Waiting for the Mining Boom
I am not learning anything!
The cool executive chef stands on the cool, tiled floor, slightly taken-aback. Its 10.30am: two tedious hours away from a clear sink and a clear mind. My ambitions swirl anti-clockwise down the drain, along with the sloppy detritus of yet another morning, (another week, another month, another year, another lifetime?) working in a commercial kitchen. Plus, there is gunk in the plughole again from the previous shift.
The dedicated waitress blows in from the windswept street – the Antarctic air tunnelling through King’s Domain – on her way to organise mise en place at the bar. She patiently serves in the silver-service dining room, where exclusive traditions have been carefully preserved for generations.
‘Good morning’, she cheers, dressed professionally in the industry standard black and whites. The glass is almost always half full for this bright young Masters graduate. One third of the nation’s writers live in her adopted ‘City of Literature’, and for many, hospitality is a holding yard, where they clear their hefty HECS debts and elevate good food, good wine and good service into a creative art form.
The kitchen brigade preps the fresh, fresh produce: plump South Australian oysters, opaque whiting fillets, spicy rocket, tender-hearted artichokes, phallic asparagus, wholesome Toolangi Delight spuds sourced from the fertile foothills of the Great Dividing Range. In the afternoons we tune into eclectic world music recordings on Radio National. During cricket season I endure dead-boring radio broadcasts, under sufferance.
After the morning’s 3LO talk-back (whinge-radio) session ends, select songs pour through the speakers next to the electric mixer that whips out magnificent chocolate soufflés. Chris Isaak, Cesaria Evora, Bob Marley, Paul Kelly are some of our kind companions.
From little things big things grow.
The resounding didgeridoo vibrates through my receptive body, even though the volume is lowered to avoid offending political sensibilities. There is power in the poetry, strength in the storytelling, insistence in the history. This is a song from the desert, from the people, from the past, and it is pulling me away from the sprawling southern city.
I know how to wait.