taking a breather

Relaxing in the sidewalk seating of a bar in Civic called BaBar, with a reasonably priced Shiraz blend. Waiting on the vegetarian lasagna, which I am told will involve pumpkin, basil pesto, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and something called bocconcini which I had to look up to make sure it wasn’t meat. The wine is a bit tart but it doesn’t have that boot-to-the-head quality that the average house Chianti does. It’s a balmy 20 C (= 68 F for the Americans), sunny and windless. Altogether an exceptional evening that needs to be enjoyed.

While I prefer drinking coffee alone (in the process of working/writing/thinking, as now), it’s not often that I dine out alone, or drink alcohol alone. I see this occasion as a rare indulgence, a celebration of spring. In truth I felt neither like cooking nor eating back at home alone in my cramped temporary quarters. It’s been all I could do to keep myself going today; I’ve had no fewer than three cups of coffee since the day started, and still my legs feel heavy and my head cloudy. My body’s telling me it’s time to stop for a second.

A lot of things have unwound in the past week or so. For one thing, I’m done negotiating the horrendously distorted Canberra real estate market, and have an appointment tomorrow signing a lease on an apartment which I wouldn’t mind living in. I don’t want to get into it too deeply right now, but in short it’s as bad as Berkeley was, and for similar reasons. Any 1-bedroom apartment less than the median rent of $1600/month is probably in an ugly concrete econo-box building built in 1971. At some point I will write an entry unpacking the implications.

Another thing is that I’m in final negotiations for buying a car from one of the Stromlo grad students. It’s a 1998 Toyota Starlet, about the same size, configuration (hatchback), fuel economy, mileage, and inflation-adjusted price as the first car I ever bought (and loved). I look forward to having wheels to go with the roof over my head, though this of course also means more than one inspection, another trip to the DMV for vehicle registration, etc.

News item #3: I did the bike to work again on Monday after that final round of apartment-hunting. It was long, but not impossible, and it’s clearly a major workout for me in my current condition. I’ve got scarcely a month and a half till the Tour de Stromlo, so I’d better keep training. This morning I elected not to cycle, and foolishly missed my ride when I waited for it in the wrong place. (Understand that the area around where I typically meet my ride in the morning is east-west symmetric, and the alleyway on the east side looks very much like the alleyway on the west side to the half-asleep observer paying minimal attention.) Anyway, Patrick came to rescue me on his way in to work after another long night of observing.

later, at home: Passing out now-ish… 9 PM Australia time. Should have 10 hours to sleep before waking up again for work. This “morning person” thing would be unsustainable if there were anything happening in Canberra past about 10 PM…


About Richard

I'm an American scientist who is building a new life in Australia. This space will contain words about science and math, but also philosophy, policy, literature, my travels, occasional rants, all sorts of things I find strange and awesome. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer at the time (currently University of Sydney), though personally, I think they should.
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