Excuse me, I’m sitting here.

I’m getting better at surviving visits to Melbourne. I’m learning to accept the crowds, the weird tasting water, and the smell. During my last visit, my confidence was so high that I even decided to brave public transport unaided.

public transport - I own you

Usually upon arriving in Melbourne, I catch the bus into town where my sister meets me to take me home. This time, armed with explicit instructions, I caught the bus into town and hopped on a tram. All by myself.

Because I’m a big girl and these things shouldn’t be that hard.

My heart was beating with only the slightest bloodcurdling terror as I stumbled aboard and searched for a seat with the least sticky residue.

sticky stuff on tram seat hell

I sat down and, feeling smug, texted my sister: On tram now. Be home soon.

She replied: Are you on the right tram? Did you follow my instructions?

Ye of little faith, I thought, and texted: Yes.

I knew the journey would take at least 30 minutes, so I settled into one slightly odorous seat, leaned away from the woman next to me, who was chewing pieces of gum before carefully replacing them in their packets, and plugged in my iPod.

30 minutes later and there was still no sign of my sister’s street. The gum lady had since left and I was alone in tram-stickiness.

40 minutes later, the tram stopped and the conductor called out, “Last stop!”

Last stop!

Last stop? What the what? Something had gone terribly awry.

I rang my sister. “I am lost.”

She wasn’t in the least bit surprised.

It turned out I had caught the tram travelling in the opposite direction to my sister’s house. This is easy to do if you have absolutely no observational skills, an inability to follow instructions and a general lack of worldly competence.

Luckily, hopping on a tram heading back the other way was relatively simple, so I started the whole process over again.

I clambered on the correct tram and sat morosely, staring out the window.

And then a man sat on me.

Then a man sat on me

“Excuse me, I’m sitting here.” I said.

“Oh, I didn’t see you,” was his completely inadequate reply.

I cried quietly to myself and texted my sister: I hope you have wine.



Author: Stuffed Olive

My awesomeness intimidates some people, others just point and laugh.

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  1. a million years ago Anne Hathaway taught me that people sitting on you like you’re invisible means that fairy grandmother Julia Andrews is about to come and make you a princess. Holly, this is sign one that you’re actually the protagonist in a Meg Cabot novel! I demand to get sidekick status in upcoming Shenanigans

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    • Oh that would be the only thing that could make this experience worthwhile. I’d rather be the chick from Shadowland than Mia Thermopolis though… cos… having superpowers=cooler than being a princess.

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      • obviously – Superpowers rock, Princess-ness, sounds kinda full on an drab

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  2. You were very brave Olive! I’m too nervous to make the journey into London from Maidenhead on the train alone, and yet I have travelled the world. If I went in the wrong direction I would end up in Oxford, which wouldn’t be too bad!

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    • Surely not Pauline, I’m convinced you’re a far more intrepid traveller than me. PS: Don’t you just love Olive. She brightens my day!

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  3. I think I was about 9 on my first very brief visit to Melbourne. When we rode a tram I burned my leg on the heater under the seat, and a drunk man called me Fred.

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  4. Giggle, giggle. Keep ’em coming; but get a cab to pick you up next time.

    PS: I must remember to avoid the buses the next time I’m in melbourne

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    • Oh I haven’t even TRIED the buses, Marcia. I’m not THAT brave. Trams and trains are the limit for me… and you can see how well that worked out.

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  5. Just love your ‘wanderings’ and your drawings. You make my day

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  6. This was hilarious! I love the fact you got sat on – I mean, for the story’s sake! I’ve traveled on Melbourne public transport for years and no-one has ever sat on me. I am clearly unsittable-on. My scariest kind of encounter was on the train at a well-known druggie station. I was knitting and a drugged out guy came up to me and started to ask me all sorts of questions – about the knitting, but I felt a little threatened because he actually had no real pupils. However, the conversation ended with him wistfully telling me all about the blanket his grandmother was knitting for him. I could have hugged his little bony shoulders….

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    • Oh my! CattyB! What a story. How gorgeous… a man with “no real pupils”, just wanting to chat about knitting. :S

      At least when you are knitting you have defensive weapons on hand, should a pupil-less fiend turn on you. Those needles can do some damage!

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      • I’m shocked Stuffed Olive. Surely you are not advocating VIOLENCE on the streets (trains even)

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  7. I nearly had a similar experience using the Metro in Washington D.C., especially in stations with edge platforms – i.e. one each side instead of one in the middle. Fortunately, I was aware that the trains ran on the right, but it would have been easy to forget that and end up doing what you did…

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    • It is so easy to get these things wrong. Though, my instructions MAY have specified which side to get on…. oops.

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  8. I do something similar with our interstates. I go the wrong way quite often, but it’s different in your car than on public transport. I get scared walking around in the city, so for me to brave public transport…well, I simply don’t think I have it in me. Cheers to you, oh, brave, brave Olive.

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    • I’m not much good in the car either. I have certain places in Hobart I can drive to, but I don’t like to stray from those areas or I always get lost!

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