Turf Wars

It’s been a shitty week.
Blah, blah, reasons, explanations, etc. The End.

I think we’re all just as tired as I am of the “Bri is not feeling well” story, and it’s time to flip the record over, so what we’re going to do today is talk about the weather.

Here, in my little corner of the world, the winter grass is beginning to go green again. Our loquat tree has started to bear fruit and everyone around me has commenced their hayfever season.

Barbecues clothed in cobwebs, dust, and the remnants of the final Summer Barbie are being cleaned off in preparation of warm weekends with friends, where the sun shines through wine glasses and dries out the least popular Hors d’oeuvres left to melt on the nibbles tray.

A short walk around the neighbourhood as dusk approaches becomes a cacophony of the persistent barking of dogs, put out by all the new people walking on their footpath, and the delighted shrieks of children, lost in a game of their own devising.

The absence of the cold wind biting into exposed flesh seems to slow the whole place down. People stop rushing from A to B, and start meandering. They look up and around them, at trees and buildings, unconsciously lifting their faces to the sun, like leaves on rainforest plants.

There is one group of people, however, who are greatly inconvenienced by the onset of warmer weather, and I’m not referring to those who suffer from allergies.

No. This Spring, pledge your support to the smokers of the world. Those committed souls who have braved the elements by spending all winter at those wind-battered outdoor café tables that nobody wanted to sit at. Think of how they feel each spring when hordes of families and trendy, judgemental people suddenly lay claim to those very same tables, simply because the weather is now sufficiently warm enough to cater to their delicate sensibilities.

Suddenly, the smoker has nowhere to sit for lunch. Those who manage to get a seat and have the audacity to actually light a cigarette in the smoking section are treated with contemptuous stares or at least a passive-aggressive coughing fit from someone two tables away, who, for the duration of the smoker’s entire meal, did not have any sign of a respiratory problem at all.

It is a great injustice against an already highly-persecuted percentage of the population and something must be done!

As smokers are already treated like a diseased/disabled part of our population, the same rules that apply on buses, forcing able-bodied passengers to vacate their seat for the elderly/pregnant/disabled, should also be applied to smokers’ seating at cafés.

If you’re not a smoker and you decide to take a table in the smoking section anyway because, well, you’re only having a coffee and there’s plenty of other seats anyway, you’d best be prepared to stand up for the rest of your café journey should a smoker require your seat.

After all, there are plenty of available seats inside. You really quite enjoyed them over the past three months.


I don’t cope well with change

As I left work this evening, an hour shy of sunset, I was struck with that odd, premonition-feeling that something bad was going to happen.
Something feels wrong. Different.

As I walked along Dowling Street, heading towards the highway and the satisfaction of my four-hour-long McDonald’s craving, a warm, determined  breeze was whipping leaves from limbs, hissing through them like secrets being whispered frantically in the dark. Leaves were scuttling across the footpath, eddying along the road, buffeted by cars and trucks and farmer’s utes which left behind the stench of manure.

It mingled with the scent of woodsmoke, usually so prevalent at this time of the evening, but now just an echo from houses whose owners are expecting the usual biting cold that has been our constant companion these past few months.

The light was fading. Hazes of soft, blued-out clouds brushed against a large bank of purple attempting to dominate the sky in a demonstration of Winter’s last stand while artificial light spilled from the windows of shops, brazenly late-night trading although it’s only Wednesday.

The golden arches greeted me a block away and I navigated the car park against the highway traffic trying to beat me to the doors. A group of teenagers sprawled across the outdoor tables, caught up in the heady atmosphere of hormones, flirting and the promise of warm weather romance.

As I began to feel hot inside my thick, winter coat, I realised why everything felt so strange, so wrong.

The weather is changing. Today. Right now.

The bone-soaking cold has given way to a balmier breeze, inviting people out of their homes and their cars. Too many people for this routine-obsessed girl. Their presence unnerves me, their carefree eyes watch me as I walk up to the counter and order my two-person-meal-for-one.

They talk too loudly, comfortable amongst themselves. Their voices grate against my anxiety, forcing me into the corner next to the napkins, straws and squishy little sauce packets. I feel exposed and on edge.

My order is called and I rush out of there, past the teenagers and back onto Dowling Street.

As I reach the more familiar path towards the solitude and safety of my home, my nerves settle and I join the rest of the world, lifting my face to enjoy the sunset and the warm, inviting breath of wind that tickles my hair.

Damnit. I forgot the cat food.