I have trouble stilling my mind in order to take in what’s around me, but after a few minutes I manage to push myself back and just be in this space.
I am tucked into the stairwell of building 9, which leads onto Bowen Street and looks onto the basketball courts. Of those boys and men I have joked that they are “majoring in basketball”, but I haven’t ever watched them properly. It seems like a strange kind of suspension out there where nobody is anybody; everyone just plays ball. They aren’t black kids or white kids, or engineering students or sound engineers, or guys in branded clothing or those who aren’t. One guy falls down and another offers a hand to help him up before laughing and lunging for the ball. The basketball courts might be in RMIT, but in a way they aren’t here at all.
These courts and the basketball majors are the only constant in this part of Bowen Street, and I feel a bit connected to them when I force myself still and silent for this exercise.
Everything else moves – people on the way to classes with half-read photocopies in hand, a girl stands next to me and her pocket explodes in sound – she yells something into her phone and hands up without waiting for an answer. A parade of AV students wheel carts of expensive gear across cobbled stones.
Every third person is on their phone. all trying desperately to connect in this hurried place, ignoring those around them. Only the basketball players seem to have got it.