The package

My Friday night out made me realise how much I don’t want to move from my current home. It’s been a long while since I’ve had any real social pattern to my life. There was a time, and for many years on end, when the days and weeks and months were knitted together with regular social outings – bars and restaurants, parties, barbecues, leisurely breakfasts. I loved that life and was good at it. A big Friday night out was nothing unusual, and in the normal course of events there would be another couple of nights every week I’d be out enjoying some of the great things Melbourne has to offer.

Those days seem far distant now, though I’m not a hermit either. What I might do every 2-3 days before I now do every 2-3 weeks, and the scale and scope, not the mention the expense, are far different.

My Friday night out was literally a night out for me. Once upon a time an event like that would have occurred every 6 weeks or so, and often more frequently. As far as I can remember last Friday is the only occasion this year – and probably for 18 months – that I have kicked my heels up in such a carefree manner. Ironic really.

It was fun and all that, but it was in its aftermath that I realised how much had changed, and how much I missed it. Walking the sunny streets yesterday I reflected on that expansive lifestyle. If I do less of it now it’s because I don’t have the same opportunity as before – I don’t mix and interact as much as before, and the casual, spontaneous invitations and comings together don’t happen as a result. And, of course, I can’t afford it.

It struck me that I didn’t want to leave my home. That was not news, but this seemed another reason. In ways it didn’t make sense. It would be easier to live like that again if I lived closer to town. I could find another place and do it just the same.

The reality is that it’s not as simple as that. It’s almost certain that I must pack up shop here, and what comes next is open for conjecture. In the short-term I’m almost certainly sleeping on my sister’s couch. I can’t see that being a temporary thing, horrifying as the prospect is. That will crimp a lot of things, but it might also inspire some lifestyle just to get out of the place.

It’s not the same though, and this is what I understood yesterday. As great as it is to have a big night out, the pleasure really is in the package. Obviously there is the anticipation, some of which I touched on yesterday, There’s also the afters. Who’d have thought that a taxi ride would be a source of nostalgia, but riding home at 4am on Saturday morning I recalled the dozens of times I’d done that before – the night fresh in you still, questions asked and yet resolved, satisfaction at living well and fully and anticipation of doing the same again. You look ahead at the road, the streets near empty at that time of night, a cursory conversation with the driver before giving him final directions, next right, left here, stop where the lamp-post is.

You tumble into bed and sleepy forgetfulness. You wake in a fog. You recollect. You slowly shift, feeling your body, taking stock of where you’re at. It’s the morning after and you’re in your home. Your refuge. You go out into the world, you play up, and you return to this, your space. Coffee, you think. Gradually you go through the familiar motions, but at a certain point appetite licks at you. The morning after hungries – and fortunately a solution is but a short walk away. You exit into a world you know, landmarks familiar, patterns revealing themselves, your feet moving following the path you’ve trod hundreds of times before. You sit, you order the big breakfast you crave, you look about at the world noticing it for the first time, and it’s all in the package.

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