In June 1998 Heino and I were lunching in the city. We both worked for Unisys at the time; me as a long time employee, Heino on a contract that just kept being renewed. We, along with Joe, made it quite the lunchtime ritual. We had our standard route from the office on Collins Street, through the Block Arcade and thence through the Royal Arcade and across the Bourke Street Mall to Myers, ending up at the lunch counter where we'd buy whatever roast meat roll tickled our fancy that day.
On that particular day, which I fancy was probably June 10th (I know it was a Wednesday) it was more than usually cold and the wind made it feel a lot colder. On the way to Myers we'd passed a mens clothing shop in the Block; they had overcoats on sale for $50 each; an absolute bargain. We'd even stopped and fingered the fabric before letting hunger get the better of us.
Now you have to understand that we had quite the ritual going by this time. We'd been doing this for a year and a half and our return route was out of Myers, across the Bourke Street Mall aforesaid, through the Royal Arcade, thus rewinding our steps so far. But when we got to the Block Arcade we'd turn left instead of right and ended up at the Australia Arcade. We'd so ritualised it that we lit a cigarette under a particular sign in the Royal Arcade knowing that we'd be stubbing the butt out at a particular ashtray in Collins Street.
Upon entering the Australia Arcade we could either go right or left. Which way didn't really matter because we'd just do a circle through the arcade and exit via the same entrance. so we came up with a way of deciding, one you'd never guess in a million years without knowing us. We waited until we were on the escalator that took us down to the food court in the arcade and halfway down I'd ask 'which side did you dress today'? The answer determined our turn! Strange to relate, we mostly turned to the right!
On the way back on this particular day we missed the entire ritual. Those overcoats were on our minds! The fact that a particularly attractive young lady was the salesperson had nothing whatsoever to do with the purchase!