Sometimes it irks me that I work every Saturday, when fun events are planned that I have to either miss or show up hours late for. What I don't ever mind though is that my "Sunday" is Monday. Having a week day to get stuff done, even if it's just to go and see a movie in a deserted cinema (bliss). When that Monday is on the same insanely busy week as Christmas it's extra appreciated. So this morning I woke up early and got the ball rolling on a day that came with a whole To Do List of its own.
First off I had to catch a bus to the hardware store. The hardware supermarket. Actually if anyone still uses the term hypermart then that's what this place is. My sister and brother in law are renovating their house, so the desired gift of choice this year was a gift card. A Bunnings hardware hypermart gift card. So I got on a bus and travelled the 10 stops to my nearest outlet, one of the hyperest of the hypermarts.
Here's a thing about hardware stores, of this variety... they discriminate against non drivers. Or more accurately we are probably just completely off their radar. First off there is no real clear pedestrian access to the place, you just have to take your life in your own hands and walk up the same ramp access that all the cars use. Then once you've made your modest purchases (because duh, one can't carry the bulky stuff home on the bus) any request for a carry bag is denied. It's a recycled box (handy for the boot of the car!) or nothing. So having bought an armload full of outdoor solar lighting (tall, thin, bollard style lights and a steal at $4 each!) I then did an inefficient juggling routine on the bus ride home.
All this before 9.30am. Then I headed out again and got on yet another bus and headed into the city to buy the last gift I had to get for my family. Fast forward through me wandering the aisles of a DVD almost-hypermart picking out about a dozen non-purchased gifts for myself, and one actual one for my sister. (Plus hanging out for a short while in the Gay & Lesbian section just to see who else shops those shelves.) A kind of brunch on the run, and then another bus ride home for a frenzy of gift wrapping prior to heading to the Post Office and squeezing in a haircut.
I'm so glad I made the change from getting $75 haircuts in a chi-chi salon to getting $15 haircuts in an old fashioned barber shop. 9 times out of 10 I'm happier with the cut, I'm certainly happier to leave $60 still in my pocketses, and I like the vibe of the place. The blue liquid the combs sit in. The 40+ year old formica*. The angled mirrors that line the narrow railway carriage of a place, designed specifically (it would seem) so that I can revel in the fact that my 46 year old pate bears no signs of impending bald spotness.
The guys that work there are friendly enough, efficient, and not the least bit interested in asking about where I plan on going on my holidays. Best of all there's a kind of pleasant yang quality about the experience. A kind of honour system that may well be the last bastion of gentlemanly behaviour is in operation, everyone knows where they are in the queue and as gentlemen one and all we all take our turns. Plus, in true Newtown fashion, it's a melting pot of all sorts of guys; young dads, old Greek grandpas, hipsters in what looks like vintage workwear (and ironic mustaches sometimes), and the gays. Like me.
Oh, score of the day! On the short walk home from the barber I found the Christmas cook book by one of my culinary gurus Elizabeth David further reduced to $9.95! Thank you Universe. It was $16.95 just a few days back. Given that it was originally about $30, and my need for more Elizabeth David in my life, I had to give myself a wee treat.
We're not quite done yet, but we're on the home stretch. I put my feet up for an hour and then it was another brush with bus going community of Sydney. Back into the city again for my work Christmas get together. Nibbles, drinkies and a fun present swapping Kris Kringle game ensued, before I caught my last bus of the day.
Maybe this non-driving thing has its drawbacks after all?
* Not a wild guess, the place proudly advertises it opened in '66.