Tonight I didn't work, for the second time this week.
Last night I didn't work, for the first time this week. Instead I went to a pub trivia night. Fun, but fairly predictably so.
Tonight was different. I left work a little before 8, rejecting the offer of taking someone's place at a dinner/ball work type thing tonight, because I wasn't in the mood...it just didn't feel right, as much as I usually love the chance to drink free booze and hang out with my relatively cool work friends....not tonight.
I walked out Collins Place about to go to the tram stop and across the road I spied my ex-boyfriend-from-when-I-was-15 who I ran into out the front of my work about 2 months ago (who I suspect lives on the street I work on), and who coincidentally, or incidentally, had facebooked me last night seeing if I wanted to catch up this weekend. Tonight, he was with the girl-who-I-suspect-is-his-girlfriend, and he was across a very wide street so by the time I followed (stalked?) them up to Bourke street, with the intent of catching up to get, if nothing else, a closer glimpse of the girl, they had disappeared.
So I decided to catch the 'other' tram home (which is similarly close to my house at the home end, but is further away from work). I was on the tram and thinking how I would probably need to stop and get dinner somewhere given I have absolutely no food at home. I was also thinking about how much I need to get my haircut, and happened to be going down Smith St, where a salon called Lure is located, which is all split level and pink lighted and open and awesome, that I have always wanted to go to. They were open. So I got off the tram and walked there, fairly positive that at 8pm there was a fairly slim chance I would be able to get my hair cut that night. I was right, they were fully booked but I made an appointment for Saturday morning, with Jasmine "she's awesome with curls".
I walked down Smith St a little further to see if I could find anything that took my fancy for dinner, and also because at 32 degrees being in open air was vaguely more appealing than being in a tram. Nothing doing, so I waited at the next tram stop....hopped on a tram, and carried on to High St, up the hill, with the intent of picking up something for dinner and walking home. The Thai place for some reason just didn't appeal, and so I walked on, up to a small shop that Tom and I have been into before, one Saturday.
It's quite special, a little cramped antique/vintage shop, with a market garden out the back. It's owned by a man called Gerard, who gave us advice on what plants to grow in our courtyard and who refused to sell Tom a kitsch miniature suit of armour with in built shot glasses because he "wanted to live with it for a while". I like to call Gerard the constant gardener and have a bit of a crush on him, as much as you can on a man who is probably pushing 50 and is of dubious sexuality.
Anyway tonight was one of Gerard's 'twilight markets', which he had mentioned to us on our previous visit. I noticed the shop was open and popped in just for a bit of a browse, and was enticed out back by the sound of laughter and merriment. Out the back his garden space was transformed - lit by fairly lights and lanterns, there was a stall selling boutique beers and wine (with a $1 deposit on glasses) and another selling freshly made paella. Delicious!
At first I felt a little uncomfortable, being still in work clothes amongst a group of people who were beautifully, but very casually dressed. Not to mention none of whom I knew. But I decided to make a go of it, bought a glass of wine + deposit and a paella, and got chatting to a girl Belle, whose cousins were the beer purveyors. There were some other stalls with crafty designer type things like hand made bags, t-shirts and brooches, and a girl called Berry who was selling some of her stuff joined us. It was so nice to have a decent conversation with two people I didn't know at all. Laughing and ranting and agreeing and philosophising about...whatever. It didn't matter.
Tonight was refreshing, and I'm so glad I went. I stayed for about an hour and a half, even though at 5pm this afternoon I could have happily curled up on any given space and gone to sleep. Tonight I wasn't anyone who was anyone, at least not anyone that anyone else knew....and it was a relief. I was just myself, on a clean slate, with good conversation, good wine and good food.
Tonight a good atmosphere made me remember why I crave the experience, not even necessarily the enjoyment, of life. Because sometimes you can turn a corner and be pleasantly surprised by what's on the other side.