By James O'Loghlin
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Atmosphere is a strange thing. You can break it down into components—appearance and number of buildings, landscape and people, friendliness of people, smiles per hectare—but in the end it’s just there. Haberfield’s atmosphere was friendly and unthreatening. It wasn’t that of a suburb barely holding in check a manic exuberance and energy that could explode onto the streets at any moment (although I don’t want to underestimate the excitement that the forthcoming St Joan of Arc’s school fete, featuring ‘pass the footy’, a basket stall and jams was generating, and who knows what crazy things might happen if some of those powerful silvers turned up), but it felt nice to be there.
Would the fun wear off? Could going to new places and seeing new things become as routine as catching the bus to work? I once met an American in Indonesia who boasted that he had been travelling for eighteen months. He seemed cocky about it, but also bored. I told him I was going to see Mount Bromo, an active volcano, and asked if he wanted to come. ‘Another active volcano? ’ I took another sip of my perfect, powerful coffee. Was it just the addictive stuff that got less fun the more you did it, or was it everything?
And if I did disappear into the 33 A Month of Sundays 25/10/04 3:44 PM Page 34 a month of sundays bush never to be seen again, one day Bibi would find out that the last time I had been seen was just after she had started crying after I caused a branch to smack her in the face. She’d think it was all her fault and grow up wracked by guilt until one day it would all get too much for her and she’d run away into the bush to look for me and she’d get lost and it would all end in tears. I turned around, feeling noble.
A month of Sundays : How to go travelling without Leaving Town by James O'Loghlin