Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Nauseous Nostalgia

It is quite odd being back in Sydney after so long. The smells, the old friends, the old friends that smell. The weather is a bit changeable, with thunder storms and cloud bursts, a bit of humidity and then a few days of hot, 30 degree weather and enough sun for the beach.

This is what I needed after a long winter of illness, dark days, some beautiful snow and some not so beautiful, street mucked, side of the road snow. Apartment renovation has been dragging on, the wife has been traveling and me stuck at the in-law's home worrying about the dogs up at the cold farm.

But then, to really throw the senses into disarray - both physical and emotional - coming to Sydney at the end of their(my?) summer. Staying at the house of an old flame, P, while she is away with her hubby and daughter, on the very same old street where I rented with a good friend, R. In fact he is here with me, too, coming in from Asian ports for the wedding of the third part of the old group, T.

The smells, the birds; people must think I am crazy or a bit on the earthy side to keep mentioning these two sensory nostalgics. But with these two comes a host of other thoughts and emotions.

This morning lying in bed, I tried to visually play back the very first year I was here and could not understand how I could get so much into that first year. Balmain, the flatmates, the work, the party where I met R and P, the beach, the spicy Thai and Malaysian, a few of the first Aussie flames (a small number - but a good selection - in that first year, I might add).

Then whammo, back to reality, the loss of hair, now gray, the poor health, the worrisome work, the ties and chains to the city in Europe. The thoughts, the irresponsible, unrealistic and unaffordable thoughts of moving back to Sydney with a few quarantinable dogs and a wife that really doesn't want to. But the wife isn't the problem at all. We have it pretty good there. Sure, not nearly as well off as the entrepreneurial mates here, no beach and incredibly healthy lifestyle of Oz. But a good place for the future none the less.

The real problem is that I cannot get away from this idea of moving back! These memories! as if they will be similar in some kind of future on this gorgeous rock; the dream that things would be so much better to override the incredibly stressful logistical nightmare of finding new jobs, moving home, hearth, packrat junk and dogs. This nauseous nostalgia!

Sydney is clean. Sydney is sunny. Sydney has ferries on which its possible to enjoy, and I really mean enjoy, the workday commute. Sydney has the only sport in the world that I really enjoy seeing live: the Australian Rules Football (I mean that).

I have heard it said that Aussie Rules, is supposedly similar to some kind of Gaelic Football. A rugby, or American football shape that is kicked and 'punched' downfield to be kicked threw 4 uprights to score. 16 players a side wearing stubby shorts and armless tee shirts. And not those swarthy Rugby League hoons that are short and squat, but rather tall, basketball types, pelting across the field to tackle, climb and catch in fantastically painful moves all without a speck of padding. Oh, and on a cricket pitch 2.5 times the size of a normal soccer field. A seat on the midpoint of the field at ground level is certainly a mistake since you need to be high up, overlooking the play to get any idea of the distance they travel so quickly, without interruption except for the goal scoring and the "mark" when a player catches a kicked ball (where he gets a very brief respite to kick it again hopefully to another player or the middle gap of the three made by the four uprights, to score a 'six').

The gut wrenching meat pies, the 1920's sing-song rally, the colorful scarves and jerseys. All part of the sunny afternoon that soon becomes a chilly but mild, sometimes rainy, afternoon by end of season in the down-under winter. A good sport to follow. But a totally isolated and repeatable occurrence on this continent; totally Australian.

Time to get off this Darlinghurst terrace and head into town for more meetings of old friends to relive more nostalgia. You have to realize that its only me that can be seen with the nausea of the disease because all these mates haven't left are still here day to day. I guess you need to sometimes - to lose it - just to realize the value of what you have got, in Australia.


1 comment:

rod said...

Shit, Dan, if you're looking for old friends that smell, you can always come visit us in Seattle.