HELLO INTERNET BOY #18: American Eagles on the road

The first day of our road trip was also our longest, a seemingly endless procession of wide roads and stretching legs numbly in parking lots at gas stations. The conversation ebbed and flowed from confidential to light banter and all the way into hysterical tiredness. It was also psychotically beautiful – we drove out of Ohio, into Kentucy and then into the green, misty hills of West Virginia. Dense, cold looking trees lined the highways, and even though it was hot and humid and summer when you exited the car, I could imagine these mountains in the winter. Birds of prey circled in the distance, and I asked if they were potentially eagles, knowing how obsessed ‘Murica is with eagles, but I was told they were falcons. Honestly falcons are also really cool. For a while every falcon I saw, I’d say ‘Hello Tobias’, but not everyone in the car had read animorphs.

Michelle got really excited as we passed into West Virginia, which is where she comes from. She told us that she would never want to live there again, would never raise a family there, and sometimes feels guilty about that, about not supporting the state and working to make it better, instead moving to somewhere else. But when she drives into it, and the vista suddenly plunges from smoothness into long ripples of small green mountains, she says it feels like home.

She drove us though the town she went to college, and we ate lunch. We also visited every gas station in search of diesel, trawling up and down the same main road. While we did this, we learnt about the town – about how it was a major drug distribution centre, and how for years and years the FBI had run one of the gas stations in town as a front in order to catch the heroin runners. We didn’t go to the FBI gas station. 

It was late at night when we finally pulled into the cabins we were staying at in Fayetteville. Fireflies sparked and the air felt clean and leafy and cicadas hummed in the distance, and I think even if we hadn’t been driving for a thousand hours, the place would have still felt enchanted. We decided immediately that we should stay another night here, as in the morning we were scheduled to be on the road again.

And while we were grateful to be out of the car, and to run around catching fireflies in our hands and eating a dinner of cheese and berries, we were still happy, which is how I knew this would be a successful road trip. I’d been on journeys two hours out of Sydney, where I already knew that I couldn’t spend a minute longer with my friends. This was hours and hours and while some of us knew each other really well, and some of us were strangers, the group dynamic was fresh and newborn and strange and could have simply refused to work, through no fault of our own. But when everyone decided to play a game where we pointed at things we saw off the road and explain them to me as different types of eagles – cows were beef eagles, horses were saddle eagles – I realised I was with some pretty stupid people, and I’d fit in just fine.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016



We began our roadtrip in Cincinnati, a city that didn’t look, but felt like Wollongong in Australia. There were just enough sketchy looking people in tracksuit pants, and just enough weirdly empty streets and youths congregated outside of a library, and the air was hot and thickly humid. But it wasn’t Wollongong, it was Ohio.

Michelle drove us to the hotel we were staying at, and the lady at the desk immediately started joking with us. The security guard, a weird man who proudly led the conversation with the statement that he’d lived in Cincinnati for twenty years, gravely and politely asked why Michelle had confirmed that we were in non-smoking rooms. 
‘Excuse me miss – may I enquire as to why you asked about the non-smoking rooms? Are smoking rooms a common occurrence where you are from?’

Michelle didn’t want to say that the reviews of this hotel generally claimed the rooms had a smoky smell. It turned out that the security guard had a scheme to create a smoking-only hotel. After New York, having anyone, even weird security guards be friendly and polite and crack jokes was so so lovely.

Our rooms were incredibly smoky.

We then followed directions down the street to a place called Barcade – a bar full of arcade machine – to meet up with the rest of our party, Lyndsay and Steven. Lyndsay bound out to meet us, vaguely annoying the bouncer behind her. After she hugged Michelle, she had what looked like a small seizure, but what I understand was actually excitement to meet me. Steven looked reserved, but that makes sense, I didn’t know him. Unlike Michelle and Lyndsay, I’d never interacted socially with him on Aelyria – when I played he’d been around twelve years old. I also never roleplayed with him. Him and Lyndsay are excellent friends now. There are so many good friendship stories from this game. There are so many bad relationship stories from this game. 

Lyndsay was always incredibly fun to chat with, and I remember in my first year of uni I’d come home to my parents place and immediately message her. I’m pretty sure I had a massive crush on her then, but she was dating another Aelyrian at the time, who was very sarcastic. I am not very sarcastic.

