In the last five years since the Blight left, I have been out a total of 7 times at night. I have been to the city once in 9 years and that was last year for the marriage equality rally. I've been to Monash Uni. twice, once by bus. So going out to grogblogging night is a big deal even if technically it's not grogblogging when I don't drink. And it's not as though we are really strangers either.
I put on my best dress and found the cockroach from the other night. The swine is now hiding in the wardrobe. I get out my shoes and there's a faded note, 'use bandaids, these hurt'. My handbag has a spider in it and I'm starting to feel a little Cinderellery. By the time I spackle the face and wrestle the hair into submission, I'm glad I've taken vows of spinsterhood. I change the necklace after I slam the drawer on the first one which snapped before I strangle myself and start to think that I'm too old for this. Being old means I came from a distant galaxy far, far, away where going out meant getting dressed up and not throwing on stretch pants and a T-shirt, (think Jabba the Hut wearing Target).
Then it's feed the cats, remember to leave the lights on and check knickers before shutting the front door. Don't laugh I've made it to the front gate before rushing back to grab them. Well, there's no point in having them on in the house, they wear out and they're expensive.
The train is on time but confuses me by going through Flinders Street before the loop so trying not to look like a tourist, I hop out, check the board and hop back. Then it's Melbourne Central, which was Museum the last time I used it. I walk out and feel like Alice in Chunderland. There are lights, shops, escalators that go up and up, flashing signs and a supermarket (?). The only word is garish, only word without the swearing. Signs are hidden or non-existant and I negotiate the multiple levels knowing that the sun is above, somewhere. My feet are hurting. By the time I stagger to QV square, they're more than hurting and I keep saying, 'If Ingrid Bergman could do it in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, I can make it across the square.
I hit the restaurant, sit down and discreetly check for blisters, having plenty of bandaids. The feet have decided to by-pass blisters and go directly to flaying and three layers of skin are floating off the back of my heels. Women are the masters (mistresses?) of invention so I simple slipped off the shoes, bashed the backs down and wore them as slides. After a soda/lime/bitters and a handful of panadol, I started resembling a human again.
The company arrived and it was useless introducing ourselves by real name so it was blognames all round and instant recognition. Somebody please tell Tim Blair there wasn't a retard in sight.
After dinner and several video viewings of Mr. Lefty's new kitten, adorable, we wandered across the square to meet the rest of our bloggers for drinks. Big surprise, no retards here either.
I even managed to get a nice taxi driver home, an Ethiopian Coptic Christian who told me that today was their Christmas Day and described the celebrations. He was surprised I knew so much about his country although it was mostly the geology of the place. Mummy's little soldier was waiting by the gate to welcome me but managed to be at his food dish before I had the front door open. Cupboard love, I think they call it.
I'm glad I pushed and prodded myself to go. Going out alone to an unfamiliar place to meet, well not quite strangers takes a confidence I'm in short supply of. It was worth it to meet such an enjoyable and pleasant group of people but next time I'm wearing thongs.