It was 36 degrees. I was sitting on the 27th floor gazing out the window in the general direction of Southbank and wondering whether I'd do any work or have a cup of tea. I've only been gazing out windows for most of my life. The tea part of the wondering was winning when I noticed the smoke.
I knew straight away. Online. Nothing yet. Then within minutes, reports of an incident. Then specifics. Three people lost. It must be said the tunnel's safety system may have saved lives.
I had to go to Eaglemont at lunchtime. Melbourne was pretty much in a state of gridlock. There was some kind of other incident on the Monash Freeway and cross town traffic was trying to loop the city. Also, Richard Stubbs on the radio was warning of an approaching dust storm. The dust storm didn't make it to town. I think it got stuck in traffic.
I couldn't get back into the city. I had to drive across the top, dump the car at Coburg Station and get the train back to town. Guess what? The boom gates were down at Bell Street which was already choked with traffic. The train was delayed twenty minutes, even though the railway station employee said it was coming any minute. I could have jumped on the tram instead. Hell, I could have walked. Even in 36 degrees.
The elevator dinged twenty-seven at exactly ten past three. I missed a meeting that was in progress. That was the day looking up. Missing a meeting is a good thing, because nothing of any value ever happens in meetings except sandwiches, usually the chicken and avocado or turkey and cranberry variety. They help you try to forget the powerpoint presentation but somehow you never can. You follow each and every word painstakingly, like watching grass grow. And you listen to the presenter reading each and every word that you can see perfectly well right up there on the screen.
I digress. (By the way, I'm posting this on Saturday afternoon even though the dateline says Friday.) After work, the city was still gridlock. It's gridlock any Friday, let alone freaky Friday. The train back to Coburg was cancelled. I racewalked to Elizabeth Street and caught a tram instead, and was getting ready to jump off that and walk because I knew Royal Parade and Sydney Road would be carparks.
There was something to look forward to. Tracy had planned an evening picnic in Princes Park, on the grass (yes, there is grass in Princes Park). I fell in the door, tore off my sweaty clothes, showered in two minutes flat.
We had no sooner put the picnic basket in the car than the sky opened up. Clouds had gathered within about ten minutes. It didn't stop raining all night.
We ate our picnic on the loungeroom floor. It was nice. The cool breeze was nice as well.
Then all the lights went out, along with the Count Basie music on the CD player. A fire in an electrical substation somewhere caused a blackout across several suburbs.
Gin and tonic tastes nice in the dark. So does lamb vindaloo, aloo mutter, roti bread and pappadums.