Saturday, December 17, 2016


Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number - from "Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"

Second Avenue Upper East Side - William's home
I have decided to write a journal. My blog days are over.

It is just too difficult to get a single theme per post, and in any case I have been inspired by Helen Garner's "Everywhere I Look" - a collection of her essays and journal entries spanning fifteen years.

Haiku-like they evoke a period, a point of view, a piece of news, a family memory, with the last line or paragraph giving the reader a feeling of edginess, of a thing un-finished or a counterpoint. Always something more to think about,  to ponder.

Well I am no Helen Garner, but I think a diary or journal is more appropriate for me, at this stage of my life, and at this stage of society's devolution in the Divided States of America.

So today I want to write about William.

I only found out his name today, when I brought him a cup of hot chocolate from Starbucks.

I'd gone outside to see if he was still there, homeless at his home outside the Chase Bank on the corner of Second Avenue and 93rd Street Manhattan - worried as the city was under a weather advisory. It had snowed all night. William lives on the sidewalk 

I didn't expect to find him there this morning, with the snow and all, but there he was.

I asked him what I could get him today and he said, "Hot chocolate." Well I knew other people, neighbors, often bought him breakfast from McDonald's so I asked him where from - dreading to have to trudge up to McDonald's in East Harlem through the snow-laden footpaths. But he said he would like Starbucks hot chocolate - only two doors away.

I didn't know his name, though I have been stopping by regularly. William is a Reader and is particularly fond of John Grisham thrillers. I have given him some novels, but whatever I give him he has already read. There's an admirable honesty about William. Some people would just say "Thanks", but William always says, "Oh that is kind of you, but I have read it." He is specific in what he wants. And why not?

Today, when I brought him his Starbuck's hot chocolate, I asked him his name. It is William. "My dad was called William," I said, but he was too busy opening up the lid of his hot chocolate.

I thought of my dad as I walked back home. I remember being told how he - always a heavy smoker - unemployed and walking the streets of Collingwood in Melbourne in the 1930s - would look for the buts of cigarettes.

I don't know how my William survived the Great Depression. But he did, although the cigarettes killed him in the end.

Two Williams - decades apart. But the times, they aren't a-changing.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

At the east end of town
At the foot of the hill
There's a chimney so tall
It says Belfast Mill.
But there's no smoke at all
Coming out of the stack
For the mill has shut down
And is never coming back. - The Fureys, Belfast Mill

Everything Entertainment Truck on West 57 Nov 10, 2016
When you fall over on the sidewalk in Manhattan, before you can even look up, you are surrounded by a protective blanket of New Yorkers.

Asking whether you need help to stand up. Whether you would like them to call a friend. Offering band--aides,  bacterial zinc sachets.

I've been falling over a lot lately and I blame Trump. Seriously. That's probably because recently  I have had occasion to be in mid-town Manhattan, within a few blocks of Trump Tower, where security men, New York cops and the Secret service are attempting to keep Melania and Baron safe (whatever happened to Tiffany?),and to keep the traffic moving.

It is a mad house. Tourists photographing protesters. Out-of-it our-of-towners - tourists from the rust belt - oblivious to the havoc they have contributed to by voting for the orange man, wondering why they can't get into Gucci to buy their annual Gucci bag.  Not realizing that our world has changed.

Trump Tower in the good old days of Obama
The day after the election I was walking west down 57 Street, just around the corner from Trump Tower. Ages ago I had arranged to go to a performance at the New York City Dance Centre with a friend. Pre-performance drinks at Circa.

Then suddenly - right on 57th, several guys in a large "Everything Entertainment"  truck were chucking large steel pipes onto the sidewalk.

I was distracted, thinking only about having our  pre-performance drink and arriving on time,  when a traffic cop came running up  telling  the truck  men  to get the hell out of there. A pipe rolled towards me and I went flying. Down but not out. I looked up.

The traffic cop, the bemused Bronx-accented pipe throwers, and half a dozen concerned New Yorkers. I lay there contemplating suing. I want a police report I told the traffic cop. She explained I needed a real cop and would have to wait.

I thought for a nanosecond. Sue or go to the New York Center Dance and  dine with my friend. No contest. I stood up, New Yorkers sanitized and bandaged my scraped hand.  I hobbled off for a pre-performance drink at Circa. A good decision.

