Willie Nelson may sing about how he “just can’t wait to get on the road again”, but thankfully for me, the wait is over and has been since Saturday.
I picked up my new (used) car from Barrack Heights near Shellharbour on Saturday afternoon, a day which I can only describe as long. It’s probably a good thing that calendar days change without regard for whether a person has slept, as a calendar based on my sleep cycle would be quite difficult to use. I woke up on Friday around 11:30am and was awake for the remainder of that day. Between midnight and 5am on Saturday I did a number of things including preparing something to listen to during my journey to Barrack Heights…my original plan was to put a few podcasts and a handful of songs on an MP3 CD, but that plan had to be scrapped when I noticed that my portable CD player doesn’t work. I then switched to plan B, prepare four playlists of approximately forty-five minutes duration each and record them to tape. This plan also failed as I discovered after recording Side A.
In general, TDK audio cassettes marked as being of ninety minutes duration, usually have about 95 minutes of usable tape…in this case it was quite clear that something was wrong when my 48 minute playlist (the last few minutes of which were a piece of instrumental music) finished, and yet the stereo was still recording. I let it run for a couple more minutes before pulling the tape out of the cassette deck only to find that there was at least a sixth of the tape waiting to be consumed. I then played some of the recorded content back to find that it was a bit higher pitched and faster than usual…I would estimate that it was between 15% and 20% faster than usual. I’m not sure whether the tape was being run at a slower than usual speed during recording due to the tape being dubbed from a virtual cassette tape  which may have confused the stereo due to the weight discrepancy between the virtual cassette and the real cassette, or if it is just a recently-developed fault with the recorder. I will have to investigate that and report back to you.
Anyway, with that failed experiment abandoned, and with my other tasks completed, I decided to go to bed for half an hour…as it happened I slept for an extra half an hour and had to bolt to the Jolimont Centre on Northbourne Avenue to catch my 7am bus to Sydney.
The run to Sydney was, as expected for a run I’ve done too many times to count, quite uninteresting, especially without the expected stimuli. Sydney itself was busy (also as expected, but this time due to World Youth Day…I doubt that Sydney would be expectedly busy simply because I didn’t have a CD or tape to listen to) and the bus was unable to set passengers down at Central Station, stopping about three blocks away instead.
I had lunch at Central Station and used the hour or so that I had to spare watching some of the trains, involuntarily learning the stations that the train on platform two was planning to visit (thankfully I only remember Dungog now), having a stroll around the streets surrounding Central Station, and spending about ten minutes on an awfully slow Internet terminal.
Around 11:40am I caught the South Coast train and enjoyed watching the world go by for a while, and I arrived at Oak Flats station a bit before 2pm. By 2:30pm I was leaving the area and heading down the Princes Highway in order to ensure that I stayed within radio range of the AFL coverage. I wasn’t able to pick up 2EC and the Geelong Cats V Western Bulldogs match until about 3:45pm but I did manage to stay in touch with it via the “around the grounds” reports during the ABC’s coverage of the Richmond V Essendon.
I was able to pick up 2GB by about 5:20pm and stayed with them to hear the NRL (the ABC’s signal was stronger in that area, but why would I want to listen to their coverage when I can listen to Andrew Moore and Steven Roach instead?) and, due to a deliberate detour within Canberra, I arrived home around 7:30pm.
I then, for whatever reason, despite being tired was unable to get to sleep later that night, so I stayed up until about 6:30am, which totalled 43 hours awake minus an hour in the middle. I’ve been awake for longer on previous occasions, but I’m not used to it at the moment and felt quite drained by the end of it…something which was cured by 14 hours of sleep, unfortunately requiring me to miss an engagement without notice.
Anyway, it’s good, and a relief, to be on the road again. Needless to say, I will be doing my best to make it much less eventful than last time .