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54 762631

Tuesday March 13th, 2018 in Home, School | 1 Comment »

Today I found out that my dad got rid of the land-line at his house. It’s the house I grew up in, and the phone number I grew up with too.

54 762631

I have a lot of feelings and stories.

When we first got the number, it was shorter – six digits was all that was needed in the early 90s.

I memorised 762631 as well as the numbers of my friends. We all lived in a tiny Central Victorian town called Newstead, so the 762 was a given, and we only needed to remember the last three digits.

Someone could ask, ‘What’s the Culvenor’s number again?’ and the reply would come, ‘627!’ It was a simpler time.

Knowing their home phone number is a good safety skill for children, but it isn’t always enough.

Before my primary school’s Melbourne Camp, we were told a telephone number horror story. A boy from Newstead got lost on an excursion to Melbourne, probably because he wasn’t listening. He had money for the pay phone, BUT he didn’t know he had to use the area code (03) to call home. So, he was stranded. I assume they got him back eventually, otherwise we wouldn’t know about the area code debacle, and there would be no teachable moment.

Anyway, terrifying but we all learned something.

An extra two digits (54) was added to the number when I was a teenager. I coped well. There were lots of changes happening to me at the time, as spelled out in the booklet we received in Grade 6, so the phone number lengthening was the least of my turmoil.

When I was in Year 10 I attended an International Nerd Camp in Melbourne. It was an exhilarating week mixing with kids from all over the world, and staying up past eleven o’ clock. I was having so much fun, that I neglected to call home on the first night, as requested. When I did call, my family members sounded a little miffed that I hadn’t checked in earlier. To make up for my previous tardiness, I called home, reverse charges, for the next four nights, and apparently it cost a lot of money.

When I moved to Melbourne to go to university 54 762631 took on a new meaning. It ceased to be my phone number, but became even more important as my link to home.

My two younger sisters, mum and dad were still living in Newstead so I would call 54 762631 fairly often (after 8pm when long-distance calls were charged at a flat rate) to catch up. At some point in the conversation the family member I was chatting with would yell out, ‘Does anybody else want to talk to Penny?’ There would be a pause and I’d hear some ‘Nahs’ or a reluctant shuffling.

Going home to Newstead for a visit, I would get off the train at Castlemaine station, walk out to the car park and look for a familiar face standing next to a silver sedan. Then I would turn around, and go back to the pay phone and dial, 54 762631. ‘I’m here, I got the 4:15, remember?’

Sometimes I dialled 54 762631 in a crisis. At the end of my first year of uni I had a dark night of the soul and after a short phone conversation, my mum drove to get me.

In recent years, 54 762631 has had problems. The arrival of the NBN was a total stuff-around that involved Dad’s phone being disconnected for three months. Then, it started working again, but 54 762631 connected to next door. This was a definite improvement as the neighbours could run over to Dad’s house and relay messages, but it wasn’t the high-tech future we’d been promised.

They fixed that problem and Dad got a big credit on his account, but when the phone line broke again recently and it was going to cost money to fix, he decided to go mobile only.

My point is, things change. 54 762631 I’ll remember forever.

Things I do that I don’t recommend

Friday March 31st, 2017 in Home, Podcasts, Politics, Television | No Comments »

Washing hanging on the line sorted by colour

I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life. This is why. Here’s some things that I do.

In the past month I’ve been hanging out the washing by colour. It does take a little extra time but it’s totally worth it. (But don’t do this.)

I reply to every single rhetorical question on the Neighbours Twitter account. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say, so I come back to it later, but I never miss one. No excuses. On Wednesday I criticised their use of an apostrophe. It was a low point.

When we have too many lemons I make lemon butter. Then I put lemon butter all over the place and brag about how good it is. A couple of weeks ago I made a litre of lemon butter. We’ve eaten it all.

I haven’t quit US political podcasts since the election and I’m still regularly listening to a number of them. This is not the best use of my time. I know more about Trump’s failed changes to the Affordable Care Act than I do about the recent changes to childcare in Australia, which might actually affect me. Meanwhile, I’ve still got no idea what’s happening in Syria, but I’m pretty sure it’s not good.

And of course, I write blog posts when I could be earning actual money.

Neighbours tweet "Do you think Sonya and Mark are getting too close?" Picture of Sonya and Mark walking by the river.

Neighbours

Thursday March 31st, 2016 in Home | No Comments »

Today I spent the day talking about Neighbours for the podcast Neighbuzz. Discussing the show makes me realise that almost nothing has happened in my life. I have never given anyone an emergency tracheotomy with a biro like Susan. I have never had a love child with my best friend’s husband like Steph. I have never died and come back from the dead like Harold (and Jesus).

And I’m not aware of my neighbours doing these things either. Here are my top most interesting things that my neighbours have ever done.

1. Our next door neighbour in Wangaratta had a pool. We were allowed to go over and use it. Actually, that is very Ramsay Street.

2. In Newstead the house on the corner was abandoned and two Rottweilers were left behind. They used to leap out barkingat us as we walked to the school bus until the council came and took them away. I think the people who used to live there were probably not very nice.

3. In my first share house our next door neighbour left a pile of rubbish against the fence and it spontaneously combusted and burnt down our garage. We weren’t home but apparently the fire trucks came and the whole street came outside in their pyjamas. If this was on the show Neighbours we could call it GARAGE SHOCK FIRE WEEK.

4. When I lived in a sharehouse on Amess Street the next door neighbour was into homeopathy, which we all thought was bullshit but apart from that he was quite nice. We could hear their family conversations through the walls. We did not care for the way his teenage children spoke to their mother. Perhaps he could try some respect diluted 1 part to a million to see if that helps.

5. In Washington DC we rented the basement of a four-storey terrace house in Dupont Circle. Our landlords lived upstairs. They were very nice and used to lend us their very beautiful dining chairs when we crammed people in for dinner.

6. I can’t say too much but there was recently a suspicious fire in our laneway. Is someone on the street a killer? Doubtful.