Late at night or is it early in the morning just after closing time at my favorite pub I take a walk down Sydney road to the place I call home along the way there are many sights to see and many more things that can be explored. I light a cigarette while I stand in a laneway and looking around me all I can see are buildings as old as time itself Plaster and concrete and bricks that make up facades that cover the faces of places where people used to eat and live and talk. Just opposite me is a modern Chemist Warehouse selling discount drugs and other things Down from that is a pie shop then the Bunnings and the post office, that will guarantee your item will get there late if at all. And that’s run by people, I’ve found who don’t care about the person at all but prefer instructions written on paper. Bureaucrats. Turning to one wall of the alley I am in, the light at the tip of my cigarette lights up prints that various artists unknown and uncared for have created and posted around these unexplored areas for free perusal. Beside them and opposite them the buildings are tagged with spray paint of the disillusioned and the careless. My cig has burned out and I start my walk back home. La Manna Fresh, then the butchers then La Manna Fresh Organic and just after that a Vietnamese store that makes the best Vietnamese rolls out of anywhere you wish to compare it to. All modern places, with lights electricity, friers, burners, fridges staff in cute little uniforms or without them working hurriedly throughout the day to provide the modern comforts demanded of the modern times. While just above them sits the facade that has sat there for a hundred years or more. And now I am here. It is 3am and I am the only one who is alive to appreciate each of these elements that make up the fantastic buildings along Sydney Road. Just next to them is a barrister’s office. Or something to that extent. And after that the liquor store. It’s here that you can get a bottle of Spanish or Italian Wine For $12 And a case of Furphey’s for $15. Then comes the Middle Eastern bakery It sells Koftas, and Turkish breads, and Kebabs but it’s never open late enough or early enough for me to want a kebab. Crawling along the street, now, comes a cop car. It’s slowing down at the presence of my cigarette burning. I know what they like to see they want to see if I even vaguely match the description of some fellon probably long gone. But they’ll not let that stop them the thrill of arresting someone even on the flimsiest of pretences is what they crawl down the road for. But, tonight, I don’t match the description so all I do is blow smoke at them and all they do is crawl on looking for a different victim of the night. Equally as preposterous and imposing and detestable is the first fully modern building that I’ve encountered along my walk back home And it’s a bank. And it’s disgusting. Just across the road is a pharmacy Another one And thankfully this one embraces the facade that was handed down to it from generations past. Then the cheese store For some reason the only place I feel more at home than at the bar is at the cheese store. Then a cafe, that I don’t visit often because I make my own coffee After that a bookstore that stocks all the latest drivel that would be pushed by Oprah and her lackeys. that comfortable housewives can sit around and tsk at while drinking red wine and caring nothing of the rest of the world And now a bar then another and then another, but Mexican and finally, to continue in the tradition at the end of this section sits another modern building this one dedicated to phone plans Then one of the most glorious buildings that I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s so unfortunate that what it houses is mostly government business but it also has the library so that compensates for it somewhat. Crossing the road I pass by my local tobacconist that also serves as a liquor store and a general store and I see, staring through the window and using the dim light of the sign out front that my brand of cigs has gone up another dollar per packet And now they’re a quarter of a days pay as if smoking a cigarette is some sort of a luxury and not just an escape from the world that prefers banks and phone carriers to the simplistic beauty of the world already around them. But if that’s the price I have to pay to kill myself slowly and get out of here as quickly as I’m comfortable with then so be it. After a few moments have passed I sit myself down on the curb as the police crawl back again still looking to me for the thrill of a cheap arest. I light up another cigarette and I reflect on what it was that people past did on this street. Probably nothing like what I do now or what others do. Probably the drunks on the street in the days gone by were far more drunk than I am at this moment And I’m sure that a pack of cigs didn’t cost a quarter of a days wage.