The unbearable likeness of being me
Paul Kelly’s greatest ever song Luck is a plaintive lament about the constant conspiracy of mother nature, society and the capo-political machine against the humble individual struggling to make his way in the world.
(Sorry Joe, we couldn’t find Lucky. All we’ve got is this homemade version of From St. Kilda to Kings Cross)
Or, to put it another way, it’s about a man who misses a train.
The basic moral lesson of the song is that if life can find any way to defeat you it will do so both crushingly and as often as possible. It is a philosophy I have held dear all the years of my life.
I should not have been disappointed, therefore, when an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday turned into the sort of 24 hours that makes the Gaza strip look like a nice place to sunbake.
It all started when a TV station called at 8.20am asking if I could offer my expert commentary at 9am. Given the last minute nature of the mission I suggested that perhaps they should try someone else and they assured me repeatedly that they had tried every single other journalist in Australia, several from overseas, and a handful of talking animals, before they got to me.
So I ran to the train station and was delighted to see a train there at the platform ready to go. I trotted down the steps as fast as I could but my progress was abruptly halted by some underdeveloped eight-year-old who couldn’t use the stairs without gripping the handrail and whose father was clearly too busy worrying about his failed marriage and bottoming career to yank the little knuckle-dragger out of my way.
Eventually I made it onto the platform and squeezed enough of myself through the door to crush my arms and squash the banana I was carrying, whose consumption was the only thing I had to look forward to so far that day, but the doors jammed and in order to preserve my life I pulled out.*
The conductor of course saw none of this because some retard decided it would be a good idea to make Sydney platforms curvy.
I then ran back up to the street and attempted to flag down a taxi, but of course there were none. This is in accordance with the unshakable natural law of both cabs and cops, which is they’re never around when you need one and when they are around you suddenly fear for your life.
Not to be perturbed, I pulled out my trusty iPhone and went to call a taxi, only to realise that because I was in the remote area that is the middle of the largest city in Australia Optus decided it was a place that didn’t need reception.
I also thought I should call the TV station ASAP to tell them I was running late but because the iPhone decides that a lack of a signal is in fact a signal to crash, I had to turn it off, wait 10 seconds, smash my head against a wall, and turn it back on again.
Anyway, the segment got cancelled, I got on a later train and apart from the fact the ticket barrier rejected my newly bought ticket and slammed into my nuts, the rest of the morning went quite well.
*This is something of a moot point as, being CityRail, there was no room on the train for me anyway.
To see Joe’s thrilling urban adventures follow him on Twitter at @joe_hildebrand and his hashtag sensation #manvswild
And for even more exclusives visit blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/joehildebrand
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