mr. zilla goes to town

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Vulnerabilities

People say there's no real difference between the USA and Australia these days. We watch a lot of the same TV shows, we fight in the same wars. Our middle class white teenagers share the same aspirations to wear saggy-baggy-elephant pants that -- were it not for gbangers or boxers -- would show enough crack to put a plumber to shame. (Damnit kids, in the ghettos they're smoking crack, not showing it off).

I take exception. For example. Here the morning cafe paradigm is self-service. Line up, make your own trip to the counters, quiverngly accept your ration of coffee, fall into a seat, read the newspaper. It's not so easy to manage some days. I just don't feel as nurtured in my environment, I'm nostalgic for the world of Gus's and Tosolinis.

On the other hand, at the other end of the day, there's not a bar or pub in town where you won't receive insistent and compulsory table service. Back home you'll always be somewhere up the back in a three deep scrum for the bar.

What does this say about us? Uncharitably, that seppos can't hold their ale and to stay seated while its brought to them? It's a dangerous practice -- at least with semi-regular trips to the bar you're getting some calibration of how far down the stairs to the keg cellar you've stumbled. Have a couple and a couple more and a couple more as a kind waitress keeps popping by and you can be in for a rude shock when it comes time to leave. But does it also imply that Americans get out of bed with a spring in their step, ready to run the world, and so uncoddled they take their daily dose on their own two feet? Is it aussie cultural cringe that leaves us melted, mewling, just wishing that the banging noises in our head would stop and I could find the happy quiet place of contemplation on an autumn morning over a steaming long black?

Probably not. It could just be that no one, anywhere in the world, is either inclined or capable of working out a 15% tip before 8am. It's much easier just to sack the waitress.

mzgtw, eye to the magifying glass, inches from the pavement, bringing you all the crucial cultural analysis, as usual.

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