It’s Australia Day. All my mates are down in the Golconda valley, at Hamish’s, surrounded by bush, swimming in his pool, getting drunk, being young and in love with this country and life. I’m envious of them, of anyone who is lucky enough to live in this wide, diverse land.
I can’t face them though. The pack of racist drongos. I mean, it’s not that simple. They’re my mates, they have so many good points. I love them. But shitte…
Everything they’re doing is so American, and the don’t realize it. They tell me, time and again, in humour, in earnestness, in passing, what is and isn’t un-Australian. Dare I say it, un-Australian is the single most un-Australian expression ever. It’s so American. I though we were more laconic, better than that?
“Whatever blows your hair back.”
“She’ll be right mate.”
When did they Arian Sons and Daughters brigade hijack my country and decide what I can or can’t be?
“Love it or leave it,” their t-shirts bellow, with a sneer. I never knew clothing could do those things until now. That’s also as American as it gets. It’s the haves screaming “What’s in it for me!” Telling us “Screw the boat people. We’ve won, now fuck off!”
I’ve seen redneck Americans saying that sort of shit my whole life. Giving off that arrogance, being bullies, all up-tight and agro. Celebrating their country with a nasty spit at your feet.
My mates, the country over, will right now be waving red, white and blue rags. “The British flag at night,” Wearing them as capes, hats, pants, stuffing them down their jocks.
More American shit.
I though we were rebels, children of convicts and the world? That we hated authority? That we did our own thing – barbie, .booze, root, red wine, whatever – to hell with officialdom. That we were comfortable with who and what we were. That we didn’t have to shout. That nothing was above us except the open sky.
My mates, they’ll all be saying douche and alleyway, and hey guys, and calling my ute a fucking truck. If they’re angry they’ll give me the bird and tell me their pissed.
Australia Day can mean anything, I reckon. A party! Pride. Invasion Day, for sure, absolutely. Shame Day if you care for refugees and believe in human rights. It can mean nothing at all. Another day off work, another day of work, or another excuse to get pissed, as in drunk.
It can mean trying to get laid.
In any family you go through periods of loving and loathing your kin. If you hate the way a country is going, don’t leave. Stay and change it back again. Or help shape it into something new.
My Australia is both so close and so far. I love it for what it was, is and could be. And am at times furious with it in equal turn. But that’s how we change, how we grow.
Anyways, can’t put it off forever. I’m out the door now, to be local and swim and be surrounded by youth and beauty and pink and burnt red skin. To be one of the haves. My friends aren’t so bad, for Americans.
On this day, above all others, I miss my country, even though I’m living in it, and remain determined to win it back one day.
To make it a place we don’t blame the have-nots, but, rather, pull them up.