Sunday 5 October 2008

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Walking and Talking

© John Sawyer – October 2008

I look up from my computer. It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning at the start of spring. Should I give up on writing for the morning and go and sit on the veranda with a coffee for a while?

Someone has stopped at the front gate. He has mass of long curly red hair and an even a redder woollen, collared jumper worn over a white business shirt. A cable TV salesman or a candidate for council? No, he’s not coming in. Is he just looking at the garden? Our garden provides a spectacular contrast to the expensive, trendy affair that the neighbours put in. After just two months and despite the latest drip system, their plants are all dead. Our garden overflows with green, low maintenance flora. Native sage is currently dominating the display with its small pink and yellow blooms. A banksia is pushing its lonely, still forming yellow brush above the throng. The yellow survival strategy is working. Even this one gene pod is attracting lots of attention from the honeyeaters that swoop down to check it’s progress.

No my visitor isn’t interested in our garden, he’s talking to someone.

“What are you doing, just standing there like that? Just doing nothing.” I crane around looking for his companion; is it a dog? No, he’s talking to the brick wall of the decommissioned milk bar that takes up half of our front yard.

“Well, what have you got to say for yourself just standing there? Well?” He waits there with one hand on his hip, staring. No sensible sort of answer is forthcoming so he starts to move off but stops again, right hand gesticulating violently: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself, absolutely ashamed.” He stamps off with a sideways snarl at the unresponsive offender.

He’s not so strange. Lots of people talk to themselves when they’re out walking. The bloke who delivers our junk mail stops his old pram at our letter box. “Well, what do I deliver here? Yes 5 items. 1-2-3-4-5. Here you are, 5 items.” He stuffs them in the letter slot before he limps next-door and starts the routine again. Twice a week, every letterbox in the neighbourhood with each item counted out individually. That’s service, personalised service.

I sing when I’m out walking on my own. Yes sing. Yes out loud. Not real loud; just audible above the trams clanking in Bridge Road or the bike riders clanging as I walk along the river. If you’re up close you can hear my latest. Last week I sang “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, It’s not warm when she’s away …” over and over with “I know, I know… I know” repeated far too many times.

I’m not as loud as the woman who walks past each morning just before 7am. She reads a novel while accompanying some piece of grand opera from her iPod. She’s out most mornings; rain hail or shine. Her soprano serenades the empty street.

Yes, it’s quite normal to walk, talk and sing to yourself.


Unknown said...

Lovely stuff John. Someone is reading it :-) FCW

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