Inevitably when people from the Big Swirl, Perth, haven’t seen me for some time they ask: “Where are you living now? You back in Bridgetown?”
It is nice that people remember where you are from but it probably has a lot to do with my mouth, that slit in my face that never ceases to amaze me and more than once a week catches me unawares.
But no, although I will forever be “from” Bridgetown, there is no chance I will live there again. This is a matter of choice and has nothing to do with my brothers requesting that I never return because their business is worth more than their love for their “other brother”.
Once I reveal my current address to the Big Swirlers they always exclaim: “Oh, cold. How can you stand it? I could never live there.
There always seems to be a queue of responses sitting on my vocal cords, waiting an opportunity to emerge. Here are a few.
“I agree, Albany is much too close to the Antarctic and only last week my neighbour lost three toes overnight due to frostbite.”
“You know what, it is nowhere near as cold as Bridgetown, where you can wake up one morning in winter and find your partner frozen to the toilet seat.”
“I’m not sure you are aware but temperatures are rising so fast that over the next decade or two you will be rushing south and, guess what, we’ll have the No Vacancy sign up.”
They scoff. I laugh.
Sometimes they visit and when they do I pray for rain and cold, just to prove their misconceptions.
However, during my time as a volunteer tour guide for the boat people, I have noticed a strange phenomenon: every time a boat comes in, the sky clears and the sun shines.
The boat people are always stunned because the last port they called into, usually Bunbury, they couldn’t get off because of bad weather.
I always say: Bunbury? You missed nothing.