Across the Maribyrnong

I went to meet my mate a few days ago to kick back in the house he was housesitting in Hawthorn and to witness the last hurrah of the decomposing Australian cricket team.

I get a peculiar feeling when I cross from the western suburbs of Melbourne to the eastern. The eastern side is more leafy. It has more trees, and a feel that my side does not have. It maybe only exists in my head, but I look at their streets and because I imagine a more relaxed vibe I therefore feel it as I’m there. The only thing that exists is what our heads give form to, so to speak. I imagine (and therefore feel) a tranquil existence which paradoxically needs more money to fund it, since that is the money side of the city. I imagine a side of the city purely populated by Anglo-Saxons and Asians, free of the politics and bitterness that the Wogs brought over from Macedonia, Malta, Serbia, Italy and Co. and drenched the western suburbs in. I erroneously imagine an old-fashioned feel of people who still give a damn about each other despite being strangers on the surface, another quality that I associate with the idea of monoculturalism, although I’m not sure if that idea is intellectual or because of my own slight, latent racism. I see milk bars on the street corners that have an old-Australia feel. I see houses that are no bigger than ours but probably cost more.

And I feel… different. I used to make jokes about the divide when I was in high school in South Yarra (yeah, don’t start) and all my mates came from the other side. But now that I’m here, and school broke out for summer nine years ago now, and all the jobs that don’t involve being a tradie (I’m just not suited for that stuff) are in the east because that’s where all of the businesses are: I’ve just realised how envious I feel of them, how less tense I imagine my existence would be if I had been one of them. I don’t mean in a violence sense because virtually nothing violent has ever happened to or around me; but I mean that I’m sick of dealing with the politics of day-to-day racism (including my own), the feeling that I’m an outsider in my own country.

What if my parents had been posted over there when they came in the seventies? I’d be supporting a footy team that had won more than zero premierships in the last fifty years. I’d be frolicking in trees and all that crap. I’d probably be making a shitload of money, although that one is my fault, I should have gotten on my feet at an earlier age. I’d have probably met more people who had brains throughout my time, and not felt on the defensive so much.

Money is not about having more things, I suddenly wonder. It’s about avoiding unpleasantness, unpleasant people, unpleasant jobs, unpleasant schools. Sure some of them over there are spoilt and sue their kids’ schools for not delivering an automatic 99.50 ENTER even if their kid is a moron; they have no idea that life is a battle and not a procession, but I’d choose that over the alternative. I wasn’t sure where this post was going, I thought it would be some glib shit about fate, but in a way this is about what I would want in a fantasy world and so is not so dissimilar to my Christmas list.

8 thoughts on “Across the Maribyrnong

  1. I think about this all the time, west vs east. I’ve lived on both sides but I was born west and will always stay west. I can’t stand the posh areas and the pretentiousness of the east. The west has all the culture and the flava, its the melting pot of Melbourne, where all the different people come together and create this enormous and expansive representation of multiculturalism, with that sassy Western Suburbs attitude. Both sides have crime and drugs, just that we’re more up front about it. I don’t like that pristine, ‘we’re so perfect’ life. Office jobs and enter scores.. Its boring and predictable. They only pretend to care, they don’t really give a shit about their neighbours. They care about having nicer cars or better front gardens.

  2. I know, but the image that day seduced me a tad. Actually I live in a pretty good area, I think I was venting when I wrote this one. I saw the trees and felt weird. I’ve lived here for so many years and yet the times I’ve seen that part of town are kind of rare. I know it’s all just “grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome, if I lived there I would either hate the materialism that the the east side no doubt values above everything else, or I would have been less ‘thinkey’ perhaps and would blindly follow it. I dunno.

  3. It probably would be a lot better to raise your kids over there though, I must admit. And its not like they’re without culture over there, they do have large pops of Greeks and stuff.. Maybe if I was raised there I’d prefer it, but for some reason I just like the West.

  4. I’m a northern lad…an inner-northern lad. The inner-north tends to be favoured with artists, bohemians and the sort of people you’d find chugging down a latte whilst listening to Jazz. Darebin (my municipality) has the highest amount of musicians than anywhere else in Australia.

    Some areas depress me – namely the outer northern suburbs and areas like Werribee and Williamstown. For some reason, I’ve always had feeling of unease in them.

  5. The outer suburbs in any direction can feel a bit sketchy. I’m over the whole city truth be told, east west left right up down. I’m going to study in Wodonga for a year. Then at the end of the year I’ll probably come crawling back to Melbourne in gratitude. Grass is always greener indeed.

    Thanks for the comment! You like the inner-north setup?

  6. Indeed I do. But I like the inner-east and south-east too. If only they’d improved public transport infrastructure in the outer-east areas…I might just re-adjust my inner city addiction.

  7. Wodonga?! Omg.. thats like, bush town cross desert city & so far from anything cool. But its awesome that you’re going to study. What kind of course Marty?

  8. Prep through year 12 education. Languages type thing. I attempted it last year at ACU in Fitzroy and tossed it in after two and a half months. I actually need a place with less distraction to get this shit done. I dislike uni but like the idea of having this diploma even if I don’t use it (but I probably will).

    It’s near the river, that could be somewhat cool (literally and figuratively, hehe).

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