Next week. Next fall. I was on the way to the Union Square subway. Thanksgiving Eve. Wanting to see the Therapy Wall.

Therapy Wall,  Union Square Subway,  November 2016

Dusk. Busy. Thinking about Trump and remembering Hillary.  I tripped over a hole in the curb.

Down but not out.

Injured. Frustrated.

Who are these people who voted for Trump? Believing that he would bring their jobs back? the Jobs for the people who made Polaroid cameras? For the  people who damaged their lungs  digging coal?

As Obama would say, '"C'mon man!"

Trumpworld: -

I'm too old to work
And I'm too young to die
Tell me where will I go now
My family and I? - The Fureys, Belfast Mill

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Deja Vu on the M102

Even though a cloud’s white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
An’ the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
 For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An’ for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing - Bob Dylan, Chimes Of Freedom, 1964
Front Page of New York Daily News Nov 9 2016
Sitting on the M102 bus on my way to work. November 9, 2016.

Facing a row of New Yorkers like me. Commuters.

Staring straight ahead. No cell phones. No talking. Looking at nothing. Expressionless. We all knew what had happened the day before. And we all knew that we all knew. A shared feeling of shock and horror.

Where had I seen people like that before? Vacant. Gray. No words.

Then it came to me. September 12 2001. The day after our worst New York day. The day after 9 -11.

Later I read the Facebook posts and articles commenting on and analyzing how we had elected as president a man possessing no foreign policy, a bigot. A racist. A misogynist. An inarticulate man. A man who wants to build a wall. An arrogant man. Bankrupt on so many levels.  The orange man.

After work in the elevator, a neighbor - a NYU professor -  broke down and sobbed. "Some of my students were crying today," she told me. The Muslim ones and the black ones. They are scared.."

No words.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Joie de Vivre vs The Haters

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'etendard sanglant est levé! (bis) - "La Marseillaise"
"Appreciate what is happening in this photo.

This G7 leader decided to bare his hairless chest in a salmon-pink shirt, and slip into curvy white jeans (there isn't a straight guy alive that can pull off white jeans without irony—don't even bother disagreeing with me), and shake his baby-maker under a high, July sun while being hosed down by a hundred water pistols wielded by all manner of race and colour along the straight, L, G, B, T, and Q spectrum." - Written by Theo Ward, photo by Nathan Denette:

And a few days later we have the carnage inflicted by a hater; carnage at the Promenade des Anglais at Nice. Then black men shot by cops in America. Then cops shot at Baton Rouge. Then more cops shot today at Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile in the U.S.A. Donald Trump is promoting ethnic cleansing (if stopping all Muslims from entering the US and expelling undocumented immigrants isn't ethnic cleansing , then I don't know what it is). And what about Muslims who were born here - where does he intend to export them to?

The haters. The blamers of others for their own misfortune. The xenophobes. The Australians who draped themselves in Australian flags and called Australians from Lebanon "Lebos". Who punched then in their faces.

Pauline Hanson in Australia. Another hater.

The Jew haters.

The proponents of Sharia law.

The man who honor-killed his own sister in Pakistan the other day. Qandeel Baloch whose "crime" was to aspire to being a model.

Another hater - a Facebook administrator from a rural Australian Facebook site who just last week sent me an unsolicited venomous email, complaining that I was a Hillary Clinton voter.

Compare these haters with the joie de vivre of being the Prime Minister of Canada at a LBGT parade on a sunny day in Toronto.

I don't know about you, but having sex with 26 virgins up in the sky wouldn't do it for me.

Like Charlie Hebdo, Justin Trudeau, and the diners at Nice who rushed from the restaurant on the Promenade des Anglais, to cover the bodies of the dead with table-cloths, I prefer life over death.

I want to live in a country:
  • where people cannot legally carry assault weapons on the streets of cities -
  • where children are not locked up in prisons in tropical jungles - that has a decent health system for ALL citizens
  • where the leader of a major political party does not believe in ethnic cleansing -
  • where hundreds to thousands of its people are not killed by terrorists
  • where a significant number of the population does NOT think it is an OK thing to legislate that is an OK thing for gays to be refused service in restaurants 
  • where there is no Sharia law
  • where there are night-times over 90% of the year
  • where it is not OK for right-wing political leaders to call on the voters to "Ditch the Bitch" when for once in its history the PM is a woman
Guess that leaves New Zealand ...

