I saw Tracey and her partner Bruce just after Australia Day. I had been worried that there was a problem between them but I needn’t have worried. Everything is fine, it’s just money.
I think I mentioned that Bruce is an entrepreneur with his own business and a van. He’s a mobile chicken slaughterer specialist and offers a service to greenies who keep chooks but are too sensitive to do the neck cutting.
As soon as he mentioned financial problems I said about the deepening impact of the global economic crisis on the local community. But Bruce said no his problem is competition. It seems a sacked school teacher (the usual reason) has set up her own mobile business to compete with Bruce.
She’s advertising herself, and then I remembered the TV ads I had seen that use the 2001 music, as a mobile holistic chicken slaughterer specialist. The greenies love it, Bruce says. No loyalty, he says.
I asked if he had read The Tao of Chicken Slaughtering by Sharon Gould (Black Imp, 2006) but he said he hadn’t heard of it. I thought it might give him some ideas for competing. He could do incantations and burn joss sticks and things like that. Tracey is also concerned and she offered to get a copy from the library when she goes to collect the book she is waiting for about the bonking historian but Bruce said he was going to speak to his dealer. He would fix it, said Bruce.
So, to take his mind off his problems, we talked about happier things and Tracey told me what they did on Invasion Day. She calls it that because her university supervisor (online) asked her to write an essay about the effects of Invasion Day on her own life. It was really easy said Tracey. She asked if I had ever Googled “invasion day.” I haven’t, she has. She said there was so much there that the essay just wrote itself, sort of.
Actually this Australia Day was a bit difficult for Tracey as she had to have the talk with her daughter about Life. It’s a milestone in the coming of age of every Australian child and the moment every parent dreads, says Tracey. But it couldn’t be helped because her daughter, the bigger one, is getting to an age when she asks the big questions.
So, Tracey sat her down and explained that Aborigines are white and black people come from Sudan. Afterwards, she said, she breathed a real sigh of relief but she thinks it all went down pretty well. And actually the kid didn’t seem terribly interested. She had only asked because she had been watching the TV news. Tracey is pretty relieved that all the other stuff kids want to know about, things like sex and drugs, are handled by experts on DVDs.
However, it seems that she and her single mother’s family – her mum, Bruce and the kids – really celebrated Australia Day properly.
For lunch, in the afternoon when they all woke up, they had hot cross buns, a takeaway vindaloo with garlic naan on the side (that was for Bruce who is Chinese from Manchester, in England), ice cream and crisps with full strength Coca-Cola. Tracey said it was all very nice.
It was a lovely summer’s day and Tracey, who has been a bit worried that her kids are spending too much time in their rooms on their computers, got them all together. They had a real family time watching DVDs.
Tracey had been through their collection and chosen some classics they all like. On Australia Day 2009 they watched Disney’s Peter Pan, Schindler’s List, Wolf Creek and a couple of Jackie Chan movies whose names I have forgotten. Afterwards they were a bit tired so they watched TV but there was nothing much on.
When she woke up on the couch Tracey was feeling a bit peckish and fancied a bag of potato crisps but the kids had finished them all during Schindler’s List so she and Bruce went to bed. All they could find to finish the day were some of her mum’s pills, she’s the one with Alzheimer’s, which had slipped down between the cushions on the couch.
It was a really lovely Invasion Day, said Tracey. Bruce just grunted and said something rude about colonials but I don’t think he was serious.