Saturday, August 28, 2004

Hazelblackberry: don't perspirate the minutia

Dear Nick,

Here's some more of the same:

(1) After our housewarming I was busy writing out thank you cards - I'm a bit of an old-fashioned girl in that regard - when I realised I didn't have Hong Kong Fooey's address. I rang The Antiquer to check if he had the address - no, not on him. All he could tell me was that Hong Kong Fooey lived on A Particular Street, but he couldn't remember the number. On my way home I realised my bus went up That Particular Street. Hong Kong Fooey drives a rather distinctive car so I idly thought I'd just have a look out as we motored along to see if I saw it in any driveways. Not really expecting to. This Particular Street is quite a long one. Then the bus pulled over at a stop and I happened to glance across the road and there in the driveway were BOTH of Hong Kong Fooey's cars - what a stroke of luck! I had his address. In a slightly creepy, stalkerish way. A feeling that won't go away each time I'm on the bus and we go up This Particular Street and past his house and I mutter to myself, "Well, hello, Hong Kong Fooey." Yesterday evening his kids were playing on the roof; which I found quite refreshingly charming. This morning my bus prevented him from pulling out of his drive way. Yes, this might be getting a little weird...

(2) Also this morning on the bus, as it swung past Garden City - or "Garbo" as some girls used to call it; sheesh - a young bloke started sprinting down the street to catch us at the next bus stop. The bus driver, a very good humoured chap, saw him and made his way as slowly through the traffic as he reasonably could to give marathon man time to get to the stop. When he pulled up he announced to us, "I think this guy deserves a round of applause." There was an amusing look of confusion and pleasure on the chap's face when he got on and some passengers broke into clapping, some cheered.

(3) When I realised I was spending about two-and-a-half hours each day just commuting, I suddenly thought that I'd better stop staring out the bus window and do something constructive with my time, like reading. It didn't take me too many rides, ploughing through Vanity Fair's new-found over-zealous preference for World Affairs over Gossip About High Society People Of Whom You've Never Heard, to weary of that idea. Staring out the window and at my fellow passengers is far more productive and entertaining. And then there's always the river. The things you miss when you're trying to convince your brain it really could be interested in geopolitics.

(4) The other day I caught an earlier bus than usual, in some misguided attempt at acquiring a work ethic. Normally my bus is full of teenage schoolchildren, most of whom get off at Garden City. These kids are loud and obnoxious and irritating. But I tell you what: they add some life to the bus. Without them, it's just a bunch of silent grey adults morosely making their way to work and if they do talk it's all about real estate and the new train line and the state of the world. The kids sit up the back and shriek about TV shows and who's a spunk (and who most decidedly isn't), pashing, sluts - pashing sluts - and getting out of phys ed. All the great stuff. And because they know everyone is listening, they lay it on pretty thick. They're annoying, especially the way some of those girls laugh and screech, but they inject a little pizzazz into proceedings.

(5) So it's pouring with rain and there isn't going to be any let up and you've forgotten your umbrella but you just have to take that unsheltered walk to the busport to get home. Well here's what you do: laugh at life. Lift that head, straighten those shoulders and stride out into the wet. And it helps to sing 'I Heard that Lonesome Whistle Blow' as you walk along. A sorrowful song that comforts the spirits. It is of course a Hank Williams song but I prefer Hank Snow singing it. He had quite a voice that Hank Snow.

Then, because you're on a Hank Snow roll, you might want to change tempo with '90 Miles an Hour Down a Dead End Street'. It's a trifle saucy.

Until next time, Nick.

hb





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