Flying Low

The flight home from Perth to Sydney has often been an emotional one for me, and today is no different. After three days of uncharacteristic changeable weather we took off under a cloudless sky, and as we jetted east through the dusk terminator at MACH 0.8, the sun went down like a bomb.

On one of my previous trips I made a point of going down to Cottosloe to watch the sun sink into the Indian ocean. It takes four minutes when you’re stationary. Today it seemed to take about four seconds. BAM. All that promise, all that warmth, all that life, drowning - like a photon being sucked into a black hole - and me on a collision course with home.

But this isn’t about Sydney.

I don’t know how many weddings I’ve attended over the years – probably about 20 – but this was my second Perth wedding. It was different from all the others in that it was a shotgun wedding, but the same in that there were lots of spirited yet boring speeches, tears, a stupid band and all the usual hoo-ha. About two thirds of the way through the reception there was the usual moment when it all turns sour (whether you’re drunk or not) and I had to make a few moments of solitude to avoid coming apart at the seams. I nearly got married myself once. Lord knows how I would ever have gotten through that experience.

The problem with weddings is that they put your life into perspective. Visiting Perth also does this. The combination is lethal.

The reception place of choice in Perth seems to be Fraser’s – a restaurant on the edge of Kings Park with a commanding view east across the bay. Last night I stood there looking out over the city. I could have been standing in the Total Perpective Vortex. Oh to be Zaphod Beeblebrox! Instead I fade into an infinitesimal dot and then nothing - emerging after a short while, scathed.

I think back to when I chose this life – nine years ago. I chose to put writing first, forsaking all other pursuits, jobs, relationships, hopes, dreams, pastimes... or at the very least relegating them to compete for second fiddle parts in my life. I chose solitude, contemplation, self-absorption when these guys chose friends, family and a happy, relaxed, outward focus. I built drafts and drafts of crap while they built homes and families and careers.

Now I’m jetting into the black hole of Sydney at MACH 0.8, writing… Can’t stop fucking writing.