I don’t recognize Marrickville these days … it’s moved on and I moved out half a lifetime ago. It’s been close to thirty years since I donned the uniform and delivered mail (by foot) around that sprawling leafy Sydney suburb for Australia Post.
For a time in my early twenties I left my social and musical life behind and became a virtual pork chop to all breeds of dog from Alsatian to Pomeranian. Honestly, fluffy pooches with ribbons in their hair took great delight in taking a bite out of my butt or at least attempting to. I really like dogs but back then I was just seen as a walking bone … or maybe ribs like those on the top of Fred Flintstone’s car.
My colleagues-in-mail were pretty old school. The boss Billy was a laugh and there was one gal who worked there – poor Jacqui – a vegetarian from New Zealand. This lack of meat eating made no sense whatsoever to those blokes, who were more into racing, steak and beer. I’m not sure why one of the old guys wanted to show her a men’s magazine early one morning – best not think about that.
According to rumours one of the fellas had won Lotto and simply came to work for something to do. Really … that’s the best you can think of? One afternoon I bumped into him eating fish and chips by himself on a lonely stretch of beach near Bronte. Weird – I guess money can’t buy friends.
There was another young bloke there who played rugby and “sank piss”. He was a big unit from Casino, Queensland who took great joy in boasting to anyone who cared to listen his proudest moment in the big city, how he walked into a Vietnamese restaurant one Friday night after drinking a bladder full and proceeded to racially vilify the staff and urinate on the floor. A revolting human … and sad for the staff of said restaurant.
My social life became limited and gigs had become weekend-only affairs. I could barely stay awake past 10pm. Sorting mail into little pigeon holes, stuffing them in your satchel, walking for miles and stuffing them into other little slots was taking its toll. I’m pretty sure the highlight of my weekend had become watching “Hey, Hey It’s Saturday”. I’d be waking up early whilst my house mates were coming home from late night parties and band excursions. My body clock went awry and I felt like youthful fun and shenanigans were passing me by, so I simply quit, called it a day and moved onto a job with more socially acceptable working hours and more pleasant company.
Funnily, I’d probably appreciate the hours more these days, though a 5am rise mid-winter is still a challenge.
I’ve been back to Marrickville quite a bit in recent times, there seems to be a venue around every corner – The Newsagency, Lazy Bones, The Red Rattler, Camelot. It looks like my Post Office has turned into a cafe … and all the pooches seem a whole lot friendlier.