Monday, October 1, 2012

Can't Think At All.

Jen Jen is back from China and I'm supposed to be meeting her for lunch in an hour or so. Facebook tells me she's at the hairdresser, though, so I figure I have a little time. I continue to do what I've been doing all morning - listen to records, browse through the internet, look outside at the blue skies and occasionally read. I was also able to chat briefly to Jamesy, who arrived home sometime late last night, but who was really only able to mutter something about Anna Meares' skinsuits before jetting off to his modelling gig. Yeah, it's a strange world we're living in.

Hot damn it's a beautiful day outside though. People have been asking me how I've been spending my Spring Break, and I've developed a singular answer: the same way as I spend my time normally, just slower. I've been running the same errands I run during schooltime, but I've been riding my bike instead of driving, listening to music, taking it easy, stopping for lights, not smashing it up hills or belting it through traffic. When I stop for coffee in the city I can linger a little longer than usual, lean back on the grass, look at the sky. When I have bills to pay or letters to post or clothes to repair I can take my time getting to the bank / post office / tailor, and use the trip as an excuse to meet up with friends in the neighbourhood. When people I know are busy with work or school or study I can bring them lunch. The combination of not training on the bike and not working (at least for a couple of weeks) has meant that I have a whole heap of time to spare, so much that it feels luxurious, like I can indulge myself in it like a cat eating cream.

I got a short little span of attention, though, and lately I've rediscovered that I'm interested in things other that cycling. Currently I'm less grumpy and cynical than I've been in years. Instead of thinking things like, "Why would I want to go to that new cafe? I can get everything I want at Wide Open Road." I'm now looking up new places online and checking out their menus. Instead of thinking, "Why the hell would I want new books when I can just reread The Rider for the eleventy millionth time?" I'm stopping in bookstores and browsing, trying to remember names of interesting writers that I vaguely remember from years and years ago. Writers that don't even mention bikes! Two years ago I wouldn't have understood, would've felt like I was wasting my time, would've signed up for extra pilates classes or done my core strength exercises or stretched instead. But now, for a number of reasons, I'm enjoying the hell out of the rest of life.

And this is where you come in. It's been four years since I've been interested in anything other than cycling, and consequently I'm a bit out of the loop. Melbourne seems like a new city to me at the moment. And back when I was traveling around a lot, whenever I landed in new cities I'd make my friends draw me up a map. On the map would be the things I was interested in: vegan friendly cafes and restaurants; alternative record stores; underground bookstores and sunny parks (incidentally, when I first landed in Glasgow I bugged my friend KA so much about making me a map that she, a geography major, drew hers up all wrong - I still maintain deliberately - and I ended up in strange neighbourhoods with no Bane records or Tofutti Cuties in sight). Now, I don't think I need a map of Melbourne, because I'm pretty familiar with the streets and suburbs, but I am taking recommendations on the cafes, bookstores, record stores, parks and ways to waste time. The comments section is truly made for this.

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