Palm trees, a sweet breeze….. I pity you southern suckers
I awake to the sound of the fan. Tick, tick, tick… It’s 6:13 am and my alarm is due to go off in two minutes. I am wide awake thanks to the beam of sun that is shining through the gap in those dodgy broken blinds I’ve been meaning to fix for about three years.
I kick off the sheet. My bare feet land on the cool tiles. I draw the blinds and stare at the blue cloudless sky that awaits me. There is a gentle breeze in the palm trees and while lost in the chatter of the fronds, my state of delirium is destroyed by old mate next door, who I see is out trimming the hedges in his DTs again.
As I toddle off to work via my 20 minute drive into the city (where I park in the council-supplied all day free parking), I’m really irked I got that one red light. I pass several surveyors who are beginning on the decades-awaited southern highway upgrade. They are shirtless but keep their high-vis vests undone. I glance back at the thermometer in my car. It’s 22 degrees. Ah, the depths of winter in FNQ. It’s quite a challenge.
So how did your morning commute go today? I am at work by 7:30am, I have a coffee in hand and I am ready for my day.
Australia is a land of division. We are always caught up in city vs country, east vs west and all the other trivial arguments that come with the territory. The north is where it is at, though it never seems to be included in such displays of one-upmanship. Not that I really have a problem with that because today I am too busy gazing out my window and seeing this and thinking of this.
When the globe was in the grips of World War II in 1942, the controversial “Brisbane Line” was allegedly suggested as a potential saviour of Australia’s larger cities Sydney and Melbourne. Thankfully, it never eventuated and as I wallow in my predicted 26 degree maximum temp smugness, I wonder what Australia would be like if north of Brisbane did not exist to us?
We supply a lot of your food, yet you get first dibbs on it at market before it travels back to us. We hold most of the commodities that everyone proudly proclaims “belongs to the people of Australia”, yet we see little of that benefit in terms of infrastructure. We are the gateway to Asia (the economies keeping Australia afloat), yet Darwin Airport escalator had a very irritating squeak which I could only put down to poor maintenance…
One begins to wonder why the south of this land was colonised before the north? We have the better climate, more friable soil, all the water you would ever need and some of the most beautiful landscapes on this planet – but the south is better?
I get it, the reef was there and Jimmy C hit it in his boat, but when we realised what was up here, why didn’t our direction change? Just this past weekend Australian sporting champion Chris McCormack confirmed that this is the place to be, but the opinions on my part of Australia held by southerners has not changed in decades. This place is the pits apparently. We may contribute lots and get little in return, but we make do and we make it good.
I genuinely wonder what goes through your mind when you put on those layers, plunge your hands into those gloves and constrict your airways with a woolly scarf. You exit your front door and embark on a commute that sees your stress levels rise, your personal space invaded, your hip pocket hit and your senses offended. Why do you do it?
For Art? We too have museums and I wonder if you go to them as often as I do? For the “lifestyle”? What lifestyle? For the “Culcha”? Wait, Australia now has one? For the amazing people? Who, that bloke’s armpit you sniffed on the way to work this morning? Don’t tell me its all about the food and wine?
If you’re not up here, you’re missing out. SImple as that!!
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