Im working in a small industrial town called Onslow (1,600 km north of the capital of Western Australia) at the moment and while Im in training for my writing career I thought it would be a good writing xercise to journal some notes about my time here.
Guys - if you comment on this please be honest! I want to know if you enjoyed it, hated it, or if you couldnt stay awake through the first paragraph.
These are my happenings in Onslow.
It's a lovely summer's day. Well, actually its not. It just feels like one. It's the middle of winter. But it almost feels like summer. I'm on a beach blanketed in white shells, and the shoreline runs all the way to the horizon in both directions. In front of me, a big jetty-like structure juts out into the sea, cutting the view in half like a half built skyscraper tipped over on its side. It stretches out into the distance and captivates me in a way that garish utilitarian structures shouldn’t. Stuck on the end like lego is a small building with an orange roof, square and functional, that I can only guess serves the purpose of mining some precious resource from the sea.
Its nearly bedtime for the sun, creeping its way towards it's resting place. The long structure before me is dotted with illuminating lights, and in the background the sky has turned to a deep blood-orange. As I take it all in I am thankful that I bothered to drive out here. Not that it was a long trip, this is a town that you can cross from one side to the other in about eight minutes while politely abiding by the posted fifty kilometre an hour speed limit.
I take a deep breath, sucking clean air into my lungs. I breathe out, hypnotized by the rhythm of my feet pounding the firm sand. I concentrate on the sand ahead, weaving around sharp shells and occasional rocks. I feel myself gaining energy and I speed up, my heart rate increasing as I ease into the subtle warmth of an endorphin boost.
My attention has been snagged by a staffy-pug cross running joyfully across the sand, cheeks and pointless little ears flapping in the wind as it bounds along. Not far off I see it's owner, a pretty young blond girl walking towards me. She looks in my direction and quietly utters a polite hello before turning her attention back to dog with tiny flappy ears.
All the while this is going on there is in the background the magical sound of thousands of sea shells being washed up and down the shore as the waves roll in. Its a beautiful tinkling sound, and I imagine its what you would hear if someone reached up and tickled the stars.
Onslow is a rather small little town stuck right on the edge of Western Australia. Useful trivia - it was the most southern point in the southern hemisphere bombed by the Japs in world war two. The majority of people walking around the town are workers from the local projects, with the same bright yellow long sleeve shirts and navy blue pants with reflective tape. When theyre not walking the streets theyre blasting around in Toyota Hilux's like the end of the world is coming, and when theyre not doing that theyre sitting at the one pub.
The weather here is exceptionally warm for winter. Ive just come from a place where it struggles to go above fourteen degress, and up here thats the minimum most nights. Its lovely, but not without its consequences. I know that in a few months there will be stretches of scorching days without respite. The average min and max temperatures over the summer months are twenty to thirty five, and in the record books it has seen close to fifty degrees. Yes, you heard right. Africa territory. Death from standing in the sun territory. Dont get lost in the fucking bush territory. EVER.
Is it a place I'd consider living? Maybe. Im enough over city life that I'd consider living anywhere right now. But I am a down and out creature comfort person. As much as I hate the city, I have spent over ninety percent of my life growing up in it, and have come to love the best parts of a pampered lifestyle. While moving to a small town may seem somewhat desirable right now, Im not sure I can stand four months of ridiculous heat with nary an airconditioned shopping centre, , cafe, cinema, aquatic centre, or anything of use in sight. And thats another thing about Onslow you have to know. There is literally NOTHING to do here. Being a town founded off the back of industry, it was never meant to be a "bring your kids, theres a great school!" kind of place. Ive been here only a week, and already its been said to me that without a boat and fish caching skills I will pretty much be left to the self entertainment options offered by left hand larry or drown myself in the company of Jack, Jim, or sir James Squire.