• Tempe, Australia

  • Trip started 11 May 2020
    1. Left home – quick walk up to the highway. The sky is so blue. My intension today is to couple my walk with getting to the bank as I have a cheque to cash. A cheque from the tax office. Tax office have my bank details – sending cheques makes no sense. I don’t have a car so while I’m out I’ll get to the shops and I have my nanna trolley with me. It is not usual for me to wait until I have a few things to do before leaving the house. In this way my behaviour has not changed – where I have changed is that interacting with people is now even less appealing. For my ViralScapes outing I’ll try to talk to strangers – something I am not practiced at. I don’t see anyone until I get close to the highway and ahead of me I see a woman leave her house. I walk behind her breathing in the smoke from her cigarette. Miasma. Foul air.
    Travelled for 11 minutes

    Going out

    2. I’ve ducked the cars and trucks and am now on the other side of the highway at the bus stop outside Harry DeWheels Cafe. I am waiting for the 422 bus to head south to Rockdale. Not much traffic but still noisy. Trucks are still belting up and down the highway. Not many people around – a few people getting takeaway. I take a moment to soak in the long rays of the Autumn light before the bus arrives.
    Travelled for 2 minutes


    3. Only me and two others on the bus. One of these wearing a mask. Evidence of those who have travelled before us remain. This rubbish is now someone else’s problem to deal with.
    Travelled for 7 minutes

    Rockdale plaza

    4. I’ve arrived at the bus stop near Rockdale Plaza. I think there is a bank here. There definitely are shops. There is the sound of the highway behind me as I walk through this little park. There is no one in the park. A few people as I get closer to the entrance of the plaza. In the shade.
    Travelled for 18 minutes
    5. Looked for the bank. There isn’t the one I need here. I chastise myself for not thinking this through better. I don’t need to be in this place. I go into aldi. Good to see the handsanitisor – but the dispenser isn’t working. I don’t stay long. I can’t even remember why I wanted to come to the shops. I’ve bought some walnuts. Emergency walnuts…. Bloody hell, what’s wrong with me? As I leave aldi I notice that the handsanitisor dispenser has been fixed. I sanitise. I need to get out of this shopping plaza. I head to the exit where I can see daylight.
    Travelled for 9 minutes
    6. I’m waiting outside Rockdale plaza to get the bus up to Rockdale – there is definitely the bank I need at Rockdale. Two other women are waiting at the bus stop. I test my skill at talking to strangers and ask how they are going with the covid restrictions. One thought that covid transmission was by touch. As long as you didn’t touch anyone then you couldn’t get the virus. The other thought that at Rockdale Plaza she didn’t need to wear a mask but she definitely wears in other shopping centres. I told them that I thought the covid app was worth getting. And its’ true. I have the app. I think the app is a good strategy. It was giving me some reassurance that there was a way to identify and contain transmission. With the comments above now I am not so sure. Maybe it is too late to educate. We are joined by an older woman who stands off the side, listening. Two men join us – no attempts to social distance. The bus arrives. The men get on the bus – the women, keeping distanced, get on the bus. My advise for future politicians – become biologically literate, champion biological literacy.
    Travelled for 4 minutes


    7. When we get to Rockdale station, I get off the bus and walk up to the bank. It is pretty quiet on the street. Not all that surprising. Ever since Rockdale plaza opened street shopping in Rockdale went on the decline. I prefer street shopping. I can position myself better. I can navigate where I am going and what I need to do better. I go into the bank. Only me and two staff. I finally have that cheque banked. I’m going to head home.
    Travelled for 2 minutes
    8. I go into the bank. Only me and two staff. I finally have that cheque banked. I’m going to head home.
    Travelled for 23 minutes
    9. I’m now waiting at the bus stop to get back to Tempe. Such a blue sky. Wind playing with the grass. The sun is at my back. My nanna trolley only has my Emergency walnuts. I think about stopping in at Wolli Creek on the way home to get beer.R_station
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    Travelled for 15 minutes


    10. Only two of us got on the bus at Rockdale. I am now on the bus all to myself. Saw three ibis perched on someone’s roof. Wish I had a photo of that – it was a scene from ‘the birds’. Pubic transport signage working to keep the drivers safe. Can only hope it does. The behaviour of some – spitting in the faces of people doing their jobs – makes me ill. We have just passed the market gardens. A focus on food. People re-skilling in their homes taking up baking. I grew up developing the skills others others are now literally dining out on. My parents before me grew up in the depression and I am the youngest of 7 children. I am ‘a boomer’ – a derogatory term. Boomers reputedly responsible for all the ills of the world. Covid referred to as the ‘boomer remover’. Not only am I a ‘boomer’, I am a middle-aged barren spinster – my life-style is one of self-reliance. I take a photo out the window of a play ground – closed until restrictions ease. Soon kids will be able to play together again.
    Travelled for 2 minutes

    Wolli Creek

    11. I get off the bus at Wolli Creek. I get some beer. My nanna trolley fits enough to last a few weeks. I’m heading home. Looking forward to walking through the park. I decide to get something to eat by the river.
    Travelled for 38 minutes


    12. I get to Kendrick Park next to the Cooks River. Just over 250 years since Cook arrived. My dad told stories of prawning in this river when he was boy. His eyes would light up describing the taste of freshly cooked prawns with bread and butter. I have to laugh. Others well before my dad and for thousands of years similarly fed from the life in this river – not with the bread and butter. I need to sit outside in the sunshine just a little bit more before I get home and resume my position hunched over a key board reacting to emails. I’ve spent the past month or so reacting. Doing the ‘online pivot’. My head is spinning. I’m not good when I spend too much time in the reactive space. Today I feel it. I feel a bit better sitting by the river. In the sun. Remembering my dad.
    Travelled for 15 minutes
    13. I deliberately walk along the footpath as I have my trolley is in tow and I am want to walk slowly. There is a shared cycleway/walking path running parallel. The footpath leads to the painted poles. The painted poles placed near the site of middens to make Australia’s Aboriginal heritage more visible. This pleases me. I am almost at the end of the footpath. I get swiped by cyclist. I yell at him – a middle-aged man in lycra. I angrily point to the no cycling sign. He tells me I am wrong.
    Travelled for 10 minutes
    14. I walk on – fuming. I run into a couple of neighbours who have gone out for a walk. We chat about the entitlement of cyclists – I feel validated. We chat about the stress of working from home. Too much expected. Too much all around.
    Travelled for 5 minutes
    15. We walk together to our street. We peel off into our respective houses. I am home.
  • Trip finished 11 May 2020