When I was growing up we’d often sneak out to the living room of the house and put the Saturday morning cartoons on really, really quiet, so mum and dad wouldn’t hear that we were watching tv so early in the day when there was fun to be had outside. There was one cartoon series, the name of which escapes me now, that was basically the Seven Dwarves undertaking Gulliver’s Travels. There was one character, who could only be described as a “glass is half empty kind of guy”, who had a stock line in each episode of —we’ll never make it. I should’ve stayed in bed.” whenever the wandering heroes were in peril.
This weekend was one of those moments where, had I taken my Friday evening as a cue, I wouldn’t have ventured from the house. After returning home from work I got changed and headed back into the city to watch Sin City. The inners suburbs of Canberra are criss-crossed with a number of pedestrian thoroughfares that cut through the middle of each block, and in my case, offer a handy shortcut between where I live and the city centre, and as such, the movie, for which the start time was rapidly approaching.
The gardens of houses adjoining these walkways often hang out over the path, and each morning on one of the blocks, I often find myself tip-toeing between mounds of possum faeces in varying states of decay. Evidently, a possum is quite active in the trees hanging over this stretch of footpath. As I walked under the trees, I found out just how active. I felt something hit the back of my coat, and turned around to see a steady stream of possum urine raining down from the trees and gathering in a rapidly growing puddle in the middle of the footpath. I had to then rush home and get changed (thankfully there was no splash back into my hair or anything), and looking back on it now, should really have cut my losses at that point and stayed in for the weekend.
By Saturday morning, the incident with the possum had been forgotten as I revelled in the stylish feast that was Sin City, and decided I’d try my luck in buying my meat, fruit and vegetables at the Fyshwick Markets. I’ve not had a lot of luck with Fyshwick in my time here, and should really have taken something away from prior experiences, but no, I had to press on. On my last venture to Fyshwick by myself I had noted on the return bus journey that the route took me along Constitution Avenue, and thus only a five-minute walk from home. To save myself the task of walking back into the city (and risking another confrontation with the possum), I decided I should catch the bus on Constitution Avenue, and thus save myself a good 15 to 20 minutes of walking. As I approached the bus stop, I saw a bus rumbling towards me, and so ran to the stop in time to step onto the bus, without bothering to check the route number (somehow I was under the impression only one bus route went along Constitution Avenue).
It wasn’t long before I had the sinking thought I was on the wrong bus, as we rolled straight past the turnoff for Canberra Avenue, the most direct route to Fyshwick, and continued on down into Manuka, Kingston and Griffith. Yet still I didn’t get off the bus, as because we were criss-crossing the suburbs close to where I wanted to go, and the street names were sounding kind of familiar from the route map I’d looked at earlier, I was still kidding myself that I could be on the correct bus, and it simply took a different route to Fyshwick than how it came back (I’d never taken the complete #80 bus route). The point of no return was when we popped out of suburbia at a large intersection, with just two options—left to go to Fyshwick, right to go to Woden. No prizes for guessing which direction the bus went.
The first stop available for me to get off the bus was the hospital in Woden, and so, figuring I’d come this far, decided I may as well keep going, as it was unlikely I’d have reason to venture to Woden again. After a brief look around the shopping centre (not dissimilar in its chaotic, hodge-podge design to Chadstone), I hopped on another bus, which took a direct route back into the city. Three hours after I’d walked down to Constitution Avenue to catch a bus, I boarded the correct bus to Fyshwick, in the city.
Still, the weekend wasn’t a dead loss, as a steady stream of showers through the day left the Brindabella Ranges well and truly dusted with snow, and this morning I hauled myself out of bed at 6am and began the climb up Mount Ainslie in the gloom of pre-dawn so that I could get some photos. About halfway up, a woman ran past me on her way down, wearing dark clothes so I didn’t see her; and not carrying any light or torch at all, which must’ve made dodging all the potholes, steps and rocks along the path quite interesting for her. It was all I could do to see the path in front of me, but I guess she’d done the track so often she knew where everything was. I figured that one person here was crazier than I was, and headed on up the hill.
By the time I reached the summit, close to twenty people had passed me on their way back down, and I realised there are more than just a few people in this place that aren’t quite all there.