Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Trip Across the Street: Sth Melbourne

Rather than take the short cut through the back streets, I walk the long way; past the shops where homeless men huddle in the doorways of wealthy establishments that sell nick naks to the bourgeois. I am one too, I suppose. But I don't buy anything. My car insurance, and registration is due and I owe money to people in foreign countries. I don't want nick naks anyway. What's the point?

My brain is jarred by the inconsistencies of architecture: gothic churches, quaint quality meats, neon supermarket, 70s bank. Every year the new people move in and make improvements true to their era. This place is constantly evolving. Breathing. Alive. But it's still too much information. I avoid it all and instead look down at my feet, hammering into the path as I make my way. I need new shoes, I think absentmindedly as I approach the curb. I contemplate the shoe shop. No. Not today.

I am momentarily blinded by the barrage of cars at the intersection. There is no pedestrian crossing here. I carefully manoeuvre my way alongside the traffic, weaving through the parked cars, and speeding vehicles. I step back to avoid the woman talking on her mobile and am almost collected by a commodore backing into a parking space near me. "Oi" he yells, as he bangs down on his horn. I give him a look that is more of a warning. He presses down on his horn and gives me a look that tells me I'm a lamb.

A few moments later and I am now stuck in the middle of the busy road. I look right and left; the shops crowd the road on either side, busy to the brim with flurrying customers and fresh flowers; a rainbow almost threatening to topple over onto the tram tacks. This is Clarendon St. South Melbourne, and I am about to get run over. But I don't, of course. There are many more like me, who brave this wave of traffic, but they are more couragous than me - stopping the cars with hands on bonnets and quick winks through seasoned eyes. But this is their jungle of course, not mine. I wait for one of them, to make my path an easier one too. I cross the road with fingers crossed, as I do with everything, I suppose.