Byron. Saturday, 1.20pm
The decimal point is drunk.
It’s turning round and round, flashing yellow streamers and yellow cans of Fourex Gold (which is like a beer) and loudly singing, ‘No CSG. No CSG!’ Most unbecoming for a decimal point in the human 98.6% sign on Main Beach. It’s the percentage of Byron people opposed to CSG mining.
I’m wary of the decimal.
Media, for whom we are gathered, says Byron is a violent place fuelled by alcohol (190 alcohol-related assaults over 12 months) and at any moment this crowd could turn on me – whack me with yellow plastic triangles (48 particles of plastic in the ocean for each plankton) and throw me in the water like a boat person (17,270 boat people to Australia in 2012).
I wish I was a point person. The decimal point is very important and small enough that I could have stood on the designated decimal spot with all my friends – I don’t have many. I’m not inclined to sing slogans but I feel we could have made a point.
The current point isn’t taking point duty seriously. It’s lurching off its assigned position. Undisciplined. And it doesn’t even care. I feel that at any moment the point could get distracted by the glinting ocean (31% increase in acidity since 1751) and run off for a swim, making this whole media event pointless.
I wouldn’t do that if I was on point.
As it is, I’m at the bottom left quadrant of the six. Six is important, but let’s face it, it’s not as important as the decimal point. The point is the difference between 98.6 and 9.86. Media loves numbers, and the point is a game changer.
No-one really cares about six. CSG opposition may as well have been 98.4 or 98.7.
Now nine is important. (And it knows it.) I heard the people on nine get cocktails and foot massages. I wish I was on nine. We on six can’t even see nine from here.
Beside me is a tall woman. When a helicopter hovered overhead with a photographer hanging out the door, everybody raised their arms and cried out, offering up the number and exhorting Media to give unto us exposure. Some even raisedeth their smartphones and tablets showing their total devotion to Media in all Her platforms. The tall woman didn’t. She simply touched her iPhone to her forehead and smiled beatifically.
Four times the helicopter came round; four times I raised my arms and gave cheering veneration to Media for Whom all things are done. Four times the tall woman simply raised her iPhone to her forehead and smiled.
I feel I’m putting a lot more energy into this than she is. Maybe she realises we are just a six; that we don’t count. Now, if six was nine…
With the helicopter buzzing off, three planes with photographers fly in from the north, rumbling like Hendrix feedback. We prepare for more supplication (and some ululation).
But the pissed point is getting sloppy. It slumps into a semicolon (98;6), then sits down in an ellipsis (98…6). Some of the point wander over towards nine (9.8..6). I’m worried that the whole drunken period may go over to nine for drinks and send the wrong number to Media (9.86). Leaving a hole in six, I walk over to what remains of the point to remind them of their responsibility (9.8∴5).
Riding petrol-driven seraphims, Media appears overhead, radiant in the sun’s light.
I race back to six (9.8..6) and the bit of point over at nine runs through eight (98..6) and rejoins its friends to make a point just in time (98.6) for the photo op.
Media. It’s a numbers game.