Thursday, September 01, 2005

Someone to watch over me

Odd things going on around Hem-u-tern last Sunday. As I walked to work in the bright, crisp sunshine, I took a medium-cut along the riverbank, and was startled by a bird flying at me.

Not one of your boring sparrows or seagulls though, this thing was brightly multicoloured - some kind of parrot I suppose. It had blue and red and lots of green if that's any help . . .

Later that day, I walked from work to the cinema. As I walked down the hill into town, I could hear a kind of medium-pitched whining, like maybe someone operating an electric planer inside one of the buildings. It got louder as I (presumably) got closer to it, until it was obvious that it was coming from a side-street.

Being the curious type of person I am, I took a detour down said street to investigate. This noise just kept getting louder as I walked between parked cars and a concrete wall. I was almost at the point of putting my fingers in my ears, when the volume started to decrease again, as if I had walked past the source of the noise and was now heading away from it.

There was nothing and no one on the side of the wall I was on, aside from empty, parked cars, so it must have been someone cutting or planing or drilling something on the other side of the wall. I reached the end of the wall and peered around it to find . . .

. . . nothing but the dusty, empty car park. Now I felt a bit weird, like I was in Repo Man (inexplicably) or something. I had to get to the movie, so I walked back past the cars, the noise becoming agonisingly loud again. It was at this point that my (admittedly small) brain was able to detach itself from the assumption that the noise was something spinning at high speed, and realise what it actually was - a car horn, blaring steadily away in the spring sunshine, not a soul in sight.

I guess because you usually only hear car horns in short blasts, they sound alien and unrecognisable when blasting continuously, like the result of the classic movie-style "dead man's slump". I felt like I should do something - the car was unoccupied, and it sounded painful for the poor vehicle (a late-90s Laser), but I had to get to my movie.

The cinema I was going to is upstairs in the mall, with a couple of shops alongside it (some of you reading this will be very familiar with it). One of the shops is Central Park Interactive (gaming), which had coincidentally gone into receivership at the start of the film festival.

Having gone to a few movies in the festival so far (alright, this was my sixth), I'd walked past the boarded-up shop a few times in the last week or so. This time was different though - one of the six TVs that surround the entrance was turned on, broadcasting static and loud white noise directly at me.

Normally I wouldn't take too much notice of this, but having been bombarded by a decidedly odd bird, and an eerie car horn already, I just felt even stranger.

Bright sunny days like that always make everything seem kinda surreal anyway.

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