The Way We Live Sunday 29 August 2010 – The one about ruts

I had one of those moments this week where I realised – yet again – I’m an idiot. Not that I needed reminding quite this soon.  After all, I’m still hurting from the  “612 ABC footy tipping incident”.  (I may be leading their NRL footy tipping competition but that doesn’t take away from the fact I confidently told Spencer Howson – live on air – that Brendon Fevola was in the Broncos.)  Embarrassing? Yes.  And yet sadly still not my most humiliating moment.  That took place in 1993 when as a budding publicist I sent out a media release describing a young Irish singer as Ireland’s answer to Van Morrison. Who, I later discovered, was in fact IRISH.

Anyway, my latest embarrassing moment happened just last week when I ran into an old school friend at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown. So I run into the lovely Anna and she says, “Oh so you still live on this side of town?”  And I say, “ No.  No I actually live about an hour away on the other side of town. It’s just that I know my way around here.”

Anna looked at me blankly for a brief moment.  I considered feigning going into labour.  But I ran away instead.  Who drives for an hour to go to a shopping centre they used to hang out at when they were sixteen?

Um, yeah that’d be me apparently.

And that’s when I realised it. I’m in a rut.  Here I am in this vibrant, dazzling city and I’m going to the same old places and doing the same old thing when there’s so much else to discover.

Sometimes familiarity leads to complacency.  I’ve lived in this city most of my life (give or take brief periods in London, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Townsville).  And yet I only discovered the fabulousness of Franklin Villa this month.  It’s an historic guesthouse – built in 1892 – in Highgate Hill that does the most spectacular high teas on a Sunday.  The whole shebang (complete with big floral tea pots and home-made goodies) is overseen by the equally spectacular Lainey Loneragan and Bernadette Bagley-Proctor.  I used to live within walking distance of Franklin Villa and yet I never knew it even existed. I probably drove past the house hundreds of times. On my way to Indooroopilly.

Musically this month I’ve discovered the genius of Eddie Perfect (yes, about ten years after everybody else) and his talent for fresh, tongue-in-cheek tunes.  And by accident I stumbled upon the brilliance of the BBC TV series, Outnumbered on ABC2.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for routine (when it comes to toddlers in particular). And I’m all for rituals (Christmas Eve just isn’t Christmas Eve in our family without brandy and cinnamon panacotta).  But ruts are never good.  They can take the shine off our lives, give boredom a wormhole to sneak through and … cost us bucket-loads in petrol.

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  1. Emily Jade on August 30, 2010 at 6:48 am

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE….sorry for yelling BUT…I drive to my old grocery store even though I have one 5 mins from our house, simply because I know where everything is in all the ailses…I HATE wandering around new shops trying to figure out were they hide the cottage cheese and olives. For some reason I feel I save more time driving all the way to my old store than it would to just learn the new one. So I’m an I.D.I.O.T too xo

  2. becsparrow on August 31, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Why am I not surprised it’s the two of us who do that?! xxx

  3. Paul B on September 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I have just moved to Sydney from Brisbane.

    I was last in Sydney 4 years ago when I spent 12 months here. This time we found a place on the other side of town. And yes we spend an hour in the car going back to the same shopping centre that we went to 4 years ago.

    I also still listen to Brisbane Local ABC 612. This rut has followed me down here.

  4. Nick Earls on September 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Okay, let me go on record right now admitting that I’m stealing that Van Morrison thing for my next novel.

    • becsparrow on September 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

      Take it. I have thousands of other humiliating experiences to use.

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About Bec

Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.

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