It is early in the day at the underground section of Sydney Central Station and defiance is in the air.
A tradie, the local lingo for tradesmen, glides up to the turnstile on his Bianchi bicycle, and is called out by the station officer.
I am between the two older men, an unabashed witness to their unpleasant exchange.
“Excuse me, no biking in the station.”
“Excuse me, I do what I want.”
“No, you cannot.”
“Yes, I can.”
“I am going to call the police on you.”
“You don’t get to.”
The tradie and myself walk away as the station officer makes a call on his machine.
Many kilometers away, after I’ve boarded a train that will swallow down eleven hours to bring me to Melbourne, two strangers across the aisle connive to share two Victoria Bitters.
They’re both Australian, one Fiji-looking, the other, the one with the carton, sporting a mullet.
Alcohol, whether in cans or in bottles, is not permitted on this train, and the TransportNSW Officer who catches them the first time, doesn’t spot them when they sneakily slurp the extra two bottles they have.
Somehow, the one with a mullet manages to exert such a pull over his next seatmate, a young, eager-to-please Indian student, that the boy offers to buy the mullet man some chips.
The bag of chips bursts open, and the whole cabin shares its smell.