Friends, we are so close to (COVID) normal I can almost taste it. And by “it”, I mean dumplings, and by “dumplings”, I mean the Shanghai Street dumplings I can only get in the city. So since we can finally see the light at the end of this very dark tunnel, I’ve decided to let myself think about pre-pandemic life again – six whole months ago – and of all the things in Melbourne I will never take for granted ever again.
Quickie context: I live in the suburbs, which is why a lot (all of) these things are based in the city.
And, some of my fellow Melbournian co-workers also chimed in with things they’ll never take for granted too.
Let’s get into it.
The endless line outside Shanghai Street
I MISS YOU.
There’s always an offensively long line outside this place, you pretty much have to serve yourself, and you’re *encouraged* to leave the moment the last dumpling enters your mouth… but, the dumplings are the best I’ve ever had.
Louie Costello (Native Editor and bloke in the picture above) put it very well: “I miss lining up at that dumplings place and greasing people off inside for taking too long to eat their food and then going in and taking too long to eat my food.”
The post-footy crowd
Cam Tyeson (Managing Editor, Melbourne): “Shuffling at half-speed along the Birrarung Marr footbridge in a shoulder-to-shoulder post-footy crowd.”
Courtney Fry (Music & Bites Editor): “Hearing the chimes on Birrarung Marr playing the winning club’s song after your team’s been thumped at the G.”
That bloody clock at Melbourne Central
I have always hated the big clock. Every hour, on the hour it sings Waltzing Matilda. It’s the same act every single day and yet, people – tourists – stop and take photos. It’s absolute hell, because the walkway between the escalators going down to Melbourne Central Station and the exit onto Swanston street is narrow enough as it is.
I thought this was just a picture of the clock on the Melbourne Central Insta, and then I read the caption.
Do I still hate the clock? Yes. Do I miss the normality associated with hearing Waltzing Matilda for the one billionth time in my life? Also, yes.
The sound the Myki reader makes when you have no more $$$ on it
And then you have to turn around and do the walk of shame, because the Myki inspector is on the other side of the gate and is watching you intently.
Or, sometimes your Myki just randomly expires? Since when do they expire?
The Free Tram Zone
To this day, I do not know what makes up the Free Tram Zone in the CBD. Sometimes I tap on, sometimes I don’t… and then I nervously look at everybody who gets on the tram in case they’re a Myki Inspector.
A cheap thrill.
And by “train woes”, I mean getting stuck on a train between Flinders Street Station and Richmond Station, because it’s peak hour and everybody is trying to get home. The train driver will announce the delay and for a moment, people will pop out one earbud to listen, groan, then carry on. Maybe we’ll wait two minutes, sometimes it’s 20.
Train announcers (?)
You know those train conductors that stand on the platform and announce incoming trains and delays and all that? Yeah, sometimes they make corny jokes like “May the 4th be with you.” Other times they yell at you to stop running on the platform.
They’re also far too awake in the mornings.
The painfully Melbourne brunch places
Otherwise known as the entirety of Hardware Lane… if you want that specific kind of brunch experience where the food is good, but the Instagrams are better.
This sentence: “It’s about a 40-minute wait for a table, is that okay?”
No explanation needed.
The mozzies at the beer garden
Bite me, mozzies. I don’t care anymore.
Wasting all my money on Ubers
On those, “Ah, fuck it” nights. You know the ones.
Revs / Laundry
Doing a tactical vom at all the places
DIY Scavenger Hunts
Louie also provided this absolute classic: “I miss the next-day scavenger hunt when you go to various bars to ask them if they found a jacket and stand there cautiously optimistic only for them to come back and say ‘nah nothing but if you leave your phone number we can call you if we find it’ and then you stay for a drink because you’ve come all that way.”
…that you don’t realise are $32 until the next morning. Happens to the best of us.
The possums at Flagstaff Gardens
I miss those picnics in the summer that stretch way into the evening. At some point, the possums will come out and try and steal your food. Cheeky little shits.
The religious students
The second you sit your ass down on the grass in front of State Library, someone will approach you. Sometimes it’s homeless folk asking for a dollar, but most of the time it’s the religiously ambiguous students who want your help for a survey. I always get approached, I don’t know why.
These students will ask you questions like, “Do you believe in God?”
In 9/10 times, I fake a phone call and run away. Sorry.
Maybe I’ll answer one (1) question next time.
As an aside, I just found a very Melbourne puzzle.
The busker outside Chinatown on the corner of Swanston Street and Little Bourke
There’s this one bloke who plays the drums on instruments made out of trash can lids and plastic tubs. He’s probably the happiest guy I’ve ever clapped eyes on, and he always, always, always says hello to you if you make eye contact. He also scribbles “hello” in about 10 different languages in chalk across the ground.
I hope he’s doing well.
There’s a table waiting for us at Shanghai Street when this is all over. We’ll probably only have it for about 30 minutes though.
Can’t fucking wait.