It’s our shelter from the spring squall – our Friday fix, our Canterbury, Rome, Mecca.
And the Murrumbidgee’s rising.
We enter from the underbelly carpark, the travelator pushing us up to this other world: lighter, brighter, forever new where we can change our clothes, our hair, our kitchen – our life.
Disability mobility makes pilgrims of us all.
Let’s take the way of window-shopping, of massage, of caffeine, of skin balm.
Today the Hub is vacant – its industrial aircon underwear is showing.
Last week journalists tapped away at their craft: living sculptures of Wagga’s media life
creating the news as we watched.
Some people spend their whole days here, says Dinah – mall dwellers –
a place to be loved.
A travel agent looks hopeful, beckoning punters to other skies, other boulevardes –
linked by phone, Facebook, the stockmarket.
A hairdresser bends intently over scissors; strands of blonde and auburn bless the floor.
Crowds cluster at the Carvery where electric knives whine like digital games;
wontons, like fresh-caught sea-cucumbers, are tonged from boiler to bain-marie;
today’s espresso arousal fights the inertia of deep-frying;
I fancy the improbability of pomegranate and lime juice;
grilled salmon sushi looks like delicate afternoon tea bliss bombs …
As the crowds thin after lunch we can see the sheen on the pebblecrete –
and the cleaner says she loves her five-day-a-week queendom.
Michel stops by – he’s celebrating a family hundredth this weekend:
his son’s thirtieth plus a friend’s seventieth.
We are less ideal than the shop windows we gaze into
but in the fashion wing we could be in Paris, Tokyo, Dubai airport –
Chloé (is that accent right?), Jeans West, Napoleon Perdis …
the intense insouciance of Bras ‘n Things …
A keycutter jokes with a man about a lock, tapping him lightly, laughingly on the head …
Bargain suits: royal blue or charcoal edged with fake leather
just $199 – and a pair of shoes thrown in!
Japan comes to Wagga with pastel hearts stationery.
Even in the toilets, the coolth of faux granite & marble soothes –
we could be in a forest or close to Nature’s intricate cliffs.
So we go back to face our ordinary lives almost re-branded
like our city Wagga Wagga –
the Art-Deco double W of the Marketplace only just echoing
its bigger W brothers inside.
© David Gilbey