Like shopping when you’re hungry, it’s also not a good idea to plan leaving Sydney when it’s rainy and cold. I’ve taken a job in Melbourne. Well, as an up-and-coming young professional, I couldn’t resist.

But now the sky is blue, it’s got to be over 25 degrees at least, the sun is infusing everyone with a new vitality and I have no idea why I wanted to go to Melbourne. For what? A coffee? To meet forty-year-old women from Fitzroy who still ride bicycles? The joyful ease of integrated ticketing on public transport?

Since I came so terrifyingly close to heading back South for summer like some confused and mentally deranged duck, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll miss. Ah, Sydney. Why have I left you?

I’ll miss the harbour, all Brett Whitely blue and dazzling on the eyes. I’ll miss jogging through the Botanical Gardens, avoiding collisions with bridal parties, photographer in tow, all trying to scale the cliffs of Lady Macquarie’s Chair as if to say, “Sure, we’re married, but we’re also earthy people, interested in caves – don’t let these fancy clothes put you off ”.

I’ll miss the Domain and how it reminds me of the time I saw a free jazz concert with a wet arse and a glass of cheap, warmish champagne and thinking, “that’d be right, jazz always gave me the feeling of a metaphoric wet-arse, so why not go literal on my arse”? I’ll miss the gallery, not so much for the paintings inside it, but for the circus outside. Personal trainers dressed in commando fatigues without a hint of irony, bossing corporate types around the gallery grounds and steps. I once trained there and watched three students, each carrying a human-scale letter, spelling the word “ART”, trying to stand in order for a photograph during the Sydney Biennale and only managing to spell “RAT”.

I’ll miss Saturdays and the frantic pace that seems to step up from the working week, where road rage is frequent and people work damn hard to get maximum relaxation. Rushcutters Bay Park comes alive with the mess of apartment dogs and fretful owners explaining their pet’s tendency to “worry about the future” when they’ve really just been bred to the point of insanity. It’s a pleasure to see even the most pretentious of dog walkers strolling around a park with a plastic bag full of their dog’s poo in their bejewelled hands. Then there are all those boats, moored and going nowhere. I don’t know anyone who has a boat. Do you?

I’ll miss the car-crash atmosphere of Kings Cross, the middle-of-the-day prostitutes nibbling on potato cakes and slurping milkshakes. I’ll miss the cheap weekday steak at the Bourbon, the hiss outside of the fountain, the Saturday night invasion of pretty young things flocking to clubs with their velvet ropes and door-lists, the mysteries of The Piano Bar, one of the only places on earth where your outfit is sized up with incredible attention to detail while inside, someone is singing “Buses And Trains” by Bachelor Girl and murdering it.

I’ll miss the ocean, the feeling of instant-holiday that arrives as soon as you step on sand, the zoo of Bondi, the largest-family-barbecue-in-the-world feeling of sharing the hotplates in Bronte, the swimmers between the flags floating on shore breakers like squealing garbage bags. I’ll miss the sunburn. I’ll miss seeing the English get sunburnt. Does anyone do it better?

I’ll miss giving and getting road directions. Directions upon directions, helicopter traffic reports, secret, time-saving directions that are imparted with extreme reluctance, directions on how to correct mistakes you haven’t made yet – “If you miss that turnoff, don’t worry, take the next exit, but if you miss that one you’ll have to…” What? Get a Sat-Nav? Everyone’s got one. You don’t want to get lost, do you?

I’ll even miss cab drivers who don’t hand over your change and make you question whether you’re that tight that you’ll actually ask for your $1.80 back. They’ve given up waiting for tips, now they just rely on your level of personal shame.

I’ll miss this crass, heartbreaker of a city, all the more attractive because she often won’t love back.

I can’t help it.

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