Vive la France!
Vive Charlie Hebdo!
Vive la champagne!

Vive la vie!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Beyond the Winter of our Discontent

I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them - from Richard III, Shakespeare

I usually start my post with a few lines from a song. But this is June 2016, and no time for singing - the above lines from "Richard III" seem more apt in this glorious summer of 2016.

I have lived through four elections in New York - two of which were won by George W. But I have never felt the fear that accompanies this one.

Sunday morning in the nail salon - a weekly ritual that I indulge myself in. Sitting at the nail-dryer. A woman in her early thirties -  a nail-dryer neighbor who I have never seen before - speaks to me. "I love your tee-shirt," pointing to the back which reads
Human Rights are Women's Rights!
Hillary Rodham Clinton
For President! 2016

"My grandparents were Irish", she goes on to explain. Adding that she can leave this country anytime she wants - taking her husband and baby to anywhere in Europe. Nothing new - heaps of us have been working out our exit strategy.

So many people making jokes - about Canada needing a wall to keep out the kale-eaters. The emergence of "Maple Match", the website for Americans seeking Canadian spouses so they can emigrate in November if necessary. Trump suing comedian Bill Maher for $5 million for his orangutan sex joke - though that was no joke.

She goes on to express her fear, a fear that had not crossed my mind anytime in my 20 years of living in America. But it crosses my mind now!

Until today I had worried of course that Trump could win the Presidency. But my fear had been mainly focused on the man and the damage done.

My nail-salon neighbor enlightens me.

Win or lose - she is getting the hell out of Dodge! "I never know when I might be sitting next to one of them." And (in a whisper), "A Trump supporter."

We are living in a county where eleven million people voted for the man. And then there are the Sanders supporters. Twenty percent have said they will vote for Trump. Which makes one wonder why they supported Sanders in the first place.

So counting the Sanders fanatics and the number of "documented" adults living in America, that means there is a 10% chance that the person sitting next to me on the subway is a Trump supporter.

Scene from "On the Beach", State Library, Melbourne
Of course it isn't true of people in New York. We are different here. Surely.

"There Is Still Time ... Brother", the sign reads outside Melbourne's State Library in Stanley Kramer’s haunting post-apocalyptic movie "On The Beach" - as radiation gradually descends southward from the northern hemisphere, wiping out all mankind.

Still, I am given new courage as I walk back home to my apartment. All around me are African Americans, Africans, and Hispanics. Many of them notice my tee-shirt and give me the thumbs up. There is still time, sister!

I started with the words of the Bard. But to be really gloomy, I will end with the words of the songwriter Dory Previn.

I've seen him in the headlines
And on the evening news
I saw him on the sideline
When stones were thrown at Jews

And marching in Montgomery
Pretending that he cared
I saw him wink as though
Some old conspiracy were shared

He was in the crowd in Dallas
At the close of Camelot
I spotted him on campus
When the students had been shot

In an oriental village
With civilians left to rot
He was hanging out with soldiers
Trading heroin for pot and he was
Smiling, smiling - Doppelgänger

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Mansplaining and Kale

I'm just an old fashioned girl with an old fashioned mind
Not sophisticated, I'm the sweet and simple kind.
I want an old fashioned house, with an old fashioned fence
And an old fashioned millionaire. - "Just An Old Fashioned Girl", Eartha Kitt

Three Men in the Peak District, England
Mansplaining and Kale - two things I know next to nothing about. And never want to.

They are not -  as far as I can discern new technologies or new discoveries -  so how come we didn't hear about them until recently?

I suspect that mansplaining is a bit like man-caves. They might have sort-of existed earlier, but no one thought to give  names. Like memes. Or maybe they ARE memes. Do memes even have memes?

But back to mansplaining - I think from the sound of it, that it is about how men like to talk a lot - to be the center of the conversation, to interrupt women. My gripe with it isn't that it is not real, or that it doesn't describe something that happens, but that people - especially women - like to write about it, like to analyze it. That they try to work out how men work.

