Australia Day

January 23, 2013

rock-art.

Soon we will have another day off. Just when I was rejoicing things were getting back to normal. I so wish we could just celebrate things without special days. Can’t all days be a bit special and normal? There seems to be an obligation about ‘special days’, and when many don’t feel any different there is the danger of feeling rejected and then dejection might easily follow. I mean, are we going to wake up different, jump out of bed next Monday and feel elated because it is Australia day? Will I not make the first coffee of the day, overlook the previous night’s dishes or, sometimes too, relieve the dishwasher from sparkling glasses and pristine white plates?

I noticed at the local supermarkets there was an atmosphere again of rejuvenation and optimism with a kind lady smiling at me in the butter section. Why is it that the dairy divisions of supermarkets seem to attract friendly customers? Perhaps it is the nature of those basic ingredients; butter, cheese, milk and yogurt that brings out our inherent friendliness.

The Christmas did take a lot out of people. With the public holiday next Monday, this feeling of a growing sense of normalcy returning while still so fragile, could well unravel easily. Routine gets disturbed.

I always felt that when overseas, especially in warm tropical countries, ever day often seemed a celebration and one lost the idea of it being a Sunday or even a lousy Wednesday. Is it a peculiar western thing to have days off to celebrate something?

Anyway, even Eurocentric Aldi is now selling those collapsible blue canvassed chairs with a kind of Southern Star Australian emblem screen printed on the seating. I suppose it is meant to be sat upon while watching the fireworks next Monday, Australia Day. I haven’t looked closely to see if it has one of those fish netted pouches to put a drink in. In advertising those chairs I noticed that Harvey Norman mentions those chairs as including having a…..’ drink station.’

At no stage have people on the streets ever been as thirsty as now. I can’t remember, (I could be wrong) but in my youth we never crossed streets while sipping some liquid from a bottle. It was never such a harrowing experience crossing a street in fear of dehydration before having reached the other side. Yet, today almost all have a bottle clutched in the hand and a mobile phone in the other. I suppose to call triple zero in case the other side hasn’t been reached.

Whatever, it must be such a boon for those drinks manufacturers. Can you imagine paying $ 3.20 for a bottle of water? As a young boy I used to lay awake in glorious anticipation of getting a drink of orange cordial next morning at my birthday. They were prepared by my mother the day before. Whole rows of them all filled to the same level and covered by a tea towel.  The drinks would be shared by my brothers and sister and invited friends.

Now, young people buy a fizzy drink, take a sip, and chuck the still almost full full bottle in the local park in contemptible defiance. I have often been tempted to pick up one of those almost full bottles and take a sip, perhaps as a way of atonement or making amends for those days of frugal pasts. I doubt however if the taste of those abandoned cola or other fizzy drinks could ever reach the delicious heights of those post war cordials waiting under mum’s tea towel in anticipation of next morn’s birthday…

How the sun keeps rising for the lucky young able to cross streets, take sips and then chuck away the almost full bottles? We never took that kind of liberty for granted.

As for Australia Day. It should celebrate something, some event or happening. Is there an Argentine day, an Italy day or even a Finland day? I find it difficult to celebrate  being a larrikin or fond of sport and drinking. Perhaps it ought to be a celebration of something else, a kind of celebration of our artistic achievements, what with Australian aboriginal rock and cave art and present aboriginal art being unique and very Australian. Then we have Patrick White and Sydney Nolan as well…together, very Australian.

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