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Byron Shire
November 27, 2022

Here & Now #167 Fear and Lying

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Here & Now 167
Here & Now 167

Wadeville. Monday, 4.35pm

 I live in a world of fear.

At any time, a pimply terrorist could blow me to smithereens, an ambitious immigrant could take my job, passive smoke could give me cancer, planetary ecosystems could collapse, my phone could give me a tumour, gluten could give me… whatever, and chemtrails could make me vote Liberal.

Oh dear.

I know the world is a dangerous place. I know, because I listen to the radio. I’m going to die.

Fortunately, I’m not listening to the radio now. I’m driving my Superoo.

I shift down to fourth for a sharp left-hand corner, then smoothly back into fifth as I climb the southern rim of caldera.

I like driving. But it’s dangerous. There could be a driver coming towards me who injested cannabis a month ago. Or is texting her boyfriend. Yeah, I should be scared. But I’m not.

Here and now, the dark world of fear and foreboding is replaced by a sunny world of trees and tarmac. The sky is chemtrail free. The threatened environment looks, well, unthreatened, recent rains having flushed it green. And when I stopped at Wadeville Woolies to buy a bottle of Rosnay cabernet sauvignon, the young bloke in a hoodie buying hot chips smiled at me. Jeez, I didn’t even lock my car.

No, the fear so purposefully promulgated by the creators of terrorism, climate change and refugees (same creators) has evaporated, because I’m not listening to the news. I’m listening to the Thompson Twins (80s new wave) sing Lies. I’m also listening to a hitchhiker I picked up near the Nimbin turn-off tell me some.

‘No man, I’m off the heavy drugs,’ he says, unprompted, fidgeting with his beard, his hair, his beard, the Chinese thing hanging from the rear-view mirror, his beard…

‘I mean, that shit’s bad for you… Can you turn up the heat? It’s cold in here. But I like winter. Do you? I like summer too. But autumn is the best time… I’m glad you picked me up, man. It’s getting late. No, I just have good old bush bud now. Not that chemical crap. Can I wind down the window? It’s hot…’

Thing is, that, despite potential dangers lurking, like Pokemon creatures, behind every tree, in every passing car, at every general store, I picked up this hitchhiker – even though a hitchhiker could be a terrorist, a refugee, a drug-user, unemployed or work for the ABC.

Picking up hitchhikers is a middle finger to fear, a thumbs up to life, a lucky dip into the barrel of human experience. And it’s kind.

‘I gave up the heavy stuff ten years ago. Gave up alcohol and cigarettes too. Except that, sometimes, I might have a beer. Like last night, had a beer with me mates because… that’s okay, we were just at my missus’ place. Nothin’ wrong with that, eh?’

He stops talking, strokes his beard, touches the Chinese thing.

‘I probably talk too much. Sorry, man.’

Beard. Hair.

‘Thanks for picking me up, man. My car’s busted. Some bastard cooked the motor. It leaks oil. Shouldn’t have lent it, I guess. Mum says I’m too sensitive. It’s because I’m the youngest. I’m always helping people out. That’s good, right? Like you picking me up. Thanks. What’s this music? It’s good, man. Would you like a joint? I mean, I could roll one. I have spin in mine. I know that’s bad, but it’s… I don’t know… It’s just so hard to be good… But I can roll one without. For you. It’s cold in here…’

‘I’m okay, cobber. But thanks,’ I say, smiling as we speed from the badlands of fear into the clement caldera, where people are.



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  1. I live in a world of fear. Who is that up my rear? He is too close. I will just jam the brakes on so we can meet.

  2. Thanks S. Yep, “we have nothing to fear, except fear itself” etc etc. Hence, I’m not afraid. Despite a bunch of political wankers insisting I should be. But they want me to be fearful so they can then pretend to make me feel safe — and encourage me to vote for them. What a dumb way to use valuable time and energy.

  3. Kenrick,
    Exactly what is it that you or your dear ones being blown to smithereens, being beheaded or having their throat slit simply for the heinous crime of existing or having a different religion convinces you that no action should be taken?. We all praise the chap from around Nimbin who paints the potholes on roads as a warning but the same doesnt apply to obscene mass murder by primitive savages?. I bet the GREENS love you.

  4. Thanks smiled all the way through – a man/woman after my own heart. I also steer clear of the news – it’s all bad and I’m sure it is adding to the anxiety of so many. Thanks again – a great read on many levels


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