Archive for March, 2011

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Favourite familiar stranger

March 31, 2011

Do you have a favourite familiar stranger? I’m talking about the people you see everywhere and recognise, even though you don’t know them.

My favourite familiar stranger (FFS) is an wiry, hirsute, older chap. He rides through my neighbourhood on his ancient black road bike. He used to work in the same building as me. I see him at the pool. We’ve never spoken and I have no idea if I’m a FFS of his, but he always makes me smile when I see him with in his safety reflecto-vest and faded bags of gear. He’s all sinew and he’s always in transit, wheeling down the road or tearing up the pool lane.

I saw him today and was startled yet delighted to see him unlock the very handsome, very new bike parked next to my very handsome, very new bike. He too knows the joy of deluxe wheel upgrades! Hurrah for FFS! Is that odd, to be so attached to a stranger? I think I’d miss him if I never saw him again. He’s a feature of Melbourne, for me.

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Special adult mantid time

March 13, 2011

Look, this is a family blog. So if you’re shocked by gratuitous secks, turn away now.

Contrary to everything you’ve ever been told, the female doesn’t always eat the male. He creeps up behind her very, very slowly, away from the grabby clawy bitey end, and perches on her back. This particular male has now serviced two females in as many days. What a lothario.

She’s one of the tiny ants in a jar, all grown up, and now taking the business of making more mantids pretty seriously. He’s a vagrant male from South Yarra. I can’t see it being more than a one-night stand…

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Out in the shed with the old, in the house with the new

March 3, 2011

Last Friday I received a very exciting phone call. My new bike was ready.

I hurtled out of work and picked up an extraordinary machine with custom bits and pieces selected just for me. Her name’s Shirley and she’s gorgeous. When I’m riding her, I’m grinning and when I’m not, I have to keep visiting her to check she’s real and mine and still there.

My old bike – trusty old Ferris who I’ve been riding since first-year uni, named because Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was on telly on the night I got him, for whom I paid a fortune when I was a dishpigging student, who has been my co-conspirator through innumerable adventures and spare parts and been my freedom machine – was forgotten in the excitement. I left him at the bike shop and rode the new bike home.

Tonight I went back for Ferris and rode him home. He looked so shabby. He felt heavy. He felt small. But after a few blocks, we were flying. My brain is programmed to know every one of his quirks and we’ve been a great team.

Ferris will live in the shed in semi-retirement; he’ll still be my steed when I pootle out to the pub or want to ride something inconspicuous. It’s silly to be so emotional about a pile of rusting steel but my life would not have been nearly so interesting for the past 13 years if I hadn’t had him.