Underthecurrent


The Undocumented Months
February 18, 2012, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

What, exactly, happened from mid December to mid February?

What didn’t happen.

I fell in love with yet another seaside town, made a ton of friends, and promised to come back. For obvious reasons, it wasn’t real life. I was living in what was essentially a motel room strip with a bunch of backpackers, doing a job wholly inappropriate for my level of education. My closest friends from those months are about five years younger than me, and I have to cop to regularly hanging out with people almost seven years younger. The strangest part is, it didn’t feel strange at all. I did stuff I can’t tell my professional friends at home about without raising eyebrows – drinking Passion Pop at the local skatepark, staying up all night and heading back to work, getting in hardcore pillow fights after ten shots of Jag.

My last night out in town, I finished work at midnight a little sad that I didn’t recognize anyone at the pub. Then, I walked into the local nightclub to about eighty people I had met along the way, mostly serindipity. Everyone was dancing, hugging, sloppy, lovely. If I never make it back that is how I will remember that place, those months.

It was the perfect place to drop off the map and start to sort a more complicated life out by living a less complicated life. To think and not think about what to do next.

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Back to Africa
February 17, 2012, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I spent the last few days in Oz mostly with a selection of people I had met through my last gig.

I spent a night on Rotto, watching the moon rise over Perth and biking around dodging quokkas. We somehow hit the perfect day to snorkle shallow reefs and lay on the beach without WA wind blasting sand all over. I was not a Rottnest believer before, but I am now. Also, biking is amazing, especially on paved gently sloping islands that look vaguely grecian.

Back in Perth, I got a message from another acquaintance asking if I wanted to drive to Margaret River. Margies delivered lovely food and coffee and enviable waves everywhere that almost made me regret storing my board with a friend down South. We fantasized, briefly, about doing a stint of rural work in a vineyard. Night was cans of Export and a clear dark sky. Triple J and hours of conversation, life had never been so easy.

I crashed for a night in possibly the dodgiest backpackers I have ever slept in, in the first single room I have ever slept in, because Perth was booked out and I had decided to abandon being organized.  As a result, I dreamed of bedbugs and woke to a bunch of Irish backpackers having an all night trance session in the common area. 

I sent a message to a med student I had forgotten about who met me in Freo to drink beer samplers and watch street performers and late night bar fights spill into the street.  The next night we hit a Sunday Session at the Cott, a sort of full circle moment reminding me of landing almost six months before and heading straight for Cottesloe. I am not sure life gets better than a summer Sunday sesh on that strip of coastline.

Perth the second time around was still not my perfect city, too sprawling and quiet, but it was a lot better. The outdoor cinema in Kings Park, oysters in Leederville, burgs in Subiaco… not a bad life.  

My med friend threw me some special sleeping pills and I spent nine of the eleven hours of my SAA flight passed out hard on my tray table, to the amusement of my seatmate.  He was in his forties and looking at immigrating. We talked pros and cons for the minority of minutes I wasn’t drooling. 

Arriving in Johannesburg, with all kinds of trepidation about leaving my very comfortable life in Oz, I felt a feeling I wasn’t sure I would feel again – that sense of peaceful homecoming. OR Thambo is a special airport because everything it contains is so ordinary.  The restaurants are the same ones found in the average South African town, so is the newsstand. In an hour, you can get a hit of whatever you are craving, from Wimpy coffee to Woolies biltong.

I loaded my bag on another SAA flight and headed, for the second time in my life, North to Windhoek.   



Leaving
February 11, 2012, 1:16 pm
Filed under: insight

Sitting in an overpriced single dorm, almost six months after arriving, I feel incredibly sad.

The truth is, right now I’m planning on coming back. Sooner than later. Which causes all sorts of obvious complications that I’m working out.

Last week one of my friends drunkenly pointed out I overcomplicate things. I like to. It was the second clarifying observation in a week. He is right.

More to follow.