This morning I dropped Rigby off for his monthly wash, then headed off down the road. It was a lovely morning, with the first real hint of summer in the air. I’ve been in warm parts lately, but this seemed different. Real summer is more than just a temperature, it’s blue sky and sunshine, and ultimately it’s an attitude. Coming out of winter it’s an attitude that uplifts, has you turning your face towards the sunshine like a daisy. Summer becomes an occasion, something to look forward to with anticipation, and back at wistfully. Walking – or promenading down the street – I was already imagining the long summer nights ahead, the cool drinks and laughing faces and casual dress. That’s the attitude, but it can’t exist without the right conditions.
For a change I thought I’d have a spot of brekkie out. Maybe it was the weather that urged me along. Or perhaps it was just the fact of being out and about at an unusual time in a different place. No matter. I turned my car down some side streets and came out in Mont Albert Road, right near where mum used to live in Canterbury, and parked near a cafe – the Red Brick Cafe – I’ve driven past many times thinking, that looks groovy, but never stopped at.
It’s a beautiful road Mont Albert, the trees over-arching it with leaves that in autumn turn flame coloured, and pretty houses full of civilised people who read the Age and the latest bestseller, whose children go to private schools and who consider themselves socially liberal even if they might vote for Tony Abbott anyway (the blokes in any case). I walked down the street towards the cafe enjoying the sunshine dappling through the leaves. I’d just heard Baker Street on the car radio and was once more musing on the lyric –
But you know he’ll always keep movin’
You know he’s never gonna stop movin’
Cause he’s rollin’, he’s a rollin’ stone
I walked into a cafe half full. There were a few elderly couples having breakfast, or middle-aged women catching up for a latte and some gossip. The rest seemed to be girls here on their school break. I sat down looking about me. I felt the odd demographic, one of the few men there, and different in any case from the rest. I ordered my own latte and cast my eyes around once more before opening my notebook. The girls seemed all of a type, long-limbed and brown already from some northern sun, pretty in that well to do way, and more developed than any I remember when I was their age. They lingered over cappuccinos and shared decadent looking brownies served with ice-cream. I caught snatches of conversation, found out the Richmond Club is “sooo good”, and smiled wryly when one said “you wouldn’t remember, you were sooooo drunk.” Times have definitely changed.
I sipped my coffee and ordered some breakfast. I opened my notebook and started to make notes. It was high time I prepare an agenda for my workshop. I wrote fluently, but at the back of my mind the Baker Street lyrics hovered, as if to say, why bother, you’re never going to settle down. I made headings – Work, Money, Life/Style, Home, and Women. I jotted notes beneath them. Some things were never going to happen – can you imagine me a franchisee? And though I’d love to make my living writing that aint going to happen either. But maybe the B&B in Bali might be a chance – who the fuck knows? As for money, I thought about putting some into a bar, or maybe hooking it up to some great business venture, or maybe both. Home was pretty well blank. Life/Style was all about me, what do I need to change? As for Women? Well, let’s just say there were a lot of question marks there.
I sat back. My breakfast was done, outside the sun beamed down as before, a table full of retirement age women sitting there laughing. I felt a quick pinch of sentiment. I knew the road, the area, so well from years coming this way to visit mum, so many happy occasions. Funny how things are there and then one day are a part of a past never to come again, like faded polaroids. It made my lists more real in a way, and the fact of a future in a way more scary. You might live day by day, but they add up into something a lot more. Fucks sake, I thought, as if it was a bus I couldn’t afford to miss.
I got up, paid my bill, and went to pick the dog up.