I had one of my regular blood tests this morning at the Dorevitch offices in Collins Street. I came out just on 11 o’clock and began strolling back towards work, towards Elizabeth street. I very quickly noticed something was different. The pedestrian traffic had stopped. As always there were many people on Collins street, but they were all now immobile, and all facing in the same direction – towards Elizabeth. It was a strange sight, like something you might see in a movie. Hello, I thought, there must be an accident, and I continued walking on.
Gradually I heard music drift my way on the light breeze. Suddenly I realised, and looked at my watch. Eleven am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month – Armistice Day. I came to a halt just as the bugle – which I could now hear clearly – stopped. I could see now the young army bugler standing on the corner of the intersection, dressed in his immaculately pressed khakis. As I watched he took the bugle from his lips, and as if a switch had been flicked the immobile pedestrians started on their away again – almost as if nothing had happened.
I too moved off, and a minute later looked up as some RAAF jets whooshed by overhead, properly celebrating the moment with a flyover. I was impressed. Does this always happen? I wondered. It left me with a warm feeling, moved by how the community had stopped as one to mark the moment in time.
Earlier in the day I saw a man hit by a car as I came into work. He tried crossing against the lights on Flinders Street and with a screech of brakes was struck by an approaching vehicle. I saw it all as it happened, saw as he was lifted off his feet by the impact and how he tumbled across the bonnet and onto the ground. He was lucky the car had been traveling slowly, and quickly braked. He got up, a smile on his face as like later in the day everyone had stopped. The woman next to me groaned at the sight. But he was okay. Badly bruised I guess, in body and ego, he went on to catch his tram.
Another day in the big city.