Monday, April 20, 2009

Night in the sticks

We spent last Saturday night at a 50th birthday party for someone who was, prior to the weekend, simply a friend of a friend.

As far as 50ths go, though, this one was a standout. For reasons I'm yet to really know, birthday girl Carole is nothing like the "typical 50 year old". I sort of knew this prior to the weekend, but it kicked in even more as she regaled the gathered group about her marathon stint at the Byron Bay Blues Festival the weekend before. When a group of 40- or 50-somethings turned up with guitars, a double bass and a saxophone, you know it's going to be a cracker of a night.

Alas, for the Tiger and I, it was not too be a purely enjoyable eve, thanks largely to QRs ineptitude. Rather than go into a big sob story, I'll just say that due to a "police incident" at Ormeau, trains were not running between Robina and Beenleigh. About 6 phone calls later (to both Translink and QR), and I was finally assured that we would not be left stranded some 100-or-so kilometres from home. How pleasant. What ensued, however, was a marathon bus and train trip, still partially intoxicated from the beer bong Carole's young son and friends peer pressured me into. Joy!

This is not to detract from a great night at Carole's. Before the evening, we were merely "acquaintances", hanging out at various gigs and events in Brisbane thanks largely to her then boyfriend John. Accepting the invitation to her 50th was not taken lightly, due pretty much due to where it was (Palm Beach) and my absolute hatred of the feeling of being "trapped" somewhere without an easy plan for escape (as we don't drive, this can be a drama).

Just a few minutes into the afternoon, escape became the absolute last thing on my mind. Carole and her extended family of adult daughters, a teenage son and thriving gaggle of friends and compatriots made us feel completely at home straight away. It was with a sense of sadness, in fact, that we were wrenched away from the madness of her teenage son's beer bong shenanigans to venture home. And, despite the dramas imposed on us by Queensland Rail and Translink's absolute failure at both communications and customer service, I was bouyed by the beauty, joy and love such a humble thing as family, friends and laughter can bring. And it made me glad that my now 1-year-old marriage has (hopefully) put me on that path of such things as I head towards my 50th.


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