My Place. Monday, 10.45am
I shovel some red powder into the mix. It puffs like dragon’s breath as it joins the cement, sand and aggregate. I don’t like grey concrete. Cocooned in my earmuffs, my mind wanders…
We shouldn’t just change the date of Australia Day, we should change the flag too. And the nation’s name. That should get up the nose of the oi-oi-oi crew.
Like this cement dust is getting up my nose. I may cement my airways and suffocate right here, at the back door of my shack under the cliffs. No-one would find me for weeks.
Well, days. My girlfriend would worry after a few days of no contact. After, say, three days, she would send me a text: ‘Are you alright?’ When I didn’t reply, she would ring me and leave a message: ‘Are you actually doing something?’
Concerned, she would come over, and there I’d be, stretched out on the sand and aggregate pile, with my cement mixer, my nostrils and my mouth filled with hard red concrete. She’d fall to her knees, cradle my head, look to the sky and scream, ‘Noooo!’
Wow. Cement is hallucinogenic.
Now, how many shovels of cement was that? Two or three? Can’t remember. Better chuck in another one, just in case.
So, let’s make Australia Day the first Tuesday in November. Good day for a holiday. We can all watch the big race on the telly, after the barby, and raise a beer to all that is great about Australia. And what’s more Australian than horseracing?
And, let’s change the flag. At least replace the Union Jack. The stars and stripes would be appropriate reflecting Australia’s change of masters. (Sure, you could put the Aboriginal flag in that upper hoist position. It would reflect the reality of this continent’s human history, but the government would definitely be against that. Truth has no place in Australian politics.) Or, put in the Rio Tinto logo. Or the Daily Telegraph masthead. Maybe a picture of a lump of coal.
This new flag would hang in the halls of Parliament, and government ministers would stop in front of it, finger their wallets, and pay homage to all that is great about Australia.
It’s all just so frustrating, this political stuff. The ideology of capitalism has seeped so deeply into the national political thinking that all government action is driven by the economic imperative. We are drowning in the superficial, but toxic, fizz of shopkeeper talk.
Any moral values that still cling like plastic waste to withering vine of society are nodded at by government, but are increasingly abandoned, replaced by the values of the marketplace, spreading like cancer through the tree of life.
The lies become the reality: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is wrong. Australia Day is for all Australians. Refugees are illegal immigrants. The Sydney Opera House is a billboard.
I spray water into the mixer. I’m making a concrete step, replacing the dodgy wooden one which, two years ago, caused me to snap my achilles tendon. My response is appropriate, if not immediate.
And, let’s change the name of this wide brown resource. ‘Australia’ comes from the Latin phrase ‘terra australis incognita’, which means ‘unknown southern land’, a European description from the Middle Ages. But, hey, this land was not unknown. It was known by hundreds of Aboriginal nations who were calling this land home since before Homo sapiens even trod on European soil.
So, to go with the new national day and new flag, I reckon we should call this country Murdia, from the Latin ‘terra murdia imperium’ – ‘land belonging to Murdoch’.
There ya go. All in a morning’s work.
Time to pour the concrete.