This afternoon I fell asleep on Albert’s couch. It was a sunny day, a little cool. Outside, on Wellington Parade, trams passed by and there was the sound of pedestrians and light traffic. We’d flown to Melbourne on Friday, after work, for a Full Blown Holiday Weekend Mini Break; last night was our second attendance at Trough, a three-monthly gay dance party. It starts early, at 5 pm, and finishes at 2 am. I like this; you can go home just after midnight and not feel guilty for going home early. Dan didn’t have a ticket and the event was sold out; he had originally not been free to come but had changed his mind and changed plans. I managed to find somebody who wanted to sell his ticket, meeting him in front of the Woolworth’s at Southern Cross railway station. I had low expectations that it was legitimate, and had chalked up the $80 cash to holiday expenses. We arrived early, the ticket was valid, and we all had a good time. We were even home by 2 am and I had a great sleep.
It’s not possible to meet everybody we know in Melbourne every visit so this weekend we focused on catching up with Jimmy and Felipe, who’d flown in from Queensland and Sydney for the party; we shared a three bedroom apartment booked through AirBnB. While Jimmy, Felipe and Felipe’s friend, Kane, took a cab to a pre-party drinks in Collingwood, Dan and I caught an Uber the driver rivalled our roller-coaster Parisian cab driver that almost slammed into a parked van one early morning on our way to the airport. We picked up Albert and headed to the venue. We weren’t sure how Dan would manage, having only just come out of his Richard’s splint with his fractured patella. The venue entrance is on the ground floor: you have to climb stairs to the first floor to the foyer, then either back downstairs to the dance floors or upstairs to a third level. It was good we had arrived early – I was cloak check bag #7 – as Dan got to try out the stairs at his turtle-slow speed. He spent most of the evening on a podium downstairs, as it was the best way to avoid his knee getting bumped into.
As with all dance parties we made a few new friends. What I really enjoy about the Melbourne scene that I have experienced is its inclusivity; men of all shapes and sizes were all dancing together, polite, with minimal pretence. Dan again was mistaken for being Jewish (his hair is getting curly again), which cascaded into us meeting every Jewish friend-of-a-friend. We began chatting to Simon, then David, then Asaf. Soon we were listening to Hebrew conversation and it was just like being back in Toronto at Ur and Israel’s house. We met an Italian student and got travel advice for our planned trip to Italy in September, when I go to the ISUOG World Congress. Eventually I lost Dan and walked all three floors, to find him sitting on a couch next to the cloak check – he’d found the election coverage on the television screen behind the staff. It was looking like a hung parliament. Nobody else cared about Dan’s passionate exclamations. I had to drag him away.
Checkout was at ten. The sun had long risen and the rest of the city was slowly waking, when we staggered out of our beds to quickly shower, through our clothes back into our carry-on luggage, to checkout. Felipe and Jimmy joined Albert & Andrew, Dan and I for brunch at Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder. Their cheese toast was a guilty indulgence for the table. I overestimated once again how much I could eat, ordered a Big Breakfast only to have to leave half of it on my plate. Andrew bought cheese from their cheese room while Albert dropped Jimmy and Felipe off in the city and I raced into an open Haigh’s to buy Dan’s gran some fruit & nut mix chocolates. Must remember for next time that they are available at the new airport terminal.
Sunday afternoon found us all napping, before Dan and I took the lift downstairs to meet Charlotte for a cup of tea or hot chocolate at Persillade. They close at three but kindly let us drink our hot drinks while they cleaned up. You would struggle to get that sort of customer service in Perth. After coffee we curled up on blankets on the couch and played 3D Mario Brothers – four players. Andrew tried his best to be patient with us and let us collect a few stars but it was hopeless. I kept forgetting to run, and accidentally managed to make my character, Toad, walk even slower than normal, as well as repeatedly falling off the screen, followed by the character’s screams of death. I ran out of lives frequently and had to watch everybody else complete each level. It didn’t help that I’d left my glasses in my luggage in the boot of Albert’s car in the basement, and was playing wearing my prescription sunglasses inside.
It’s been a good weekend; I successfully didn’t look at anything work related for 48 hours. I’m ready to work my next 12 consecutive days straight. I mildly regret having offered to pick up extra sessions to cover school holiday leave staffing shortages. My next two weeks: eat, work, sleep, repeat. At least now when I close my eyes I can hear the sound of trams on tracks passing by.