The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Road Trip!

Well, I survived it. A weekend road-trip to Sydney with three lads, all of us squashed into my little two-door hatchback. (Well, according to the manufacturers it is three-door, but I don’t see the point of classifying the boot as a door.)

There were moments of excitement – having to swerve around a car that suddenly stopped, narrowly missing the car in the next lane; watching the fuel gauge sit on empty while noting that we remembered the first petrol station on the highway as being nearer to Sydney – but overall pretty free from incident.

I was staying with a friend in Sydney, and it was lovely to catch up. We had a completely decadent lunch at the Park Hyatt, overlooking the harbour (I’ll have the smoked Tasmanian salmon as an entrée, thank you . . .). On Saturday night it was off to a friend’s party, where I got to catch up not only with the birthday girl but also with a few other great people I haven’t seen for a while.

Of course, no road trip can be free of a good trauma story, and mine happened on Saturday night. The party I went to was in Balmain, the apartment where I was staying in Woolloomooloo. The owner of the apartment was not there that night, so I was spared from the guilt of stumbling home at a godforsaken hour and waking her up. I got ready for the party on Saturday evening and conscientiously locked the door behind me when I left.

When I got back to the apartment at 1.15am I couldn’t get back in again. I had a whole handful of keys, but none of them fitted one of the main locks on the door. This took me some time to determine, as I wasn’t entirely sure if my problems were all due to the fact that I was very tired and somewhat drunk. I eventually had to ring the poor girl at 1.30 to determine that no, I really didn’t have the key. Because she had never been given it. There are times when things just seem too hard, and you wish you could just curl up in a ball where you are, close your eyes and make it all go away. Standing there in the corridor of her apartment building in the small hours was one of those times. I ended up having to go back to Balmain like a homeless waif, and claim a spot on the sofa. Many thanks for the loan of a t-shirt to sleep in, and to the housemate who gifted me with a brand new toothbrush.

Between one thing and another, it was 5.30 on Sunday evening before I managed to get into her apartment to claim my possessions, not the least of which being some deodorant and clean underwear.

I suppose that if nothing else it was an exercise in appreciating the small things in life – clean teeth, clean clothes, having my glasses. These things make all the difference. And it was certainly not as bad as my last Sydney-road-trip-trauma, in which I got very, very lost trying to come home. So I think I’m on an upward swing – give me a few more road-trips and everything will be flawless. But then I’ll be forced to invent a good story to tell.

The other thing we did on the weekend was go and see Secretary - which I definitely recommend. Despite concerning itself with a sado-masochistic relationship it is not seedy and exploitative. It is actually a love story with a difference, and an interesting look at the complexities of human relationships. Maggie Gyllenhaal is wonderful as the secretary in question – very convincing as a woman predisposed to self-harm, who finds new confidence and fulfillment in an unorthodox relationship. James Spader continues his career as the slightly eerie character with unorthodox sexual tendencies (anyone ever see Crash?) but he does it very well. Secretary was enjoyable, thought provoking, and surprisingly sweet. And that's my two cents.