Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Published: September 10, 2022

Photos taken: August 30, 2022

The days are getting bigger here in Sydney as we are heading towards Spring. It was an excellent day in the afternoon of late August. The daylight savings hasn’t started yet and it’s still one more month to go before we would have those sunbathed afternoons where people will hold long gatherings after work. The chilling sensation of the breeze is waning as winter is almost gone. The weather forecast however, shows there will be lots of rains throughout the year. Today there is no gloom. It’s sunny and it’s fresh. The soft clouds floating in the sky with varying degrees of whites and greys making it an ideal ambience for outdoor fun.  For now, however, it’s rather chilling even in the afternoon, but things are changing, and we will be into the hot summer soon again.

Besides cold weather, here in Sydney another drama is still going on: the industrial action (i.e., employee strike in public transportation service) which means fewer services’ availability with lots of cancellations, rescheduling, rerouting and of course the inevitable: delay. Owing to that, during those peak hours hundreds of people would be waiting along the platforms and instead of my journey by train to CBD being sleepy and dreamy as is usually the case, it would rather be quite boring: standing along the carriage with hundreds of other passengers – like a sack of crabs put into a basket all trying their best to stay together in the cramped carriage. The bright side is, while I was heading towards the city the train was rather empty and to my slight surprise, I found my usual three-seater unoccupied at the back and I got hold of it straight away. Trouble was at the time of coming back. But before that, I got to have lots of fun today!

On my journey towards CBD, I was however, preoccupied with some issues. There has been an outage on the website; lots of missing data and in fact, I have been working on fixing those issues manually one by one. 

When I built the website some two years ago, I did it rather hastily and left some rough patches here and there and when you do things in such a fashion especially for software coding, issues can get very messy over time. So, I had to fix those existing issues and that created so much trouble lately and it was keeping me very much occupied on my off days from the morning I wake up till the time I hit the sack. Interestingly, while trying to fix the existing problems I ended up making even more of a mess, as it turned out. So, I have no choice but to redevelop the whole thing and do data migration onto the new system. The work is still going on – just putting some extra load on my already tight schedule!

After getting off at St James station I decided to walk around Hyde Park and this time into the Domains via the Art Gallery Road. There is a street – College St – that separates the gigantic church – St Mary’s Cathedral and Hyde Park and as you come to the cathedral side crossing the (College) street, the Art Gallery Road begins and that leads to the Domain. The afternoon light is glowing. The gentle breeze is blowing and I am there walking around enjoying the sunshine and having casual chit-chat with passers-by.

In my project so far, I once thought of getting the busy people onboard. It was a challenge to have them in the spirit of the project – how to take a good photo even within a very short time. But something came to my mind later – they are preoccupied; they must go to work soon, or they are having their lunch breaks etc. I figured while people are preoccupied it is rather difficult to bring out their best. Instead of being relaxed and chill, they force a smile onto their face which sometimes ruins the photos. So, I am divided minds with having preoccupations and perusing an art at the same time.

There was a statue (Robert Burns, 25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) right at the entrance to the Domains. In the afternoon sunlight its mighty stance filled the void in the somewhat deserted park. (The photo can be downloaded here in original size.) As I was roaming around by the foot path on the cathedral side, there I noticed her from across the street. And all I needed was to wait for the traffic to be halted to cross the street to walk up to her and start the conversation. 

I can’t remember what she was doing at that moment. Reading a book perhaps but I can’t be certain.

When I shared the details of the project, she sounded enthusiastic and exclaimed “nobody took my photos in the last two months!”

I felt a bit of amusement by that observation. Well, in my little journey throughout the duration of the project, I asked many, literally many people to have their photos taken but many refused. In fact, a lot of them refused. Only a very, very tiny fraction of the people has joined so far.

Later however, at one point she mentioned “I don’t like interacting with people because I am shy.”

