Monday, September 03, 2007

The APEC effect

I ventured into the city this morning to go to the art gallery. Lucky Mark drove me in in the Big Red Car, and we were pleased to see that the threatened traffic chaos caused by road closures and the fencing off of a large swathe of public land did not really affect our route.
After a leisurely browse of the beautiful Translucent World exhibition of Chinese jade, I strolled back through the Domain and across Hyde Park to catch a bus home. In the Domain, I spotted a patrol of police officers (is that the correct collective noun?) comprised of six on foot and two leaning on the bonnet of a paddywagon. Seated dejectedly in the gutter was an immaculately dressed transvestite in a gorgeous pink miniskirt and matching jacket, with coordinating pink four-inch stilettos and handbag, her long, spray-tanned legs folded elegantly beneath her. It seemed rather a case of overkill -- the fresh-faced probationary constables who thought they would be protecting visiting dignitaries from feral protesters seemed rather bemused by their perfectly coiffed and not-at-all protesting quarry.
I saw another two patrols of police as I continued my walk through the park, as well as a fire engine with an Australian Federal Police car escort driving around the precinct in a sedate manner, and one of the converted bus/holding cells turning out of Macquarie Street. In all, about half of the vehicles I saw were related to law enforcement and security.
On the bus, the usual suspects hopped on and off. A young woman carried on an inane mobile phone conversation with a friend while fishing through her handbag with the other hand looking for correct change to pay the bus driver. I think I must be getting old, because I just wanted to say to her, "Look, I'm sure your friend will understand if you stop chatting about what you're going to wear tomorrow long enough to organise your bus fare, so we can all get home sooner." A man carrying a baby got on and paid the fare for himself and his female companion, who struggled to wrangle an empty pram onto the bus without folding it up. A woman with a comb-over sat in front of me: I am not sure what misfortune or illness had resulted in her hair loss, but somehow the hair around the back and sides of her head was still long and she had pulled it up into a knot on top of her head to cover the fluffy, thin growth that I could see through the sparse strands. I thought it was very clever of her to come up with that solution, although I think if it were me I would just shave it off and wear a scarf or hat. She was talking on her mobile phone about a job interview she was going to and what she was planning to say to convince them that she was the right candidate for the job. I hope she gets it.

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