Jan. 26th, 2008

tania: (CD - Tanipus: SQUEE!)
Walking home from work along a major road, I passed two guys sitting on the low wall of their front yard. It was 7:20am, already getting hot, and they were both smoking and drinking. An enormous Australian flag was draped over a bush fluttering lightly, and one of the men, olive-skinned and heavyset, was waving a green-and-gold boxing kangaroo at the passing traffic.

"Happy Australia Day!" he shouted as I drew close.

"You too, mate!" I replied.

Five minutes down the road two kids went past on scooters, one in a green-and-gold Australia t-shirt.

Aside from that, in my hour-long walk home, I encountered a few joggers and bugger-all else. There's virtually no traffic out there. Most Australians eschew the nationalistic interpretation of the holiday designed to celebrate our identity. Instead they sleep in, lounge around in the sun for a bit and/or have a barbecue and/or hit the beach. It's treated the same as any public holiday over here: as one long opportunity to be a layabout bum.

And in celebrating it that way, we're being about as Australian as you can get.

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Tania Walker

August 2008

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