For the first few days back in Melbourne I kept turning my head everytime I heard someone speak, thinking 'they're Australian!'. But the appeal and amazement quickly faded and by the end of the first week I started to feel irritated by being able to understand everything everyone said. It was way too much information all the time. And most of it was deathly dull. I found myself listening to a couple of young women on a tram one day, but they were having pretty much exactly the same conversation I overheard in London. At the risk of sounding really, really old, don't young women have anything else to talk about? Something more interesting for old women to eavesdrop on?
Then there were the people who decided to talk to me, even though I'd shown no interest in talking with them - like the woman who berated me for letting Mads walk in a flower bed near the floral clock ('These gardens are for everyone, not just you!') and who didn't apologise when I pointed out Mads was actually walking along a path.
The worst bit was when I started suspecting people were eavesdropping on me. A woman sat ridiculously close to Mads and me in a not-crowded train back from the zoo last week. I swear she was listening to the story I was making up about the day Mads went to super-hero kindergarten.
But luckily last Saturday afternoon something that made all the listening in worth while. I was catching the tram back from town at 5 pm and a group of young male punks got on the tram, talking loudly and swigging from a red wine bottle. The thing I noticed about them, besides the loudness, was that they weren't all that convincing as punks. They had the hair and the clothes, but there was something kind of nerdy about them. One had glasses which he kept pushing up his nose in an almost nervous way while raving on at the top of his voice about how much pot he smoked that morning. It was quite odd.
And then, once they'd finished discussing pot, they started talking about computer programs. One of them took a large swig of wine and said 'the great thing about Illustrator is that you can save a path, import it into a new file and apply the same path to the new file.' It was a most unexpected topic of conversation for a group of punks and I found myself edging a little closer - party out of surprise but partly because I've always been a little hazy about using paths in Illustrator. But unfortunately they got off at the next stop, leaving me unclear as to whether they were really punks or just graphic designers on their way to a dress up party. I was also still unclear about using paths in Illustrator.
Still, it was an satisfying bit of eavesdropping. I doubt I'll see its like again in the six days left of my stay here.