THE previous Wednesday began with morning glass in the waves at Fingal Head, my new home, with two colleagues and housemates. One of the three didn’t have to work that day. Poor bastards. The plan was, after a brief hiatus in Melbourne, to ride shark infested waves hundreds of kilometres from the nearest hospital, but hopefully not from the nearest pub. Dilemma – my board had recently died the end of a slow death. Took me three visits to a dodgy lookin’ second-hand store in Tweed Heads before I finally bought a board. Think I gave the proprietor the shits. Problem solved, and hours later we were boarding the flight to Melbourne, with the clichéd sounds of that stupid Angus and Julia Stone ‘Big Jet Plane’ song playing as we lowered into our seats. ‘Fuck I hate that song,’ said Ross. I grunted agreement. So we made the standard flying surfer jokes about whether our boards would be waiting for us on arrival, and if so, in how many pieces. Turned out such jest was groundless, after the flight I partially spent fantasising about joining the Mile High Club with a dimpled flight attendant named Rebecca, while trying to read a book about the search for the killers of an entire mid-western American family. Truman Capote’s a master, by the way. Ross, imbecile that he was, is and forever shall be, took a photo of me with his iPhone, then spent most of the flight digitally messing with my face. There was turbaned Osama bin Colin, bloodied Zombie Colin, naked woman in a thought bubble babes on the brain Colin and embarrassed Colin got shat on by a Seagull. The lights of civilisation below disappeared from view.
Traversing the tarmac, terminal and waiting in the cold outside with cigarettes hanging from our trembling lips was dark and bleak, like something out of a German soldier’s World War Two eastern front diary. Hello Melbourne. There was confusion about how to get to our hostel in South Yarra, but a bus ride with emotionally shattered plebeians and taxi ride with the stock-standard Indian student got us there. The guy behind the hostel reception counter was the type who greets you with telepathy. Y’know the type: just looks at you blankly until you break the weirdness by stating your business. Ross, who had decided to quit smoking, created an interesting and much needed distraction by looking exactly like a junkie version of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, cruelly cross-bred with a hay fever afflicted skinny man. We walked a kilometre at least up Chapel St looking for a chemist open past 9am and stocking anti-histamines. We found plenty of chemists, but no soothing drugs, ‘cause none of them were open. So we drank some cheap booze while watching the incredibly small TV in the bunk bedded closet which was our room, and drifted off to blissful sleep. Until the phone rang about midnight. Just a friendly call from the manager to yell at us to turn down the TV Ross had left on (he was on the bottom bunk). Course I only heard about this in the morning; thought it was just a fucked up dream.