Thursday, March 17, 2005

A little bit about a country town

I am again in exile in the country town of Wodonga for work. This is proving, of late, to be somewhat of a regularity. And, despite appearances, it is not something that I particularly mind. Of course, the location of the bangle Nazi over 300km from my person, is certainly a very happy consequence!

Wodonga is a small-ish town, but happily blessed with every modern convenience including McDonald's, late-night hours Coles, adult stores and the internet cafe that I am currently sitting in. This cafe also doubles as a video store, and as such, does not just have the usual clientele that I expect at an internet cafe.

Sitting to my right are two boys, around the age of 10, who are happily gaming with each other. Of course, they feel the need to yell instructions at each other pertaining to the game. There are numerous patrons selecting their video of choice, most recently a five year old screaming some babbling nonsense behind me. The patron of the "cafe" is Ray, who is an affable gentleman and greets me by name. I find it a curiosity that I travel 300kms to get personal service, that I so obviously lack at home.

The hotel that I frequent when visiting Wodonga is the dubiously named "Blazing Stump". Despite the curiosity of its name, the staff greet me with a big grin and by name. It is like stepping into a universe where everyone is pleasant and actually likes seeing you. Of course, the fact that I am a return patron is completely irrelevant.

Time in Wodonga takes me away from my usual life at home, and as such, affords me many hours for contemplation. Usually in my life, I spend a good amount of time each day in traffic, and then of course, rushing to my various activities. Here, I am at work in less than 5 minutes and have no after work activities. This leaves me with many hours sitting in a very comfortable chair (a far cry from my Fit Ball at home), listening to the same video advertising spiels playing over and over, whilst I reach out to the world far beyond Wodonga.

No trip to Wodonga is complete without my dinner at the best Indian restaurant in Victoria, which is ironically in New South Wales (does Albury really count?). The food is sublime; service is admirable.

The only thing that detracts from my continued convivial sojourn are the fellow hotel patrons who insist, no matter which room I am in, on standing outside my window, chatting and smoking. I have thought about walking outside and kindly offering to "bitch slap" them, but I did wonder if "bitch slap" is a country-wide parlance. Detracts somewhat from the potency of my violent actions if I have to explain, doesn't it?

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