Musings from behind a coffee machine


This week as it was Halloween I was going to go out to the area known as ‘little America’ and look at the decorations and maybe make some querulous comments about the relative sprawling, leafy grandeur of the suburb but as it was a dark and stormy night … well of course it was dark, why do scary tales always start like that? Actually it was just a very, very rainy night. Perfect bath weather, a night for staying home, drinking red wine, eating cheese for dinner and early to bed. So instead of Halloween and little America, I’m writing about some of the things I contemplate over a couple of 10-hour days behind a coffee machine.
One was the day of the ‘race that stops the nation’. And in other parts of Australia it is quite noticeable, everything truly does stop for those few minutes of hooves and hearts pounding, of fortunes being made or unmade. Not so noticeable here, I thought. It was hard not to notice though how busy I was. There must have been a couple of tour buses stranded alongside all the doctors because what literally did ‘stop the nation’ was the grounding of the whole Qantas fleet. And during such
staying-in-bed, indoors kind of weather!
For the stranded folk with their ears pressed into mobile phones and brows furrowed into worry, I wondered what a curious last impression
they got of Alice Springs. What with the pouring rain and atypical chill in the air, it was no wonder I was still pumping mugs of coffee and hot chocolate for cold hands to clasp till late into the afternoon!
And imagine a five million dollar a year salary! What the hell does someone do with five million bucks a year? But I’ll move on – there’s
already plenty in the papers about Qantas and the global backlash against the 1%.
On Sunday I’d seen quite another segment of Alice Springs – people cruising about, arms laden with seedlings, water melons, rock melons,
zucchinis. Chilling and having a coffee or two before herding home the new additions to the veggie garden. And a mob of kids all shiny with sweat, full of an unfamiliar confidence, striding down the mall in their football uniforms, laughing, looking about and meeting eyes.
While some of the town were carving grimaces into pumpkins and as it continued to threaten rain, more musings … often I witness a lot of
stress, especially in travellers. But lately it’s worry I’m seeing and I see it all the time, not just in travellers. In older people it is
sometimes bewilderment at a world changed so much from the one they grew up in; there’s irritable vagueness in sleepless mums; and then there’s the impatient, running late, don’t want to go to work, having a bad day types. All I can do is smile at their rude blunt heads and make them a killer coffee and wish them a good day.
But that’s only if I myself don’t belong to that group of bewildered, irritable, tired, impatient and late types. That’s quite a big if, isn’t
it? Oh well, still striving for membership of that group of clear-headed, easygoing, didn’t go to bed late, patient and relaxed types. Mmm but then maybe I just drink a lot of coffee …


  1. Hi Estelle, I enjoyed reading this. Keep smiling at those rude blunt heads! They need it, deserving or not.


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