Nose Ring

Driving to the city has lost its appeal to me. I have stopped being on tourist mode a long time ago, which is a shame, really, because given the right angle and the perfect lighting, Melbourne can be quite stunning. Now, all i see is traffic, congestion, hefty parking fees, rubbish bins, and lots and lots and lots of walking.

Which is why if I ever have one word of advice for those who want to explore one of the most liveable cities in the world, it would be: flats.

Unless, of course, you’re being chartered around in a limo and delivered to your destination on a portable throne.

On the day I needed to have my passport renewed, Melbourne was grey. I don’t know if it was from the clouds or the after-effects of the pandemic or if it was simply just me. I wasn’t exactly feeling swell, either.

“I know the city like the back of my hand,” Jeff said. “I know where we can find cheap parking close to Stalactites (the restaurant we wanted to go).”

First block passed by and I’m standing on the pedestrian crossing. “Is it here?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “Keep walking.”

Two blocks go by and I’m silently seething. “Almost there,” he exclaimed. “We’re so close.”

Three blocks and I’m slowly wheezing. Suddenly he goes, “Oh shit, did I lock the car?” At which point I was partly homicidal.

I took slow big deep breaths as I waited for him to run back and check, chanting the mantra to bring back my zen: Thou shalt not kill.

Four blocks.

Four fucking blocks I had to walk in the fucking cold that Jeff promised was just a teeny short distance away.

The lamb souvlaki was worth it, though. No wonder the place is always full. It’s one of those places that tourists and locals alike go because their food has stood the taste test of time.

I watched the table next to us filled with three older couples with their glasses of red wine and animated Greek conversations and I thought about how I want to have that when I get to their age — a cozy geriatric lunch out in the city with me and my girls sipping a red or a bubbly to celebrate another week of making it out alive.

While waiting for our order, I recounted to Jeff my most awkward experience at the Philippine Consulate where, after having taken off my earrings and posed for my passport photo, the staff — a man who was probably in his late fifties — asked, “Nose ring ba yan?”

I wanted to die right there. I knew what he meant. And no, it was definitely not a nose ring. I bit my lip to stop from bursting out laughing and replied, “Hindi po. Whitehead po.”

“Ay, sorry,” he apologized. He felt awkward. I felt awkward. If it’s any consolation, the energy exchange between us was mutual on equal levels.

Bloody hell. Now that fucking huge as whitehead on my nose has been immortalised on my passport for the next ten long years!

Guess it’s time to switch to an Australian one.

Went back home and picked Raven up from school on the way. “Raven’s taking a bit more time to collect her art stuff, Jewey,” the day care staff in shorts said.

“That’s okay, I’ll wait,” I said. “It’s not like I have a choice, do I?”

We both laughed. “Nah, you can just leave and just…”

*Raven at 5 years old

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