Sundays on compound are generally pretty uneventful. For yours truly, they usually consist of fried eggs on toast, hassling the husband to do some trip planning and trying not to watch too much bad TV. Maybe a visit to the gym or a short walk in the sun if energy levels so encourage. Roasting veggies or a chook for the regular Aussie-family Sunday roast. Uneventful.
The Sunday just gone however, existed purely for recovery purposes from the night before. For most of the morning I reclined on the couch in a post-alcohol haze, considering whether I would be able to happily digest the cheeseburgers the husband had ordered from the clubhouse. The cheeseburger turned out to be the miracle cure – once combined with a short post-lunch nanna-nap under the air-con.
In many ways, living on compound is not dissimilar to my experiences living on campus at university. Socialising is inevitable; driven largely by the fact that we live in such a close community. The undeniable awareness of living in a fish bowl where everybody knows everybody’s business along with unfounded gossip. And then, there is the endless opportunities for parties.
Unlike college however, I am no longer 18 and able to bounce through a regime consisting mainly of studying, partying and waitressing. Approximately once a month, a party, referred to as a “Turn” would be held on campus. I still have no idea why they were called “Turns.” They were usually held after a formal dinner where we dressed in black tie under our academic gowns, making us look like black bats or some kind of obnoxious Harry Potter cast. After dinner (drinking cask wine classily decanted by the kitchen into wine bottles) I would go up to room, change into my obscenely low-waisted sparkly jeans and head to the “Labs” – the building where the Turns were held. There, you would find the dance floor, churning with pop music, and a bar run by students selling pre-mixed vodka and some kind of sugary liquid for $2, or cheaper still, cans of beer for $1. Dancing, singing to Grease Megamix with my girlfriends and passing out in my room by 1am, I was sure I was having the time of my life. Turns out, I was, and almost 15 years on, I still am, albeit in a (slightly?) more adult setting.
Naturally, I like to believe we are a little more restrained these days than I was at 18. Our weeknights now are generally quiet; in the past year, the husband and I have been eating dinner early, drinking some tea and retired to bed by 8.30pm. Ready to bounce out of bed at 5.15am and hit the gym before work. Going to Turns in the middle of the week, or even being out past 9.30pm would otherwise make that pretty difficult! But Sunday’s rotten haze did encourage me contemplate whether I really am too old for this stuff. Many of my friends are now in the course of settling down: buying houses and having babies, while I am somehow still out partying with the rest of the compound residents and paying for it the next day.
The thing is, the husband and I have already been on the “settling down” path – we did the things that one expects: we started serious Monday to Friday jobs as per our university degrees, we bought a house in the suburbs and we got married. We tested it out, but for us, it didn’t fit. Would we do things differently in hindsight? Possibly, but the thing is, unless you try things, you don’t know what works for you.
Although it wasn’t the healthiest weekend, I don’t regret it, and I didn’t regret it on Sunday even in the midst of my self-inflicted state. No doubt we will be playing a similar game 40 years from now, overdoing the sherry in the retirement village. Of course it’s situational, but in a place like this, if you don’t make the effort to see people, and instead isolate yourself, the experience is, in my view, significantly diminished. Bottom-line, I had fun. And I think the rest of us did too.
Now for a week or two off! Plans for this Saturday night? Quiet movie on the couch I’m thinking.