Spring has so far been a joy to experience. The suburban streetscape is budding with the promise of growth, encouraged by warmer daytime temperatures. Today’s blue sky and sunshine is forecasted to achieve 29oC.
While southeast Queensland’s Winter temperatures could not be described as harsh, we have limited our time sitting rugged up in the courtyard.
Our modest tropical resort themed outdoor area is slowly evolving. It now boasts a three person spa heated to 35oC. To the left golden cane palms, mother-in-law tongues, and agaves provide a focal point to rest our eyes. Behind stands a stylised skateboarder panel, supporting variegated jasmine. The almost daily post workday dip was well worth braving the cooler temperatures, over the last few weeks.
This moment’s easy Sunday feeling is enhanced by a powder puff aroma from lemongrass and lavender incense sticks. Pale grey smoke lazily floats around our feet and ankles before wafting up; nostril tickling.
I awoke knowing I had to attend a local pathology lab before working from home. Google maps to confirmed an opening time of 6:30 am.
The hot shower resulted in a centrally heated glow emananating through my body. Do I need a coat? Surely I will be okay in shorts and tee. Unknowing if I needed to be fasting or not, I headed out without a coffee.
The cooling 13oC air enveloped my body on exiting. After a couple of minutes, I had to head back for my face mask.
Upon arriving at the clinic, a man was on his way out, four people were seated, and there were four chairs to spare. I sat nearest the entrance. At this point I was far from awake. Why then had I sat next to a source of blasting music? First thought was, a television, no a radio. For a fraction of a second I considered moving seat. After all it would have gone unnoticed to my peers; absorbed by their phones.
The bespectacled used head stowage and push forward methods to escape the irritation of fogged up lenses. While playing word puzzles, solitaire, and Woodoku, I chose to do the on and off, repeat motion.
I made a mental note of the people in front of me. An unnecessary waste of brain power as we all had handed over referral forms to the mufti clad nurse. She was keeping them and us in strict chronological order.
Between patients, the waiting room was treated to melodious stereo as the nurse sang along.
Eventually, I allowed myself to be pointed into the collection room. Robotically settling into the wide throne like chair with wide arm caps. The identity checking and arm choice over, I ‘scooted’ over to the left. The tourniquet attached, fist clenched, ‘you’ll feel a sharp sting’.
A few minutes passed, gaze averted, lulled by the occasional soft popping and scraping noises of the tubes being swapped over. I was jolted from trying not to think about the ache developing in my arm by the nurse. ‘Oh, are you okay? I drifted off there. A mini meditation’, she said.
Commencing the five minutes walk home, I reflected on the sparse number of cars, the sunshine delivering tepid warmth, and how fortunate we are not being in lockdown.
Two years ago, I started this post with just the title.
As a toddler, I was endowed with platinum blonde curly locks. By the time I started infant school they had morphed into straight plain brown.
When the barnet began to feather flick from my ears and extended well beyond collar length, my three years younger brother, and I were marched to a tonsorial parlour at the junction of Northfield Road and Fellows Lane, Harborne.
There in a bay windowed, cream gloss painted room, containing two adjustable chairs, upholstered in deep brown cracked leather, facing mirrors, we were shorn.
The stout balding, cleanly shaved barber, wearing a white jacket, seemed so very old. I enjoyed sitting high up on a plank across the arms of the chair while my mother reminded him, I had a double crown. I have since learned the unruliness of the left side of my head is due to a cowlick.
Each time we went, my brother and I had the same cut. I discovered today, it is called a mop top, although ours was short at the back. The style did not change until I was old enough to go to the barbers alone.
In my late teens, I admired my brother’s long wavy hair, emphasising his bikie, hard rock, and heavy metal persona. Being the eldest, my lot was one of self imposed responsibility. As previously posted, societal conformity was the order of the day. To hide in plain sight, I chose to wear mine off my face in a quasi Simon Templar fashion.
For forty years, I yearned for curly hair, although never enough to try a perm. Instead, I relied on clipped cuts, gels, mousses, waxes, and creams to achieve straight uniformity.
In 2014, hairdresser, James Burrows was the first to talk to me about my fine flyaway strands. He used sea salt spray, comb, dryer, and powder to create the tidal wave like cut in the picture above.
Brisbane or ageing, combined with inclusion of non usual humans have proved to be the catalyst for realising my dream of wavy hair. The current barber introduced me to scrunch drying, reinforced the use of hair powder, and suggested using balm left over from taming my beard to achieve separation of tresses. A day or two after washing, I am now able to embrace the kink.
My earliest memory of dining out was in a cafe in West Bromwich, UK. The treat ended with my younger brother by three years having a tantrum; screaming and kicking on the floor surrounded by chips.
My addiction to going out to eat formed while undertaking hospitality studies in Worcester and Blackpool, 1980 to 1984. Overseas travel broadened my appreciation of fabulously foreign cuisines.
As a food service employee, I would groan internally about the guests who refused to leave, so that I could clear up and head home to bed.
My husband and I have become those people who literally spend hours chatting and supping over meals in eateries. The latest trend is starting with late lunch and continuing on to dinner. All the better when Stan is able to accompany us. He enjoys the attention from the staff, greeting them like old friends.
The thought of being deprived of Google in Australia is monstrous! Fingers crossed we will not succumb to have to Bing things.
On a local level the winds of change grew to hurricane proportions. We signed up with a realtor, booked times for staging, photographs, and the first viewing.
Then the realty of the market dowsed our spirits. Everything is on hold until we can find somewhere suitable to live.
Deciding we will rent for a while, we are well beyond dirty, pest infested, rundown garrets. Is it unreasonable to expect air conditioning, dishwasher, covered outdoor area, space from the neighbours and undercover parking?
There are suitable rental properties however, as in stories of unrequited love, our advances are spurned. Why? We have an ‘inside’ Stan.
The signs in the hotel’s common areas are many and clear. Observe social distancing, sanitise your hands, wait here to be seated, use the QR code to see the menu.
My husband had already experienced four people, millimetres away from him, exchanging pleasantries, while he attempted to eat his poached eggs on smashed avocado and toast.
Almost at the end of breakfast a woman drags a chair over to join a couple behind him. Parked a hair’s breadth from his back an unspoken outrage charged the air. Members of staff engaged with the interloper. Nothing was mentioned of the infringement.
If my husband had said something he would have been the one drawing gasps and stares from onlookers. On this occasion our group of four stood up as one, escaping to the outdoors.
Australia has been largely spared the pandemic’s deathly grasp. I find the flagrant disregard of measures, put in place to protect the populace to be unconscionable, especially in the context of society’s new normal.