We all went to a rooftop bar and sat in the hot night and Lyndsay and her boyfriend recommended American beers for me, which was so exciting. When I asked a bartender in Brooklyn what beer he recommended, he sneered at me and said ‘what, have you never had a beer before?’ I had an IPA and a burger and we discussed the itinerary of the trip and I was so tired I felt like I might die, but I also couldn’t believe that we were actually starting the trip I’d been planning for so long. I kept thinking I should pay more attention, and maybe ask more questions, but I didn’t. 
This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

HELLO INTERNET BOY #16: Butter Jesus

I flew away from Washington and the plane dipped low over the big Washington phallus, and I thought ‘hey look it’s that thing from the disaster movies’. I then followed the line of sight up a long green lawn and thought ‘oh hello! It’s the Whitehouse. It’s Obama’s place!’

I hadn’t really realised that I’d be transferring through Washington airport, so I felt this was a surprise bit of touristing. It seemed the perfect amount. I sat back in my chair with complete relief, just so happy that I was finally out of airport hell. I texted my friend Michelle, who was picking me up from Dayton with the details of the flight I’d managed to wrangle. ‘See you soon!’ I wrote.

And then I realised that I really would see her soon. After over ten years of being friends, I would actually see her for the first time.

‘I can’t believe I’m actually going to see you soon!’ I wrote, but it wasn’t true. I could believe it, I could believe it 100%, it felt like I’ve been expecting to do this forever.

I’ve written about it elsewhere, but Michelle popped up on my AOL messenger to say hello because I’d written on my profile that I like elves and reading. A friendship was born. I like to imply that she immediately hit me with the hard-sell to play Aelyria, like she was out there trawling shitty chat services like a charismatic army recruiter, but I think it happened after we’d chatted for a while. In vampire terminology, she is my Aelyrian sire. She’s the reason for all of… this. 

At Dayton, OHIO, I walked on shit-brown small airport carpet and past incomprehensible ads for local businesses and out into the greeting area, and there she was, and I didn’t think ‘AHA! So that’s HER!’ I just thought ‘hey looks it’s Michelle’. I hugged her so hard that her sunglasses fell off, and that’s when I decided to believe her many claims that she is a child sized adult.

We did some requisite boggling, I did some bitching about cabs that don’t turn up and airports and then we walked to the car and by that point we were just chatting, chatting in that way that old friends do where nobody quite finishes exactly what they’re saying because so many tangents spin off. I wish I could say it was weird, or strange but I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t super normal and we haven’t ever driven through Ohio together/ ever met before. Every time I did remind myself, it felt special though, like something that I’d been waiting for for a long time, a decade long pent up breath that I had no idea I was holding.

We drove on the long freeway chatting and chatting and saw a giant statue of Jesus outside a mega church and I basically screamed because it was so big and so weird, and Michelle practically drove off the side of the road so we could find a way back to it and take photos. She told me about another giant jesus statue near where she grew up which had been commonly nicknamed ‘butter Jesus’ because it’s yellow and our saviour looks soft and melty. 

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

HELLO INTERNET BOY #15: road trip

We’ve driven through six US states, from the mid-west to the south. I’m sitting in a hot Holiday Inn in Columbia, South Carolina, with a room that looks out on a gorgeous, blasted parking lot. On the way here, we drove past the town hall, with its famous confederate flag hanging limply in front of it, like a tired racist bat. It’s nice to be somewhere that might be more racist than Australia.

Every day of this trip deserves a story, but it’s been busy. It’s been hours of delirious driving and grateful beers that turn into more and more beers. It’s been beautiful log cabins surrounded by fireflies in West Virginia, and duelling piano bars in North Carolina. There’s so much to unpack, but I can’t just yet, I’m still too busy being in the middle of it, and there are my old/new friends to talk to.

As of now, it feels like we’ve always been travelling together, that our entire life has been spent looking at Yelp for places to get breakfast, and playing card games over a dinner of cheese and berries. It’s not the same as talking to them in a chat room, but it’s similar. There’s the occasional tendency to tell a story or announce a personal fact as if we didn’t already know that, like we hadn’t been chatting online when that happened seven years ago – but I retell stories all the time, so it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary. 

