Many people know of the Importance of Being Earnest, the play by Oscar Wilde. Those that know it, if asked would probably remember the imposing Lady Bracknell and her outrage that Jack was found in a handbag.
But everytime I head south of Perth, I am reminded of the play and Algernon’s fictitious friend who is frequently taken ill so he can avoid social engagements under the pretext of having to visit him. His friend is called Bunbury and the practice of worming out of unwelcome social invitations by pretending to visit him, Bunburying.
We have a town around two hours south of Perth called Bunbury and I have been there often, but just like Algernon’s sick friend, I have never actually seen it.
This morning, having just about slept off the last of the tranquillisers that seemed to take forever to get out of my system – I waited by the side of the road for my colleague to pick me up. There was a workshop being run in Bunbury at the college there and we were going down to say hi and check everyone was happy with the projects and answer any questions.
The road to Bunbury makes it an easy drive – if a little dull. The first hour and a half or so is freeway, so three lanes all the way, then the freeway runs into the South West Highway and changes to two lanes, but it is dual carriageway all the way to the big roundabout on the outskirts of the town.
And it is at this big roundabout that we turn left, just before we hit the town centre. Everytime I have been to Bunbury in the past few years, and I have been there reasonably frequently, it has been to visit the college and so I have never actually been to the town. It has become over the years as fictional a place as Algernon’s friend in the play.
So this was my weekend. A Saturday that I pretty much slept through and a Sunday that was spent at first driving towards, then later away from a town that may as well have not been there, although actually I did not drive. For once I was happy to be a passenger.
The whole weekend has not unlike been an exercise in Bunburying.