I've just made it back from Port Melbourne, where my old workplace was having an office sale. With a tape deck in one hand, a power board in the other hand, a power cord in my pocket, and a book under my arm, I struggled up Rowse Street to Victoria Street, where the trams to Brunswick stopped. The tram, as it turned out, was packed with pleasure seekers and race goers, and I somehow squeezed my way between a bunch of hat-wearers to a seat.
Two seats across from me, facing to the front, sat a woman wearing what seemed like an upturned black-and-white collander on her head. There was a woman dressed all in pink standing beside me, with a gauzy stole wrapped around her shoulders. She had a green purse that was too tiny to carry anything in one hand, and some plastic pink feathers wrapped into her hair by way of a hat. A pair of black sunglasses hung from her cleavage. I couldn't really see past her, but there were more. The tram swayed onwards, in that odd rhythm they have, alternating between an elegant glide and jerks as it came in to a stop. At one point two women, doubtless in weird hats and flowery frocks, shouted out to the tram to stop and raced along the footpath in their stilettos. No mean feat (although it probably was mean to their feet).
Finally, we stopped at Flinders Street Station and someone shouted "Train station! Get off! Get off! Train station!" One by one, the race goers filed out the doors until the tram was relatively empty.
By this time I'd worked my way to a more comfortable seat, and I looked out the window at the departing crowd, mingling with the Saturday morning central Melbourne flock. A slight, cool breeze tugged at the slight dresses.
The pink plastic feathers on the head of the woman from the tram started to whirl in the wind. Faster and faster they whirled, until they were in ceaseless motion, like a hummingbird. Slowly - ever so slowly; she couldn't notice it happening, I'm sure - the woman in pink elevated above the crowd. Then, I'm not sure how - the feathers took flight. The woman in pink looked down to the ground below and screamed! But the feathers had taken control now. They were waving furiously, causing little eddies and gusts of wind to tug at the hats worn by the women below. The woman in pink bobbed higher and higher, beyond Flinders Street station; the feathers seemed to be flying, rather determinedly, in a direction towards Collins Street, over the cathedral. One old guy took the opportunity to have a perve at her knickers.
Deciding she couldn't do anything else, the woman in pink - rapidly diminishing in size - slipped the sunglasses from out of her cleavage and put them on. Then the tram rolled on and I lost sight of her.
I thought I'd seen the last of her, but later in Carlton, as I caught another tram, I saw her far away, a tiny pink dot in the sky just over Royal Parade. I think the feathers in her hair had either been coming in to land at a tree or alighting from one. I hope she was all right.
Of course, the conclusion to be drawn from all this is obvious: fashion is dangerous, and you should all stay right away from it. Right? Right.
UPDATE! - Some of you might doubt that this actually happened in the way that I said it happened: you might think, in short, that it is just a fiction. Well, I'll have you know that I saw it all for myself, and this story is completely, utterly, and undeniably true, except for one or two minor details which may have been slightly exaggerated, overemphasised, stretched, confabulated, or made up. So there.