I, Mentor Passionate Wipe Out


I, Mentor

Passionate Wipe Out

Gnome Funicular

Scurrying through strange tunnels with the muffin folk

Sydney, Australia
2nd June, 2004

The tunnels.

Central Sydney - the CBD - is a maze of underground tunnels. They run under office blocks and shopping centres, under streets and railway stations. They house shops - sweet shops, coffee houses, clothes, electronics. All the happy toys of civilization.

Mysterious. Sydney has the best weather on earth. Long, sunny days in summer, short, sunny days in winter. Cooling sea breeze at any time of the year. Enough rain to keep it green. But rarely enough to bother owning an umbrella. So why the tunnels?

The tunnels are inhabited. Sydney CBD is the financial heart of Australia. Creatures scurry in the tunnels. Little men and women. Colorful hats, expensive clothes, they scurry from place to place and beam or frown in an important way.

It's true. Sydney has been taken over by gnomes. They hide from the light. Fearful, they emerge only when the sun goes down.

I don't blame them.

The Reducible

Job hunting is hard work. So is brick laying, but that doesn't cause my personality to expand and contract twenty times a day. I feel like last week's elastic underwear - stretched, crinkly and over-ripe.

I inflate: "Look at me! I'm great! Greater than you could imagine! So great that you must want me!"

They deflate: "No. No, no you're not. I've seen better people on the FBI most wanted list. I'm not even going to reply to you. Stinky britches."

I was thrown into the river on my seventeenth birthday. There was mud. I had to wash my socks. I survived. When I was five, I was chased up the street by a small, angry dog. I had to both avoid being bitten, and not step on him. How could I have explained squashed dog on my shoe? I survived. I believe I can handle this too.

With every rejection, my belief grows a little smaller. I have to perk myself up. Here are the available methods:
a) Destroy my enemies, ride over their bodies with wild horses, feed on their still-beating hearts.
b) Go to the mall.

Of course (a) is always the best option. However, it's sticky, you need a change of clothes, and horses are not always available. So, option (b). All you need is an underground tunnel.

A mall is safe and clean and warm and full of good, happy things. Muffins! Hats! Espresso double shot hold the spoon! It is the playpen of the adult world. You can go there and be closeted and fed sweets and buy the body armour of the modern world: expensive fashion ware. If you need fun, ride the escalators - the funicular railway you always wanted as a child - up and down, up and down. All better again.

The Secret Fear

The mall alone is not enough to reinflate my ego. Yes, I can replace those vital muffin nutrients, but what if I'm the only one that feels this way? Am I a gnome alone?

If you want to know what your peers are really thinking about, try the bookshop.

I wander around. The most popular sections are the largest. I don't see any crowds fighting to get to ancient Greek literature. The three biggest sections in any bookshop: romantic fiction (male and female); business management; and personal growth.

i) Romantic fiction, female: fantasies about unlimited sex; getting their own back on their more popular friends; or shopping, shopping shopping;
ii) Romantic fiction, male: fantasies about being a super-elite special forces soldier who can both parachute and bag lots of totty; how to fix things that don't need fixing; knowledge of useless subjects such as sailing a boat, how to tie knots, or the history of eighteenth century warfare.
iii) Personal growth: fifty thousand books, and growing, all with one message. You will be happy if you feel happy. You will be confident if you feel confident.
iv) Business management: these books are read by men and women wearing suits. In other words, people who already have management jobs. They just don't know how to do them.

Conclusion? Most people are either lonely, afraid, or don't know what to do.

All this is very reassuring. Those creature in the tunnels, hurrying in the dark, nibbling on muffins? My people.

Idle Mischief

Tunnel folk. Could be worse.

All this is the public face of the urban professional. He leaves the private side well-hidden, shut up in a darkened box at home. Takes it out to play only in idle, lonely moments. Here's a list of the search strings that have accessed this web-site, Heldencrow, in the last two days alone:

Google aussie male lifeguards
Google traditional belgian hats
Google how to haggle india
Google beggar fun jpg
Google tattoo slovenija
Google furtive groping
Google flesh eating bacteria pictures
Google flesh eating bacteria pictures
Google flesh eating bacteria pictures
Google street noise india
Google blue whale eating and blowing
Google surfer guys hairstyle
Google diving isla de mujeres
Google french imperial waterloo
Yahoo ! san francisco hookers
Yahoo ! population of blue-ringed octopus
Yahoo ! uprising in guatemala

I am relieved to discover that there are people out there far stranger than me.

I am not the chap who wants a Belgian hat, or pictures of fun with beggars, or san francisco hookers, or eating and blowing whales, or a tatoo but only in slovenija. I am not the guy who really, really, really wants pictures of flesh eating bacteria.

I say nothing about the furtive groping.

Things could be worse. I remain, riding the gnome funicular, up and down the mall. And I'm not alone.




Sunset Bridge
Sunset Bridge


Dark City
Dark City






Hat & Spoon



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