I read a book by a famous author Malcolm Gladwell – Blink – several years back. One key aspect of that book is our ability to snap judgment. We make very astute judgment even on the fly, even when seemingly there is not enough information at hand. Perhaps many didn’t join because they made such an astute judgment by saying “no”. Flight or fight – the primordial brain takes over for but a moment and makes its decision!

Some people were very upfront “I hate my own photos but thanks for asking” some were business like “sorry I am running late” and yet others rather cautious “I am okay” “It’s all legit but I just don’t know you much”!

I was introduced to this whole photography affair by my once good friend. If it were some random strangers, I would’ve said “no” too perhaps and would’ve never got into this. Snap judgment or being shy or introvert – well, I can’t be certain as to why some people said “yes” right away and many others said “no” even with some discomfort.

“So, you study management.” – I asked

“You wanna be a manager.” – my usual jabbing!

“Not really” – she replied laughing.

“What you like about it?” – my inquiry went on.

“No” (I) “like simple job” “I don’t wanna like handle people. It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s a huge responsibility” 

“I am sick of it…” “that’s why I moved here… and try new things…”

Our conversation shifted into personal affairs and about her family as she mentioned of her parents passing away.

“Do you miss them”? – I asked.

“Of course!” “In fact, I cried last night” – she added as she mentioned of reading a book by Colleen Hoover’s “It ends with us”.

“There’s this character who likes talking to her mother.” “I kind of missed like talking to my mom.” – she started explaining.

“It’s a real-life story.” – she went on “You know the girl is from an abusive family. When it was time to find the love… she found someone who is also abusive.”

“She ended up finding someone who is also is abusive!” – I vent out my surprise!

“Then they ended up having a daughter. She tried to… like… divorce the guy so it ends with like she and her daughter.” – she added.

Since the conversation was getting heavier, I switched it once again to something lighthearted:

“Who was your crush when you were young?”

With some uplift in her mood, she mentioned of being a big fan of Chris Evens like one of my recent encounters’.

However, what was more interesting was her fascination for formular one car. When I went back to “trying new things” she pointed out “it’s a recent discovery” (of her love for those cars)

“I watch formula one… “it’s a recent discovery. I like Ferrari” – she added. 

“You really need to get to the top of that management chain to buy one of them.” – I jabbed immediately.

I wanted to charge her up emotionally: “What secrets do you have?”

“I don’t think I have” – she added.

“How come… Girls have lot of secrets.” “Tell me your secrets” – I made a bold demand!

“Do you feel guilty sometimes.?” – I asked!

“Of course” 


“Doing everything alone and saying everything to my friends” – she added! 

Later she mentioned of buying ticket for “The Script” concert.

Have you heard the song “The man who can’t be moved”? – she asked.

When I repeated the name a couple of times to get it right, it became apparent that I surely haven’t heard the title yet, let along the song itself, she expressed some disgust with a look on her face which could be translated into plain English as this “How come you haven’t heard even the name of the song”!

“I am out of touch” – I tried to recover myself!

“I used to attend concert.” “I am going there alone … “I liked this band since high school” – she added.

One fascinating aspect of her was her love for budgeting.

“I suck at math, but I love budgeting…” she added talking about her younger sister being good at math.

“Did you do it since childhood like saving money to do something” – I asked.

She replied in affirmation and when I asked as to what she did with that money she replied she’d “spend the money on toys…”

“You saved it and wasted it…” – my jabbing went on!

“You are not a party animal…” “you said you are shy…” – I asked

“I like parties in the Philippines…” “I like to meet with my friends…”

“In Sydney I would like to try once” “I wanna travel and spoil myself…” – she added.

“So, you’re shy… like dogs (she mentioned earlier) … books… travelling… cars…”

“For a Filipino girl that’s a lot” – my sarcasm went on.

She has relatives in Brisbane, and she would love to have a house someday so she can bring them into the house and have a big party there.

Its already dark and we had to wrap up quickly but before that we still had a little more fun to explore – as always – together. Her cooperation and my little bit of knowledge and experience once again made the whole encounter a great excitement and inspiration for future endeavors.

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