Posts Tagged ‘Coke’

Time at the Petrol Bowser

November 13, 2014

The humble Kalanchoe

The humble Kalanchoe

We all have to do this. Fill up the car’s fuel tank at the petrol station. With the price of oil dropping by about twenty percent we would expect a similar drop in petrol. Not so, it has dropped, but not by as much as the Brent Crude oil price. It figures. The companies have to make up for the lower price by holding onto the higher price paid at the bowser for their dear life or dear profit. ‘Our Dear Brent Crude give us our daily Bollinger Oh la la French Champers;

The oil devout execs must be praying, eyes slanted piously upwards.

I can’t think of anything less inspiring than poking the fuel hose through the inlet opening of the fuel tank. In my car it has a spring loaded cover under which is a black cap with below it a dire warning ‘Diesel.’ It is about as far as my reading goes. Just one word, ‘Diesel’. However on the bowser itself are several items that one can read. ‘Please pay before moving car’ is one sentence, but there is more. Several options and grades of fuels with their different prices to study, but,… there is more, much more still. ‘Spend another five dollars you get another 4c off’ it states frankly but insistently.

Those words include vivid images of an ice cream called ‘Gay-Time’ and a slanting open soft drink bottle. (usually a 600 ml Coke bottle). The slant and the gushing out of the brown liquid is to invoke a kind of latent or hidden thirst in the petrol purchaser, almost imagining the fluid going down the throat and giving the two second joy as a decoy for true happiness. That’s what those images promise, true satisfaction of fake thirst sated and a more happy, happy feeling.

The problem is that once the hose is in the aperture one just has to watch the bowser tick over. This is when an overwhelming ennui takes over. I am desperate for a diversion, any diversion away from the maddening ticking over of the bowser. But I get drawn in each time. It is an addiction. I don’t want to miss out on the exact Fifty dollar amount that I always use as a limit and aim by the cent to achieve this. Don’t ask where this originates from. Perhaps the bombing of Rotterdam or maybe the Kipfler potato.

It is a small ambition, I know, but heaven help me out of this dreadful concentration of such a stupefying event. As I get nearer the fifty dollar mark my concentration reaches fever pitch. I slowly, cent by cent increments crawl towards the forty nine dollars eighty eight cents and then take a breather, surveying the situation calmly, collect my thoughts and try not to look down the floral blouse of the lady next to me, also bending and busy with bowser. I ignore the distraction and bravely continue on till the Fifty dollar is reached, right on the dot. Such triumph!

I walk to the garage and hand over my previously extracted fifty dollar note that I have kept in my closed fist just for that purpose. ‘Receipt?’ ‘No thanks.’ I walk out, relieved it is over.

And that’s that. More me, me.

The sated body

June 24, 2013

untitledBack in the fifties people ate when hungry. Now we eat to pass the time and make our lives bearable… A terrible ennui has settled on our lives. Where does it come from?

Relentlessly our jaws move up and down mastication huge portions of salt/fat encrusted nuggets or swallowing sugary slurpies. When the backlog of this food overflows back up into our throats, only then we chuck it out but… before long we again start the process of queuing at the take-away, obediently assuaging the commercial captains of take-a-way empires… and so it goes on, day after day. Relentless endless chewing, it passes the time.

According to the statistics, about half of the world goes hungry and yet half of the world’s food production of 4 billion tonnes a year gets thrown out. It doesn’t make for cheerful reading and what makes it even less cheerful is that even though half the world goes hungry and is malnourished, the same goes for the other half. They are just bigger but also undernourished. Overfed but undernourished. It’s a neck on neck race between the underfed and overfed. One wishes that each party would meet half way and make for a better and healthier world for all.

The above article by Dr Margaret Chan, of WHO and Director General writes: “In many cases, highly processed foods are the cheapest and most convenient way to fill an empty stomach. The world certainly needs to feed its nearly 7 billion inhabitants. But we do not need to feed them junk food,” she said.
“In the absence of urgent action, the rising financial burden of these diseases will reach levels that are beyond the capacity of even the wealthiest countries in the world to cope.”

It makes for grim reading.

It seems that finally the issue of junk food might have to be tackled the same as smoking. Is it not really a furphy to say that our choice in eating and food ought to be left alone and that education on good dietary habits will sort it all out? It hasn’t worked so far and the problem is getting worse.

The might of the multi corporate are no match for the mums and dads flat out fighting the television advertisements urging kids to eat coco pops for breakfasts and Big Macs for the rest of the week gurgled down by 3 litres Coke bottles. They win out no matter what. I noticed the logos of Big Macs appearing on public school sport uniforms during school sport. Amazing! For the big boys the football fields are festooned by huge alcohol advertisements. Sport and alcohol together with Big Macs, surely they are an oxymoron?

In Australia cigarettes are now only legally sold behind closed cupboard doors and without their brands allowed to be recognizable by packaging. So all cigarette packaging look the same with warnings of dire consequences on the outside still very prominent. Laws are in place where smoking outside on cafe and restaurant terraces is permitted in special designated tables away from the general areas. Smokers are nervous and looking decidedly forlorn and lonely, some stifling sobs and moans. Many feel they are looked upon as the pariahs of society. Jails in the NT are stopping the sale of tobacco and cigarettes but prisoners are given patches for those that ask for them. It’s going to be a tense time with guards on the alert.

Experts reckon that obesity is a worse problem than smoking, so…does it not follow that similar actions to smoking will finally be taken against junk food? It stands to reason. Does it not?

