I wrote in my diary last month, ‘I am really comfortable with my future. I feel it is fully loaded with excitement and happiness. I’ll be so ready to leave come January, with sweet bikes between our legs and years to refine our skills.’ There is sexy optimism that I didn’t expect to have while here, patiently working to leave for a trip with no destination.
Before I moved to London I finished an advanced fashion course I had lost interest in years before. I couldn’t remain inspired amongst the humiliation, the favoritism and the falsely camp. Studying under a teacher who flicked off students depending on their looks, their nationality or their sexual openness. Sydney meant deep, penetrating boredom. After 5 years as an industrial Consew sewing machine, I had forgotten I was human. Everything was dull, everyone was boring, nothing was inspiring. I was on the border of hating Sydney and I left without even a glance back at my own mother.
So coming back to Sydney was a risk given the previous relationship. I guess knowing I wouldn’t want to stay kept the goal of cycling around the world in crazy, vivid Technicolor, and we had a brilliant plan. We shaped it a year ago and now we’re half way through. All we had to do was make the cash, then ride away.
Two weeks ago Dan suddenly had to go back to Nova Scotia to be with his family. I went to work alone that day for the first time ever; I had never couriered without a partner on the road and I was nervous. Was I going to have the motivation to get up in the morning to cycle all day? Could I deal with abuse on the road without having someone to call and vent to? No one to pick up where my laziness leaves a trail. Did I actually like couriering or did I just enjoy the togetherness?
It turns out I do like it and actually couriering alone is easier then couriering with someone. There isn’t a big, warm, sexy body next to me hindering my efforts of getting out of bed and no one to listen to my complaints, so I just get on with it. I felt the loss for the first few days. I was quiet, withdrawn, and I would stare at myself in the elevator mirrors questioning who I was/what I was doing. On the Thursday, 5 days after Dan had gone I swung my leg over my bike and rode down the shallow steps of number 1 York Street (a building I like because of it’s access from all angles and the couches no one minds you sitting in) and rolled into the sunlight that floods the wide street. As if I left the worries in the shadows of friendly 1 York. I felt groovy again.
From then on I focused on my job, getting to the gym before work, trying to be faster, stronger and fitter. The days flew by without me wishing them away, I was more confident, there was no one I was more tired than and no one who I knew earned more and got more jobs then me. Before I was the lesser courier of the two and suddenly that comparison was gone.
I have been focusing on the pleasure of couriering, because like Dan it could be taken away before I am ready. Taking in all the quirks of the day: an immaculately 60’s styled aged women still in the workforce forget to push the button to her floor and jumps as she remembers 6 floors too late, or the obese man eating a greasy breakfast in Martin place, his buttons of his XXXL shirt pulling as the days go on.
This really is the most stunning job, and so many people appreciate that. It always shocks me when someone looks down at it. Like a motorbike courier who implied that push bike couriers are there because they drink too much, implying that we should aspire to be like him. I have been thinking about the remark a lot. I can’t understand why he thinks there is more dignity in motorbike couriering and it appears to me that in the van and motorbike’s eyes we are the lesser couriers; which is backwards.
When I first started couriering in London a bike shop dude told me to be careful, not in relation to my safety, which seems to be every strangers concern, he told me to be careful because ‘it’s addictive’. A warning I would pass onto the next person, now knowing it’s full meaning.