I remember back in the early nineties when I was a lecturer at a university in Australia, there were classes for women lecturers on how to get along with male lecturers, especially how to be successful in "meetings". I have forgotten most of what was taught, except for one thing which I remember because I actually tried it a few times.

Three Men In NYC
The person educating us, a woman, pointed out how the men who got the most attention were the ones who, when it was their turn to speak, spend several seconds arranging the papers on the table in front of them, shifting  their posture, adjusted  their glasses. Maybe took a sip of water.

In short, they made everyone wait. The effect was that they exuded confidence;   people waited eagerly to hear them speak. Surely what they had to say was important.

Women on the other hand, when given a chance to speak at faculty meetings lurched forward in their seats, hurried to speak the second they were given their turn,  and rushed their sentences. Thereby appearing less confident, less dominant, and by speaking so fast, less eloquent.

I have watched the man-talking-at-meetings-thing ever since that women-awareness class at Victoria University,  and it is true. Whether it be academics or business men or hippies. The way to gain complete attention, to appear important,  is to make people wait.

After that  class in the early 90s  I decided to put it into practice that way of appearing important, of making people wait to hear what I had to say, and though my attempts have been unsuccessful, I have tried anew over the years. I will move in my chair, rearrange my notes, take a sip of water. And what happens?

Three Men In Edinburgh, Scotland
Some man interrupts me and I lose my chance to talk. Instead of appearing self-assured and eloquent, I end up appearing to be an uncertain human being who is probably avoiding speaking.

This just bolsters my belief that for men to change.  THEY have to want to change. Just like heavy smokers. They won't give up till they really WANT to give up. We women can talk about man-caves and mansplaining till the cows come home.

Men have to find their own enlightenment. It is not women's job. If there is anything more boring than mansplaining,  it is women talking about mansplaining. We won't get better at speaking in public by copying male tactics. This is because people - men and women - have already and unconsciously formed an opinion of us,  just because we are women.
Dummies at Bloomies

I recently started a thread on a Facebook group on the subject of women feeling that they have to understand and enlighten men. I expected to be howled down, even though the post was meant to be humorous.

" Just read yet another thing on "mansplaining". I think women do themselves a disservice analyzing men things. I think we should just let men have their own self-awareness stuff and (except for topics relatiing to verbal and physical abuse) we should let them go on their merry way and just use them for sex, or if they are good-looking, for adornment."

But the only  person who took  the bait was a woman.

Which sort of proves my point in a way -  but  I have trouble explaining how.

Of course if I were a man I could mansplain it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Photo Shoot

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only - "It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)" - Dylan, 1965
42nd Street, Manhattan
"My god look at your HAIR!" he said. "That won't do at all."

I think he was doing his Larry David impersonation. But I was not amused.

He'd called the day before wanting to take photos. My dentist. He was giving a presentation. To the American Association of Dentists or some such organization. I am one of his most ambitious, challenging, and successful cases. He had taken photos of my teeth at each stage of his year long work way back in 2011.

My wonderful New York dentist. He'd saved my teeth. My life in fact. When I'd wandered into his 40th Street practice about five years ago, I had thought I was about to lose all my teeth. The casualties of 1950's socialist dentistry in Australia. Another reason NOT to vote for Bernie Sanders.

But I digress.

I remembered how dreadful my teeth had been. And how excellent his work. So when he called wanting more shots, I said of course, when do you need me? Tomorrow? Sounds good.

Tomorrow became today, and it did not start off well.

A man had died a few yards from my apartment building. He'd been stabbed a block away earlier in the morning. I saw it on the early morning news. He'd managed to crawl about half a block almost to the corner of 94th and Second. A cab picked him up. Too late.

Everyone was quiet in the lobby when I exited the elevator. No "Have a nice day" from the doorman. It just seemed wrong.

Homeless Woman, Grand Central
But half an hour later on the bus down Second Avenue on my way to work I'd forgotten about it. Such is the stuff that we humans are made of.

Several hours later I was at an optometrist. Looking forward to new glasses. A routine check-up. I was excited. I was getting a pair of Lindberg frames. But I was thinking of the man. The stabbing. My mind wandered. Left eye. Right eye. I couldn't make it to the third row of letters.

