A pretty blonde woman leans past me to press the button on the pedestrian traffic lights. Saturday night, the city is starting to come alive. The lights are bright, the cars busy and the people bustle. Excited conversations, everyone with somewhere to go. Even the trees are busy. In my teeth I have a stack of posters, and I wrap the tape around and around the pole. Her casual intrusion reminds me of what would be happening in my normal life.
‘Expert Editor: help for every student’. Well-designed, glossy, white headline. Degrading the standard of University education with each thumb tack I lean into. My hard-earned, $27,500 piece of paper worth less and less, amounting to a Saturday night spent running out of sticky-tape and chasing posters down the street. The street advertisements mock me; ‘Broadway dental: A smile to remember’ (as if a smile is something you can give someone). I find a powerpoint that is painted the same colour as the wall, in a hall set with rows and rows of chairs for people who are not here.
‘What am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing. The African guy is a sign right, cos if it isn’t, then nothing in this world makes any sense to me anymore, I’m fucked, shit, fuck.’
The drone and flash of buses passing comes through an ornate glass door to reach me. My bus is red. I don’t know when it’s coming, and I don’t particularly care.
The clickity-clack of heels, how cliché. Flicking through 54 more posters than I wish I had in my possession, I’m starting to care. The wind is cold and knocks me off-balance. I’m chronically restless, needing comfort. Again, it occurs to me, This is your life.
Ho hum. This blog is what Bukowski would say, were he to find himself wearing my flat-soled shoes. Bukowski had no time or place for blessings. Small moments of captured beauty, perhaps, though only framed within a dark, grimy world. He had no business with manifestation, he created carelessly, living for today not tomorrow. Inner peace, the type which comes twinged (/tainted) with speckles of joy, was long forsaken as a naive aspiration, abandoned as a youthful folly.
I keep my youthful aspirations, and I hope. Cos otherwise I quit, or breathe hating every moment. And so on a bus in the rain next to boys with arms folded and side-glancing strangers, I wilfully count my blessings. It comes slowly, through my wanting it leeches. I like the city, I like trees and buses, I like watching rain from behind glass. Happiness doesn’t make for passionate poetry, but something has to sustain the fantasy.
The bus careers through the glistening darkness, rickety. The bus driver tells me of course we’re not there yet, but that I’ll know when we are.
The shriek of ripping sticky-tape is muffled by the bass line of Hard Attack at the Roundhouse. I’m not inside dancing. I enter the Law building as if I know where I am going; I plaster the boys toilets as well as the girls; I exit to the sound of emergency door alarms. I have an exboyfriend who’d wish he was here. It’s raining in sheets, and I am wearing the jacket of some other ex-boyfriends ex-girlfriend. It’s made from down, and I’ve finalised the experience by lining it with fur. The bottom of my pants are saturated, glasses rain tattered. I’m done, and a long ride home. I’ve arrived at the place where I have nothing to say; just another day.