Standing on my train station platform I thought about my new financial year resolution; to move away from meeting men at arts industry based events such as music festivals/ library borrowing queues / openings/ other festivals/ readings and the video store. So far it was going well; I hadn’t left my house in over a month. Eventually however, after advice on airing out my bedroom I found myself on a train station platform with a good looking young man standing next to me. Sure it was a crowded platform and one could argue there were really no other options as to where he might stand but in my mind what was important was that I thought I still had ‘it’ and I could meet people outside my ‘circle.’
He looked harmless enough, black wool jumper and jeans, not so tight as to cut off his family legacy and black worn brogues. All he was missing was a petite red-haired girlfriend with a blunt fringe, a smock with the Saver’s tag still on it, a pamphlet on alternative birth control methods and a Banksy tattoo and he would’ve looked like the guy who had everything, but all he had was a clip board and nothing else.
‘It’s very cold isn’t it?’ I turned around to see clipboard guy speaking directly to me.
‘Yes’ I replied as I hugged my large oversized duffle coat around me, a coat that could’ve past for a doona cover and of late given Melbourne’s freezing temperatures had been alternating as one. I’d had to start using the coat when I realised I’d started to develop an unnatural attachment to my hot bottle and the fact it had the ability to contour to my body shape. I only wanted one thing to do that and preferably I didn’t want it made from rubber and smelling like my grandmother.
‘Guess that’s winter for you’ he continued, allowing our natural chemistry to flow.
‘Well yeah, June is a winter month.’
‘So are August and July but not always in that order’ he pointed out to me.
He fiddled with his clipboard.
‘Mind if I ask you some questions?’
‘No, not at all’ I responded as my ovaries began to move of their own accord – they were still there, good.
‘I noticed when you arrived at this station that you failed to validate your ticket.’
Ok, so this one wasn’t like other men I’d known, this one was a conversationalist. Tick.
‘Um, I bought a ticket.’ (I chose not to add the phrase ‘at least’)
‘Yes, I saw that but like I said I failed to see you validate your card. Is there a reason you didn’t manage to do that?’
‘I guess I just forgot.’
‘That’s why we have memory madam, it stops us from forgetting.’
‘What, you’re not making any sense’
‘But some of us don’t like memories. I don’t like all of my memories and that’s why I don’t like dogs and biscuits.’
Suddenly I felt a craving to check my inbox for any invites to something in Fed Square or at Meat Market I had forgotten to RSVP to, I mean who had financial year resolutions anyway?. .idiots did Lou, idiots…
‘Um, it’s not really any of your business why I didn’t validate my card.’
‘Today I’m making it my business’ and with that he opened up his clipboard and I couldn’t help but think this was the reason I’d never really gotten into role play.
‘Ok, fine you want to know why I don’t validate, well let’s start with the train before this one was cancelled and this train the one due to arrive is now 16 minutes late. It’s like being in a relationship with someone who ignores you at parties and then you brush it off cause you are after all barely 5’3 and he would have to look down to even notice you were there and that’s a big ask sometimes, well it’s the same as validating a ticket for a train that is running late all the time, never smiles when they see you and then surprises you by terminating early even though you already booked that holiday to Vietnam and you told him at the time that the tickets were non-refundable – if my own existence can barely be validated then I’ll be damned if I’m going to validate a ticket!’.
Clipboard guy stared at me for a moment.
‘Are you really only 5’3?’
‘I’m wearing heels today.’
‘Oh that explains it.’
He didn’t say anything for a moment.
‘I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to upset you.’
‘You didn’t upset me, I’m ok, just fine me and let’s be done with this.’
‘What makes you think I’m a transit officer?’
‘You’ve got a clipboard.’
‘Lot’s of guys carry clipboards and it doesn’t mean we work in the transit industry. I don’t even own a car, but I bet you couldn’t tell what with your eyes being so jaded by prejudice.’
‘How does owning a car have anything to do with whether I validated my ticket?’
‘From where I stand it has everything to do with it.’
I looked up at the train timetable, delayed by another 7 minutes; God must’ve still been in the bathroom tending to himself.
‘Look, don’t worry I’m not a transit cop, I’m not going to fine you even though you are pretty fine, maybe we should have a coffee sometime. My mother says coffee is good for you.’
I realised at that point me developing an almost sexual relationship with my hot bottle wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing…
‘So if you’re not here to fine me what are you doing?’
‘It’s an assignment for school.’
‘School? Like postgraduate buiness school?’..even I noticed the desperate pleading in my voice.
‘No like high school. I’m doing an assignment on ethics and we were told to approach single parents and ask them a series of questions to see if their ethics had evolved after becoming parents let down by the world.’
‘You’re in high school?’
‘Yeah, Year 11.’
‘So you’re like 17 years old.’
‘Oh good, that makes what I was thinking 20 minutes ago even more illegal.’
The train finally pulled up.
‘I’m not a single mum just so you know’ I felt I needed to point that out to him.
‘Sorry, didn’t mean to offend, it was just the fact you were carrying a doona with you.’
‘It’s my coat.’
‘Looks like a doona.’
‘Yes, I know.’
‘I like older woman you know. I get on great with my mum and she says I’ve got very soft hands.’
‘She doesn’t have to be the only lucky lady in my life.’
And with that I boarded the train and maybe, just maybe I walked away from an opportunity missed.