I was born, and grew up, in what is commonly known as a 'country town.' Lately, we've been advertised as 'Provincial Victoria.' We've also been known, colloquially, as 'Sleepy Hollow.' I was born, and grew up in, a country town.
Except now, we're a city. The City of Greater Geelong, in fact. But still, we're seen - and probably always will be - as a 'country town.'
I hate the country. I hate the bush. I know it's un-Australian to say it but - I also hate the beach. I don't hate the outdoors so much, I just hate open space. The country is boring to me. The beach is boring to me. There is nothing to do at the beach. There is nothing to do out in the bush. Anything you might want to do - read, say - has to be brought with you.
I love the city. I love glass, steel, asphalt and petrol. I love pushing through crowds of people, I love traffic jams and I love places that stay open past six o'clock. I love the fact that, in a good city, I am almost overwhelmed in my choice of what I can do and where I can go. I even love the violence inherent in a big city. Probably because I've never been actively involved in it but, even so. The excitement and volume of a big city leaves me breathless. Much like how you're supposed to feel going to the bush. Or the beach.
Lady Hem likes the city but she doesn't love it like I do. She loves the bush and the beach. If I were willing, she'd move to Queensland in a second. Or down to Torquay. We go camping pretty regularly and I do it. I don't mind doing it but I do it mostly for her and she knows that. She also knows that, if we could afford it, I'd move us to Melbourne in a heartbeat.
Yet, here I am, in a country town. Why? It's something I've never been able to adequately explain to myself. I've always put it down to fear but I'm not so sure. I've lived in cities before. Hell, I've lived in London. But whenever I came back to Victoria, I never moved to Melbourne. I always stayed in Geelong and I've never - NEVER - liked living here. But I've been here for a collective time of over thirty years. I don't know why but I can travel four days across the country to set up shop in Perth but I can't travel one hour up the highway to live in Melbourne. I don't know what's wrong with me and, while I'm sure it's not too late to make the move up, I'm not so sure it will ever happen.
Or if there would actually be any point.