Socks paired? Check.
Spotify playlists categorised into sub-genre and reordered alphabetically? You bet.
Every item of clothing in the suitcase ironed?
Done, dusted and already disregarded.
What else to do but look down at a stream of Audi Q7’s careening through the streets on the hunt for their daily gelato fix, or exert a hardened squint south-west which reveals a stationary Melbourne Star looming lonesome in the distance.
While you would be hard-pressed to call two weeks in a box much of a social call, it is comfortably my longest junket in this city to date.
Staring into my very own 90-degree abyss struck up the memory of my first time clocking in at the cultural melting pot, which happened to be a few months before Trump migrated to the White House, and many more months before he suggested injecting sanitiser as a way of warding off coronavirus.
Although a fleeting stopover within the inner boroughs, I wasted no time in grasping the extended arm of invitation into Melbourne’s arts scene.
I managed to indulge in a series of otherworldly mojitos, catch up with a bass-slapping high school friend at a heavy metal gig and get laughably lost in the 24 hours I had before a train whisked me away to Shepparton.
Although unsure of the general consensus about Australia’s second city, it was a yes from me on all fronts.
Little did I know I would be back for another serving of what Melbourne had to offer no less than a week later, but on this occasion it wasn’t the culture, but rather the sporting scene which left a lasting imprint.
Craving a habitual football (soccer) fix, I made it priority to haggle an international transfer and within four days I was permitted to don the colours of a local side, meaning an adventure back down the Hume Hwy was on the cards.
Now, this next anecdote is one I doubt will ever be scratched from the hippocampus, and for everybody’s sake I’ll kindly leave out the name of the team which took to the field at John Cain Memorial Park on that balmy Sunday afternoon.
Toiling away for 45 minutes left the scores level at 2-2 on halftime, but the notion we’d be leaving with our trousers done up would be shortly dashed in such a stunning capitulation even Rome would be jealous.
Their star player must have forgotten to top up his Myki or something, but it hardly mattered he was late.
Upon arrival, he left the sideline retracting their jaws from the mud as he danced around us with ease and rocketed the ball off his traction engine of a right foot for the good part of an hour.
We eventually lost that one 13-2, and I think he must have made it into double digits.
I’d never witnessed anything like it, let alone been on the end of such a hilarious hiding, and it left a lasting stain on my memory of the city.
Long story short, thanks to my current state of captivity I now have an experience to replace it atop the list of things I never wish to repeat in Melbourne.
Liam Nash is a journalist at The News who is in 14 days of isolation in a Melbourne hotel after returning to Australia from New Zealand.