When we were young and skinny, food was what one ate to relieve hunger. A piece of cake or cordial drink was for birthdays, special celebrations or Christmas. Now youngsters walk around with a Coke in one hand and an I/Pod in the other. If a whim takes them they cheerfully chuck half a full bottle of coke in the park and no one blinks. I don’t see hordes of thirsty people going for that bottle nestling itself between the gnarled roots of an old oak tree. What used to be a reward or something to really look forward to is accepted as being the norm and for every day. They yawn as the Big Mac quarter pounder is chomped down into an already sated body.

Will they ever find the errors of their choices? “If thou wilt needs damn thyself” of Othello springs to mind. It’s not love though that they seek; it’s just junk food and it is a killer.

With the heavy rain of late, our creek at the back of our town is flooding but it has flotsam of take away food containers forming a dam across the water together with polystyrene shopping bags. Sooner or later this dam will break and a stormwater will finally take it all to the big river and then into the ocean.
In the meantime half the world goes hungry.
It is unfair.

The sad Case of a drowned Mobile.

February 14, 2012


I don’t think that those mobile phones are always kept so close to the heart as we imagine. In my case, in my shirt pocket. I see most people on the street carrying them in their hands. It’s almost as if people are afraid of the device escaping. The mobile phone has almost become a bit of an extra body-part, like an artificial hip or implant. Some aficionados of the mobile have special ear-plugs and can receive orders or demands without actually holding the mobile to their ears. Most people like to hold and fondle them though.

The latest phones have become much less a phone and more of an extension of doing the living for the person. Many, many, especially the young, now allow living to be done by this mobile gadget. By the way, why do we still call it a ‘mobile’? Mobile seems to indicate something large or cumbersome, indicating it can be carried, but only just. The more articulate in Europe call them ‘cell-phones’ which is indicative of something more macro-biotic or at least ‘small’.

The ‘living’ done by cell phone is not about having an artificial heart or even a bypass but more like enjoying two hearts or three legs. If the battery runs out or one takes a long bath, life still manages to go on, a bit precariously may be, hovering on the edge of a fatal abyss, but it still survives. At the moment it is a neck on neck race by young people holding on to their Coke bottle and the Iphone. Notice the change from ‘mobile’ to ‘cell-phone’ and now to ‘Iphone’.

Iphone means ‘I am the phone,’ the phone and I are inseparable and are now one. To see those Iphone and Coke holders crossing the road with kids in tow is awesome. I saw one mum crossing a busy intersection while, amazingly, texting on her phone with the hand that held the Coke bottle AND acrobatically sipping the Coke in between texting words while her kids were holding on for dear life lashed onto her threadbare and torn jeans. What I would not give for a peek at her text message. What was so burningly urgent it all had to be done while crossing the road and what level of unimaginable dehydration she suffered that she could not cross without sipping the Coke?

Perhaps the next generation of those bodily addendums will be the Uphone. A phone for U (you). It’ll be a gift phone that you sprinkle around the Christmas tree. The grandchildren will love you. They can twitter and tweet, twixt the tree and the kitchen tap, an insurmountable distance to overcome without a quick tweet first. A bit like the Volvo car ad where the kids on the back seat secretly phone the driving dad at the front, dad picks up the phone through the Blue Tooth ‘special’ Volvo capability. The whole family breaks out in unrestrained happy mirth all meticulously filmed, as always, on a peaceful deserted Swedish road. The week after the advertisements many couples in their new Volvo are all sour faced now, dead- locked in a traffic snarl with little relief from the Blue Tooth…No one films that oracle.

My own fourteen year old Nokia had an amazing escape from death by drowning. As is my want, I am an early riser and scan the laptop for any dire news. The break-out of war perhaps, or another Arab Spring country uprising /rioting, all reported on Iphone. Journalists are not allowed in, so all that footage can’t be verified, the newsreader solemnly declares. As if Mr. Murdoch’s journalists are any more trustworthy of news than the rioting Arab holders of Iphone. It seems strange that when the news is told by the people who make the news, somehow, it can’t be verified.

When I have finished verifying all the misery on the lap-top, coffee has generally percolated and the day starts in earnest. I quickly scan my old Nokia for any missed calls and then generally waste an hour or so just pacing between the bedroom and kitchen, moving a fork here or teaspoon there, rinse a plate and try and work up enough courage and chutzpah to finally get going.

The day of the near drowning of the Nokia was the same as any other day. Nothing was there to indicate anything abnormal or different from thousands of other mornings. The ABC news ‘Just In’ had yet again given the usual diet of hundreds dying of war and riot, the weather forecast was for more rain and a Liberal Party minister had visited  another factory in Queensland somewhere and  was shown wearing a miner’s helmet with the usual awkward confidence of a cow before the stun gun.

My morning coat that had survived so much bad news now needed a good solid wash with both water and temperature on the washing machines set at ‘high’. I nonchalantly chucked in the garment together with other light coloured items. I had totally forgotten that my faithful old Nokia was in its top pocket. The poor old sod went through the complete program including a ferocious mad spinning cycle.  And this, dear readers is how my mobile came (almost) to such a sad end.

I now have an Iphone. Soon I too will be crossing a road and will text like mad, even tweet.

Why do those things happen?

Ps. The old Nokia did a complete Lazarus and after drying it on a warm electric blanket for a few days, somersaulted back into life, even its memory of old phone numbers.