The pizza shop was well and truly packed to the rafters. Another cold, wet Friday night in Sydney, and the thoughts of many Sydney-siders had obviously turned to take-away pizza. “I did the same thing”, a mate told me on the phone tonight.
Earlier in the evening I had been to some “after work drinks” with some colleagues. As you may have read, it’s been a fairly intense twenty-four hour period at the organisation I work at. So when a colleague came into our area late this afternoon and said, “let’s go for a drink” there was quite a few of us who were quick to “down tools” and head to the pub. I still had a few things to do, so I went back later, and finished them off.
But yeah, a beer with colleagues was a good way to end the week, especially for us “lifers”. It’s a phrase I first heard used about ten years ago. For a brief moment, I dated someone who worked in another part of the ABC. A year or two later he, we saw each other in the street, and he asked the question, “so you’re still working for the ABC”. When I replied in the affirmative, he replied, “yeah, I always knew you’d be a lifer”. He was using the word in the negative sense, whereas I’ve come to realise it’s quite a positive thing. There’s a real diversity of people I work with, but there’s a common commitment, generally speaking, to independent journalism. And if you were to say there’s an “ABC Culture” (often describes in the culture wars), I’d say yeah there is… a culture of respect for the individual and for independent thought.
That said, returning to work after a few weeks break is never an easy thing. You have a wonderful experience. You see some great places. You meet some interesting people. You share the experience with a good friend, and then you’re back to life, back to reality…
I’m pretty sure it was Wednesday when the “travel glow” wore off. For the previous week, I feel like I had still been in “travel mode”. But then on Tuesday evening I picked up my suits from the dry cleaner – a little bit of rainy weather mould while I was away – and I went back to work on Wednesday to resume my usual routine. On Wednesday night I went back to Swedish class – we have a couple of new people – and then met with my friends at the pub for our regular drinks session. Naturally enough, there was lots to talk about, with both Graeme and I sharing some of our travel experiences. But as much as I love both of these things, it kinda felt like I was returning to a “routine”.
So by Wednesday, Thursday I had begun to feel as if life had returned to normal. It’s a routine I’ve been trying to break. I slotted in a few things earlier in the week – there was a cabaret night at Slide and a film night at The Shift – but I never quite found the motivation to leave the house. And then by Wednesday, I was back into a routine. By Thursday, I had tried to break the routine by spontaneously deciding to go to “Fruits In Suits”. It had been twelve to eighteen months since I had been there. I’d stopped going because it wasn’t really “my thing”. I gave it a go again on Thursday night, and I concluded it still wasn’t “my thing” which is a bit of a shame.
And so I texted a friend, went over to his place, had a couple of beers, and shared a few laughs.
And then later in the night I got a phone call from work outlining what had happened. Sobering to say the least.
So with the weekend ahead of me, I’m approaching it with a fresh desire to keep active and not fall back into a routine. I’m planning on going shopping with a friend to help him purchase a new television, and then on Sunday I’m heading off to Newcastle for the day.