The Passionate Type

Typographer Gemma O'Brien will speak at Melbourne's AgIdeas International Design Week festival from April 29.  Photo: Toby Dixon

Typographer Gemma O’Brien will speak at Melbourne’s AgIdeas International Design Week festival from April 29. Photo: Toby Dixon

Gemma's Sydney attic/studio is where she "creatively hibernates".  Photo: Toby Dixon

Gemma’s Sydney attic/studio is where she “creatively hibernates”. Photo: Toby Dixon


Puzzling Karma

NEVER thought I could have an interesting Friday evening while unemployed, deliberately anti-social due to poverty, girlfriend-less and suffering from savage nicotine withdrawals. Read: interesting. Not “fun”. That would be impossible under the above circumstances.

It started innocuously enough: I said goodbye to my aunt and uncle on my dad’s side, who were staying at our house, jumped in my car and drove to the Varsity Lakes train station. Dad had the day before undergone brain surgery in which to commence deep brain stimulation in order to treat the symptoms of his Parkinson’s Syndrome. Basically this involves a wire connected to his brain from a pacemaker in his chest which stimulates a chemical called dopamine in his brain to counter the effects of his syndrome.

My God, I could use a cigarette right now. It feels like my skeleton wants to burst out of my skin and go buy a packet, in the absence of my organs’ willingness.

But anyway, gotta shake that shit off. Where was I? Oh, yeah, so the train journey was a pleasant one in which I caught up on a book about Edward “Weary” Dunlop – one of Australia’s most famous war-time (WW2) surgeons and all around good guys. I arrived at Roma Street Station about, I dunno, 2.30pm and walked straight up to St Andrew’s to see dad. Mum was there, as she’s often been during his about two months in (and out of) hospital. My half-sister and her step-daughter rocked up for a little while. Then my aunt and uncle (the same ones as above) followed me up and we had dinner with mum. Dad stayed in his hospital room, just over the road from the pub. I had four pints of cider (two earlier on and two with dinner).

While dinner was happening my brother turned up with his little Irish girlfriend. Which reminds me that part of the appeal of visiting dad – besides the fact he gave me life and I owe him (and mum) pretty much everything – is the cute Irish nurse who has regularly looked after him. But just thinking about her is frustrating the F out of me, so I’ll leave it there.

Alright, leaving time. I was a little concerned about my intake of refreshing, delicious cider (I’m not a hipster; it just tastes good, is alcoholic and isn’t a Baccardi Breezer). But I figured the fact I’d had four pints in four hours and would be sitting on the train for an hour and a half would mean the alcohol leaving my system. I wasn’t sure, but the trip home from the station was short and mainly along either the freeway or minor suburban roads.

Things got a little annoying when the train arrived at Robina station and, just my luck, absorbed hundreds of rugby league bogans who just finished watching the Gold Coast Titans being mauled by the Brisbane Broncos. Luckily, they weren’t rowdy. As far as I could see they mostly consisted of boring middle-class families. But the sheer masses of them proved an annoyance when leaving the station. I hung around the platform finishing a chapter of my book to wait as the sea of white, yellow, blue and maroon melted into the night.

I don’t know why I was so worried about being over the limit, I thought as I gained the freeway. Where, as far as I know, random breath test road blocks hardly every lurk. Then at about the Bermuda Street exit, the traffic started to bank up and I realised roadworks up ahead had snatched defeat from the jaws of my victory. So to speak.

So I took the West Burleigh Road-Tabilban Street-Ocean Parade-Reserve Street-Tabilban Street (yes, again)-Ikkina Road-to the Gold Coast Highway which would lead me to Palm Beach rabbit-run detour. The only problem was, once on the GC Hwy there’s a bridge leading across Tallebudgera Creek from Burleigh to Palm Beach on which I remembered the police regularly set up RBTs. Of course as I turned out of Ikkina Road on to the GC Hwy I noticed blue and red flashing lights, that I became familiar with in a former post you might enjoy, further south along the highway so immediately drove straight through the lights and into the carpark in front of the indigenous information centre. And parked, while my right brain congratulated me on avoiding a large fine and my left brain called me a pussy who totally didn’t have enough alcohol in his system to get screwed by the pigs. Both sides knew I wasn’t drying myself off safely beside shit creek without a paddle just yet, though.

I wasn’t sure the “roadworks” on the freeway I’d avoided by pursuing the ill-fated rabbit-run weren’t actually an RBT in disguise. But when I drove back up there it turned out they were simply harmless if slowing roadworks, I even made it to the bottle-o in time for a six pack and managed to find time before bed for this happy ending. Aren’t you lucky 🙂 Peace-and-love to any freakazoids who bothered to read this. If you offer me a cigarette I can’t promise whether I’ll either punch or hug you.