My doorbell buzzed while I was having a serious phone conversation with my sister and my baby was playing on the ground after winning a mini war over whether he should have an afternoon sleep (one in which he won in the short term because I, exasperated, lifted him out of his cot; and I won in the long term because he was so shitty 90 minutes later practically begging to go to asleep like I told him would happen). Our intercom has a little camera in it so we can see who is downstairs before we unlock the door, a concession not to the fanciness of the residents but to the general vibe of the area. An older man stared back at me, I detected some crankiness and a knot of dread formed in my stomach.
“I have to go,” I told my sister, in the middle of a heartfelt conundrum.
I buzzed the man in and tried to exchange a meaningful look with my baby before opening the door and heading down the stairs. As I had assumed he was lugging a dryer by himself. The delivery of the dryer had been a concession to the baby and the insane amount of washing he had brought with him upon arrival. I helpfully informed the delivery man we were at the top of the three storey-walk up and excused myself to “look after the baby”, they are very good for these situations!!
Last year two men in their 20s had berated me for the location of my apartment when they delivered the washing machine so I was a little scared of being yelled at.
But my detection of crankiness was incorrect. Eventually the man pushed the dryer into my apartment and his face lit up as he soon as he saw my son. “Look who’s here!” he exclaimed.
He asked me about the photos on my wall. If I had been to Europe and what it was like.
He asked me if I grew up in Sydney and said he had just met a woman from my hometown the other day.
He asked me what my husband did and seemed impressed with the supposed cleverness of his occupation and told me he had been at the house of data analyst earlier. “I would’ve liked to have met the data analyst, I bet he knows a lot of fascinating things”.
He was just so interested. So interested in people and where they had come from and what they knew about.
He quoted Fawltly Towers to the baby and told me about his dog named Basil.
“Would you like some water? A cup of coffee? Tea?” I asked.
“Oh no, I’m trying to finish a glass of scotch in my truck,” he replied.
What you should read
Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee - It is about women and justice and our broken legal system. Helen Garner wrote the cover quote.
If I say this is a 2014 New York Times feature story about London cab drivers it will probably make you want to keep scrolling, but I think about it almost every week.
Rich people's brains are on a different planet to the rest of us and here is a millennial money diary that proves it. I think the most stark detail is how casually she eats a punnet of her friend's blueberries.
The Life on the Breadline series Guardian Australia is doing is excellent. People who live in poverty writing themselves about what their lives are like.