The Night of the Melbourne Hipster Sardine Party

Welcome to 2013 people of the internet. Since my last post way back in 2012 I haven’t managed a single blogworthy date, so let me transport you back in time a few weeks…

So I’d been out of the desert maybe a week or so and Melbourne was still this overwhelming metropolis with excessive buildings that stretched upwards and squashed sideways and hid the skyline. A place where the ill fitting and the unflattering are fashionable and where getting on the wrong tram to the wrong station was becoming a habit. I made plans to catch up with other friends from Alice Springs who were also at various stages of readjusting to big city life. The city was making us do silly things, like wanting to replace our entire wardrobes and squeeze about six social commitments into one night. After dinner in a lovely Indian restaurant we went to a house party. We paused before we entered the front door, huddling in solidarity to suss out a subtle game plan. If any of us needed rescuing we’d raise both arms straight up in the air to signal the others. I only lasted about 8 seconds before raising my arms.

There were SO MANY PEOPLE. Packed wall to wall. What was this place? Who were these people? Who has this many friends? Surely one person can’t have that many friends? How are they all so well dressed? GET LESS FRIENDS OR A BIGGER HOUSE ALREADY.

Feeling very much like sardines in a tin, we got stuck in the doorway. “Please excuse my friends,” said my friend who bought us to the party to the host of the party, “They’re from the desert and don’t know where to stand.” I burst out laughing. Not just a little fit of giggles, but raised eyebrows, open mouthed, hands on thighs, tears rolling down face hysterics. I’d been transported to some other world. From my world where there is no postal service, no Triple J reception, no tofu in the supermarket, no traffic, no good reason for anyone to wear anything other than thongs and a T Shirt and no good reason for there to be any more than 5 people in a room at a time*. To this loud and full world where I found myself in the kind of party you see in the movies but don’t believe could ever exist in real life.

We finally stumbled out into the courtyard where we drank champagne and I sat in a puddle on a chair. Then, a cute guy I’d met previously in Alice Springs approached me. Yes that’s right dear reader, a cute guy approached me. ME. I still had it.

Let’s go back to the moment I met the aforementioned cute guy in Alice Springs. He was passing through and camping in the backyard of a friend’s place that I was also staying at. We danced at a house party, had some good conversations and he seemed interested in what I was saying. When the evening drew to an end all I managed to muster up was a “Well, if you get cold out there in your tent, just knock on my door.” Pretty lame. Where was the confidence of my previous (successful) seduction attempts? I’d once lain naked in someone’s bed waiting for them (You don’t have to wait for everyone else to leave the party! You can have a nap and then be ready to go! You’ll send a pretty clear message without saying anything!). I even asked my first proper high school boyfriend out by dragging him behind the bike shed and pashing him. Where was this confidence now, huh?

Let’s go back to the Melbourne Hipster Party, where there probably was a bike shed full of fixies somewhere and ample hip looking men to pash behind it. They were wearing all kinds of weird shit and looking all totally hawt and being way too numerous. Several times throughout the evening my friends from the desert all acknowledged how ridiculous the evening was, but how glad we were to be experiencing it together, sharing the moment. Anyway, we were standing outside when who should walk up but Attractive Alice Springs Backyard Tent Guy and his equally attractive friend. I was almost at the point of high fiving myself for engaging these two babin’ dudes in conversation (I still had it! I still remembered how to talk to men!). Then the attractive friend told me he’d met a cute girl last week with the same name as me, but he couldn’t bring himself to pursue it was also his grandmothers name.

“Yeah that’d be awkward,” I chimed in, “Imagine screaming that out during sex.”

I believe at this point one of my desert buddies actually made the sound of a plane crash diving into earth. I still don’t know why everyone else found this awkward, or what they were imagining.

After a brief silence Attractive Friend said he’d heard that it was “still pretty segregated up there in Alice. Do you have much interaction with indigenous people in the Pilbara?” Yeah dude, I work in a tiny Aboriginal community, so interaction happens every day. “Yeah, but what about your social time, weekends and stuff?” he asked. I replied that I was there in the community to work, so while I made good relationships through work it was still work and on my weekends I’d mostly prefer not to work. He smiled a polite “I’m totally judging you” smile and I went to the dance floor and let my hair out (literally) to Rage Against the Machine, so much so that my neck hurt the following day. His question was an innocent but it began to rile me the day afterwards as I thought of all the things I could have replied with.

“Are you asking me if I have black friends? Mate, I’m not up there to make friends with Aboriginal people because they’re Aboriginal. That’d be all kinds of fake/patronizing/wrong town. I’m up there to work. Besides, my social life doesn’t discriminate, it just doesn’t exist. I don’t really socialize with anyone in the Pilbara, regardless of their culture.”

Anyway, off my soap box and back to the awesome 90’s dance floor. Our champagne ran out and I started drinking white wine, which I forgot I hated. I was half building up the confidence to go and speak to Tent Guy again and half actually forgetting about him and having an amazing dance, unlike any dance I’d had for months, perhaps all year. By the time I did go for a lap of the house to look for him he had gone. Ah well, if he wanted to find me and continue the conversation bad enough he would have done just that, as would have I.

By this stage it was around 2.30am and Mariah Carey came on, my friends and I danced the old 2.30am-drunken hug-sway-sing-dance. I got a bit teary. Mariah was often listened to on long drives to camping spots with these same desert friends when we all lived in Alice. I was mourning for those days and had a sudden amazing realization of what a gift it is to have good friends and to be close to them and how amazing I felt around them and how much they made me a better person just by being around and giving me permission to be me and to have a great dances and good times with them. This combined with the sudden amazing realization that these times would soon be over, that I’d be heading back to the Pilbara where there weren’t these friends, these times and definitely not these dances. My friends in their wisdom must have known that 2.30am is never a great time to have a drunken sudden realizations and popped me into a taxi home.

When I got to where I was staying I met some other friends in their kitchen, having only just stumbled home themselves. We ate toasted cheese and debriefed. Another classic friend moment. Early morning toasted cheese kitchen debriefs, way up there with Mariah Carey hug-sway-dancing and ridiculous party moment sharing. The night had been filled with classic friend moments. I went to bed exhausted and content.

*This is a lie. Plenty of times there have been at least 20 people in Woolworths and I once went to K-Hole to see Mr Barry Morgan play his organ in the Speigeltent with around 100 people. It was set up in the Woolworths car park.

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