Melancholia at the Camy Shanghai Noodle and Dumpling Bar

There’s nothing quite like the feeling when it’s dark and raining and one of your shoes is filled with water. I’ve always wondered why that happens. I don’t deliberately step in puddles; in fact, I don’t recall stepping in any at all. There is some kind of mysterious suctioning device that goes on in my shoe.

And why only one shoe? What the hell is that?

I got hit by a car today. A god damned fucking car. Queen Street, one foot in front of the other, splish, splash, water slowly getting friendly with my sock, me noticing the drops of water tap-tapping me on the head and reflecting, with downcast eyes, how shiny the ground becomes in all this greyness. Then- BULLBAR, The Age delivery van thrusting itself at me and me yelling obscenities at the top of my lungs and feeling a little silly. Little things- how the van was like a stop-motion picture coming toward me; how gentle seemed the push that almost threw downward. How the man in the van in the passenger seat looked at me with the startled little boy’s eyes I bet he had when he saw his sister break her arm; how the amazing years of silence stretched before I opened my mouth and yelled What the HELL did he think he was doing? His eyes apologised to me until I realised that he wasn’t the driver and that this elephant of a van hadn’t just given me a little push.

The driver quickly checked that I hadn’t broken anything litigious- why was he asking me? How the hell am I supposed to know with this tingly feeling in my blood?- and I am undemonstratably back, looking at the ground, on the drizzly street, with the rain tap-tapping at my head, the ground not so shiny any more through watery eyes.

It occurred to me that I was now an animal. That bullbar made me into a mere sack of meat and bone. We think of ourselves as so cereberal, but a hunk of metal reduces us to what we buy at the butchery. Then I told myself to stop crying and just catch the bloody tram already.

After so bravely facing down the big bad Grim Reaper- or at least the Slightly Melancholy Reaper- I spend the day… at work. With a large group of people who smile with their mouths and condescend with their tongues and lie to themselves with their minds. Well, what do you expect from advertising?

Now, I sit eating Hot Chicken Noodle at the Camy Shanghai Noodle and Dumpling House, where I am very conscious of being white and ugly and grotesquely shoving noodles in my face, and the chilli is not really the reason I am sniffing. I don’t know why I’m sniffing, really. You know, and I know, that the van did not really hurt me much. I guess that there just comes a time when we all need a little sniff.

What now? There have been times, I know, I would have been glad for a van to pay me a bit of attention. There have been times when I would have been glad of, well, knives or little pink pills paying me a bit of attention. They didn’t, however, and that van didn’t, and I don’t seem too disappointed.

So, I’ve been sitting here contemplating my Hot Chicken Noodle, now really Lukewarm Chilli Oil Noodle With A Few Bits of Chicken Maybe, and it’s not telling me anything. It’s not going to tell me whether I’ve made the right choices, whether my career will go as planned or whether I talk to my parents often enough. Chilli oil just doesn’t cut it as tea leaves and as for the chicken, well, I’ve never been a big fan of necromancy.

I’m about to go back out into the melancholy rain and melancholy myself home, maybe melancholy a little drink and pity myself off to sleep. There are people on the table in front of me who appear to be doing some kind of drug deal, my overcoat is shying away from me and some man has put balsamic vinegar on his beautiful little pork dumplings who don’t deserve to be treated like that.

There really does seem to be no justice.

But here, the waitress has given me a beautiful smile, one that goes all the way up (to her eyes). The rain is once again tap-tapping on my head like a slightly annoying friend, and my right boot is squelching. I got hit by a car today but slowly as I walk, I feel my left boot join his brother in soggy comeradeship, and I guess that’s a reason for a wry smile.

Ah, symmetry.

Melancholia at the Camy Shanghai Noodle and Dumpling Bar


North Fitzroy, Australia

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