Some of the things I have seen in Melville over this week have included a guy pirouetting in the middle of the road, pink blossoms flying in the wind, an adorable rescue puppy, ceramic angels outside a community venture, joggers and walkers most of whom are wearing masks, cunt cyclists who are not, kids jumping through hoops, giant avocados at a new fruit and veg shop and an almost thriving green market at The Boxes.
I have also seen illicit cigarette deals in broad daylight, street poker in doorways, homeless guys sleeping outside shuttered restaurants, a guy walking his dog while carrying a golf club for protection, far too many broke and hungry people, Pablos Eggs Go Bar being demolished, a marauding gang of youngsters, one who carries a mallet, and anxiety on a lot of faces.
My neighbourhood, like me, is having mood swings. Sometimes it is light and lovely. Other times it is dark and gloomy.
As I overheard one of the bar owners say yesterday:
“It is not like we haven’t seen Melville go through this before.”
Sadly he said that prior to the alcohol ban last night and I imagine his shop, which is more bar than shop, will have to close. After trying everything possible to stay open.
I hope I can get a quick bottle of whisky from him. If I can’t, I’m sure I can find one elsewhere, illegally, on the street.
It’s all a bit unsettling.
This morning I walked to my Pharmacy and have to say that while I have been devastated seeing restaurants closing and so many people lose their jobs, I will freak out if my pharmacy ever goes.
STAY HERE FOREVER PLEASE, FAVOURITE DISPENSARY.
Or at least notify me so I can stockpile on valium.
There is a lot of change. It’s hard to witness and heartbreaking and shocking. Every day something is different, something is gone, something replaces, something changes and something, or somebody, takes a gap.
The very day after Pablos closed, a street vendor set up a stall selling cheap sunglasses, masks and bandanas. The masks are nice. I might buy one, especially as I had a nose bleed in my own mask while walking this morning.
A nose bleed in my mask. Blood over the fabric, dripping down my chin, on my chunky sweater from Hobo Boutique who, in the middle of all of this, have launched a new range and they seem to be thriving and thank goodness it is not all doom and gloom.
I fixed up the blood and gore while waiting for a coffee at Spilt Milk. They are still here, warm and cosy, taking our temperatures and selling fresh bagels, croissants and coffee.
Sometimes everything feels fine and normal and pretty and then it doesn’t and our gaps are huge and there is rich and poor and hunger and danger and safety and roaring fires and homeless and piles of bedding where pavement cafes used to be.
Everything is changing under our noses.
While I was walking and taking pics a stranger warned me to be ‘careful with my phone.’
“Mine was stolen yesterday,’ she told me. ‘You need to mind your step.”
I thanked her becauseI know she is right. But I also think I’ll take my chances while walking, without carrying a golf club.
I know these streets. I love these streets.
I think everyone here has my back.
I absolutely have their backs too.