The author, not walking, in Japan.
After much nagging, Davey has finally worn me down enough to get me to write a ‘guest’ post. So, let me tell you a little story about one of my daily companions – a now-busted-beyond-recognition, rejected sex toy.
Perhaps I should explain. I walk to and from work. This started when we moved to Auchenflower, as to get to my South Brisbane office, I would need to take two trains or buses (and still have to walk more than a kilometre). ‘Fuck it,’ I thought, deciding to cut out the middleman and rely on my own two feet.
Here’s the basics – it’s about 3.4kms and takes me approximately 35 minutes each way. Two of the inner-west’s main arterials – Milton Road and Coronation Drive – form the major part of the walk. It’s usually pretty uneventful, but I have come to fondly look out for the familiar things that usually dot this route of a morning. The one closest to my heart, one that has stood strong against time and weather, is perhaps not what you would usually expect to encounter on your morning constitutional.
A few months after I started this routine, the row of terrace ‘houses’ (actually offices and a restaurant) along Coronation Drive presented me, and the rest of its many pedestrian passers-by, with a singular delight on a Monday morning. A dildo had been thrown (with not-unimpressive force) against one of the house’s cement garden beds, before slumping dejectedly to the sidewalk, some of its guts—translucent, gelatinous—spilled against the wall and ground. I excitedly told Davey about it that night, expecting it to be gone by morning, cleaned up by the magical sex-toy sanitation division that surely existed within the Brisbane City Council. How wrong I was. As the days turned hotter and the sun wilted me on my morning walk, so too did my new Coro Drive companion feel the heat. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a dildo slowly melt in the Queensland sun, but I can tell you it’s not a pretty sight. Even the heavy rains that preceded the January 2011 floods did little to wash that little battler away.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo of the actual set of steps from a moving car, but they are just a few feet away.
Rain is one of the great challenges. Most times, an umbrella and a spare pair of shoes does the trick, but other times it’s not so easy. Obviously, the lead up to ‘The Flood of 2010-2011’ was pretty disheartening. It necessitated wearing a trench coat and boots on a few occasions, which is almost unheard of in January. A few days before the river broke its banks and started seeping into the neighbourhood, there were signs of things to come. Torwood Street had localised, tidal (+ heavy rainfall) flooding for a couple of days, which would bring my walk to a screeching halt as I rounded the corner and saw a pool of calf-deep water across the road. But, my tales of “there was water across the footpath so I had to change my route to work FML” are boring and so minor in comparison, so that’s that.
Torwood Street (from Macintosh) and then (above) Milton Road during the January 2011 floods
Rain may be one thing, but the walk in summer is a truly heinous task and requires double the outfit planning and preparation. Even thinking about it now, rugged up in thick tights and a hoodie, makes me break out into a sweat. There is nothing dignified about being outside in the Queensland summer, let alone attempting to push through the soupy, soul-destroying humidity to get to work. On the day earlier this year that the temperature hit 37 degrees, I waited in the office – refreshing the BOM website with deranged fervour every minute – for the mercury to drop below 36 degrees. Finally, at about 5:30pm, it did and I braced myself for the walk home. For some reason, that day I had decided to wear the only pair of pants I own and a silk top. Take it from me, an idiot, that this is an outfit combination to avoid on the hottest day of the year. Actually, just don’t walk three kilometres in extreme heat, that’s probably a better tip, and you can have that one for free.
The Go Between Bridge – because it would be too cultural of the BCC to actually have added the hyphen (or the “s” on the end).
This time of year is my favourite for many reasons, but particularly as it renders the walk actually pleasant. The air is crisp and cool, and my fringe isn’t stuck to my forehead by the time I get to work. Even on the most brittle mornings and when the sun is long gone by 4:45pm, it’s OK – wearing coats in Brisbane is such a novelty that you should never pass up these opportunities. So, four for you, autumn and winter!
Every now and then, when I do catch public transport (to/from uni, or if I’m finishing work later in the city) or on the odd occasion I drive to work, it’s a reminder of how fortunate I am to have the option to walk to work. Everything else is a drag. I get to listen to Queen lots of different, new & cool music, don’t have to deal with crowded trains or late buses, there’s no expense (except for having to frequently replace shoes) and the government would be very proud I’m “finding my thirty” (twice – can do that, Campbell). Even if I’ve had a terrible day at work, it all melts away somewhere between the Go Between and Park Road. All in all, it’s a pretty good deal.
The dildo’s still there, by the way, but a shadow of its former self. Sad, really.