I’ve written before about the pneuma of the urban dweller. Smokers desperately inhaling their last puff of poison before boarding the train to work. Boofheads going nun-bowling and smelly swearing students show boating in front of schoolgirls. That’s all part and parcel of life in the big city and it provides a vibrant backdrop for the upcoming eight hours of mundane office work most people endure. Public transport however, is not the only place in Sydney inhabited by ‘colourful’ characters.
I like to go for a run in the mornings and, whilst my usual route crosses some unpleasant roads, the overall experience is generally peaceful and serene. Today however was a little different.
Wyndham Street in Alexandria is a busy thoroughfare of commuter vehicles, buses and trucks heading for the fringe of the city and the north. From 6:00am onwards there is a steady stream of carbon monoxide belching from blackened exhausts and a cacophony of horns honking for no apparent reason. It’s enough to make you sick – literally. In the midst of this motorised chaos was a cyclist, weaving in and out of traffic, with headphones in his ears and no helmet on his head. Was he drunk, on drugs or just plain stupid – I don’t know. We call people like that ‘temporary Australians.’
A few minutes later I am jogging down Bourke Street in Waterloo and another cyclist almost cleans me up on the footpath. I ride a bike too and I don’t like battling for space with cars, so I understand the desire to get off the road. However, what you may not know dear reader is that the footpath I was on runs parallel to a purpose-built bike lane. Yes there is a lane dedicated to push bikes. Only push bikes! No cats, dogs, kids, cars, camels, goats or joggers are allowed on it. Just cyclists. Yet this fool figured he was better off bashing into pedestrians. Seriously fellow riders, it’s no wonder motorists hate us.
After a cursory spray of bad language from yours truly, which was met with a flippant flipping of the bird from the two-wheeled twat, I headed back towards Redfern Park. As I enjoyed a long cool drink from the bubbler I felt a dog snuffling around my feet. It’s a very family friendly park full of people and pets so I leaned down to give the little fellow a pat. But this weren’t no canine. Instead of a cute little puppy there was a huge black pig snorting and lapping at the water I had splashed onto the ground.
Pigs don’t scare me, but seeing one in the city is certainly a strange sight, especially one so at ease with humans all around. I plucked up some courage and gingerly touched his head. It was covered in thick bristly fur that felt more like a scrubbing-brush than the soft hair of a typical domesticated animal. His curly tailed wiggled. Suddenly high-pitched whistle shattered the serenity and Bacon Sandwich (or whatever his name was) oinked and shot off across the grass to play with his owner. He had a lead. He chased tennis balls. He wrestled with the other dogs. Clearly Porky was a pooch, or at least he thought he was. With a fat and happy hog frolicking in the fountain I headed home to shower and go to work.
The train ride was largely uneventful, until it began rattling its way out of Wynyard Station. A couple of girls, with foundation like Liquid Paper and teeth bleached beyond a whiter shade of pale, plopped their dainty derrieres in the chair opposite me and proceeded to critique my fellow passengers. With high-pitched squeaky voices and an annoying penchant for finishing their sentences with an inflection as if posing a question, where no question existed, these two little bimbos from Ella Baché squawked on about how grey hair makes you look old. Its called DISTINGUISHED ladies. Thankfully they got off at Milson’s Point and gave everyone’s ears a rest.
As I arrived at my destination I reflected on how my day had begun.
Out of the idiot, the ignoramus, the bimbos and the swine; piglet was the nicest person.