Back to life in Sydney

“Hi Jim how was the fridge? Have you settled in ok?” came the message from Karran earlier today. Having been away for four months, I told her I expected the fridge to be in need of cleaning out, but I thought the freezer would be okay. That wasn’t the case.

For dinner tonight, I pulled out some curry, frozen from a few months ago. After about two minutes in the microwave, the smell of something which had been frozen, but which had defrosted for a while became evident. Clearly, the power must have gone off for a while? 

But aside from the fridge, I seem to have settled in okay.

I bought a few things online over the weekend and was surprised at how quickly they arrived. I was prepared for “lengthy delays”. A new desk and new chair from Officeworks arrived on Monday, though I wasn’t expecting it until tomorrow. For a moment I wondered why I didn’t get the fully constructed version of both. For the confusing bits (adding the casters in particular) I looked up how to do that on Youtube, instead of the paper instructions. Youtube is awesome for that kind of thing. In the end, I decided I didn’t really need to add the arms to the chair. 

And I also bought a new vacuum cleaner, one of those “stick models” from Dyson. You wouldn’t believe how much “ground in dirt” there was in the carpet. It was like when I visited a bathhouse in China a few years ago and was scrubbed to within an inch of my life. I looked at my arms and there was dirt like I hadn’t expected. “Did that really come out of my skin?”, I asked the bloke who was scrubbing me down. Apparently so.

The one thing I can’t get over since arriving back in Sydney is the apparent low levels of mask-wearing. I spoke about this with some colleagues today. One of them lives in the Inner West, the other in Sutherland Shire, and they both reported almost everyone they’ve seen in their areas has been wearing masks. Here in Surry Hills, I’d estimate it’s only about fifty per cent. 

A few months ago the non-mask wearers tended to be middle-aged and older blokes. Now it seems to be much younger people. They’re either not wearing masks at all, and or they have them under their chins. They’re clearly wearing them only in case they are pulled over by the police. By the look in their eyes, there seems to be defiance in their decision not to wear masks. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it?

That said, I saw someone at the supermarket last night who was wearing one of those “welding mask face shields”, rubber gloves, as well as full covering over her head and body. It was like she was in an Ebola ward.

Maybe she was immune-compromised or had another reason, but it did seem a little over the top. I snapped a sneaky pic! I’d love to listen in to a conversation between those in the two extremes of what I’ve seen so far. 

Since arriving back I’ve been out most days for a walk or for some shopping. I haven’t been doing the amount of daily exercise I did in Lismore, and I’ve been feeling a little guilty about that. I’m back to making my own coffee at home, and it takes a little more effort to get to those lovely walking spots like I had in Lismore.

I think it’s time for a bit of exploration of my area, like I was doing back in Lismore.

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

10 thoughts

  1. We have a significant back log of things we need, or at least want to buy. I’ve been thinking about click and collect or delivery but nothing is urgent.

    I said to R on Sunday after I was out for a walk at a popular cafe area, did Dan this morning announce masks are no longer required outside. Dan did not. I walked on the road rather than the footpath. It was quite uncomfortable. At times we can go between nearly 100% mask compliance to les than 50%. There is defiance in some people’s eyes, as I return my evil eye stare.

    It must be nice to be home and perhaps being on your own at home?

    1. The pleasures of being home are: sleeping in a double bed, walking nude from the bathroom to the bedroom (and into the kitchen too!), eating slightly more exotic food than we do at home, and listening to my own music quite loud. The thing I miss: my family.

  2. wb!

    As to mask-wearing, more ratbags in Surry Hills and peer pressure stronger in Lismore – well that’s my guess anyway.

    Mask wearing is pretty general out here in Canterbury, a suburb at the “Paris end” of the “areas of concern.” The (rare) exception I just saw walk past my front window is a someone from a few doors up who always projects a kind of resentful air against the world at the best of times so (at the risk of some simplification) at the ratbag end of the spectrum on this issue .

    I must say I chafe at mask wearing when in an open space far from others. Weight for age (well, actually, weight and age) my threshold for “vigorous exercise” is probably lower than average but if it weren’t it could still be tempting to determine it to be so in order to bring myself within that exception.

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