Author’s Note 2nd edn (week 1)

by Callum B. Downes

An Ode to the Free Gong Shuttle

Awaking to an ear piercing alarm at 7:15am as a reminder that you’re still a poor university student who’s obligated to attend a pointless tutorial at the price of approximately $50, is one of life’s most common ways of screaming “end me!” Worse still, roughly four hours have passed since you were kicked out of The Grand for crowd surfing and if you don’t reach the bus stop by 8:00am sharp, you’ll be ten minutes late for your 8:30am class, which, as you are torturously aware, is conveniently located just 10 minutes away… That’s if you could afford to run your car and take out a loan for parking fees.

You weigh up your situation. You hit snooze. You decide you are actually inspector gadget and can therefore rise at 7:45, drop the kids off at the pool, wash your face, prepare and consume breakfast, pack your bag, get into reasonably fashionable clothing, brush your teeth, comb your hair and catch a bit of Karl Stefanovic gold, all before a relaxing stroll to the bus stop where the free Gong shuttle will have been waiting just for you during the last ten minutes.

You were wrong. You are in fact a below average human being. Totally incapable of performing routine tasks. You miss your bus. You wait twenty minutes for the next free shuttle, which is packed like a tin of sardines, and smells like it’s way past its used by date. You stand awkwardly, holding on for dear life, as your hamstring muscles scream bloody murder and the bus driver attempts to break the Crown street land speed record.

You pray to God that the hand gently grazing against your bum belongs to a cute girl and definitely not the creepy old Asian man, who’s sharing his passion for Japanese Christmas carols by blaring these songs through his mobile phone speakers. You turn around. Your hopes are shattered. You’ll remember to book an appointment at the STI clinic. You will remember. Your life depends on it.

The driver decides that his passengers don’t need their vertebrae intact anymore, bringing the bus to a whiplashing halt and cramming in more putrid sardines. He takes the next corner like the Jamaican bobsled team and sends a morbidly obese man flying onto the lap of an unsuspecting girl. She’s lost forever.

No time to morn the horrific loss of human life, you must get to class before you’re marked absent. You didn’t make it. You finish class twenty minutes early, because even the tutor realised he had nothing to talk about.

You line up for the bus home, and joyously sing, your ode to the free Gong Shuttle.