Irreal estate

August 25, 2008

Cycling to work this morning: a hot air balloon drifting over Albion*, three-coloured** against the cloud-powdered morning sky. I love hot air balloons – free and irreal and gloriously above the gritty world. Resolutely lo-tech, inherently nostalgic, and shot through with a faint trace of the impossible.

What else ? The clacker-clacker of the bike’s wheels on the boardwalk planks, a deeper-toned repeat over the loose bricks in front of the swish apartments. The river hard with light, a constant shattering of bright surface. An old couple in matching sweats, joggers of every shape, children on leads and dogs in prams, wall-eyed City-rats lurching to the bus, a glimmering ziggurat of blue-green glass glimpsed beyond the far end of a dull-striped suburban street, and then the other way the stuccoed and gabled spire of Our Lady of Victories up on Bowen Hill lending the impression of a Spanish mission and a Saturday morning movie when I was a kid and another world entirely…


*A Brisbane suburb. There are some fantastic suburb names here.

**Yes, those three colours. Vive la revolution. Except in this case they are also the colours of a prominent local real estate agent. Why do real estate agents advertise themsleves on hot air balloons ? I mean, yes, obviously, I know why. But at the same time it seems deeply, sort of, I don’t know… mistaken.


A cosmological disagreement overheard in a suburban shopping village:

“I just wish I knew why, what, what’s the Universe [capitalisation implied] trying to tell me ? I must be being punished for something.”

“No you’re not. Not by the universe at least.”

“But it is, it must be, there must be a reason for all this, these things.”

“No there musn’t! There isn’t! The universe is just a big cold implacable space that doesn’t give a flying [restrained pause whilst presumably searching for a PG-or-lower-rated alternative to the obvious next word: this was in a suburban shopping village, not a mall, and there were children present] tuppence about you or me or anyone else on this or any other planet. You’re getting religious about all this!”

Shocked silence.

“But it’s nice to believe in something…”

Always the experiments

August 15, 2008

Overheard on the boardwalk:

“Our main competition was always the experiments.”

“Oh I know. That’s right!”

Large man and compact older woman walking three Pekinese: one white, one black, one brown. The man in dark shorts and stained t-shirt, sounding smug about the competition. The woman in starched cream with a sun-visor on her hard gold hair, her voice holding back a squeal.

And then out on the road, on a truck: Ace Waste. Solving Tomorrow’s Waste Problem – Today!