Sometimes we gossip about the game that we used to all play. Nowadays only Michelle and Steven still play, me and Lyndsay having drifted off, me because of laziness and busyness, and Lyndsay because of the people who made her time there become less a game and more a chore. There is always gossip to tell about the game. It’s always been that way – I like to bring up things that happened back when I played at the turn of the century, and to discover new shocking information about it, about power plays and cliques and coups. Every person I’ve ever spoken to about the game has something to relate to about this kind of thing, and every person seems generally embarrassed to talk about it.

At a brewery in Asheville, NC, we played a game of giant Jenga, and people wrote graffiti on the big wooden blocks, and we wrote a bunch of Allerian graffiti on them, laughing at the idea of regular Americans being baffled by our in-jokes. It feels strange every so often, this weird convoluted in-joke that has brought us together and led to us driving for so many hours through fierce sun-showers and over mist-wreathed mountains and through endless gas stations, strange but also perfect.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

HELLO INTERNET BOY #14: of rat kings and other things

I want to write about my last days in New York, the gorgeous slow summer nights and the feeling of momentum and excitement I had finally, of wandering around seeing dear friends and drinking and seeing shows with new friends. I also want to write about my first time performing improv on stage, how I sat in the green room of UCB Chelsea and suddenly realised ‘I know this place – I’ve seen this place ON YOUTUBE’. Or about wandering the city after our last class at UCB trying to find a place where we could have a drink, but not exclude our underage compatriots, and ending up at some bowling alley, competing with about five different 12th birthday parties. I will write about all these things, but first I have to write about today, about now, sitting in an airport in Washington DC, ‘old swampy’ as it’s known, where I feel shaky and overwhelmed.

This morning at 5.30am, I waited out the front of my AirBnB for a cab that I’d ordered days earlier. Fifteen minutes passed, and I felt a cold thrill. This is literally a recurring nightmare I have, that I’m waiting for a taxi to take me to the airport and it never comes and I miss my flight. I called the cab service, and the guy on the other end chewed gum loudly and said ‘Yeah buddy, no problem, he’s on his way.’ Another fifteen minutes passed. ‘Yeah look, he’s still coming, he went to the wrong address, it will be cool’. Another fifteen minutes. ‘He said he called you already, but he’s trying to find you’. I hadn’t spoken to anyone. I was very polite. Finally the guy started wincing whenever he repeatedly asked me what time my flight went. ‘Yeah look buddy, I don’t like your chances!’ He told me, as if I’d made some mistake somehow. Finally he gave me the number of a rival cab service, who after I called them showed up in five minutes. I now had half an hour before my flight went. 

As my cab crawled torturously through the traffic, I felt like I was the best version of calm I could be. I was on point, I was poised, I was an arrow nocked and ready to shoot across continental America. I honestly believe the worst part of any city is the route to the airport, and the sides of the road that we ambled past looked cartoonishly evil – dark clouds covered gritty tractors that clawed at the wet earth slowly and awfully. It looked like any moment Pink Floyd should start wanking on about a wall. I decided that this was the closest to a living nightmare I’d experienced. My two recurring nightmares have been about my grandma being held captive in the sewers by the king of the rats, and this, this breakdown of plans, this powerlessness. 

When I was a kid and thought I was a wizard, I invented a spell for good luck which I used to chant under my breath when things weren’t going my way, and which probably contributed to my ‘unpopular and crazy’ vibe. I found myself thinking about that spell for the first time in years, but not chanting it. We pulled into the airport and I tumbled out of the cab and I realised my plane was supposed to be leaving at this exact moment. I thought about the spell real hard. I thought ‘I wish things would explode and burn if it meant me making this flight’. I also thought about how in the scheme of things, it’s really fine, I wouldn’t die, things can be fixed. But I didn’t believe it.

Anyway, I ran and gibbered at people and got a boarding pass and then waited for the insane US screening procedures and then with shoes unlaced and passport in my mouth for some reason, I ran the entire length of the airport and reached my gate in the nick of time and caught the plane three hours later. Yep. There was a mechanical issue and we waited for three hours, and my connecting flight in Washington came and went. I decided I may have cast my spell slightly too hard. 

