Attempt to go Back In Time
January 8th, 1999 -- This was meant to be the last day of my boring, pointless, worthless (comfortable) life and the start of my interesting, supernatural (agonizing) life. I thought the synchronization of events might trigger a higher power. But of course, it didn't turn out that way and I can't say I was expecting it to. But it was an interesting day nevertheless, a day tailored to bring together the elements of my life and my past, re-living them to a certain extent. The Paradise Motel was the framework on which the past and present rested. The recurring theme.
My visit to Larundel Psychiatric Hospital went better than I could have planned -- it's a dead hospital, but still not buried. As I was peering into the windows of North 4, abandoned ward, I found one window ajar. So I climbed in. My formerly spotless Paradise Motel white t-shirt got dirty, but I didn't care. It was my time to explore an empty psychiatric ward, just like Tora did on March 18th 1995.
The place was full of old rubbish -- chairs, cupboards, desks -- there was even a wonky old piano, though I wasn't game to play it as I wanted to remain as silent as possible. The kitchen was still full of perfectly good utensils which I could have taken -- one office still contained medical textbooks -- notices were still pinned to boards, whiteboards were still filled with timetables -- and here and there, the baffling graffiti of patients, the products of a confused creativity, a direct line to the sickly exposed subconsious. Upstairs a faulty tap was perenially dribbling water into a sink full of dirty cups. I searched every patient's room, finding many a relic, but the only thing I took away with me was a koala-shaped fridge magnet plus several images on film. In one room there was a pile of pillows just lying around -- I put my head on one and tried to have a sleep, thinking when I woke up the whole scene would be ressurected. But I couldn't get to sleep, and the place remained dead.
I crawled out of North 4 and went to North 6, the legendary ward of past glories, now alas passed away. The steam rose out of the concrete slab at the front as it always had. North 6 was harder to get into than North 4, as the opening was smaller, but with my determination I could not be shut out. The place was a mess -- fragments of paint, missing areas of carpet -- I climbed into a wheelchair and did a rolling tour of the main rooms, including the nurses station and other previously out-of-bounds areas like the High Dependency lock-up. It was all so familiar, and yet so empty and carved up -- I went up to my room and actually found a couple of audio tapes -- if they'd been anything but the best of Elvis Presley, I would have taken them. Unlike the other rooms, my room had a bed in it. I lay down, recalling all the times I had to sleep on a bare mattress towards the end because I refused to make the bed on principle. But the nights were much colder then. Despite my sleep-deprived state, I still couldn't doze off -- I had too much on my mind.
In a room down the end I found cardboard boxes full of binders -- some of them contained Incident Report Forms -- human suffering and drama translated into official standardized terminology. I stuffed a handful of them into my bag. Then, before I left, I took a few photos and returned the wheelchair to where it had been. Oh also there was a towel -- I stole a towel.
I had a look around the outside of North 9, but didn't attempt to break in there, as someone was watching. This defunct hospital has been getting smaller and smaller, and the reclaimed land has already been built upon. These new buildings are for the very well people. I walked past them and continued, eastward and further back into my past, going through the Paradise Motel songs in my head one by one.
I arrived at Loyola College, which was not exactly deserted -- and there were new buildings all over the place -- I just walked around them and moved on. This is the place that almost killed me, you know. I then proceeded to re-live the events of 16/3/92, going to the post office and then making my way to the footbridge. When I arrived at the start of the ascent I sat down on the ground and rested for a while -- partly because I had walked for several kilometeres without a rest, and partly because I was waiting for my younger self to come around the corner with suicidal intent. I had the Paradise Motel CD in my hand, ready to give to him. But no such person came, and no-one wears a uniform in the holidays. Eventually I crossed the bridge, with the special chant in my head. This time, it didn't work.
My next stop was the parents' house in Diamond Creek -- the main purpose of this visit was to play the piano for a while; the official purpose was to donate my old computer speakers. The parents weren't home. But as it turned out, I didn't spend much time at all playing piano -- I lay on the couch and listened to Paradise Motel music, finishing off with their special Bonus CD, "Junk Mail" which I played at very low volume. I really thought I could get to sleep while listening to it, and maybe the world would change before I woke up. It was pretty much my last chance to go back to 1992, but I remained in 1999 awake and with less time than ever. O.K. that's it -- you've tried and you've failed.
I had no more time to hang around in Diamond Creek so I caught a train southwards. On the train some guy was talking to himself, criticizing the rail-system, especially criticizing the station Dennis -- "It's a stupid idiot station -- it's not even a real suburb" -- obviously he was angry, but his anger was really about something else, no doubt.