The Republican McCain-Palin campaign later applied "Joe the Plumber" as a metaphor for middle-class Americans. - WikipediaBeer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benjamin Franklin
|King and Godfrey's, Lygon Street|
The sunset was a vivid pink behind a postcard silhouette of the Manhattan skyline. It reminded me of those ghastly "paintings" on velvet that bogan families put on their walls in Australia last century. Those "paintings" of horse heads and pretend Polynesian girls ...
I thought of taking a photo, but would the camera catch the outrageousness of the garish scene? And in any case I was too late. The sunset disappeared as the bus descended from the Queensboro Bridge into the depths of Manhattan.
So soon the Australian-ness of my vibe had gone, and though only five weeks had passed since my trip to OZ, my Australian life was once again, history.
As I walk the streets of Melbourne on my all too infrequent trips back home I'm reminded of Joni Mitchell's "Carey". "And we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down."
My friends enlighten me. It isn't all play and no work and in any case, maybe these people you see in outdoor cafés are out-of-towners, tourists. The real Melbourne people are working in offices, earning a quid because everything is so expensive. Right!
|Near the Alfred Hospital - Visiting Hours Over - Australians at Play|
|Corner of Elgin and Lygon, Melbourne|
I'm reminded of this when back in New York, a colleague tells me that he saw Julia Gillard on television the previous evening. I try to change the subject, as if by hearing about her in a distant land I'm somehow tainted. But he persists. "Is she low class?" he asks. "Probably," I mutter. "She doesn't sound like you," he's saying as I move away.
|Universita Restaurant, Lygon Street Carlton|
The other side of the world seems like the other side of the world. But there is one small mercy.
I don't have to listen to Julia Gillard.