Thursday, April 14, 2005



It was raining as I took the tram into the office this morning. Steady, confident, Melbourne rain. I was waiting at the tram stop dressed in fashionable black, like everyone else. Black’s in this winter y’know.

The tram approached. Its one of those new space-age trams. Brushed aluminium trimming, Bang & Olufsen sound system. Quite uncomfortable, but very stylish nonetheless. I was lucky. I was near the front of the group waiting to board, and the tram pulled up close to where I was standing. An older lady got aboard before me, blocking the aisle with her agonizingly slow gait. Fortunately she was a little unsteady on her feet and she lurched to the left to maintain her balance. I saw my opportunity and elbowed her out of the way, scoring the only available seat. As the man said. The lord helps those who help themselves.

The commuters in the adjoining seats cast envious glances my way as I shook off the umbrella and made myself as comfortable as one can amongst a crowd of public transport users.

I was in the process of examining the cleavage of the woman directly opposite when I felt wetness being applied to my right buttock. A few seconds after the initial shock, and the dreadful thought that there might have been a bathroom malfunction, I realized that this was an external source, clearly having seeped through both the Armani and the Calvin Kliens. The seat was wet. Not just wet though. Saturated. The envious glances still continued when I felt a cold drip run down my neck. I was sure that my hair was dry, and that this drip had not detached itself from a sodden lock. This drip had come from elsewhere. Then another landed on my trousers, and then several cascaded down as the tram accelerated rapidly. I was now certain that this Million Dollar tram, the very image of Melbourne, had a leak in the roof.

I thought perhaps I should do the gentlemanly thing and offer the seat to the old lady, but she was now too far away. What should I do? What would you do in a situation like this? Just vacate the seat that you’d invested so much emotional energy in securing? Admit defeat?

I could see now that the envious glances from my neighbors were in fact a kind of inner gloating. Schadenfreude. How had I misread their body language so? They must have been thinking that all along: “I wonder if this guy’s going to sit under the drip, I wonder what he’ll do?” A mixture of detached indifference at the plight of others, and a fascination at how they’ll bear up, is what some people get up to in their heads. The polite thing to do of course, would have been to inform me prior to sitting down, but that’s something that this society is losing. Politeness.

So what I did was smile nicely at them. They were all looking at me of course. Either in the reflection of the window, or over the top of their magazines. I smiled, took my umbrella and opened it directly above my head. The droplets now, instead of cascading onto me, hit the curved surface of the umbrella, and shattered. Sending a fine spray over the whole area, but mostly running off into the lap of the fat lady next to me.

She launched into a vicious earbashing, which I thought was very unbecoming for an otherwise elegantly dressed middle aged woman (black), but I smiled politely and ignored her tirade and it eventually petered out. She gathered her things and left.

Of course now her dry seat was available, I shifted on over, folded the umbrella, and sat back and enjoyed the sensation of my now thoroughly soaked right buttock being dried by the combined effect of the nicely pre-warmed seat and the capillary action of the dry seat fabric extracting the moisture from the worsted.

The remainder of the ride was idyllic. Watching the black besuited population of Melbourne scurrying to their offices, and then so too I. On the job, to report to you the latest doings in the world's most livable city.

My right buttock? Now almost dry. And thankyou for asking.

Note: 3000 character limit on comments
Superceded Blogger based Comments below:
Great post!!!!! So Melbourne . . .

Either in the reflection of the window, or over the top of their magazines.

The reflections in the window are very useful, a way of admiring without staring . . .
Yeah, and we think people aren't wise to our game!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?