She looked about ten. Efficient. Smart. Pretty. Asian. What was she saying? Retinal scarring? What did she mean? A specialist? Cornell?

Suddenly the cost of the frames didn't matter. I paid. I smiled. I shoved it to the back of my mind. Where the bad things lurk.

Eyes left! Walk south down Madison. Eyes right. Next stop the photo shoot. Teeth time!

There'd been a slight breeze as I stumbled south down Madison. A few wisps of my pulled-back hair had escaped. But I was only thinking about my eyes.

On the way up on the elevator in the pre-war building on 40th Street,  I couldn't read the floor numbers on the display. "Is this the sixth floor?" I asked a man with a guide dog. He shrugged. I guess he didn't speak English.

Somehow I arrived at my dentist's office. That's when he said about my hair. I stood there speechless.

 "Oh it doesn't matter," he said. "It is good if you look a whole lot older; it'll make it seem that my dental work lasts even longer."

Jesus Christ I told him. A man died near my apartment building this morning and now I am going blind.

Unphased as is his way - "I can recommend you to a good retinal specialist, I'll just get his card."

I told him not to bother. He took some teeth photos. His assistant had to put medieval torture instruments in my mouth so my lips weren't in the way of his Nikon. She stuck a mirror in what space remained in my oral cavity. "No good! You BREATHED!" Was he talking to me or his assistant?  I heard her apologizing. We tried again. And again. And so it went till he got some perfect shots.

More torture - this time with the hygienist, cleaning, X-rays. And I was free to leave.

The receptionist, a lovely woman, was giving me kindly smiles. The hygienist was telling me I'd need a molar pulled. My dentist was telling her not yet Miss Juliff needs to get her eyes fixed first. It is not a good day for Miss Juliff. A man was stabbed to death near her apartment. I told her to blog it.

"Send me the link!" he called as I fumbled for my coat.

Of course he is a wonderful dentist. I even told him so. It is the only thing you've got going for you I told him. He saved my teeth five years ago.

 He's a lovely man. A real New Yorker. I'd recommend him to anyone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Conversation with a New Yorker

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot - "Big Yellow Taxi" Joni Mitchell in 1970

Bergdorf Goodman‎, Fifth Avenue
The phone rang. It was evening. My American friend was back from her trip to Florida. I sat back, and listened.

"I hate coming back from being in the country-side. I turn back into New York person. I hate what I become here. I am not a nice person in New York.

I feel like punching people in the face. Hitting them hard. I hate the way people walk in front of me. I hate how they stand in supermarket lines. I hate what they look like and how they walk. They are either too slow or too fast. I don't like how I am in New York.

I went to a little town in Florida last weekend. BORING. You have no idea.

Everyone - men and women - they all looked like Bernie Sanders. It was a place people go to die. I wish they would just die and get it over with. And the food! My god. The food. What can I tell you.

And the stuff they talk about. I had to go out to dinner with a bunch of them. Two couples. Don't ask me their names. I can't remember. I couldn't remember their names when I was sitting next to them.

It was peaceful there. But BORING. I was really relaxed. There was space.  You didn't have to rush like you do here. Well they couldn't really rush. They all have 'medical conditions'. 

Subway on the 6 Line
And big churches. Huge. All new with white marble columns. Yes I went to church. I don't go to church but that's what they do there. They go to church.

And they watch plays. Amateur plays. I went to one called "Hands on a Hard Body". And the 'body' was, can you believe it, a big red truck. And people put their hands on it and each person had say a story about a truck. Like, 'When I was a boy I really wanted a big truck.' And seeing a red truck makes me thing of running away with my yoga instructor.' I fell asleep.

Then I came back here. Christ! People everywhere. People pushing. Rude people.

Trump? Yes well ha ha. We must look like fools to the rest of the world. So embarrassing. And that idiot Ted Cruz - a nasty, nasty man., You realize he's an evangelist.

You have to understand why people follow Trump. There are poor uneducated people out there. They feel betrayed by the system. They can't get jobs. It isn't like New York out there in the rest of the country. It's depressing.
Spring in Central Park
Well yes, there are plenty of jobs in New York. We have it good. We are lucky to be here. We have everything we need. We have real restaurants and galleries. And taste. We just take it for granted.

