Everlasting Love

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Sunday, 19 February, 2017

Melbourne, Australia

I’ve gotten older with age.

I’m subconsciously starting to appreciate the slower delights of life, while slightly taming down the youthful wild streak I once had. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still far from a nun – I was out sipping beer right up until the last bus on Thursday – my usual drink of choice is just slowly morphing into a lemon balm tea on the majority of my evenings.

Does that happen to everyone? Do we all eventually think – I don’t fancy going to work with a hangover tomorrow, so instead I’ll spend my evening watching an animal wildlife documentary with a cuppa. If you don’t, you should. Not only do you wake up feeling chipper, but you’re also that little bit more informed on the methods a Mexican quetzal bird will use to flirt with its girlfriend.

Yesterday we experienced Melbourne’s White Night – a yearly event, in which, the city showcases its finest art, music, and museums across eighty different stop points – the event starts at 7pm and finishes at 7am, with around 600,000 people in attendance. So, as you can imagine the place was really rammed.

Well, I found myself preferencing the museums and churches, over the DJ booths and raves – hence the sudden moment of clarity.

We continued to wander from point to point right up until about 3am though, and I know that my body could have stuck it out for longer – so, my inner party does still have a bit of fight left in him. Unfortunately, a rerun of the documentary ‘Sharks: Scavengers of the Sea’ was scheduled to air at 3.45am; therefore, there was just no way that we could have stayed.

If my memory serves me correctly, a town centre at 3am on a Saturday is usually reserved for fighting and people sitting on kerbs being sick – both of which we did see a little bit of. However, ‘the norm’ kind of blended into the background and gave way to more pleasant views of smiling children sitting on their parent’s shoulders to watch buskers and jolly grandfathers going into kissing booths.

The latter mentioned was actually a really touching moment.

One of the stop points was a kissing booth – the idea being that anybody could walk inside, and in turn, a person standing around the booth could go over to them and get a kiss.

Sadly, this booth was surrounded by a huge circle of desperate men, presumably drooling at the chance of getting to kiss a girl for the first time. In fact, I would estimate that the crowd observing this mostly empty booth was around 90% male – which in itself, probably intimidated any girl from ever stepping inside and becoming a target.

A few guys, however, did walk inside hoping to get a female response – but in most cases, they would just awkwardly stand there for a few minutes as their friends laughed at them. Therefore, the formed circle of gawkers were basically watching a kissing booth without any kissing.

Until the sweet old man got involved.

On a side note, this gentleman’s actions reminded me not to judge a book by its cover – even though he was potentially in his seventies, I definitely assumed that he was there for the same reasons as the majority, i.e., dreaming about some unrealistic fantasy of a gorgeous model appearing out of nowhere and giving him a big smooch.

In retrospect, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

He stepped inside the booth, which was met with an excited ‘woah’ sound, as was the case any time a person walked into the spotlight – the crowd just wanted a show.

The man patiently waited for the noise to fade, before standing on his tiptoes, looking beyond the rows of people and calling out, “Dorothy.”

This was enough to completely silence the crowd, the area was now filled with an air of curiosity – however, nothing seemed to be happening – so the man called the name three more times.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere a little old lady bundled her way to the front of the circle. She looked him in his eyes, smiled, held his hands and said, “I’m Sandra.” He replied, “You’ll do.” Before pulling her in for a slabbery snog.

I’m joking of course, the woman was indeed Dorothy – he informed the audience that they had been married for 40 years and then delicately kissed his wife on the forehead. Naturally, this inspired the crowd to clap and cheer profusely.

I must confess, I did not initially expect to be leaving that circle of horny men with a tear in my eye and a warmed up heart. I still wouldn’t be asking to borrow a tissue for my watery eyes from somebody close by though.

A common theme throughout the White Night event was projecting art onto buildings, most of which were displaying some sort of a story or message – essentially, a lot of beige buildings had been transformed into colourful 300-foot TVs for the night. They looked pretty impressive.

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In other news, I did not land that dream job of wiping tables in a coffee shop – thus, we will move to a farm area on Friday and try our luck there.

Monica has never been to a farm before, and is a little bit apprehensive about the prospect – I think she pictures us sleeping on haystacks surrounded by pigs.

Her concerns led to her leafing through page after page of farmer tips on the internet (not necessarily a bad thing), which landed her on a backpacker blog that suggested we may need sleeping bags.

So, her next move was to search high and low for local ‘buy and sell sleeping bag’ websites – amazingly, she found a place specifically for that purpose, there is literally nothing you can’t find on the internet – and within ten minutes, she had negotiated a deal for two sleeping bags.

The seller was even available to meet us later that evening. However, as it was getting late, I told Monica that she could just relax at home and I’d go to collect the bags.

I went to the meeting spot and there were a few people kicking about, but nobody that seemed to be holding sleeping bags – you know, how people meet a blind date based on the fact they’ve told you that they’ll be in a yellow scarf or whatever, well, I kind of thought it’d go like that – ‘I’ll be the one with the massive sleeping bags in either arm’.

I’d been waiting for a minute, when a couple of fairly intimidating looking people came up to me and asked if I was there for the sleeping bags. I was definitely concerned that I had been setup – but, I know kung fu, so, you know, I was never that scared.

I asked them where the sleeping bags were, and one guy replied, “Don’t worry, in my pocket.”

What the heck?! Is this guy some kind of wizard or something, how is he going to fit a couple of sleeping bags in his pocket – he is in skinny jeans, for one!

Oh… wait. I suddenly sensed that they were not actually looking to exchange the same thing as me.

I told him that he had the wrong man – after all, I’m just an old fella that watches wildlife documentaries these days. I then informed him that I had, in fact, legitimately turned up in hope of taking something home that could keep me snug at night.

They burst out laughing – much to my relief – declared that they should probably look into a new ‘code word’, shook my hand, and then disappeared.

I guess we’ll be getting into some sleeping bag shopping tomorrow then.

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