Friday, September 28, 2007

more travels

What could be more horrendous than sitting on an aeroplane next to an oversize teenager who, immediately after sitting down, opens a supersize bag of barbecue chips which he not only dips into regularly for the next hour and a half, but – this is the bad bit, I don’t care who eats barbecue chips, I couldn’t even smell it – (a) shakes his hand as if casting some salt-oil-‘barbecue’ detritus out into the air, and (b) wipes his hand very craftily and caringly, as if giving a kind of fingerpaint gloss, on his gross jeans all the way? I hate people!!!

Which puts me in mind of those FREAKING lockers at the SLV. I have already complained to the SLV about these (and got a damn polite letter of disagreement from some poor sod who surely had no input into the decision about installing them in place of the counter-and-shelves-where-people-take-your-bag-and-give-you-a-tag). Now, if you haven’t seen them, these lockers are probably I assume run by some private contractor who takes the burden of the counter-and-shelves away from the SLV while pocketing $1 a pop (or $2 a pop if all the $1/pop lockers are being used) from users, most of whom I suppose the SLV regards with mild contempt because they are the teenagers who go into the library to sleep and gossip and probably have it off if you believe the six monthly Sunday Age exposes. Well, I am already on record as saying that I don’t mind the teenagers in the SLV because at least they know where the SLV is now and that it has books in it, probably, though admittedly it might not mean much to their later life (i.e. I know where Inflation is, but I haven’t been there since the day after Marvin Gaye died). You know, as much as I hate people I am even sort of protective of the genies, who everyone says are the bread and butter of the SLV, I don’t mind them at all as long as they’re not buttonholing me to tell me that their sodding great grandfather came over on the good ship Boombah in 1879 (or was it 1979?) aged four and became a blacksmith in Portland.

So the lockers. The first thing is, there aren’t enough of them. You get to the library and you have to go through all these touch screens to find out whether the heck there are any free lockers or not. The second thing is, after numerous experiments they now churn out a slip with a 6-digit pin you have to enter to get into your locker. Used to be, this 6dp would be something private to your mind, but obviously people (like me, though not me) were unable to remember this shit no doubt upsetting many an applecart so the whole thing has gone to enter your pin, then you get it on a ticket (so if you lose your ticket and someone finds it, the SLV/capitalist locker operators can wash their hands of the whole thing). I mean, people can still look over your shoulder while you’re entering your pin anyway, so there’s really no advantage to you one way or the other. I want to just put in a pin of 555555 or 444444 or, insert the same number 6 times over, whatever, but you can’t do that – it won’t let you. Too obvious. So far I realise I am not giving a very good case for hating the lockers. Will try harder later.

Intermission: I wrote the above at Sydney Airport, and I am now in Armidale, but can I just say I was shocked to hear a woman ordering (as was I) from the noodle shop at the foodhall in terminal 2 refer to tofu as nutmeat. I’d love to say ‘only in Sydney’ but I can’t because no-one talks about nutmeat in Sydney anymore – if they ever did. I think I last heard nutmeat mentioned in 1975. Our family was living in Scotland and we were occasional friends with a family who I basically don’t remember except they lived in a palatial manor in the bush (the Scots call this the country) and must have been vegetarians, because my brother would jokingly imitate someone’s line he picked up from somewhere, ‘Chris loves his nutmeat’. It doesn’t look that great in print 32 years later but at the time it was up there with the classic ‘Mind your fingers, laddie’ which was what someone said to him at Edinburgh castle. I guess you had to be there.

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