Gertrude’s Diary #9

Gertrude's Diary

This news just in. Schapelle Corby is a pretty girl in an unfortunate situation. Indonesia is not Australia. Cultural imperialism is alive and well.

And isn”t the response just marvelous? Powder flying everywhere through the mails of Australia; thrilling really, living in the national capital. One never knows just which noxious biological agent might turn up; anthrax, unidentified bacterial spores, Avon talcum powder. What with the new vigilance, an unmarked packet of laundry detergent is cause to evacuate a building. Could be a good thing to keep in mind when you”re having a particularly bad time at work and you”ve run out of sickies.

Children”s birthday party tomorrow. A friend once told me that teaching a kindergarten class was like being pecked to death by ducks; a vivid metaphor, I would say. The logistics of organizing small children can be awesome, and no matter how well planned, there will be a surprise somewhere. In fact, I think a greatly overlooked community therapy resource is the under-6 sporting event. If you”re feeling in a rut, oppressed by the predictability of life, or just want a good laugh, then find somewhere that you can watch a 14-year-old referee trying to control ten 5-year-old soccer players. They”d do better with a well trained sheepdog.

Recent controversial news from the Department of Employers and Worker Negation. More excitement in Canberra! I tell you, I can feel the power. It”s invigorating. If only John would come and live here, spread around some of his manly charisma. And I love a good protest march, too. I saw one last Friday, and it brought a warm glow to my old socialist heart. In fact, I was almost moved to tears. But then, I was recently told that unless I accepted an AWA the new trainees would be earning more than me, so perhaps I”m taking everything a little bit personally. Dissent is so popular these days, isn”t it? Such a pleasing little whimper in the background.

A fellow Peugeot 504 driver in Sri Lanka wrote to me this week, ostensibly with a greeting to a 504 lover from across the world, but really I think he was just plugging his website. I went to it and saw pictures of some fine examples of the Peugeot 504, among which mine would look out of place. I”ve washed it once in 5 years, there”s dents in a few panels, the interior trim is disintegrating, and the shock absorbers are in dire need of replacing. In short, it should be described as a shitbox.

I say “should”, but due to the classic French styling, superior engineering, and the comfort of the driving space, it continues to provide reliable motoring 34 years since it was built. I love it. When I first bought it (for $500) I called it Polly Peugeot, but now it is The Brown Beast. It”s painted in that unfortunate shade known in the trade as Sunburst Brown, more commonly called baby-poo brown. The time I got pulled over for speeding the copper said “what colour would you call this car” in a way that left me in no doubt about what he thought of my motor. But he did let me off with a warning about driving without a license, so I guess I can cut him some slack. And Mitch and Alex made up a song for me called The Limestone Blues, so in the end it was a positive experience. Except that now that I think of it, I got a bit ticked off about the references to big tits and police leniency, felt it impugned my impeccable feminist credentials. Bastards.

I wrote back to Mr 504 telling him about the beast’s recent trip to the coast, with a small sailing dinghy on the roof-racks and three adults and one child, via the old unsealed Araluen to Moruya Road. I love that car. I also explained how pleasant it is in Canberra, especially in Ainslie (I think there must be a nest of them somewhere around here) to see other 504 drivers, and greet them with a smile and a wave as you pass.

My Sri Lankan correspondent replied with the information (after he”d asked whether I”d visited his website yet) that in Sri Lanka they also wave, plus flash their lights and blinkers and blow the horn. Made me wonder whether there were lots of 504 related accidents in Sri Lanka, but Johnboy from Riotact said that”s pretty much how they drive all the time, anyway.

But he would say that.


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