My Australia Day Weekend

I reflected on our lack of identity over the weekend. Who are we Australians? I read a few news articles which were anxious to define us. I think “big media” needs to catagorise us though, purely to sell ad-space. It probably riles them a bit that we defy definition.

Saturday consisted of cleaning the backyard for a BBQ, riding my new scooter down to the shops, cooking some meat, then going to the local civic centre to watch the traditional fireworks. They were also traditionally late. Whilst waiting in the service road across the way, we copped some passive smoke from a pregnant mother. Hubby was watching their two boys (who didn’t seem to too stunted). “Come here Jordan”, he yelled. I was reminded of this old, entertaining, despot’s quip about us being the “white trash of Asia”.

The wife and I did some volunteer work at the Big Day Out. On the drive to training on Sunday we got stuck next to a Falcon full of boofy blokes who’d had too much to drink. The Screaming Jets were blaring on the stereo. Any skirt on the footpath got a wolf-whistle. Bunches of drunk, boofy, Aussie blokes can scare somewhat.

I watched the Aussie Open Final and some cricket on a flat screen TV. I went shopping. Lots of Aussies there. We love shopping.

On Monday, the Big Day Out was full of suburban kids in shorts and T-shirts, the occasional mo-hawked punk, fat and sweaty goths, international travellers, and old-time rockers from way back.

There were blokes wearing the Australian flag as capes. I meant to ask them why they did it, but didn’t get the courage up. Other people had the flag as a temporary tattoo or on their clothes. The Aussie flag brigade was what you’d describe as a significant minority – noticeable but not exciting to anyone. I fall into the Leunig camp: “Many Australians regard their flag and song and national day, not so much with awe, but rather, a casual, bemused affection, in the way that we may regard an eccentric uncle or a peculiar spinster aunty. They are ours but they are not us.” Have a read…

I got into a verbal stoush with a “dreadlock”-ed couple in the Nandos’ queue. He’d pushed in earlier, and I’d tolerated. She’d joined him. In a moment of inexperience, they allowed me to jump them in the queue, which I did. She was none too happy. I pointed out that her partner had pushed in first. She disagreed. I pointed out that he was tall with dreadlocks, and therefore sort of noticeable. He ‘fessed, “Yeah I did”, and I flounced away victorious. And who thinks dreadlocks are sexy??? Rough and grotty, like old woollen pants! And dread’s are just so passé!

…and so we live, somewhere between our middle-class anxiety and our stubborn, private individualism, out there in the suburban expanses, not giving a toss.

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