Art Gallery NSW: Week 122

Lobby inside the Art Gallery of NSW: Sydney, Australia

I could detail every last exasperating phone call I answer at work (no I don’t care if you fill out the form in blue ink), but I would rather substitute my week with an email I received from my Mom. In her words, this was my brother’s first day on the job and I think how he felt at the end of the day was similar to how I was feeling.

Dear Stef,

It’s Kyle’s first day of on-the-job training at the Sudley Road coffee shop/hookah lounge. He leaves the house at 7:30am to be impressively on time for the shift he understands he’s been assigned: from 8am until midnight. This is not going to work though, because at that early hour the shop is closed, to be opened at noon. Kyle returns home to snatch a few more hours of broken sleep and ventures forth for the second time, announcing to Dad and myself that we’ll see him after midnight. 

Not so. He’s back at the house around 4:30pm. I look at the expression on his face and wait patiently for the, “I’m not going back there Mom.” And of course that’s exactly what I hear within the next few seconds followed by, “but you would approve of my decision.”

Ugo Rondinone - "The twenty-third hour of the poem"

And actually I do. And so does Dad. Did you know that if you Google it on the internet you’ll discover a gruesome fact: that one session of smoking a hookah equates to smoking four hundred cigarettes? Seriously, 400 cigarettes!! Kyle now knows how to assemble, pack, light and eventually disassemble a hookah, but the most disgusting aspect is that every hookah is tested by the worker prior to going to the customer. When Kyle was told this he stared at his coworkers…. “WTF, for real?!” He forced himself to test two for which he was responsible, but could no longer and begged the other workers to do it for him. They didn’t really mind he said, since all were pretty cool potheads.

And the clientele? Not the fondly imagined, very cool and articulate university student, the interesting fireball of ideas; but mostly middle aged and grossly overweight roly poly blobs sprawling themselves across the seating to smoke and consume coffee or soda. One such customer Kyle assures me, drank 3 Giant Gulp sodas and had the temerity to shake his can of soda at Kyle by way of wanting a refill.

Kyle’s clothes, when he returned home, were placed in isolation in the laundry room to await washing. The odor of a hookah lounge is both strange and repulsive to me.

Love you lots,


Sol Lewitt - "Wall Drawing #1091- arcs, circles and bands (room)"

I’m still not quite sure what my brother had been expecting from a hookah lounge; he probably should have given that a quick Wiki before applying for the job. However, I can totally relate to the ‘I don’t want to go back to work.’ Kyle lives at home so he still gets away with quitting all his jobs at the drop of a hat, but for the rest of us I recommend a lunch vacation to clear the mind and calm the nerves.

After hanging up the phone (seriously- I don’t care if you use blue ink) I raced out of the office before another call could tie me down- Barret and I had a lunch date at the Art Gallery NSW.

The walk to get there, the sunshine streaming into the marble hall, the harbor view, the art collection- everything about the gallery just calmed me. After a week of enthralling spreadsheets I was dusting the cobwebs off the creative part of my brain and it felt good.

Do I have to go back to work?

How to get to the Art Gallery NSW: Art Gallery Rd, The Domain, Sydney 2000

One thought on “Art Gallery NSW: Week 122

  1. The strange looking person on display in the gallery resembles one of Kyle’s customers, overweight and hookah dazed. How to interpret this mysterious and tenuous connection?


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