Amy Tries Again


Let’s go for a walk
November 25, 2011, 10:36 AM
Filed under: Miscellanea

It’s 8:00.  Well, maybe 7:59, maybe 8:01, but usually 8:00.  It’s less a symptom of punctuality and more the fact that this is the absolute latest time I can leave for work and make it on time.  I cut things fine.

The door to my flat shuts on the first attempt, the door to the building takes a second go.  It’s hot.  Standing, fidgeting, waiting for a gap in traffic.  Across the road, down through the park.  Plovers eye me suspiciously.  I peer across the valley of the busway at the railyards.  The Suncorp clock purses its lips, but a surprisingly hearty, fragrant bit of shrubbery (oleander?) behind a fence is more cheerful.  My forehead begins to get damp.

Under the rail bridge, dodging its drips of mystery liquid.  Round the corner, into the bald heat.  They’ve taken mercy on the guy in the bird suit with a cardboard sign – he doesn’t have to promote earlybird parking in the summer.  Jaywalk again, and then the beautiful shadow of the ugly Transit centre.  This is where my bus stop is, but walking is quicker, and the temporary shade is incentive enough to keep going.  On, through the cloud of smokers and the stream of surly humans from Roma Street station.  The Citycycle bay is always entirely full, or entirely empty.  The ads on the bus stops change.

Society’s finest loiter on a rock by the post boxes, waiting for the bottle shop to open.  Bitter smoke wafts from a bin.  I glance at my reflection in a dark window, the transit centre ends, and I step back out into the sun, wishing, every time, that I’d taken the extra ten minutes to catch the bus.  Across the road again, past the building site for the new courts complex.  It’s not so interesting now it’s not an enormous hole in the ground to peek at through a fence, but the crane branded ‘Jon Monocrane’ always makes me laugh.  Jon doesn’t believe in expanding his fleet, and that’s good – the longer it takes to build the complex, the longer I’ll be able to walk for half a block in the shade of scaffolding.

On, on, on.  Under the overpass, past the cafe on the corner.  It’s the first time of the morning that I smell coffee, and every morning it’s like suddenly remembering a wonderful thing exists.  I don’t stop, though.  It’s late, and coffee is hot.  Past a hotel, dodging taxis and the mini-bus that always seems to be pulling up to deposit a Singapore Air crew.  I’ve been up for 40 minutes, while they’ve been flying for 40 hours, but they’re made of cool, precise plastic, and my hair’s gone from shower-damp to heat-damp before it ever had a chance to dry.

 Clinging again to shadow, I position myself carefully in the thin shade of a stop light.  It only covers part of my face, but it helps.  The lights change, and I’m striding across to King George Square.  The stark design is jollied only slightly by a few trees and benches.  A big screen blares breakfast television with the colour turned up too high.  The skeleton of the city Christmas tree looms.  The ugly, solar-powered star is already attached.  It looks alien.  I smell coffee again, and think of the air-conditioned busway that lies below me.

Adelaide Street.  Dodging people, relishing brief blasts of air-conditioning as I walk past arcades and shopping centres.  Christmas decorations are up.  Faux-icicles hang, glistening. Fibre-optic wreaths sparkle, and Starbucks is covered in enormous vinyl stickers depicting a winter wonderland.  I fan myself ineffectively as my hair drips onto the hot cement.  Edward Street.  I’m getting close, but I’m running out of time.  I pick up the pace.  The bus I could have been on pulls up.  Turns out today was a good traffic day on North Quay.  Darting around the corner, I dash up a flight of stairs and past the entrance to Queensland Transport.  People mill outside, waiting for it to open.  It’s nearly 8:30.  I cut through the courtyard of St Stephen’s for another tiny dose of grass and trees, then through a small arcade.  I feel bad for a sad little stationery shop tucked away from the street.  Faded displays and clipart signs: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in there.  Smoker’s benches, sandwich shop, more coffee smells.

I’m here.  Jaywalk.  Jaywalk again, then reach the shelter of the giant sails surrounding the entrances to Waterfront Place, through the sleek glass doors and into the enormous marbled, mirrored lagoon of climate controlled lobby.  Empty space, neutral art and a real, live pianist playing twee favourites.

Down the law mines.

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