I’m at Washington now, and I’m on standby for a plane at 3pm. I am sitting across from a fast food joint called ‘Five Guys’ which judging from the oil soaked bags everyone carries away, is he model for Paunch Burger. If I can’t get on the next plane, I’ll have to wait until 7pm, but I can deal with inconvenience really well, I’m a master at waiting. I just hate being late or missing things, and I hate rat kings.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016


Part of the format for learning level 1 improv at UCB is all about monologues. After we get a one word suggestion, such as ‘skeleton’ or ‘rebellion’ or if it’s an actual audience ‘dildo’, one of us goes on stage and thinks of a story from their life that might relate. And then we do three scenes inspired from the suggestion + monologue, which is a kind of very basic start to what is called a ‘Harold’ which is the improv format that UCB specialises in. But I’m over-explaining improv – I have been living and breathing it for the last week, I’m sorry.

Doing all these monologues is an amazing way to get to know your classmates in one intense, overwhelming week. There’s a guy who talked about his time in rehab, his experiences in the pretentious art dealing world, his apartment in SoHo – he didn’t say it out loud, but he’s super rich. There’s the slightly creepy older dude, Pensive Bob whose scenes are always about dicks and toilet humour and hammy ex-wife gags, who tells monologues about taxes and owning a business, and then about his wife dying and trying to recreate his life as an actor. I feel like I know more about these people than I do some of my close friends. 

The star of the monologues has to be an Irish chap named Declan, whose every story was not only super interesting and funny, but was told in a captivating and charming way. Perhaps a typical Irish gift of the gab, although his experiences are anything but typical. One of his monologues was about working at a summer camp in Germany, and having to rescue a small girl who fell down a tiny crack in the wall. Another was about being dressed as a giant dog and arguing with the police who were shutting down the party he had very legally organised. It’s funnier when he tells them.

But the story that got me, was when he talked about being on a reality TV show called ‘The Colony’ in Australia, where his family and a British family and an ‘Aussie’ family and an Indigenous family all lived in the outback in simulated conditions of the first days of the British colony in Australia, ie old timey clothes and bad food and farm work. He was eighteen years old at the time, and said ‘it was horrible and amazing’.

As he was telling the story, I suddenly said ‘oh my god’ because I remembered watching an episode of this. At first I assumed I must have captioned it, when I worked as a captioner, because otherwise I don’t really watch reality TV, but it was on back in 2005-6, and I remember watching it at university as part of a class about post-colonial Australia. 

Apparently one of the contestants, or participants, I’m not sure if there was a prize or even goal for the show, was acting strange and the producers pulled him out. They realised he was actually a criminal, a diagnosed sociopath, and they kicked him off the show. Then a few weeks later, they all realised that he’d trekked his way back out into the desert, and was living near their camp again.

 Anyway, it’s a great story. I goddamn love having the opportunity to fly across the world and hear these people’s weird stories.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

HELLO INTERNET BOY # 12: Make Believe Funtimes

In level 1 improv classes, the most common question that everybody asks their new classmates is ‘why are you doing improv?’. This is a good question, mostly because the entire concept of improv is remarkably silly and should possibly be renamed ‘Make-Believe Funtime for Grown Humans Tralalalala’. It’s also a good question, because everybody has different reasons, like wanting to be an actor, or wanting to be more confident, but everybody has similar motivations i think. I started improv for a variety of reasons – I like to kill many birds with one stone – such as learning more about the mechanics of comedy for my writing, feeling more comfortable on stage, doing stuff outside a pokey office or my house, etc etc. At UCB the first thing we had to do was come up with a name for ourselves and pass it around the circle, as a way of learning everyone’s names and breaking the ice and being silly. People chose things like Strong Peter and Kooky Courtney and I chose Intercontinental Patrick because at that point it’s kinda all I felt that I was, a floating tourist blob.

