November 21, 2009
By Helvi Oosterman
We make lists of our ten favourite books or movies frequently. At dinner parties we have light hearted discussions about which ten items we would rescue from a burning house or what ten things we would need to comfort us if we had to spend a month alone on a lonely island.
There are things that have puzzled me in the past, some of these have been explained to me; most of them are utterly trivial, some irritating, and all of them just a source of amusement to me. Here they are, not in an order of importance as most of them are not overly important at all.
- Why do we dress baby boys in blue and girls in pink? Is it because we are shy about asking baby’s gender, or that we don’t really feel like offering to change baby’s nappy to find out the sneaky way…
- Driving through lush green valleys of South Coast, I see a sign indicating that I have entered the City of Shoalhaven. Where , where…? Not a house, nor a shop anywhere, plenty of cows, farmers on their tractors, but churches or city squares, no. Same in the city of Sydney, you arrive in a suburb of Campsie and I’m told in smaller writing: City of Canterbury. Maybe you have a town , thus named in England, but this is just another suburb and the only city here is Sydney.
- I’m in somewhere, in someone’s office to sign some transaction or other; I’m well equipped with my driver’s licence, my passport, my rates’ notice, my husband with all his papers. This is not good enough; you have to go and sign this in front of a justice of peace, there’s a dentist on the second floor, madam. No way am I going to interrupt a busy tooth doctor at work, he doesn’t know me any better than this lousy clerk. Time to throw a little tantrum and time to ask his name and to call the boss. The boss wants me out and signing happens without any dental surgeons at present.
- I’m a member of a local club and showing my card, any card really will do as I sometimes accidentally show healthcare card, and yet the girl at the desk waves me in. If you are not a member you are forced to sign some papers, put your address in, just to have a chance to eat a bowl of pasta with a glass of white.
- I still sometimes enter a chemist shop, where the chemist himself, the mixer of potions, stands on something elevated, on a kind of podium. Why? Is he better than the newsagent bloke next door, humbly standing there at the level of his customers? Is the chemist keeping a sharp eye on shop lifters; you can spot them better from his lofty position?
Now, folks, I need a rest and a coffee break; these baffling things take a lot out of you. On your permission, I’ll stop now, and if you absolutely demand, I’ll reveal the remaining five…
Tags: Helvi Oosterman