Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The distance between us

In most cities, the concept of distance and time are constants – a metre is 100 centimetres, a kilometre is made up of 1000 metres and so on. Canberra is the only city in Australia (perhaps even the world) in which distance warps itself beyond all recognition. Normally, a ten-kilometre journey is commonplace; you’d barely even mention it on your Facebook update (“LOL just leavnig work for the 10km trek home hope johnny has put the dinner on LOL cant wait for winners n loosers tonite LOL”), but in Canberra, a ten-kilometre journey is one worthy of an epic Greek poem. Funnily enough, when I was picking up some fish and chips the other week, the Greek bloke behind the counter started reciting one, but I really didn’t have time to listen; I had hot chips and a chiko roll to get home, and about eight k’s to cover. I needed all the time I could muster.

Despite the lack of major traffic concerns when driving in the nation’s capital; there’s little congestion, the lanes are wide, the green lights ample, the roads are paved and flat; the laws of time and space in Canberra deter people from venturing too far from their own driveways. It is not uncommon to witness a person from Belconnen begin to shake and sweat uncontrollably once they have ventured outside their own suburb.

Despite constant police warnings about going into districts with a different postcode than your own, many Canberrans still take that risk – and pay the price.
“Steve, it’s Eric. How’s things?”
“Good mate, how about you?”
“Fucked – my car’s broken down. Reckon you can pick me up?”
“Yeah of course, where are you?”
“Just near Kaleen.”
“Sorry mate. I can’t do that.”
“I pulled you out of your house when it was burning down!”
“Yeah, but you lived next door. You didn’t have to, you know, drive.”
“You married my sister!”
“Yeah, but she also lived next door. What was I going to do, marry someone in Hughes?”
“Where’s Hughes again?”
“I dunno, I think they have a good bakery there though.”
“Yeah cool, I think a guy I used to work with told me that. Can you seriously come and get me?”
“Sorry mate.”

“Hello police? A gang of ninjas have broken into my house!”
“What is your address?”
“It’s in Isaacs –”
“Isaacs? Yeah… nah. I think if you remain perfectly still, the ninjas will leave you alone. Their vision is based on movement. They’re more scared of you than you are of them.”
“Can’t you just come, please?”
“Isaacs? Yeah… nah.”

If you do venture outside of your designated driving zone, please be sure to have all relevant documentation with you, including passport and reason for visiting. You should also ensure that you have the relevant currency for the area you are entering – a phrase book will also help you out. Notify your loved ones of your location, estimated time of arrival and planned itinerary before you leave. Get all of your affairs in order, and for fuck’s sake, AVOID THE BRIDGE.

If you see this bridge, you've gone too far


Ez said...

Oh, someone who understands!
Having only recently moved here, i have been wondering about this. I have dubbed it the 'Canberra Country Mile' or CCC for short!

Mister Evil Breakfast said...

It's quite obvious that you're new to Canberra - your acronym skills still require a bit of work.

Welcome to the capital! Don't forget to tip the veal and try the waitress.