged lady joining in so heartily.
I pass the window and see it is a young band with a mere lad of a singer.
Pub bands sounded different in the 70’s.
Families and friends sit outside in the pleasant air having chip dinners at tables with numbered service spikes.
All generations accounted for. Everywhere the thrum of life and community.
I love that I know the smallest part of this city.
The restaurant where I have bought the same chicken salad take-out 5 times now, and where I sit alone at the bar waiting and knowing they have no understanding of what this means to me. Of what I do beyond appearing and ordering the same food confidently time and again.
Feeling free enough to drink a gin perched without companion.
To feel safe and autonomous and normal.
To have occupied my own life these last five years.
It never gets tired.
They are out of plastic cutlery but the bar manager hands me a metal pair from a table.
I’m a regular after-all.
He says it’s fine.
I said I will return it on the morrow.
He says no need.
I will anyway.
In my room I put on the film channel, but it’s showing tut.
More tut than my low-rent tut-sedatives can master.
I eat my dinner and drink some of yesterday’s wine that I’d carried in my case, wrapped up in my coat, listening again to my book.
Everything is welcome.
I, though, still occupying my untired new life, am tired.