Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rhythm of life

Was it a rut? Some people thought my living at the Love Den was a sure sign of ruttage, as I set about doing as little as possible and just staying put for as long as I could. And I guess it was a self-imposed rut in that sense, but with a clearly defined theory: I needed to know what it felt like to sit in a comfy chair and watch the world turn for a bit.

You see, as the step-child of a soldier and the son of a rather gypsy-ish woman, my only memories in childhood revolved around the rigmarole of finding new friends, fitting into schools, working out the pecking order... and getting the shit kicked out of me from time to time for not getting that pecking order right. Basically all the joys of being, as the term goes, an Army brat. Even after being removed from that lifestyle, the itchy-footed wanderings still regularly overtook the family, until my early twenties when I realised I’d lived in almost as many houses as years I’d lived. Soon after that realisation, I had a full-body urge just to sit the fuck down somewhere nice and catch my breath for a bit. Albion Love Den was the place, and took more than a decade for me to feel it necessary to move on.

The moving around may not have been all beer and skittles and happy roaming families, but it also wasn’t a depressing tale of being the constant awkward new kid and getting lost on the way to the shops, either. One of the benefits, in hindsight, was the ability to re-invent yourself without the burden of a collective memory - the other was the almost immediate injection to the rhythm of your day-to-day life.

Living in the one spot, I found, my natural daily routine tended to seek the path of less resistance. Like muscles against a force, or birds on the wing, my travels were more about efficiency and finding the easiest, simplest way to get shit done. It became more about maximising the time doing the things I loved and less about exploration and seeking new things. Not that I was fully embracing the suburban hermit dream, but I did find the work-gym-home triangle, with the occasional Valley gig a bit of a yawn-fest towards the end. And as a result, the cycle naturally slowed until a near-crippling boredom of Brisbane started to set in.

A change of scenery, however, naturally injected a wad of extra digits to my energy levels. Everything is new and exciting and wonderful and enchanting and full of life. The new surroundings thrust subtle nuances at my senses which excite and turn me on, and I can think of nothing more enjoyable than cruising around her artery-like streets for hours on end: achieving nothing, but soaking it all in and trying to gauge the mood of it all to eck out my own niche amongst it.

Even the mundane tasks of day to day life have gotten a nitrous-oxide injection, with Melbourne noticeably a quicker and more urgent city than Brisbane. Getting to work in Bris used to be a leisurely hour or so on public transport: train, then a short wait in the city, then a bus chugging through the inner-eastern suburbs. In hindsight, it seems positively sluggish compared to my daily commute these days: within an hour of waking, I’m saddled up on the white mountain bike and am hurtling myself through the misty, dark streets of North Melbourne, heading for the train station. I dodge trams and weave in and out of the traffic and delivery vans, before a 20-minute public transport commute to the northern suburbs. The trains themselves are jet-powered compared to QR’s silver bullets, with shorter dwell times at stations and absolutely no mercy should you be running even 5 seconds late.

The weekly shopping trip to Toombul Coles has been replaced by regular visits to the Queen Vic Market, just around the corner. It’s cheaper and much better quality, with the atmosphere enlivened by the vendor’s cries of “$2 bag, $2 bag” and the jostling with Italian grandmas to get the juiciest, plumpest mandarins. The gym trips, now down to just two visits a week thanks to the daily cycle commute, see me strapped to the iPod and lightly jogging or quick-stepping from home down to Melbourne Central. There’s something purely indulgent about calling the inner-city gym as my local, even if it’s just temporary until we find a place of our own.

It’s true, I’m completely keyed up with this new phase of life and I’m so energised by the power of this place. Sure, things are a little tough at the moment (money-wise, house-wise, etc), but the energy and tempo of Melbourne is doing things to me which I’m really excited about. Yes, I’m smitten by this sexy bitch of a city.


Mum said...

gypsy-ish hey lol!!! & everything will fall into place soon for you Im sure

Dr Yobbo said...

Cities. It's the near unlimited potential to them, I think, that's the thing. A comfortable life in a comfortable town/suburb is one thing, but while you still have the chance, being able to chuck that in and rolling the dice for something more challenging - that's pretty awesome.

Nice piece ALD.

aqua leader said...

Ok, as a former Melbournian i know you are going to experience far better restaurants than Aqualinea.You have to go and try Grossi Florentinos at corner Exhibition and Bourke St in the city.The cellar bar has cheap eats while upstairs is completely fine dining.Maybe you could go there for your 3rd year anniversary.I came across you purely by accident tonight and i especially liked your piece about my restaurant.If you are ever headed back here at Brisvegas let me buy you a bottle of french or two to celebrate you and your journey.I am now a fan of the TIGER!

Albion Love Den said...

Aqua - thank you very much (for your kind words, and your fine foods). I'll be sure to try out your suggestions (and no doubt blog about them) and I'll certainly take up your offer of a bottle of French. Cheers.

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