Australian Conversations: My uncle had a greyhound …

You know the scene: walking through the shopping mall, there’s a gleaming car that could be yours if you buy a raffle ticket to support a national charity. The men and women selling the tickets alongside the car are usually from a community service organisation, as was the case with today’s jovial older fellow (JOF). I had a lazy $3 in my wallet and joined another older punter (AOP) already in conversation with JOF while the tickets were being exchanged.

AOP: Yeah, my cousin had a dog – you know that racetrack White City*? It was one of the biggest races in the world and my cousin’s dog won that.

greyhound-prime7JOF: My uncle had a dog called Unremembered. It won big a couple of times, but then it didn’t win. On the way home from the meet, taking the dogs home, he stopped, took the dog out and shot it.

JB: [Mesmerised and bewildered]

AOP: What – he shot it?

JOF: Yeah. I should know, I was there. I was sitting in the back seat, and he was whinging about the dog all the way home. He just suddenly pulled up the car, got the rifle out, took the dog, shot it, and chucked it in the bush.

JB: [trying to get in to the conversation, to buy a ticket] Well, ain’t no more wins coming for that dog.

JOF: Ain’t no more feeds either *wink*. Thanks, luv.

= = = = =
* Could have been Victoria’s White City in outer Melbourne, or London’s White City in the UK.

Pic courtesy

Australian conversations: The morning after

This conversation doesn’t have a lot of words – some just don’t need them to tell a story.

It’s Saturday morning and I’m waiting for the train into the city.  A train from the city pulls into the platform opposite, a straggle of passengers disembark, and it pulls away. Standing opposite is a woman about my age, and with a quick glance I catch her eye briefly. She has an expression that I can’t quite put my finger on. Exhausted?

After I moment I look up again and notice she’s not alone   She’s now walked up to a rubbish bin and has her arm around a young woman, who can only be her daughter, who is vomiting violently into the bin. Another young man is standing by, looking helpless. The three of them have come off the train.

The security guard in the office on my side of the platform can now see what’s happening so he comes out and yells across the platform, “Are you okay?”

Mum nods.

At this point, the man sitting a few seats from me stands up and also replies to the security guard.

“It’s okay. We’re taking her to the hospital now.”

The security guard is concerned – concerned in the way you want a security guard at a train station to be – and gesticulates to Dad that he can go up and over the footbridge to the other platform if he wants to.

But Dad is not showing any urgency. I get the impression this might not be the first time.

I can see the girl better now. She’s anywhere between 16 and 20, black hair, black shirt, black shorts, black tights, black boots; face piercings that are taking a pounding from the muscular actions associated with severe spewing. Eventually mother and daughter decide they can make a slow and careful trek across to my side of the station.

While this happens, Dad and the security guard are in polite conversation, but I only hear fragments.

“… but what can you do?”

From the footbridge: from city on the left, to city on the right, security office far centre right. Poor rubbish bin, centre left. (Pic: Wikimedia Commons)

Australian conversations: Toning it down a bit

happyholidays2016.comI was looking for some gift boxes to use for Christmas gifts, and went into one of the chain gift shops at the shopping centre.

The man behind the counter was in his twenties, with a softly handsome face accentuated by some very light powder and a hint of eye makeup. I’d never seen him before in my life.

JB: Do you have any more gift boxes?

Man: Well, only some pink ones left over from Valentine’s Day.

JB: That won’t work, as these are blue and black (canisters), for my sisters-in-law.

Man: Do you get on with them?

JB (taken aback a little): My sisters-in-law? Yes!

Man: I don’t get on so well with mine. We’re okay, but she can be a bit abrasive.
Like, the other day she said, “When [husband] and I have kids, you’re going to have to tone it down a bit.”
So I said, “What do you mean?”
And she said, “You know…”
And I said, “No, I don’t. Say it.”
And she said, “The gay thing.


JB (still taken aback): Oh. That’s tough. Cos you’re you.

Man: I don’t think I’m particularly over the top. I’m the only one in the family who’s held down steady jobs and doesn’t have a substance abuse problem, so hello sweetheart, I’m the best fucking option the kid’s going to have.

JB (still taken aback): Oh.

Man: I think she’s pissed off because I didn’t come to her hen’s morning tea.
She said, “You may as well come because you’re near enough to one of us.
Ahh, no, I’m not. I’d rather go to the buck’s party and see all my stripper friends, haha!

JB (still taken aback): Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you have a nice Christmas.

And I walked out. If that’s what gay young men are dealing with in Australia in 2015, we’ve got a long way to go.

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