Improv intensives at UCB go from 9-5, and on the lunch break on our first day I went for a stroll down the city Highline with Jovial Jason. Jason is jovial, he chose well, that kind of calm, warm person who feels comfortable approaching a stranger and asking him to go for a walk. Jason grew up in NYC, and studied engineering for a time, so as we walk, he tells me about different amazing building projects, such as an entire portion of the city that will be built on pylons above what is essentially a train depot. He also tells me about his life, and all the travel that he’s done. He tells me that he would hate to travel alone, and I say in a flash of epiphany that I’m not particularly great at it either. Jason says that he loves to have someone to chat with and share experiences with when travelling, and considering he just gave me a super interesting tour of the highline, I can see how that would work. I realise that now that I’m seeing people everyday, that I’m buttressed with silly improv routine and structure and weird people, my inner monologue has gone back to a weird chirpy bird-thing, whereas last week, when I barely saw anyone, it felt more like a soliloquy from Galadriel’s weird scary Lord of the Rings telepathy voice. 

I want to be clear that I am having a great time – I just don’t believe in whitewashing over the fears and doubts I have along the way with a kind of stock-image Instagram photo where I’m smiling next to a famous landmark. Travel is a lot like improv I think, where sometimes during it you’re thinking ‘fuuuuuuck, this is stupid dumb’ but then a little while later it’s hilarious and great and you feel so goddamn alive you want to do it again.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

HELLO INTERNET BOY # 11: new yuck 

Yesterday I emerged from my room for the first time in two days, feeling weak and like my legs weren’t quite working. Before I got sick, I’d  had my best day in NY, where I wandered around MoMA in awe, discovering that basically every famous painting in the world is there, and all the artists I was obsessed with during university were represented. I saw Warhol and the expressionists and I spent hours and hours, until I actually may have gotten dehydrated. Then that night, my friend Jack Vening flew out of the sun like a bewildered, bedraggled eagle and we chose a bar next to his stinky hostel to drink maple old fashioneds and IPA’s which are traditional US drinks. This trains meeting in the night rendezvous with Jack was wonderful because the next morning he was off to Yale to learn how to write nice like Rory Gilmore, and we would part ways, never to see each other in this big continent again. We had plans of shaking hands next to Lake Michigan, but dreams are born to die. It was perfect for me, because I was getting lonely, and had almost forgotten how to talk to people. 

The day before I waited in line for hours to get up the Empire State Building and when I got up there it was very nice, I could see all over the place and the sun had finally come out and made everything look less like an episode of Law and Order: SVU and more like an episode of Law and Order set in the summer. I had prepared myself to wait a long time, so i didn’t lose my freaking mind like other people in the queue, who kept trying to push in and vault the velvet ropes and pick fights with the staff, who all wore impervious game faces and could not be swayed. 

I’ve seen improv at UCB theatres most nights, because it’s free for students and what I’m spending a bunch of this trip learning. I was super early for one show, and stopped in for a beer at a random bar, and then the only other patron than me started singing ‘true colours’ and I realised it was some kind of karaoke bar.

When I got back to my place after I let Jack finally go and sleep after his 28 hour plane trip, I thought ‘cool, I’ve got this, this is fun and easy, I just spend my day looking at things, and spend the evening watching people being dickheads’ and then by the next morning my throat ached like I’d swallowed knives and I shook with fever and sweated and my eyes hurt and I had toe pain and I was a sloppy mess that used to be human. I called for help on Facebook, and then slept all day. The next day, I felt just as awful, and went on a mission into Manhattan to go to a doctor, who after a bewildering series of waiting rooms and putting my details into computers, gave me antibiotics and then took all my money.

Unsurprisingly, being sick for three days has been the lowest part of this trip for me. I felt too weak and sick to even comprehend going out. I felt so desperate to feel well, and to feel safe again that at one point I found myself on the phone to Qantas, seeing if I could move my return trip forward by a week. Nuts to you, Chicago, sick Patrick apparently hates you! Luckily I was so dizzy that I couldn’t really understand what the lady was saying, and I had my friend Michelle passing on medical info from her medical boyfriend to me on messenger, and then Bridget woke up and was like ‘you’ll regret that decision when you feel better, stupid’, and it’s true. Being sick in other countries sucks. I didn’t feel safe or competent. But luckily I had people make me feel safe and warm and less alone on the other end of a beam of wifi magic, and what would I have done before the internet? I would have had to rely on comforting messenger hawks. 

