As some of you may already know, Penultimo’s principal author hurt her knee on Monday, at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre gym, while doing some kind of fancy kicking+lunging action. (No fault of the gym, we stress.)
some call it knee dislocation
others call it patella subluxation
let’s call the whole …
Ufggghhhfhh Let’s just not talk about it, ok?
Anyway, one consequence of this bone-grinding-searing-pain-stupidness is that this little Penultimite has to wear an incredibly sexy elasticised kneebrace - complete with funky velcro straps and wetsuit material.
The other consequence is that this little Penultimite has her hobble on. In other words, she walks funny. That might help you spot her when she’s wandering around Ultimo. And if you spot her, do be nice.
So, last Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the
knee-dislocation subluxation incident, this little Penultimite was trying to hail a taxi on Harris Street. It was peak hour, it was dark and rainy, and she was limping around, trying to hail a taxi; she was heading to the launch of her friend’s new literary magazine SEIZURE.
You know how it is, the free cabs always seem to be on the wrong side of the road. And when you cross over, the free cabs are back on the first side. The traffic on Harris Street and William Henry Street was impatient and relentless, in that particularly dehumanised, defensive aggro that characterises Sydney traffic in the rain.
Although this Penultimite had tried to find an appropriate spot where she could hail a taxi and it could pull over, she kept being beaten to it by more able-bodied people, quick on their feet, jumping into the road to make their arms more visible, running up ahead of her… It gave her a tiny insight into what it must be like to be mobility-impaired all the time, how frustrating and difficult everyday things like crossing a road must be.
The rain kept up, and 20 minutes later she was still struggling to hail a cab. Perhaps the use of the name “Penultimite” had jinxed her, we can’t be sure. In any case, the traffic was moving too fast for the taxis to want to stop.
Finally, finally, thank fuck, she succeeded. Her cabbie was friendly but (as is often the case) a formidable over-sharer, and he launched straight into his opinions on knees, marital arts, Asian people, and mathematics.
Now, here at Penultimo, we often receive weird email tip-offs, boring press releases, and other guest posts. Most of them are incredibly dull, but that’s OK, because being dull is something Penultimo specialises in. Well, during this particular taxi trip, Penultimo’s email received a forwarded press release.
The press release was from the City of Sydney, and it was all about new taxi zones in the CBD. Not a big deal - except, a large number of these new zones are to be in Ultimo. The locations are:
- The northern side of Ultimo Road, east of Quay Street
- The northern side of Ultimo Road, east of Darling Drive
- The northern side of William Henry Street, east of Wattle Street
- The southern side of William Henry Street, west of Wattle Street
- The northern side of William Henry Street, east of Bulwara Road
- The southern side of William Henry Street, west of Harris Street
Just to clarify, these new taxi zones are not cab ranks, they’re simply dedicated drop off and pick up zones - basically, they’re zones where taxis can legally stop. More information can be found here. There was an attractive symmetry in all this: just having endured a taxi hailing struggle, only to read about new zones in precisely the area this Penultimite had been trying to hail a cab in.
That said, this news is a bit of a non-event: since when do most taxis obey No-Stopping road rules anyway? We would argue that the bigger problem here is traffic dependence on Harris Street, which presents major challenges for pedestrian and cyclist safety in Ultimo.
Ooops, did you see that, how quickly we grabbed the same old soap box and started harping about traffic dominance in Ultimo? Gotta watch that, we do it all the time.