I wouldn't live anywhere else. If you want to see what it's like in the rest of America go to Florida. The west coast that is. Miami is OK. But the west coast. My god. Did I tell you what we ate for dinner? You wouldn't believe it.

Or Denver. Have you SEEN Denver? Full of pot heads. Or Nebraska. Or West Virginia.

Yes there is only New York. But did you hear Ted Cruz talking about 'Noo York values' like it was a bad thing. What a fool. We are proud of our values. Yes we have New York values. New York - well Manhattan really.

It is the only place to live in America."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

OMG I've Turned Into One Of Them!

Well, let me tell you about the way she looked
The way she acts and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there - "She's Not There", The Zombies 1964
Buggerlugs - "A gibe or friendly term of greeting particularly when one has forgotten somebodies (sic) name - "Ah G'day buggerlugs, what's 'appening - from Wordbook of Australian Idiom Aussie Slang: No Worries! She's Apples! Kerrin P. Rowe

Upper East Side New Yorkers
"Excuse me, sir," I asked the bus driver, "but can you tell me if you stop at 72nd Street?"

He told me. It was a few stops off so I went back to my seat. "You just can't see what stop you are at," I commented to the woman seated next to me. "That's right," she replied, and told me a story about her daughter and her grandchild and a bus in London 100 years ago.

I pretended to listen attentively while I rehearsed in my head the topics I wanted to discuss with my therapist. When the bus pulled into the stop at 72  I nodded  a thank you to the driver, and headed off past the Dakota. Remembering to remember John..

And then it struck me.

OMG, I've turned into one of them. Calling bus drivers "Sir", conversing New York style on a bus - first it is your turn to talk and your unknown travelling companion's to pretend to listen, and after an acceptable time the roles are reversed. The stranger can talk and you can pretend to listen ....

Calling a bus driver "Sir", talking to total strangers, and the therapist. OMG. Even thinking in  acronyms. What have I become?

Not that it is a bad thing to be,  a New Yorker. Look at Bernie Sanders. Feel the Bern! And Michael Bloomburg who might run for President. And that guy with the orange face and the bizarre comb-over Three New Yorkers standing for Prez. It is OUR year.

Then there's Ted Cruz talking disparaging about "New York values". I didn't think New Yorkers HAD values. That's one of the points of being a New Yorker. I didn't understand any of this stuff when I first came here. I found it odd to hear people call the janitor "Sir".

I had understood that "Sir" was an Englishy sort of thing related to knights in shining armour, and peasants tugging forelocks. Clearly it meant something else here.

It is a fill-in polite sort of word when you don't know someone's name. Of course you could say, "Excuse me, driver," to a bus driver. But "Excuse me janitor," would somehow sound impolite.

So we say "Sir". First person plural intended.

In Australia we too have a word for people whose name  we don't know. "Buggerlugs". It is a friendly semi-derogatory thing. Very Aussie. As in "Who brought Buggerlugs?" when referring to a hanger-on at a party. Or, "Will you give this drink to Buggerlugs over there."

A more polite term in OZLand is, "Hey you!" "Hey you, where does this bus stop?"  Or the friendly generic term of address, "mate". Possibly the most polite of our terms of address. Though it can be used to mean its opposite. As in, "Christ mate, who do yer think you are? Keep that up and I'll kill ya. Mate."

But more often than not, the unknown person is not given a name at all. "Where does this bus stop?"

I remember a year or so ago I asked a bus driver in Clifton Hill , Victoria wthether the bus stopped at Lygon Street. He was a Chinese Austalian and possibly a little  deaf. I asked him twice, louder.

Then a fellow passenger - a "digger" piped up, "Don't talk to him luv, he won't answer, he's not an Aussie." Charming.

Buggerlugs,  "Mate" "Hey you." Or not acknowledging a person at all.

On reflection, he man with the orange face and the bizarre comb-over aside, it's pretty good to be a New Yorker!

But lest you get the wrong impression mate, I'm still an Aussie. And  yes I'm talking to you, Buggerlugs!