I finally have an excuse for not keeping up with my blog: I got a part-time job.
I know what you're thinking. Caitlin is awesome! I bet her job is great! Well, it's certainly better than what a lot of backpackers end up doing. I could be door knocking, trying to sell people cheap electricity. (Heck no.) I could be delivering newspapers. (Heck no.) I could be picking fruit, which sounds great, especially because I love fruit, but when you consider that most jobs involve 8-10 hours of outdoor work per day, in 30 degree heat, it really starts to stink.
So where do I work, I know you're wondering. In a shopping mall.
Caitlin works in an Australian shopping mall? In a bakery? Selling people bread and scones and hot cross buns? Does she have to wear a baseball cap? YES! Does she have to wear 2x too big khaki capris? YES! How about a nice polo shirt? OF COURSE!
In short, my vanity is getting a nice vacation and my bank account is getting a lot of stimulus. And of course, malls are excellent places to people-watch. On Monday, I saw a little boy pull his pants down and run around for at least three minutes before his mom noticed. I love watching the tweens come in after school and practice social hierarchies.
I serve bread, I get paid. And this is why my blog is neglected.
There is a short sad story I would like to tell about a situation involving potato chips and native Australians, otherwise known as Aboriginals. Australian Aboriginals are certainly some of the most marginalized and neglected peoples on the entire planet. The situation makes all of the sympathy you have for Precious and her cranky mother completely silly, and definitely reminds me of the United States' own forgotten natives, shoved away to remain social welfare cases because our government simply does not now how to reconcile centuries of wrongdoing.
What is different (as far as I can see) about Australia is that many Aboriginals live in urban/suburban areas, and while there is obviously native land - Arnhem land in the Northern Territory - I feel like I've seen more native Australians in four months than I've seen native Americans. And white Australians are damn racist about it. I'm not going to name names or specifics, but it's simply not pretty.
So the potato chips. I was waiting for the bus when I spotted a little native Australian boy, no older than three and wearing only some tiny thugish denim shorts with a diaper hanging out and some tiny sneakers, holding a bag of potato chips. He smacked the bag repeatedly until it burst open, all over the dirty sidewalk. He was very pleased. He was so pleased, he decided to stomp all over the potato chips as if they were a big sheet of bubble wrap. He then proceeded to eat them. At this point, I became excessively disgusted. I look around for mom. Mom? She was either the woman staring vacantly at the street or the one staring vacantly at her shopping cart. Eventually, mom or mom's accomplice with the cart sees the little boy eating sidewalk chips, and joins him in stomping them into chip dust. Stomping and eating the bus stop sidewalk chips.
I couldn't help thinking, God, these people need HELP. Sure dirt doesn't hurt too much, but this is a dirty city. This kid has no shirt. This woman is pushing an empty cart.
What do I do?
Not a clue, but it sure makes me think just a bit more about urban poverty, and how no one can escape it.
PS. Went to pig races. Did some wine tasting at pig races and was very happy. Pigs were very cute and wore sparkling vests. Coo-ee!
PPS. "Flat out" is an Aussie expression meaning "Very busy".