Tuesday 11 March, 2008
This morning on my bicycle ride to work, while stopped at the traffic lights at Liverpool and Parramatta Roads, I noticed a pair of glasses lying innocuously on the road. The shiny squarish gold metal frames caught my eye as they sparkled in the morning sun.
One of the lenses had been pushed out but otherwise the glasses appeared as though they’d only just been lost and although they’d taken a knock from a passing vehicle they still remained close to their original shape. By their location on the asphalt – not quite in the gutter, not quite on the road – I assumed they’d been dropped by a pedestrian, or had fallen from the passenger window of a passing vehicle.
Someone must have been cursing themselves. I found it hard not to speculate who might have owned the glasses but judging by the one remaining lens they were definitely prescription, and if I were to guess by the style of the frames I’d say they were an older person’s reading glasses.
The intersection where the glasses lay is one of the oldest and busiest in Australia. Parramatta Road, the oldest road in NSW according to the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), was first built by the early colonies to link Sydney to Parramatta. Liverpool Road, or the Hume Highway, starts at this intersection at Ashfield, and after trailing out through the Sydney suburbs, it winds some 800-odd kilometres south to Melbourne. Indeed, an old milestone still stands on the nature strip over the other side of the intersection.
These days the six lanes of both roads converge among turning arrows, pedestrian crossings, bus lanes and turn-offs. Residential driveways also back into the business of the intersection, which I’ve witnessed are a nightmare for residents to drive out of during peak-hour.
I wanted to pick up the glasses to have a closer look. The frames still appeared to be wearable – they just needed to have new lenses fitted. The bridge was slightly bent so one lens-rim tilted at a different angle to the other, but that could have easily been straightened and they would have comfortably slipped onto my face.
I left them where they lay though. The lights turned green and even though I continued on my way without giving them a second thought, I saw a look of hope on those glasses.