Last year, I sent a two-word message to a friend of mine. It just said ‘Warrigal Rd!’ and it was sent at about four in the morning. It was to let her know that, on our journey from Cockatoo to Meredith, we were almost at her house. Meredith Music Festival was only hours away and we wanted to get there before the queue. Warrigal Rd was only five minutes from her house. It was so exciting.
When I was young, Warrigal Road meant freedom to me. Well, that’s going a bit far. More like fun. My mate, Beth, had moved to Bulleen and I lived in Mentone. Each holidays we’d spend weeks at each other’s house and go to Basketball or Tennis clinics, and laugh and laugh and laugh. I still think we could laugh for Australia. As we got older, our mothers no longer had to make the long drive with us, but we’d be put on the Ventura 700 bus and hit Warrigal Rd. It would take about an hour and before I knew it, I’d be in Box Hill, looking for Beth. Or waiting at the bus stop at the end of the street, hoping the next bus would have Beth.
Now, Warrigal Road sucks. The Ventura 700 bus still runs, but with some changes. It no longer ends at Box Hill and returns, but drives around the whole city. But the part of the trip that used to take about an hour now takes almost two-and –a-half. Traffic is nuts. Almost all of the traffic is cars with only the driver, and now I am daily contributing to that heavy flow of traffic. I live at one end and work at the other. I had been enjoying public transport until I started finishing work later and it took almost two hours to get home by train. Driving, even with traffic, takes about 40-50 mins. I know what I’d prefer.
Is it ridiculous that a road holds such memories for me? Perhaps this is what it is like for people who grew up in one house, and have that strong base in one place. The road out can be exciting for the possibilities it holds whilst being anchored in safety. But perhaps I’m reading too much into this. Maybe I just like the word ‘Warrigal’ (wild dingo in Koori, I believe. Hope the internet’s not lying to me on that one)