Sunday, July 5, 2009

The tradesmen's entrance

We hang out with some pretty crazy friends.

I guess this kind of works when you're not exactly on an even keel yourself.

Crazy friends are good - lots of raucous laughs, some tears, great food and wine, some pretty full-on conversations, and the reminder that it really is good to be alive.

We were with a mob of them this afternoon / evening, for our six-weekly catch-up of FOCG (I will only tell you that the first two words are 'Friends of' and the last word is 'Grace'. You'll have to die wondering what the 'C' part is).

Anyway, somewhere in the conversation someone introduced the concept of the tradesmen's entrance. We were talking about the pretentiousness that surrounds properties, and indeed whole cities: we put our best foot forward, and hide all the rumblings - the dirty laundry, the sewer, the hot water system, old broken furniture, the fire escape, the long grass - out the back.

Sydney's no different. We live less than five minutes from suburbs like Bidwill and Shalvey - and Sydney's no different.

And our lives are no different. People who encounter us in a state of readiness find a neat and orderly front yard, newly cut green grass, and a big ... driveway.

But the tradies go down the side, and come around the back. They know where things are really at. They know what work needs to be done. They see - horror of horrors - what we don't want the whole jolly neighbourhood to see.

Our lives are no different to the games we play with our houses and our cities. Best foot forward, people.

And heaven help you if you encounter a 'tradesman' - someone who decides not to enter your life through the well-advertised front door, but down through a side gate and into the messy rumblings of the dingy, seedy back of your personal apartment (where dirty laundry is the nicest of what's there).

Most people - most, most people - will never see down into that part of your life. But there are eyes that see - you know that, don't you?

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