Today is my 100th post. It’s also WA Day.
My newsfeed is loaded with parochial ‘what WA means to me’ kind of stuff and pictures proudly tagged with #WAday and West Australians doing West Aussie things, such as drinking muggacinos.
But WA, like any other mate of mine, we’re friends not because we have similar likes, it’s because we hate the same things.
It’s no secret that in Perth, good luck getting much change from a fiver for a cup of coffee. And if you know of a joint that sells a decent brew for around $3, you’re in a quandary: do you tell everyone and risk your newly-found caffeine haunt jacking up prices when word-of-mouth takes hold? I usually hold off, go back a second time to ascertain whether it wasn’t a fluke, then decide, with caution, who to tell. I mean, this is prized information.
The same goes for beer. I was at a pub on Friday and my ‘do I spread the word?’ moral dilemma was piqued when I was charged $8 for a pint of Super Dry. Jackpot.
But it was too good to be true, I had coincidently rocked up the same time happy hour started. Sixty minutes later, the $12 pints – and my lack of change – were back.
West Australians also like to complain about how bands and events ‘never’ head west. We loved venting about the stripping of Rally Australia and the Red Bull air show thing, and we love to set up Facebook pages such as the Bring Taylor Swift 1989 Tour To Perth campaign.
We love to hate on this place.
Like many who live in WA, particularly Perth, I’ve often threatened to move to Melbourne… but, also like many, never quite got around to actually do it.
I did move to Kalgoorlie, which, I know isn’t the same, like at all, but at about six or seven hundred clicks east of Perth and thousands of dollars later, you may as well have moved that little bit further.
This wasn’t the first time I had ‘lived’ in country WA.
I worked fly-in, fly-out for about four years in my early 20s. Best working experience of my life.
My first site, Wiluna, I learnt quick-smart how to be a self-starter, work an on-site tavern, reverse-park a trailer, develop a reasonably quick wit (not quick enough sometimes) and that if there were prehistoric bungarra lizards nearby it also meant there were no snakes, so try not to be scared of them.
I also learnt how breathtaking beautiful and deafeningly silent the outback is.
Some mornings, the cold air felt like it could slice you in half. Some afternoons, the heat was like drowning in humidity or so dry you could taste it’s hot thinness as your lungs pulled it in.
But then there were shifts where you had to take the 4WD out to wherever.
Firing up the Land Cruiser and heading down unsealed red roads were times I completely savoured. For a few minutes you felt free, and just before you get to where you’re going (which usually only took about six or seven minutes), I really had to fight that urge to just keep driving.
When I lived in Kalgoorlie, I remember being asked where I was from.
“From Perth,” I said.
The older woman I was chatting to was genuinely puzzled: “…but you speak with such affinity for the country, I thought you were a country girl.”
I had instant visions of myself as a McLeod Daughter. More Stevie than Tess. Stevie was more badass.
I often think I should have moved interstate or overseas in my 20s, but if I had, who’s to say that I may have inadvertently forgone my regional adventures in my home state? And I’ve driven through parts of Nevada and Arizona, the country just isn’t quite the same as ours.
If I were to move now, I think I’d be giving up more than I would probably bargain for. The thought of picking up stumps is just too overwhelming. I wish my roots were that of a true free spirit that I like to think I am, but when it comes down to it, I just can’t be bothered.
What I’ll never understand about WA is why it has an overrepresentation of car-vs-house crashes and out-of-control parties with out-of-control ‘youths’, no Daylight Saving (which I think would be fabulous) and an unnerving obsession with Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
However, while I may not love or understand these things, I love that at least I know what isn’t Perth and what is ‘so Perth’.
I love that I have history here.
I love being able to say I had actually been to Atlantis Marine Park, Dizzy Lamb Park and Ascot Water Playground before they were abandoned wastelands, and despite all the bitching that certain bands don’t come here, when they finally do, we’re a pretty forgiving lot.
I love our ridiculously gorgeous weather.
I love knowing all the back roads and what the Bridal Mile is and where.
I love kicking off my shoes and letting the grassed area under the Norfolk pines on Cottesloe Beach tickle my feet.
I love Coffee Chill and Cheddarmite scrolls from Lawleys.
I love knowing that Jacob’s Ladder will induce vomiting.
I love having a story or two about a particular house on West Street that doesn’t exist anymore and when the J-Babies played at the Breakwater.
I love that I could pin-point exactly where along the Mitchell Freeway you could smell nothing but corn chips.
I love watching reality TV shows that, when they’re filming in Perth, you freak out at seeing a local sign, even if it says ‘Powis Street exit’.
I love seeing the first yellow sprigs on wattle trees (it means it’s nearly my birthday!)
I love CAT buses and councils that allow for street festivals.
I love the Sunday Sesh and the Freo Doctor on a summer’s day.
I love the view from Kings Park.
I love that every damn bride thinks that she has to have a picture in front of the Blue Boathouse.