Cars are rushing about, traffic is heavy. I pull up at the traffic lights with a loud hiss of air-brakes and wait for the green light to flash “go”.
It is late afternoon, mid-December and at the end of the pre-Christmas working week. Summer is here but Christmas is too and everyone appears tired, stressed, and not just a little pissed off. Most car windows are ‘up’ with air-con working flat-out, but there are those as well with air-con off (or non-existent) and are seated, perspiring, light clothing askew, sweat stains under the arms, stereos blaring out into the world either non-talented hip-hop or equally non-talented radio DJ drivel.
The smells of the traffic, car exhaust and hot bitumen, overpowers the gentle smells of summer: grass drying, eucalyptus sweating, pollen swirling about in the warm breeze. With a little concentration I wistfully note this summer breeze also carry’s the merest hint of sand, salt and surf, for this waft of warm summer air is flowing in from the west, where Adelaide’s long white sandy beaches lie. It is a good smell, an enticing smell, a collection of scents that evoke a collection of memories that highlight past happy moments, previous good times.
Being in a heavy truck, I sit well above all the vehicles stopped with me waiting for the green light, waiting to continue on with our day. I can see down into each vehicle, watching the occupants.
Some sit still, looking straight ahead, blank-eyed stare. Others are fiddling with their smart phones, checking emails or more commonly checking their social media sites.
(Oh would I rake it in for State Revenue if I were a policeman, fines handed out to all and sundry, but then, I’m not a prick).
I see too that all these tired and somewhat impatient people are not in ‘the moment’, not here and now, all “elsewhere” and not “here” and in that thought I note that I myself am “not in the moment” either.
My mind’s eye looks past this minute and down the years to happier times.
I stare at white sand, hear crashing surf, feel a woman’s caress on my hand, smile at children’s laughter, brush at the sea-salt in my hair. And I view a sunset from the sand as water splashes my feet, sun turning to orange to red as it sinks into the sea.
I flash forward in my musings to another moment upon the beach, another golden orange sunset and gentle waves lapping at the shore, another snapshot of eternal happiness. I can see the orange sun turning to red-gold as it plunges once again beneath the sea, but this time viewed from between my feet, which are propped up upon a weathered wooden rail. Shoe soles facing the sea, I am laid back, a little drunk (only a little), sipping an ice-cold pint of ale, silently listening to the gulls squawk, distant children laugh, smelling the sharp tang of salt and mouth-watering aroma of barbecuing meat…and horns honking in the distance, seeming to get louder and louder….
Oh shit…the light had turned green.
I wave a “sorry” out my window.
Back to now…
back to reality.
Onward I drive…
Michael John Kildare.