As a young girl, I was fascinated with the sewers. I used to watch the drains in my house and on the street constantly, in the hope that I would see something out of the ordinary. I used to lie awake at night imagining the sewers and all of Melbourne’s underground. It was actually a TV show that I watched without my parents knowing that sparked my curiosity. In the TV show, there were people living in the sewers. They had created a whole new society down there, and for years I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was true.
I will never forget the day that we needed drain camera inspections. Melbourne drains lead to the sewers, I knew that, and I thought it was my chance to finally uncover what was living under us. Even twenty years on, I remember the drain inspections clear as day. I faked sick so that I could stay home from school, and then miraculously felt better when the drain contractors bought out all their futuristic technology that I was certain would give me all the answers that I needed.
I’ll never forget my disappointment when the plumbers found nothing but gunk down the drains. Through my tear-stained face, I begged my mum and the plumbers to let me go down the drains and check for myself. I was certain that the people living down there were just hiding because they were scared. They lived a simple life down there and would have been scared of the alien-like technology that had come from above. At the time, I knew this for a fact.
My mum reassured me that there had been a lot of blocked drains in Brighton recently and that this was because of faulty plumbing, not because of people living underneath us. This upset me more than anything, and I kept crying. Looking back, I think she must have thought I was scared of the drains. It was the opposite.