Thursday 21 February 2008

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Mobile Mobiles

© John Sawyer – February 2008

Ms Fitness joined the 17:01 from Geelong and sat directly opposite me. She put her rucksack in the seat next to her, kicked off her joggers and arranged herself in the Lotus Position and proceeded to meditate. “Om… Om…Om…”

The Matron sat down next to the rucksack, balanced her large handbag on her lap and pulled out her mobile phone. “Hello Love. Hello it’s Mum. Yes Mum.”


“Oh I’m sorry Love; I’ve got the times wrong again. What time is it in Amsterdam now?”

“Look I’ll ring you back later if you like…”


“2 degrees and snowing is it? Gee it’s just the opposite here, a sunny spring day…”

“I see. Well I did ask your father to send you the money…”


“Orr he’s all right I suppose. But you know your father, sitting all day at the computer, playing with the stock market.”

The Organiser bursts aboard just as the train pulls out and sits just across the aisle. What’s with these women? There are plenty of other seats. Don’t they know protocols of maximising fellow travellers personal space when filling the carriage?

“Hello Brad, yes I just made the train. Teenagers are impossible. I told her this morning I was going to town and she still wants to talk about school. I have enough problems of my own. I barely had time to shower and make the train. I left her money for a pizza and gave her strict instructions to stay in the house. Anyway I’m on my way and looking forward to tonight.”


“Oh yes … me too. Let me get settled and I’ll call you back.”

The Organiser pulls out a makeup case and lovingly applies makeup and organises her hair. Ms Fitness has given up on meditation. She extracts a spoon from her rucksack and starts devouring yoghurt and homemade muesli from a Tupperware container.

The Matron continues her discussion with Amsterdam. “Well I’m sorry it hasn’t turned out Love. Modelling’s probably a bit harder to get into…”

Ms Fitness flips open her mobile: “Hello Mother. Yes. What did they feed you tonight?”

“Well I’m sure that your father will send you more money Love, you only have to ask him…”

“I’m sure they’re doing their best Mother. You really can’t expect much else from institutional cooking…”

“Hello Brad, I’m all relaxed now… Well I arrive at Spencer Street… I’m about an hour away”

“You can talk to the doctor about it Mother, but I personally think you need a good irrigation. Your salts are probably… No Mother, you’re not too old for alternative treatments.”

“Yes Love, ring your father now and I’ll call you back… No the Savings account... OK I’ll call you back soon.”

“No Brad, if you’re coming from Hurstbridge, the train will stop at Flinders Street… Oh, what are you doing in Fitzroy?”

“Yes Mother. Goodnight, I’ll speak with you tomorrow… Yes Mother, sleep well.” “Shit.”

“I’m not jealous Brad, Of course you can see whoever you like but I’m telling you that Heather is just not your type… OK then, call me back when you’re on the tram.” “Shit.”

I send an SMS. “Home just after 7. Love!”

The four of us sit silently, avoiding eye contact until the conductor does his drill with the tickets. The Organiser adjusts her lipstick again. Ms Fitness starts on fruit salad and yoghurt, a spoon in one hand, phone in the other.

“Hello? Fiona? How are you Fi? … I’ve just spoken with Mother… I know, but you have to do something for a change. It’s just not fair…”

“Hello… Yes Brad, it’s me. How did you go?”

“Hello Love, Mum again. Is it light yet, How’d you go?”

“Its easy for you Fi up there on the Lower North Shore with your stockbroker pals. I’m the one who has to…”

“You changed trams at Swanson Street? … No, you should have stayed on to… OK it doesn’t matter…”

“Well your father’s a good man Love and you should get the money soon… No, I’m in the train on my way to Melbourne…”

“I’m sorry Fi… Yes. OK. Good. No I’m fine really; I feel my liver is slightly out of… Oh I get by… Two sessions a week on ‘Traditional Nepalese Health Practices’ at the … No, I’m in the train on my way to Melbourne…”

“I’ll catch the tram around to Flinders Street Brad and meet you under the clocks… Yes! I am too… Sorry Brad…”

“Yes Love, I’m off to Carlton to spend a few nights with Harry… You know Harry. Mr Mathews, used to live across the road at number 8…”

“Yes, I’m going to a play with Antony. At the Malthouse. Oh yes he still looks just as dashing although I wonder about his diet…”

“Yes Brad, it should be a good performance. Yes we can cuddle up under my rug if it gets too cold. No I was planning to stay with you in Hurstbridge if that’s OK Brad… She’ll be OK. She can make it to school on her own… Yes Bye...”

“No he’s booked a motel and I’m staying a couple of days… Well I’m quite excited… Oh Love really… Your father…”

“Yes Fi, I plan to sleep with him tonight but I don’t want to make a habit of it. No it puts me all out of balance if I have too…”

“Yes I love you too Brad”

“I’ll ring you next week Love. Bye”

“OK Fiona, I’ll see you at the nursing home weekend after next…. Yes Bye!”

The Organiser makes one last adjustment to her lipstick and hair, Ms Fitness finds her shoes and we make our way off the train.

I can’t wait for a beer on the back verandah.


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