Yesterday was the first day of the month. The first day of a new season. It was also the first day of four weeks Financial Services Tier 2 training for my new role. I chose to make it my first day using the C25K app too. When I woke, instead of my normal coffee and downtime online, I plugged in the iPhone and set off to a playlist I had programmed the night before – starting with Tina Turner’s The Acid Queen, from the soundtrack to Tommy. I over-extended myself to the tune of Dead Kennedys Holiday In Cambodia, just before the halfway mark, practically launching off the footpath across the road in some kind of imagined punk rock stage leap in the pre-dawn privacy. And I enjoyed finishing up to the sound of Dramarama’s Anything, Anything and Death In Vegas’ Dirt (Slayer edit).
It’s an amazing app – like having a personal trainer – and I’m very pleased to have firstly discovered it, and secondly chosen to use it. That in itself is worth celebrating. I ended up travelling 4.2km (according to Google maps), and I could feel it in my quads yesterday and this morning, and despite that, I’m looking forward to day two of the program tomorrow. I’m even thinking of developing my upper body and shoulders, to avoid that Lurch-like arch. Shh, don’t tell.
I returned to my tram stop an hour later than my usual time, since training is from 9AM to 5PM Monday to Friday. I was back in with the rats again, no longer was I on the fringe, taking the City Loop train with the early bird tradies in their fluoro vests.
A slender metrosexual fella with long blonde hair and a quietly anguished look took his place near me at the stop. I wondered if his pained expression was related to the blood trickle from a shaver cut on his jawline. I saw a packet of Drum tobacco in his shirt pocket.
A woman in a stylish black suit, wearing a black Chanel bag and black A|X backpack came up next. Her nails were manicured, but her look was let down by hideous though probably highly fashionable black wedge heels. She was joined by a female friend wearing jeans, a sleeveless jumper, and thongs. The glamour queen tossed her head and her mane back to LOL, and I saw good teeth, with no fillings to note.
The first tram came and I let ’em all take it. Tramtracker told me the next one was two minutes away, and it was a double. Space for me to compose, reflect, breathe. Where would I be without my iPhone apps?
I sat opposite two Mary Immaculate girls sharing iPod headphones the way girls do; one bud in one ear of each listener. Both of them wore braces, and one of them had the word “hello!” written on her knee in ball-point. Above the other knee, the word “genius”.
Mrs H has been beset by some illness, something more than a virus, which necessitated a visit for her to the local clinic over the weekend, and ensuing blood tests, which may or may not indicate something like chronic fatigue syndrome (not surprising), if not something worse. True to our tendency to first imagine the worst option, once I faced the irony of losing my life partner prematurely – just as I started to get my work life together - I recalled going to bed on Sunday night imagining an eligible successor for Mrs H, and not wanting the girls to have a wicked stepmother.
As my tram continued down Brunswick St, and the Mary Immaculate girls disembarked, I noticed the new occupant facing me wore black Havaianas and glittery red painted toenails.
Next to me, a geekboi with a goatee and acne (despite being too old for the latter), was bent over his phone playing what looked to be some kind of world domination game.
On the wall of Venus Envy, two sparrows fought over a scrap of territory, and the morning shadows were heavy on the Ever Fresh graffiti wall – making me again regret not carrying my SLR. Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life shuffled on, and as I watched Technoir passing by and enjoyed the fact that it was named after the nightclub in The Terminator the way I always do, Dr Jon sang, “like Frankie said, I did it my way”, and I remembered someone telling me they misheard the line as, “like Frankenstein, I did it my way”. I had much to smile about.
After three spins of It’s My Life I shuffled forward to Happy Mondays’ Loose Fit, and spied a fellow passenger wearing foundation too dark for her skin, leaving a line on her jaw much like a mask. Part of me always wants to tell these unfortunates, and I like to think it’s a type of public service, even though I know it’s more to do with a rescue fantasy.
Now I was compulsively checking my Swiss chronograph – after winding it forward three days to change the date. I had misplaced it in the morning, and panicked when it was not on my bedside table. I always put it closest within reach, so that when I wake up at whatever ungodly hour it may be, I can check the time and determine whether or not it may be appropriate to get out of bed. I was relieved when I found it had somehow ended up lost in the sheets. I didn’t want to be late, on my first day in training, with different hours.
I am Superman
The tram approached King St and I stepped up to pull the cord to the tune of R.E.M.’s I Am Superman. As the tram caught me off-balance, I narrowly avoided giving my fellow commuter an unsolicited lap dance.
I went past the old workplace, past the rubbish bins still waiting to be returned to the stinking fire escape where I had dragged them out for collection over so many nights, indelibly etched into my memory.
I went to drop off a pair of trousers for drycleaning, and as I exchanged pleasantries with a former colleague, a guest looking like the typical kind of thug rapist who stayed there on weekends approached the counter and asked, “If we didn’t sleep in our room, can we get our money back?” It was the kind of question I would have heard when I worked there too. Nothing had changed. It was the place where nothing ever would.
Back on King St a derelict woman with spiral Afro wearing a red tracksuit from an op shop carried a suitcase held together by a strap, with a fag dangling from her lip, and struggled across the street, passing two chromers with lips silver like surfers.
I had more to tell you, but I have to go now. Thanks for being here.