7. People leave such a mess around here! (The Saturday morning after on a South Yarra train platform)
Don't worry: After three going on four coming-and-going cycles, I still love this place. My secret: I somehow seem to instinctively know exactly when to leave Melbourne, right at the moment when one more week could jeopardize our excellent standing. The last thing I need is to turn Melbourne into another Buenos Aires, a place where I overstayed my welcome by at least a year, putting it in my no-go zone for two. I'm pretty sure that after a month back in BA, I'll be craving another Melbourne fix.
So what makes me so sure my timing is so right this time? I've had some excellent clues....
1. Lately, I've been regularly returning to my old bag of tricks, which makes me a very sad magician indeed. (Nobody will be singing Heart's "Magic Man" about me!) This must either mean that the dating pool in Melbourne is getting too small, or I've spent too much time wading in it. It was nice to see where the waiter at San Telmo restaurant lives, though.
2. Speaking of same people, different day/night, I've also been expending far too much mental energy hoping to avoid crossing paths with certain people, some of whom have never even stepped foot into my dating pool. How is it possible that no matter what time of day I go to the gym, I always seem to see the same people hovering around the same equipment, and the same two guys making me wait for the chin-up bar? At least those two make for pleasing scenery.
And then there are the people who live around my apartment building. I always seem to be coming and going just when the same people are walking by. Small talk inevitably ensues. Someone says something about the weather; another asks if I've been running around the Tan, as if I possibly could have become such a panting, sweaty mess anywhere else. (The dating pool?) Every time I think I'm about to make it in, or out, in silence, there they are, as if they were hiding in the bushes stealthily awaiting my arrival/departure: Gotcha! "Curses, mate!" I mutter to myself.
3. Mate?! What was I saying? Suddenly, "mate" is regularly creeping into my everyday lexicon. (Fortunately, I still use "tomoz" for "tomorrow" only when I'm texting because it's shorter -- I would never actually say such a ridiculous word out loud.) I've tried other fake butchisms -- "buddy," "man," "dude" -- but I sound so stupid using them. I'm just not that guy. If I can have someone at just "hello," why can't I leave it at that? After four and a half years in Buenos Aires, not once did I utter the words "Hola, lindo." I hope I don't start doing it when I go back.
4. I need to turn my luck around. The other night I went with Marcus to Bingo Night at the Greyhound Hotel for the second time. I've always sucked at Bingo -- or rather, good fortune has never bothered to smile on me while I was playing it -- but this was ridiculous. Last Wednesday night, two people won twice, and Marcus, who won a round the last time I went with him, once again got to call out "Bingo!" His grand prize: a tray of raw meat. It's not necessarily something I'd want for myself, but it's the thought that counts. And my thoughts were revolving around a new conundrum: Is my recent lack of luck in life affecting my Bingo game, or does my Bingo game indicate more sucky luck to come? I doubt I'll ever play it again, Sam. I mean, mate. I mean -- oh, forget it!
5. My cholesterol is in grave danger of skyrocketing. I'm kind of getting into hot cross buns, and lately I've been craving footy meat pies and chicken parmigiana and chips. Ugh. I'm calling french fries "chips"! Gotta run.
6. Too bad it'll probably be around the Tan. Once around is starting to get really old (and not just because I always have to answer questions about my whereabouts afterwards), and I'm not feeling particularly motivated to head to my previous other running-stomping ground, Albert Park Lake, for fear of running into my ex, who jogs there. (I'd rather dive into the fake lake than risk falling back into that dating pool!) For a while, incorporating a stretch of the Yarra River into my jog was shaking things up nicely and providing my water fix, but I'm sort of over that, too. If only over-familiarity with the Tan meant that completing the challenge at the end of it was getting easier, I'd be running up that hill with no problem. Sadly, I'm no Kate Bush.