Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mean Streets

Travelling on the bus has been harrowing this week. On two occasions I’ve been slightly concerned for my well-being. The first time I got on the bus and noticed a strange burning chemical smell. The bus driver clearly noticed it too; he got out of his seat and walked up the bus aisle, sniffing the air and his armpits too. ‘What’s that smell? It’s not me, is it? It’s not unbearable is it?’ One passenger didn’t appreciate his humour and said ‘Well, it’s a burning smell. Something’s obviously wrong.’ The driver got off the bus and went, I assume, to inspect the engine. At that point, I thought that the pungency of the aroma intensified and I started to get a bit concerned. The bus driver returned to his seat and announced that he couldn’t find anything wrong, at which point the woman who had not been amused earlier got off the bus, saying she’d wait for the next one. As the bus departed from the stop, the rest of the passengers exchanged a few nervous glances. I thought at that point, ‘What if this bus blows up and I’m killed, all because I couldn’t make the decision to get off the bus?’ It’s the story of my life, indecision decides my fate far too often. I was quite relieved to get off the bus at the University with all my limbs attached.

The second occasion was simply a result of the usual argy-bargy of being on the road. A delivery van travelling in front of the bus was creeping forward while waiting for pedestrians to finish crossing, before turning left. The bus driver probably took the van’s movement as a sign that it was clear to turn, only to have to brake violently when the van stopped instead. Everyone on the bus slid forward suddenly, a chorus of ‘sh—’ and ‘f—k’ punctuated the air, and I banged my knee. Again, I was glad to make it to my destination safely, and you will be too because the second bus incident happened on the day I planned to take some photographs especially to post here.

You may recall a while ago that I revealed my ignorance of the most basic computer imaging effects when I believed my brother’s story that he had encountered an image on the streets of Melbourne somewhere that featured my niece’s face embedded in a number of pink daisies. At the time I offered the excuse that I lived in an area where there was a lot of creative graffiti, so it wasn’t necessarily outside of the realm of possibility that someone had posted the image in question, somewhere in Melbourne. I was probably trying to save face when I came up with that excuse, but I’ve since been pointed and laughed at by my sister-in-law, so I’ve worked through all of my embarrassment at my naïvety, enough to show you some examples of the graffiti images I was referring to. They don’t really explain my gullibility, but that doesn’t take away from the images and words themselves.

I should disclose that I didn’t find these in my neighbourhood, but at the University. Still, I’m convinced it’s the work of the same artist I’ve seen on the footpaths and telephone poles when I’ve walked to buy the paper. Maybe the culprits have moved out of my area, since I haven’t seen any new stencils for a while now. I miss encountering these little homages to, and comments on, pop culture.

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