REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Regional Australia: The difference a pair of shoes makes

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My oldest daughter locked herself out of her Melbourne apartment last week.

While annoying and ultimately painful, it also gave her a life lesson on a city under siege from within.

And a lesson on other people's perceptions unfortunately.

Melbourne is in lockdown, anyone looking out of sorts on city streets is not afforded usual courtesy it seems.

A rostered day off from work, my daughter was performing her usual chores, cleaning the house and so on - and doing the clothes washing.

The clothes line was necessarily outside her suburban abode and she let herself out the front door with her basket of washing, then pulled the door shut behind her.

Instantly she knew it was disaster. The door locks itself.

She did not have a key, that was left inside.

She was wearing her "around the house" clothes - trackie pants and hoodie and no shoes - but more about that later.

What to do?

Hang out the washing first, obviously.

Then she trudged the 10 minutes to a friend's house, where she had entrusted them with a key for such an emergency.

No-one home. Call someone. But her phone was left inside, complete with her phone numbers in the contacts list.

She did remember her mum's number.

Off to the local shopping strip, still on bare feet, she found a kind heart who let her use their shop phone to call her mum. Thank you.

"She'll help me solve the problem," my daughter thought, even though her mother was in the Top End, on the other side of this mighty island, a long way for a quick rescue mission herself.

And her mother did, managing to track down another friend using her command of various social media platforms who sent around another key a short time later.

While plans are in place to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again, it was during my daughter's wanderings around her suburb which got her thinking.

"I must have looked homeless or something."

Turning motorists, who used to pause and let her continue along the footpath, suddenly forgot their manners.

It was the bare feet.

Others looked at her as though she was a troubled sort, likely with a drug habit and possibly on the prowl with some criminal intent.

Melburnians are supposed to be hiding inside, peering out their windows for quarantine breakers.

Many blisters later, she told her mother how a pair of shoes could make so much difference.

Our thoughts are with you Melbourne.

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