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016

HELLO INTERNET BOY #10: minimum level 

There are a lot of daunting prospects about being in a new city, and navigating the public transport is one of them. I don’t mind admitting that a lot of things about travelling give me anxiety, because I don’t really mind admitting most things, I’m an admitter. I feel like the things you can’t admit are the things that have power over you. I’ve become gradually more and more scared of travelling alone, as more and more time ticked past without me doing it. I always had a big plan to finish university and go back packing around Europe for six months, and even though I had the money all saved up for my ultra-cheap gadabout, it never happened because that money got spent on stupid life things like losing my job at Target, and stupid Patrick things, like producing a fringe play (badly).

I think because I am so incredibly bad at simple maths, I hold no faith in my ability to understand supposedly user-friendly systems, like public transport. Whenever anyone says ‘oh it’s simple, you’ll  get it’ I immediately think ‘you don’t know how bad I am at getting things’. So it was with the bravery of a man walking into a spider-pit that I caught my first train in Manhattan yesterday. It’s still cold and raining and I decided that spending the day at the Met was a good idea. 

The Met is this labyrinth of amazing things. I spent hours and hours wandering through history and art and just weird stuff. I got so enjoyably lost trying to find a bathroom. I found a really weird cafeteria and ate a banana. I tried to approach things systematically, working through Ancient Greece linearly, but after a while I just started taking side rooms, and from an exhibition of Chinese dresses, I’d walk into a room of old guns, and then a fully reconstructed Ancient Egyptian Temple. I could have bought a map I suppose, but sometimes it’s nice to not be organised.

I did a lot of research, I bought a thousand subway apps, and then, perhaps anticlimactically, I successful caught the subway. Four times in total, with a lot of confusing platforms and weird names, but it happened, and I am quietly chuffed. I have very modest fears and doubts, and I like destroying them systematically. In the words of Skyscraper Stan, ‘I’m gonna take this fucking city, just you watch me!’ and by ‘take’ I mean ‘navigate it at a minimally acceptable level’.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016.


 I kept waiting for the moment when I got overwhelmed. I’ve had it on planes when I look out the window and feel small and far away, and I’ve had it at the beginning of important things, like starting university. I sat in the plane for hours and hours waiting to feel like it was all a mistake, but really I just watched movie after movie and felt tired. I was already stupidly tired before I started flying, from anxiety insomnia the night before, and a next-door house party before that.

I thought it might happen at LAX where I transferred. By this point i’d been awake for days, and being herded around through endless lines of customs and checkpoints and confusing transfer desks and hidden baggage claims seemed a recipe for nervous breakdown, a lab test to determine mental fortitude. At one bewildering fork in the line, I asked a guy I recognised from the plane named Sam if he was transferring to NY. We wandered around the maze together and helped each other find things, which was comforting. At one point he said ‘this whole place is like a rat maze. At Sydney we’re treated like cattle, but here, it’s rats’. He also felt the need to tell me that he reckoned the guy he was sitting next to was probably gay.

On the flight from LA to NY, I finally became so exhausted that I started fitfully napping, my head bouncing up when it fell forward. When we got to NY, I got my bag, said goodbye to Sam and then went outside and immediately got hustled by someone with a private cab. This had happened to me in Vietnam, and the same instincts, the desire to just let someone take me somewhere because I am so goddamn tired almost got me again. In the line for the cab, two of my sister’s friends recognised me and yelled ‘are you Patrick?’

It finally hit when I got to my AirBnB and my host emailed to say that he was stuck at work for an hour. It was cold and raining slightly and everything looked like old factories. I realise now that people live in hip lofts in those old factories, but it felt like I was abandoned in an industrial zone from the unspecified past. I felt overwhelmed because I was alone, and because I was tired and because I didn’t know where anything was or how it worked. 

I walked around the corner into a bar and I sat at the bar like I knew was a thing in America and asked what kind of beer the bartender recommended.

‘What do you mean, have you never had a beer before?’ he sneered.

‘OK, how about what beer do you recommend for an Australian who wants to try an American beer and has been on a 28 hour flight and feels awful?’

He recommended an IPA, and when he gave my change back, I suddenly remembered I had to give him a tip. The guy sitting next to me said ‘just give me a dollar’ and I realised he had an Aussie accent, and then I sat there and drank beer and talked to him and his sister and her boyfriend for a while and the panic ebbed away. Probably because it seems like there are Australian’s everywhere so I’m really not that alone, but more importantly because I’m pretty used to dealing with unfriendly hipster bartenders. 

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016.