George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, was almost as influential on my upbringing as my father. I won't impress/bore (depending on whether you are also a fan) you with details of my three-decade long obsession with Star Wars (and fetish for Darth Vader), but suffice it to say, Mr Lucas is a rockstar/god/legend in my eyes.
So when I heard that he was in my home town of Adelaide (known affectionately to us locals as Radelaide) on Wednesday, eating noodles in the David Jones food court, sitting right next to where I get my Boost Juices... my heart skipped a few beats. HE WAS HERE, people! Why oh why did I not get a juice on Wednesday?!
And then I hoped that Mr Lucas, who was in town because his wife was speaking at the Conference of Major Super Funds, had branched out a little for his other meals, because Adelaide has the most amazing places to eat, with killer views and atmosphere (no offence to the very functional food court).
As I was searching for news about this major sighting, I came across a thread on a social media site (which I won't name, because I won't give it any credit) where someone had posed the question: "I'm bored. Tell me some jokes about Adelaide." Um, okay. I think I speak for anyone with a life when I say that no wonder this person was bored if the only thing that could entertain them were derogatory comments about their hometown, from equally unfulfilled people.
I'm aware that Adelaide is viewed by many in Australia as a large country town at best, and a lifeless hole at worst. I grew up listening to interstate television presenters make jokes about Adelaide's lack of spirit and population, but I never really understood what they meant. I've been lucky enough to travel all over the world, and comparing it to great cities such as New York and London, Adelaide is also great -- just in a different way, and on a smaller scale.
I've also never understood the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne about which is Australia's greatest city. To me, the greatness of a city absolutely depends on the attitude of who is visiting or residing there, and what that individual is looking for.
For example, if you seek ancient architecture, such as the Colosseum in Rome (which, by the way, is one of my favourite cities for that very reason), Adelaide is not old enough for that. But we are known as "the city of churches" and have many buildings that are of historical significance to us, and many areas that recognise the Kaurna people as the traditional owners of the land. We also have stunning modern constructions such as Adelaide Oval and the landmark SA Health and Medical Research Institute, which demonstrate the innovative and progressive thinking that is inherent in a city not defined by its history.
The Radelaide Oval hosted the very first Day/Night Test Match in November, 2015. Howzat for a great city?
If you seek peak hour traffic jams that last for hours, a city sidewalk that is so overfilled you can't move, and highly inflated property and hotel prices because demand exceeds availability, then Adelaide is not the place for you. More than a million people live here, so it is certainly not a large country town, but it is also not Beijing, who had to legislate a one child per family policy for a decade because its population was draining all of its resources. The result is that in Adelaide we have the charm and support of a large community, and a culture that encourages children and families to be part of everything, whilst enjoying the infrastructure of a small city.
Another thing we cannot offer is the anonymity of a metropolis. Adelaidians joke that every person here has one degree of separation from each other (using the rationale in the movie Six Degrees of Separation, where they claim that everyone is six or less degrees away from knowing any other person in the world). This means that if you enjoy meeting people through your Ashley Madison account, Adelaide might pose some privacy problems.
I have to admit that we have a competitive job market, and nepotism is just as alive here as it is in any other city in the world. We don't have the headquarters of every major corporation here, so you may be forgiven for thinking we don't have 'big' opportunities of national or international significance, such as writing for The Huffington Post to use a completely random example...oh wait...that's exactly what I am doing right now, because it's 2016 and anything is possible if you have an internet connection!
For those who like a quiet life, and don't enjoy feeling obliged to participate in fun activities, I should warn you -- we are officially known as "The Festival State". There is no doubt we love a major event in this city, and host several important sporting a cultural events such as the Clipsal 500, the Tour Down Under, Womadelaide and The Adelaide Fringe Festival, to name just four. We also get all of the major concerts/shows here as the big smokes do, and have a vibrant arts, fashion and philanthropic events scene.
Adelaide is also known for its beautiful beaches, and for the internationally renowned Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills regions, where we make some of the best wine in the world, and whose splendid vistas and bountiful restaurant and cellar door offerings could keep you occupied for weeks at least.
There is much to wine about in Adelaide.
But if this all sounds like sensory overload to you, you should probably avoid Adelaide altogether. And definitely do not check out Glam Adelaide on Facebook and Instagram, which is a pictorial homage to the beauty of this city and all it has to offer -- and which now includes a photo of George Lucas eating noodles five minutes from where I live!
Mr Lucas did look very relaxed, but I do also hope he got to experience a little more of what is, in my definition, a great city. In fact, if he is still in town, this born and bred Adelaide girl warmly extends an invitation to show him the sights... and I'll try to resist embarrassing my fellow Adelaidians by wearing my Princess Leia gold bikini costume -- although I can't make any promises if he comes dressed as Darth Vader.