Phyllis Gorman, a former New Yorker, offered up a tale of coffee and that day’s commute:
“Sydney has its own stories, like the woman who got on the bus today with an uncovered glass mug of coffee. The bus driver said she would have to get off, food and drink not allowed on Sydney buses. She totally ignored the bus driver, sat down on the side seat so everyone could see her, and proceeded to drink her coffee from the glass mug very slowly. Said it was her right and the rest of us passengers could just deal with it. The bus driver did not move the bus, and asked again and again for her to leave, but she continued to ignore him, finished her coffee, and then laughed at the rest of us captives.” ὢF
Alison Lowe, in addition to sharing her experience observing the MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra) walking in a wet suit with a surfboard in the suburbs, shared another good bus story:
“There was the time myself and a couple of strangers were waiting for quite a while at a bus stop on Halloween night after a few drinks. Our slight intoxication may have been the reason we’d failed to realise that we’d missed the last scheduled bus. Next thing I know, an empty bus pulls up and not only takes the time to inform us that we have missed the last scheduled bus but then proceeds to offer to drop each of us near our homes as he was ‘going in that direction.’ True Aussie spirit ὄC”
These stories fit well within the Metropolitan Diary mission laid out by one of its early editors, Ron Alexander, who emphasized that the Diary entries should be about particular moments. They’re stories that do not insult or exaggerate but rather — quickly, and with wit — capture the zeitgeist and tell us about our lives.
Buses and trains, of course, are only a few of the possible settings. Some of my favorite entries involve acts of urban kindness on the streets, or youthful gaffes at parties — such as the time a young woman in publishing got up the nerve to talk to Salman Rushdie at a party, yielding an unexpected laugh about “The Satanic Verses.”
A Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Perth or Alice Springs story would inevitably have its own particular vibe. Australia, after all, is a country with a population that’s both spread across a vast landmass and concentrated in cities and suburbs. The particulars of each Dear Diary entry would inevitably yield both shades of difference and universal human themes.
So let’s give it a shot.
If you have a telling anecdote you’d like to submit, email it to email@example.com. Borrowing and adapting the Metropolitan Diary guidelines, here are a few things to keep in mind:
• Written submissions should be connected with where you live and should be 300 words or fewer (200 words or fewer is fine).
• See a sign lost in translation? Take a photo. Want to share a sketch of your missed connection? Draw it for us. Photos, illustrations and short videos or other visuals accompanied by a text blurb are welcome.
• An editor will contact you if your entry has been accepted or if we want to turn it into a video, and you must be able to verify that you are the author of the story, that it is true (in most cases, that means you were there when it happened) and that your item has not appeared anywhere else.
• Please include your name, location and a daytime telephone number for verification; upon request, names may be withheld in print. Your phone number and email address will not be published.
If you get the urge, don’t be shy about telling friends about this newsletter and our call for submissions. There may be a small prize involved for those whose stories are selected.
For a dose of daily news from The New York Times, don’t forget to sign up for our always-evolving Morning Briefing: Australia Edition, which arrives by email each morning.
Now, on to the week’s news and features, plus some music recommendations from readers.
Australia This Week
We’ll be closely following the court decision expected Thursday afternoon on the postal plebiscite for same-sex marriage. Last week, we explained what’s really going on with that television ad pushing for a “no” vote. This week, we explored why the Yarra City Council decided to stop celebrating Australia Day. And we profiled New Zealand’s up-and-coming political star, Jacinda Ardern, with a story from Wellington.
In Opinion, Julia Baird argued for more statues of accomplished women and Waleed Aly also wrote for us about Australia’s dual-citizenship conflict, opening with this memorable line: “Is it possible for a constitutional crisis to be funny? I give you Australia.”
Tensions with North Korea have escalated again, with the North saying it detonated a hydrogen bomb. That’s probably a stretch; we explained why. We also explored what North Korea’s latest act of defiance means for China’s plans to dominate the region. We described the impact on the stock markets. And we identified a possible landslide caused by the blast.
Feeling burned out at work? Like you’re life is out of balance? Here’s how to diagnose and fix the problem. And don’t worry, you’re not alone: This was among our top reads in Australia this week.
This informative and lovely video really provides some useful perspective on all our earthly concerns. Nothing like a visit to the cosmos to make us all see human history in perspective. Plus, the time capsule includes photos of the Sydney Opera House. Good thing someone thought of that!
…And We Recommend
In last week’s newsletter, I shared a few musical suggestions from our Australian colleagues and asked readers for their suggestions.
A few delightful suggestions:
“Julia Jacklin makes me feel things. Her ethereal voice carries an emotion that shines through the often deceptive simplicity of her music. In particular: ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win,’ ‘Pool Party’ and ‘Eastwick.’— Thomas Waring
“Client Liaison, an indie-pop group out of Melbourne. Their music captures the indulgent, care-free attitude that accompanied 80’s Australia and the way they bring that to life in their music and aesthetic is intoxicating. I love how they purposefully celebrate Australia in the 80’s from all things corporate, sex, politics, love and happiness. Favorite songs include: ‘Queen’, ‘Home’, ‘World of our Love’, ‘Off White Limousine’ and ‘Foreign Affair’.— Ben Walsh
“Wil Wagner is not only Australian music’s most powerful voice, lyric-wise, at this moment, they are also a great band to follow for the heads up on other up-and-coming Australian music.— Thomas Merrett
Thanks, all. And don’t forget to share a Metropolitan Diary entry or two! Email your vignettes in text, image, art or video to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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