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Melbourne men,

If you carry a leather shoulder bag or briefcase, ok. You’re saying “I’m a professional” or maybe “I’m into male fashion”. All good, especially if you’re wearing a suit. Tres chic.

If you carry a backpack or sleek messenger bag, goodonya. You’re showing it’s comfort that matters to you, as you’re probably carrying a heavier load. Maybe you want to say “I’m sporty” or maybe you’re carrying your gym clothes and know that sweaty socks and leather don’t really mix at the end of the day.

But, if you carry a black linen shoulder bag with a large cat and a few French words emblazoned on it, you my friend, are carrying a man purse. I’m not judging, and dare not guess what was running through your head when you walked out of the house this morning. In any case, your murse has definitely caught my attention.

Though the public bikes are not yet as popular as the famous Paris bike system, Melbourne is nonetheless a shining example of public transportation.  Trains, trams, busses, bikes… there’s virtually no need to have a car.

Which is good for us, since, well, we don’t!

To the woman who took a bath in floral perfume this morning and got on the 8:56 75 tram:

It is unacceptable to disturb the olfactory senses of 95 people packed into a tram when the stifling heat has already reached 39 degrees by 9 am, and there is zero air circulation. Seriously, can’t you see the beads of sweat on everyone’s faces? It’s 9 am. And it’s 39 freaking degrees!!

They make this thing called body spray. It’s light, refreshing even. A subtle smell, one that reminds the man sniffing your neck that you’re a lady, but doesn’t cause coughing spasms for persons unlucky enough to be in your general vicinity, or two blocks downwind. Or, cause me to get off the tram three stops early and walk to rest of the way in the sweltering heat, because the smell of you for 3 more minutes just might make me pass out.

Unacceptable.

that I may (or may not have) gotten a multihundred dollar ticket yesterday traveling out to the ‘burbs to test out a 2005 Lindahl piano that is in the running to be my new dining room furniture.

Melbourne has one of the world’s greatest public transportation systems, including the largest tram system in the world.  Trains shovel people from as far away as an hour and a half driving distance into the CBD every morning, and the ubiquitous trams clamber up and down nearly every inner suburb streets.  But, for a major metropolitan transit system, it operates more or less on the honor system.

You have to punch in and punch out at the train station, but one can, hypothetically, jump on the tram at Hosie and Bridge every morning and jump off at 101 Collins with nary a turnstile.  The city hopes that the threat of severe monetary punishment will keep you honest.

So, truth be told, I cheat the system.  I do punch my tram card at random intervals to keep some good karma, but certainly not every time.  And no one else seems to either.  But yesterday, I was a good citizen.  I punched my ticket as required at the Parliament station and was happily on my way to Heathmont, to set my fingers on some pearly whites.  That was, until train inspectors got on the train literally the stop immediately before my stop and starting checking tickets.  Obligingly, I handed mine over (somewhat smug that my good karma had paid off because I was prepared with a paid ticket when asked by the transit police). It was at this moment that the transit officer informed me I was in zone 2.  Staring at him blankly, it quickly became apparent that my punched tram ticket was not the “proper ticket” for zone 2 (wherever the heck that is) and I was in trouble.

He exited the train with me, and proceeded to take my credentials for his report (including calling Steve to verify my address, since I don’t actually carry anything on me that proves where I live). He then said “please state your reason”.  Come again?  “Your reason for not having a proper ticket.”  Um, hello.  Obviously American.  Obviously thought I had the right ticket.  Obviously never ride the train… I stammered on for awhile until he stopped me, and then strangely enough, gave me a free pass for the ride home back into the city (a proper zone 2 ticket).

Apparently I may (or may not) be assessed a fine via mail depending on the officer’s report; here’s crossing my fingers that they find my story believable (I mean, genuine) and don’t issue a fee.  Because although the first one is typically under $200, it doubles every time thereafter.  Which means I’d actually have to start punching my card on the tram daily…