Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lights Up and Down the Street

8pm, Saturday evening.

It's pissing down rain and howling wind like a toddler unwillingly separated from its wilted packet of teddy bear biscuits. A taxi is idling out the front, bleating it's horn at the neighbourhood one impatient honk at a time.

I briefly wonder who the shitty driver is waiting for. Who in our neighbourhood, our city, our universe, would actually go out at the ungodly hour of 8pm? And in the gusty, squalling rain of all recurrent Melbourne weather atrocities?

It must be a mistake. A booking error. A slip of the app, an accidental pocket dial from the comfortable oblivion of someone's pocket squashed against the couch in their lounge room. 

Surely no one else COULD be ready to go out and socialise at this time of night! What about the kids? What about the wind howling at the roof and the dog howling at the wind? What about the half eaten pasta dish and the cheap bottle of red on the bench? What about the unfolded laundry and the Saturday Night footy and the prospect of a soul shattering 6am Sunday morning start? What about the complete domestic madness that lies ahead?

The taxi horn squeals again. And I remember.

Other people DO actually go out at 8pm on a Saturday.

Other people, including the couple across the road who don't have kids, and the smiling couple up the street who have growing teenagers and a growing sense of returning parental freedom.

Other people, including the older couple across the road who only see their children at Christmas and when the fence needs repairs, and the seemingly displaced house full of uni students who have strange coloured hair and parties at odd times and make me feel curiously crabby and even more distressingly old.

Other people, including the disparate congregation of men from around the nearby blocks who drift together in their respective sheds for short and long stretches of night to talk about beer and the cost of things and the house of uni students and how the umpire got it so very wrong again.

Other people, including the young parents who live further down the block who usually remind us of us, but who actually managed to get it together today and arrange a babysitter, wrangle their child impressively well AND get out of their tracksuit pants. Well played, kids, well played.

Other people, including ourselves on other weekends in the past and still to come, when the preceding weeks have been kinder and the weather has been friendlier and the terrifically terrible twos have been a little less trying for the three of us.

Other people, including the old younger version of me. The old younger me, who would have been waiting for Saturday evening since Monday morning, counting down the work days until the fun days and the sun time until the night time.

The old younger me, who would have been dressed and heeled and waiting on the front verandah with a flimsily impractical umbrella to fight the herculean tempest, impatiently tracking the taxi through the app before it even turned into our street. 

The old younger me, waiting with a tiny purse and three pre-drinks tucked under the decorative belt around my not-yet-a-mother waist line, wondering why on earth there were so many lights on up and down the street at 8pm on a Saturday night.

A door slams and the taxi slides off into time.

8:03 pm, Saturday evening.

Time to fold the laundry.

M x

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