“What do you mean?” he asked.
I had trouble explaining, so I dedicate this post to him.
The other day I am sitting in the passenger seat of the car, bumping along the highway. It is ball-tearingly hot… although I’m not sure heat alone possesses the ability to tear balls. Perhaps I should say ball-meltingly hot? Well, I’m a girl, so all I know for sure is that balls are unhappy at this level of heat. We’ve clocked over 40 degrees Celsius. I am covered in sweat; slippery as an uncooked pancake – and not in a sexy way. Just in a jeez I wish there was air conditioning in this car sort of a way.
I’m languid, tired. My left hand hangs out the window like a dead fish. We slow and stop at red lights.
“Oi!” I hear. Someone is yelling at me from the car to our left.
Gawd. I think. It’s some arsehole who’s about to say something – rudely – about my tits. I only let people say rude things about my chest cubbies if they are my friends… or joking in a non-threatening manner.
I roll my eyes to the side and see, to my surprise, a policeman. His red nose is poking in and out of the cop car window like bird getting into raspberries.
“Did you know you can get a $150 find for having your hand out the window?”
My hand is barely out the window, and flopped down as it is, not even a threat to passing flies. This man stares at me, eyes wide with his idea of righteous authority, red-cheeked, aggressive. It’s as if he’s caught me smuggling heroine from the North Pole to Antarctica for unsuspecting penguins to enjoy. Here are the things I want to say:
1) “How fucking bored are you?”
2) “What is the fine for sticking your nose out the window?”
3) “Are you afraid my long fingers will poke out an eye? We can test that if you like.”
4) “You should drink less. Those veins on your nose and cheeks are overflowing like rivers during the monsoon season.”
5) “Your partner in there must have great fun hanging out with you. Popular at the cop shop, are you?”
6) “Is this law limited to hands? What if I put a foot out the window? What about one bottom cheek? Two bottom cheeks…?”
7) “I bet your wife wants a divorce.”
8) “Why are Christmas antlers allowed to poke diagonally outwards from every second car? Are antlers made in China less dangerous than my hand?”
9) “For clarification, who are you protecting right now?”
10) “Have you ever heard of the Christmas spirit?”
11) “You’re a dick head, mate.”
Yes, these are the things I want to say. But, you see, if I say any of these things, he will deal out that fine. He will take great joy in dealing out the fine. I just can’t afford it. Christmas is around the corner.
So I simply shake my head, withdrawing the offending hand. By doing this, I confirm what a detestable and vile menace I am to society (for that is how he glares at me). He is smugly satisfied with my compliance. The police races off at what seems a dangerous speed.
This is why Australia is not sexy. Citizens are treated as children. Health and safety is important because being healthy and safe is good for society and its citizens. What is not good for you, however, is being chastised like you’re a child or, worse, being made to feel like the scum of society.
Australians put fences and boundaries not just around cattle but around people. The government seems to believe we can’t go on a nature walk without the good sense of recognising the dangers of rocks, so they put fences on either side of the track. Australians like lawns to be manicured, cut, and trimmed like the ladies of Hollywood. If you’re in certain neighbourhoods, you will make no friends if your grass is doing what grass does and reaching too far for the sky. Australia will kick a sober man out of a pub for not wearing the right shoes while, right in front of him, skin-heads are brawling and slobbering swear words all over the floor. Australians freak out when I say I want to see a black lady sing in Chicago because I’m in love with jazz. This is not racist, everyone! I just want to see a black lady sing because I think they are gorgeous and can belt out tunes that would bring the Himalayas to its knees! Australian police harass the homeless while simultaneously ignoring cashed-up bogans who are high on cocaine, tripping on every crack in the footpath, and talking (no, screaming) comments about the latest reality TV show.
Australia is like netball. No one knows the rules, and as soon as you move an imperceptible distance you get disqualified for going outside your boundaries. Where are the boundaries, anyway? No one ever explained where they are to me! Why do they think the rules are built into my female DNA?! Now I’ll go home and cry all night because I let my entire team down after moving two inches to the right instead of the left...!
Um… I digress. P.E. was not my favourite subject in high school.
My dearest Vietnamese friend, be prepared. But be excited, too! Australia is relatively liberal, relatively accepting of minorities, people are down-to-earth and the land is BEAU-TI-FUL!
Just make sure you never, ever dangle your hand out the car window. It's a dastardly act and we, apparently, do not like it.