Out and About with Miss Delish: They Judged Me!

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As we get older, we become more cynical. We tend to look back over the year that’s passed on our birthday, and many of us see it as time lost and the future as something that gets only gets progressively shorter. SKN turns one this month – and don’t think for a second that I have had one moment of cynicism about the last year. I have spent twelve months having the most outrageous time. Each month I have revealed the comings and goings of this little village (or, at least the ones that matter). And believe me, with all the drama that is St Kilda, there hasn’t been a moment that I consider to have been time lost.

This fact was brought home to me last weekend when I was having lunch with some neighbours. I happened to drop into the conversation the fact that I write the Out and About section of this delightful newspaper. iPhones were whipped out of designer handbags before you could say “Miss Delish” and delicate fingers began scrolling through the SKN website. As fate would have it, the dirtiest of all the articles I’ve written (Worst dates of 2012) was the first to appear on the site.

As they read about the best sex, the worst sex, the hideous and the fabulous moments, I thought about how all the articles I had written had come about. I have eavesdropped at cafes, smiled and giggled at those in the know to stealthily ask taboo questions, and drunk many cocktails along the way. I have been to business dinners, social soirees and have even found myself trying things I never thought I would do, had it not been thrown in by our Editor-in-chief.

And so, what is the point this month? Well, it seems that such a life-style as mine is not always considered kosher – particularly by those who live in suburbia.

Let me set the scene for you. My family invite me to dinner. There are members of my extended family there also. A young couple discuss the purchase of their first house together. They talk about their renovation plans, colour schemes and how much the value of their property will increase by what they plan to do to it. I ask questions. I am genuinely interested and pleased for them. They are proud of what they have done and seem to want to share their news. They talk about their friends’ babies and christenings and weddings.

They then ask me about my real estate plans. I explain that I shall be buying in the near future, but that a two-bedroom apartment where I live would cost twice as much as what they paid for their three-bedroom house, complete with backyard. They ask about my rent, why I drive the car I do (I’m such a sucker for nice cars), why I don’t cook, and why I haven’t settled down with someone whom I plan to marry. They respond to all my answers with a nod of the head, and a dry “right….that’s good”. I feel their disapproval hover over me and, while the dessert is served and the conversation changes, I go into deep thought.

I have a corporate career that I happen to love. It allows me to have a great lifestyle, and I love what I do. Everyday. It also affords me the luxury of having nice things, and to have experiences that some people will never have. I am grateful. And I know I am not alone, particularly in my age group and in this area.

It then dawns on me that those from suburbia have absolutely no idea what the hell goes on in places like St Kilda. It was ‘judgement 101’ that I faced that evening and I’m extremely pissed off about it. Apart from trying to cook for myself on the nights I’m home (or letting whoever is there with me to cook), I don’t believe my lifestyle requires much change. I have put a lot of thought into this and I have decided to move on with my nose in the air – headstrong in the belief that it is better to live here than out there.

It is a privilege to walk to the nearest bar, rather than drive to the local pub and have to take a taxi home. It is a privilege to have a café on the corner rather than having to go into the main street of the suburb for a latte. And it is a privilege to decide one day that it’s warm enough to go swimming and know that you’re only a short walk away from a beach.

During that family dinner, I was asked whether I feel I’m leading a ‘fantasy life’. It made me smile. Ignorance is bliss, and they are blissfully ignorant! I immediately thought of the friends who I see nearly everyday, and who live close enough so that we rarely have to use the phone when we have news to share. I thought about the favourite corner café where we meet and where many a decision (life changing or not) has been made. I thought about the primary school two blocks from my home where I see families drop and collect children everyday. I thought about the community centres that get more funding from the local council than any other in Victoria. And I thought about the environmental groups who consistently claim this area to be the nicest, cleanest and safest to live in.

I decided that if I was to continue to be civilised and polite that evening, I would have to accept that those who don’t know any better, can’t be blamed. I just wish they didn’t judge. I could have unleashed a barrage of criticisms about how there is no atmosphere in suburbs without trees, in living in areas where you don’t know the name of the person next door, and the poor quality of life one would have if one had to drive everywhere, rather than walk. But I chose not to judge.

There you have it: my first whinge in 12 months. Really, when you think about it, if the only thing about living in St Kilda that we have to complain about is how others view this entertaining community, well, it’s a pretty good life.

See You In The Village.

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