Aidan 'Taco' Jones is a comedian and writer based in Melbourne Australia, he likes most types of cheese and often throws tantrums. To read his blog and find him doing comedy hit up ajtaco.blogspot.com
A few months ago on a comedy podcast I heard the question put so elegantly: "would you rather do something you love with someone you hate, or do something you hate with someone you love?" What a great way to lead the often oblivious human brain down towards a state of awareness. It doesn't need much explaining really, and I think most would agree with TJ Miller and Cash Levy on the podcast I was listening to when they said that yes, they would rather the latter – the people you love, guys. They're all right!
Some people I love who are unrelated to this article.
A few days ago I decided to take it upon myself to put this question to the real world and see if life had any different answers waiting for me down its dank, soggy alleys. In what has become almost a habit for me, I approached this idea with huge, animated zeal and an open heart, mainly because this, like all ideas I ever get excited about, costs no money, and I, a twenty-three year old comedian, am broke.
I think we all hate public transport, right? I mean, no one is out there reading this right now at home going, "this is nice, but I really wish I was reading this while standing uncomfortably, being jolted every few minutes." And if you are reading this on the tram, I'm sorry. Public transport sprang to my mind as the perfect scene for this mission, so I recruited an accomplice for my journey – the lovely Jess – and together we decided against the all-out horror of a long tram ride for the relative palatial comfort of Melbourne's trains. The Upfield line, to be precise. The plan was to catch the train to the end of the line, and once we got there, do something. That was pretty much it; we would be on the train for around an hour including changeovers – long enough to sufficiently appreciate not liking it – and then when we got out, well I guess we'd find out about Upfield.
The Upfield train is like any other train line: it goes for a bit, then it stops, the doors open, people get off and on and the numbers thin as you get farther out of town, and sometime after the cafes turn to factories and the graffiti turns violent, the train stops, and you either get off, or swallow your pride and wait for it to take you back home. We got out – because I am nothing of not headstrong – and started wandering around, away from the abattoir, towards what seemed like a small strip of cafes and diners. I wasn't hungry, but Jess got some noodles (vegan, and no MSG). We sat a while, and took a video of a strange metal pole that seemed to shake crazily by itself, and then we went home.
She doesn't realise it yet, but she's actually having the best time.
The day before I had taken a similar trip by myself on the 109 tram from Richmond, where I live, out to Box Hill – the end of the line. I had wandered solo around Box Hill for about three hours, stopping every now and then to take in what I kept trying to tell myself was the charm of the suburb. I don't know that I exactly found the part of the suburb that most would call charming though, because I spent the vast majority of my afternoon in Box Hill Central – that's a shopping mall – and observed towards the end of my little outing that the reason most people come to a shopping centre is because they need to buy something or work somewhere, not because they have no money and need to kill an afternoon. I had been getting ready to write some scathing review on how shopping centres are the devil and capitalism is EVIL etc. etc. pointless ranting... but as I rode the 109 tram back to my home I'd realized no, I had just been wandering around somewhere I hated, and doing it by myself.
Most people do their shopping here and then leave. Why I thought it would be a fun place to spend an afternoon is beyond me.
As Jess and I caught the train back to the city, pockets weighing heavily with one $424 fine each, we contemplated the cost of our afternoon together. We contemplated, and laughed, because it didn't really matter about the money at that point. Money is in the future, and then as soon as it isn't, it's in the past. Friendships... well, they're not forever either, but they seem much more real in the moments that they're happening, and in the afternoon that we spent together riding the train to and from Upfield, getting fines, eating noodles and looking at a wobbly pole, Jess and I were both very happy.
So 'Going Somewhere You Don't Like with Someone You Do', I'd recommend it, folks. Not because it's perfect, or even because it's cheap, but because it's there, there for anyone to do who has a friend in the world with a few hours free to waste on a train somewhere. Or a bus. Or a shopping centre, wherever. Just do it, and then when you're finished, maybe get yourself a job.