Friday, June 29, 2012

A suburban holiday

Not actual street
For the next month I'm taking a trip into the fading Australian dream. I'm living in a three-bedroom house in the middle-suburbs with a yard, a dog and a desktop computer, house-sitting/dog-sitting for my brother and his family while they travel North America.

Richmond lies in wake and will no doubt stay awake; it's vibrant streets, bars, shops, and constant activity now out of reach as I hole up in my suburban Fortress of Solitude.

I'm not gonna lie, I've been looking forward to this anti-social experiment. I've never lived alone and - the way the housing market, and my current and prospective pay, is - this may be my only chance to ever live in a house with a patch of grass, let alone on a quarter-acre block.

The timing is good. The Fortress is warm, unlike the dated Richmond Igloo. Tracksuit pants and hoody are don't need to be worn to bed. Add to that functioning bathroom heat globes and water pressure that meets basic human rights standards and getting ready for work is almost pleasant.

For me, this is like a country retreat. From activity centre to quiet neighbourhood street. It's all relative right?

The unusual solitude also offers unaccustomed luxuries. The bathroom is mine for the taking at any time I please, no queues. I don't have to endure Top Gear or The Big Bang Theory if I feel like sitting in the lounge room (Richmond Igloo's only heated room and my only access to digital TV) and didn't get to the remote first. Hell I have two digital TVs now and can just about position myself with a view to both; so I no longer need to choose between 'Drunk, Dumb and Racist' and 'QI' - I can have both on, listening to the witty intellectualism of 'QI' while having my disillusions reiforced by the can't-look-but-can't-look-away-and-at-least-if-they-were-drunk-they'd-have-an-excuse car-crash viewing offered by 'Drunk, Dumb and Racist'. I also have such ready access to the stove and oven, and such an array of cooking utensils that I probably should actually cook. Also because, like much else, take-away isn't readily accessible by foot. Sadly, the untrusty old car will be required much more. Two days in and I already feel a little disconnected, despite my constant access to social media.

I'm also living in an entertainment paradise. As well as a more movies than I'd have time to watch, I have an XBox AND a Wii; and no idea how to operate either. An Amiga 2000 or Commodore 64 would have been ideal though.

Daisy the Golden Labrador
Of course, I also have a dog.

I'm not in the habit of planning my movements around anyone but myself, let alone keeping in mind that this being depends on me for food (i.e. to survive. As a creature of whimsical flexibility and stubborn independence, that burden almost brings a creeping resentment. Maybe I'm not ready for another relationship...

Fortunately she's an utterly adorable, if hyper-active like a puppy, Golden Labrador. I'll admit, it's nice to be welcomed home with such enthusiasm - bounding about and licking eagerly while panting with excitement. Maybe I do need a girlfriend.

I'll enjoy my break but not gonna lie, I'll miss Richmond like Richmond misses AFL success.

But this may be my one chance to experience the dream, even i it's a dying, unsustainable one for us Gen Ys. But I'm not sure I ever want it. Just as some dream of life by the beach, I want nothing more than living among the energy of a vibrant city like Melbourne.

I want to hang out in unpretentious bars (without pokies) with friends over a quiet pint or five while we talk about life and death. I want to be close to music venues and festivals and geeky Wheeler Centre events to fuel my spirit. I need the MCG nearby to get my Essendon footy fix (and money's worth on the exorbadent MCC membership). I enjoy the Tan being my local running spot and sharing that gorgeous track with other runners. I want to get my arse up to the Richmond market more often because it's more lively, interesting, social and ethical than Coles. I want to be close to it all so I can sense the mix of all these kinds of activities in the passers-by when I'm just walking the local streets, with my own private space quietly tucked away just up the street.

Even if I do someday in the near-future leave my little old sharehouse with it's pretty courtyard, inescapably cold hallway and bedrooms, and single digital TV, Richmond feels like home. I can't see myself straying far.

And as much as I need my own space, I don't really want to live alone - I'm an introverted social animal.

No comments:

Post a Comment