Down Under- IV
My Neighbour at No.4
July 19, 2012 at 11:13am
I woke up to a bright and beautiful sunny morning and Louise, my ‘garbage’ neighbour. Today was garbage collection day and like a good citizen, I had both my bins (to be on the safer side) out for collection. I heard Louise mention something about No.3 (that’s my house no) and I was like ‘no way…what did I do now?’ After trying to close my eyes again (despite the sunny sun), I could not help but hear her loud voice saying something about the garbage.
I decided that I had to get rid of this garbage business once and for all so I went out. Louise’s faced brightened brighter than the sunny morning on seeing perhaps a perfect candidate in me. After re-explaining things again (now it has become clearer, the green bin with the yellow lid was to be collected NEXT week :), I got talking to her.
She displayed her mittened-fingers to show that had never married. She’s a typical Enid Blyton lady. Lives alone with three cats and one of them is named Tabitha. She suffers from arthritis and hence she cannot walk or bend much but she can drive 🙂 Yes, she has a Toyota and she drives herself around the neighbourhood to collect her groceries from “Coles super market’ and also the laundry. But she needs to call a taxi to go to the Doctor.
Lois is 73 years old and has been living next door since 1974 and she owns the house. Can you imagine living all alone like that and with arthritis? I asked her about help. Yes, the council sends in one person to help her but ONCE in a fortnight which means twice a month. And if that day happens to be a public holiday, she misses on that day too. People back home are so lucky to have support, families and friends that we take for granted. Louise has no one except her three cats, nobody ever visits her. That is what loneliness is truly about….but loneliness with dignity and self sufficiency.
(I wanted to take her photograph but my battery let me down. I must catch her another time when she is on her way to the laundry, somewhere during lunchtime when she is able to find easy parking).
Looking at our houses or units as they call them, one can never think that these houses are so old. It all goes to show what proper maintenance and discipline can do. I am impressed by the cleanliness that prevails here and the traffic……all boils down to disciplined awareness and civic sense, together with a united wish to keep their surroundings clean. Everything is so organised, there is no yelling or shouting or any form of noise pollution. Sometimes I feel as if I am living in a dream, one of the lands of the “Farwaway Tree’, I expect to see Silky or Moonface any moment 🙂
The weather makes up for all the peace and quiet…Melbourne is famous for its four seasons in a day. If you thought “Darjeeling’ weather was unpredictable, one has to come here to know what that word actually means. Nothing lasts forever, or for long….a sunny start can lead to rain (it doesn’t rain for long, just short showers for about 10-15 mins) followed by a rapid drop in temperature and completed by wind. Cold, icy winds. Winds that can blow away anything unattached or sometimes even attached. So an umbrella, warm coat and light clothes are all a must for anybody venturing out for a day.
So I am off now to take a sleepy ride on the metro to just walk around the city. It’s hard work being unemployed. Classes were to start from the 24th but yesterday I received a mail from my lecturer stating that Tuesday’s class stands cancelled. Oh God! Why me! Will I ever get educated? 🙂 LOL