Each night shift I usually head out for my second coffee at around 10.30pm. Obviously, there’s no coffee shops open but luckily the OTR service stations are 24/7 – their catchphrase is ‘We never close’. Their coffee is not great but the caffeine quota is perfect.
There is an OTR about 15 minutes walk from the office so I can get a little exercise for bonus points too. The first time I went there I just followed the main road which was a little dull and unexciting, as trucks roared past on their night runs from warehouses to stores and others returned home from their evening adventures.
I looked at the map and found a parallel back street that is a million miles away from the dull orangey-yellow flourescence of the main road. The street lighting here is whiter and paler and mostly blocked out by trees. Some places are pitch black underfoot and you have to step heavily to avoid tripping on pavers raised by the roots of the trees. The other thing you notice is the quiet. No one is around, not even cats seem to bother with this street. You get a nervous excitement when someone else is walking on the street, will I get stabbed or punched or who knows. I generally call out a ‘hey’ as I pass and usually just receive a surprised grunt in return. Oh well.
Halfway down is one the opposite side I usually walk, there is a graveyard. I didn’t think too much about it until one night I decided to take some pictures. Some folks had decorated their relatives graves in Christmas lights which offers a jolly juxtaposition. I considered how some people find graveyards spooky but I think that is a result of the gothic architecture of some of the memorial stones. I mean what could happen here – everyone is dead already.
There’s a nice graveyard near where I live. Actually, Adelaide seems to be full of graveyards when I think about it. Anyway, this one is almost like a landscaped park, sectioned off to cater to different ethnicities, cultures and religions. Not so much of the olde Euro-gothic stonework. I had a nice walk around there one evening, only saddened when I came across a marker for someone who had died young. I thought about the lives these people lived, what they may have seen, which parts of the world they came from to get to Australia. I used to look at people in random non-descript places, walking the street or wandering the shops, and zap myself into their heads and try to look through their eyes and take on their entire histories that brought them to this place, right here, right now. A momentary flash of an existence that someone else lived, though nothing you can hold on to and maintain. Now I mostly just ponder my own existence and how someone I never met or knew might browse my death mark one day and wonder about my life. Round and round we go.
I was reminded of the times a few of us used to hang out drinking in a graveyard in Bournemouth before we would head to see a show at Capone’s just across the street. The time when we had finished school forever and took our old textbooks there, burned them on an old grave and then got drunk to celebrate our freedom.
But down this street there is little sign of life and to me, it is the perfect playground for childish mischief. But no kids are about, no underage drinkers in the park or graveyard, barely a barking dog or passing car. Is everyone tucked up nice and early in their neat clean houses, living the dream? Will I be doing that in my little piece of paradise being built in Thailand?
Talking of which, Amy was overrun with paint charts today, having to decide tonight the colours that would be in and outside our house. She asked my opinion, and I’m pretty easy, so I just said paint everything inside white. This is far too boring for her but she can’t tell if any colours that she does choose will work because it’s just too hard to imagine right now. Again, as a typical man looking for a quick solution, I told her to choose what she wants and if it doesn’t work out we can just repaint it later, no problem. I think by the time she went to bed she still hadn’t picked anything for the indoor colours.