Perhaps you’re confused because you’ve just paid $8 for a schmiddy of Tooheys New that’s pretending to be a schooner, but ending a sentence with a questioning upward inflexion is a dead set giveaway you’re from Sydney.
Gentrification has brought great things to Sydney. The explosion of cool new pokie-free bars and pubs, a burgeoning set of top-notch restaurants and cafes, and greater scope for the city’s creative community. Gentrification has also displaced original residents and seen the creation of faux-suburbs by real estate agents looking to further price-gouge your already inflated weekly rent. But hey, it’s ok. You think East Redfern sounds pretty cool, and the Norfolk does do great tacos.
The fact that there are four different football codes that can be playing simultaneously on any given weekend means anyone who asks the indiscriminate question above has no idea about any of them, and should by rights have their Sydney residency revoked. In future please be specific and ask, for example, how the Dragons, Wanderers, Waratahs, or Swans did at the weekend.
It’s not the same sucking back a couple of cold ones without being able to throw a fiver on the dogs or listening to the soothing jingle of a feature at the nearby pokie machine. I mean, what else are you supposed to do while consuming the six drinks needed to pluck up the courage and socialize with fellow Sydneysiders?
Okay, so you know Sydney can sometimes be a bit of bitch. It can be expensive, it’s way too big and hard to get around, a teensy bit pretentious, and kinda cliquey. But boy, whether it’s having a drink at the Opera Bar, catching the morning ferry to work, seeing the sunrise in the Blue Mountains or at one of Sydney’s many beaches, or seeing NSW finally regain the Origin this year — Sydney continues to provide you with weekly reminders that make you realize, “Shit, I really am lucky to call this place home.”
You’ve woken up surrounded by Ogalo wrappers, half-eaten chicken burgers, and a $50 receipt from Ogalos on Oxford St…and you don’t regret one cent of it.
Whether they’re from the North, South, East, or West, you’ve had that time when you’ve told someone where you’re from and the look on their face changes to say, “I fucking knew it!” They didn’t really, but they have now definitely pigeonholed you as a certain type of person.
Remember in your younger years when you couldn’t afford that taxi fare after a late night out? At the time you hated the long NightRide bus home. But now, armed with a treasure trove of, “Remember when this happened on the NightRide?” stories, you look back on Sydney’s nighttime commuting tradition with a tinge of nostalgic fondness.
Sure, lunch and dinner are important, but for you the ceremony of breakfast means the world. Your weekend mornings are a veritable cage fight as you scrap with fellow Sydneysiders for a seat at the new ‘it’ cafe. Breakfast is serious business here. Just ask Kevin Bacon, the pet pig of one of Sydney’s most popular cafes, who was kidnapped last year.
The Greenwood Hotel was your illegal entry into Sydney’s party scene, and what’s not to love? $3 happy hours, v-neck t-shirts, short skirts, sweaty dance floors, adolescent romances, and underage drinking all made for some of the best and worst nights of your early drinking life.
Enough said…it’s a fact.
Half-hour delays, signal failures, cancelled services, weekend track closures, overzealous ticket inspectors…Cityrail seems to exist just to piss you off, rather than to provide efficient transportation for a first-world city, so that feeling you get when you run the risk and get away with not buying an overpriced train ticket is absolutely priceless.
Your Friday is a longer-than-usual work lunch with a few drinks, followed by more drinks at the office, and then onto the nearest bar or pub with the best happy hour. If you’re lucky, you can sneak in some form of sustenance from the bar’s food menu, but most probably your night is quickly descending into a sloppy mess and a visit to the closest fast food establishment after being told to go home at 10pm.
Whether you’re stuck in hour-long traffic to get 2km, or squeezed into a CityRail sweatbox on a two-hour commute to work, I’m sure you’ve thought about finding the idiots who developed our city and having them hung for lack of forward planning. Unfortunately, being the first modern city in Australia, Sydney just kind of grew organically and no one gave much thought to the fact it would be housing 5 million people some 200 years later…a fact you’re acutely aware of as you read the daily MX cover-to-cover for the fourth time.
You remember a glorious time when the only person preventing you from entering an establishment was an overgrown bouncer on a power trip who didn’t like your shoes. You wistfully reminiscence of simpler times as you hurry to down your drink and make it onto the next bar before the 1.30am lockout.
While accepting that the Brits were pretty adept at raping and pillaging the world, you’ve quickly realized it wasn’t because of their expertise in the kitchen. Thankfully, immigration has brought an entire world of new settlers to Sydney, making this a vibrant multicultural city with almost too many mouthwatering cuisines from which to choose. As a result, you’ve probably been too busy tucking into fare from Vietnam, Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Lebanon — I could go on — to have had traditional Aussie grub in the past month. Guiltily, you quickly chuck some snags on the barbie.
You decide to be good and drive to your friend’s birthday dinner. You arrive at the restaurant and right outside is a free car spot that has your name on it. You then wake up, realize it was all a glorious dream, and end up having to contend with the reality of madly driving around in circles for an hour before finding a small opening that allows you to park illegally. Now to enjoy the half-hour walk to the restaurant.
The dreaded changeover time has wrecked many a night as you’ve spent an hour dealing with the worst humanity can offer: a cabbie who’s sitting behind a half-open window and locked door, continually refusing your fare as it’s not on his way home.