Going out for a drink on a weeknight in Adelaide is easier than it used to be, but you can’t leave it too late because the only places that stay open after eleven have music that is too loud for our middle age sensibilities. We had to deal with the possum’s doorway to our roof space first. That meant we had to wait for it to get dark so we could be sure that the possum had left its cosy house in the ceiling space. No one wants to block a possum in. The mister and the floppy adolescent were on the case, but the floppy adolescent needed to finish his pulled pork enchiladas before he could even think of going up a ladder or holding a light.
The mister’s been here since last Friday night, and he’s leaving on Saturday and we haven’t had much of a chance to sit and talk and let the conversation take its path to wherever it might lead. The thing is, in a week, there’s been the Future Prime Minister’s cricket final spread across two days (his team won, and there’s hurrah!); a couple of deadlines; the mister wanting time to hang out with the floppy one, and so on. This is one of the very real challenges of this global commuting caper – finding time to have the casual conversations that glue a relationship together.
For example, I was half a glass of sparkling in when I was able to say, ‘Yes, that’s true, but we’re in a post-neoliberal age now.’
‘Yes, Paul Keating said neoliberalism is at the end of his life. I’m the one who’s coined it the post-neoliberal age, but everyone’ll be saying it by tomorrow. You can use it at work if you like.’
‘Keating, hey? Bet he didn’t tweet that?’
‘No,’ I said. It is hard to know where to take the conversation when you’ve got no real idea what you’re talking about and you’re a little distracted trying to work out exactly where you know the woman at the next table from.
We ordered two plates of tapas and I took another picture using the snapchat-type feature facebook seems to have ripped off in their latest update. (This is an aside, but when I discovered it a few hours earlier, I said it’s to stop the flight of middle aged ladies away from facebook and the floppy adolescent told me I was wrong and I said, ‘It might come as a surprise to you, but middle aged ladies do have value,’ and then both the adolescents piled on in a flurry of outrage that I would suggest that they have anything except complete respect for women.)
For my second drink, I joined the mister in a glass of shiraz there being no cabernet sauvignon available by the glass. It was my first red of the season, but the temperature in Adelaide had dropped to sufficiently autumnal levels to allow it. I am a most sophisticated wine drinker and said, ‘Well that’s more like a European shiraz than a Barossa, isn’t it?’ The mister agreed. ‘It’s still not cab sav though, is it?’ I said.
At 10.30 (not on the dot but close enough) the waiter came and said, ‘Were you interested in ordering last drinks at all?’
We looked around and realised we were the last ones in the bar.
‘No, thank you, we’ll just get the bill.’
The relief! Writ large across his face. Though of course, we should take our time, take your time, there’s no rush.
On the way back to the car we stopped and looked in the windows of a place that would be the perfect space for my new business. Well it would be perfect if it cost next to nothing and fitted itself out. And then we drove home along Anzac Highway and parliament was on the radio and I got a notification on my phone that the plans to make changes to 18C had been foiled but they still seemed to be talking about it on the radio but I did not feel like listening to odious people saying odious things so I arranged for us to listen to some music.
If I’d had Redgum’s It’s One More Boring Thursday Night in Adelaide in digital form I would have played that for the laugh. Instead, I put on Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker. I often listen to that when I’m driving home at night, but of course I’m usually driving home by myself and it takes me by surprise when the mister says, ‘What’s this? I haven’t heard this.’ At first he’s like, ‘Bloody hell, are we listening to this all the way home?’ But that’s okay because Leonard Cohen is like that, and by the time we’re on The Esplanade we’re up to If I Didn’t Have Your Love and the mister’s like, ‘Wow, that’s beautiful, isn’t it?’
So now next time I play that album, I can think of the lovely night we spent together, the mister and me on a boring Thursday night in Adelaide.