As the temperature climbed into the 30's today, I packed the kiddies into the car and took them down to the Leichhardt pool for a dip. Along with just about everyone else in the suburb. I thought I had taken a wrong turn for a minute and driven to a swimming pool in Tokyo, such was the crush.
But if I was in Tokyo, I would have been surrounded by polite people.
The language definitely told me I was not in Tokyo.
In days gone by, I went to the pool for one reason only, and that was to try and churn out 50 laps and then go home. (Getting my car without power steering out of the car park after 50 laps was always a challenge, since I could barely raise my arms to scratch my nose). Now, I spend most of my time messing around with a Monkey on my back. I wear a rashie for the simple reason that he has viciously sharpened finger nails, and I prefer that he digs them into the rashie rather than my skin.
Since my head is above water 99.5% of the time, instead of below it, I get to see and hear what my fellow pool-people are like. That's a big change from doing laps, where you have to surmise what someone might be like by the shape of their feet or the colour of their bathers. I don't have to do that anymore - I just watch and listen.
Most of the time, things are pretty dull. The indoor pool will be full of kids around the 1-4 year old range, and most of the forty-something mums sit in a chair by the side of the pool instead of jumping in for a splash with the youngsters. I get the raised eyebrow from time to time for wanting to throw the Monkey into the air and have him come down in an enormous splash. Many of the mums have this look of, "Can we just get this over and done with so I can go home and have some vodka?"
But enough of that.
Today was Wigger Day. Within a minute of getting into the water, my attention had been drawn to a girl of about 14-15 and her sister, who looked about 6. What got my attention was that as I towed the Monkey past them, the elder yelled at the younger, "Get over here, you f*&cking c*&t!", and yelled it with a lot of aggression.
Now I am usually non-plussed by swearing. I've been bawled out by instructors who managed to turn the air blue for long periods of time. But I am unused to that kind of language in a public place between sisters.
Except that over the next hour, it became clear that they were aboriginal.
Why did it take me an hour to work that out?
Because both were paler than me, and I am the albino of our family. When dad goes out in the sun, you could mistake him for Kamahl after a few hours, but I could get sunburn in a submarine 50 metres beneath the Arctic icepack. That's how pale I am. And these two were whiter than I.
As I towed the Monkey up and down the pool, I went past this wigger on a number of occasions, and noted that she had a very highly developed case of defiance and an enormous chip on her shoulder. She would mouth off from time to time, just to show that she was "different" and "special".
What a plonker.
When we left, she was part of a brood that walked out to the carpark at the same time. There were 7 or 8 of them, all young kids, and she was yelling about being stressed because "I haven't had a bong this afternoon". Wow. You are so tough. Smoking a bong a few times a day and bragging about it in public. She was making some sort of statement to the kids, which consisted of around 30 words - 20 of them being "fuck", or one of its derivatives.
Why are we not allowed to brand these people with a big "L" on their forehead?
Here's the rub.
On most visits to that pool, I swim and splash alongside a lot of people that I would describe as noticeably Aboriginal or Islander or Melonesian. They don't look like they are 100% Aboriginal or whatever, but they are Aboriginal enough to be worried if the KKK ever comes to town.
The thing is, they are no different to you and me in their behaviour - they play with their kids, are polite and watch what they are doing. Afterwards, they sit in the cafe having an icecream and whiping the mess of their children's faces. If our kids crash into each other, we look each other in the eye and smile and shrug our shoulders and have that little moment of connection between two parents who are trying to keep their kids safe whilst having a good time, and trying to stop them from interfering with others whilst they are doing it. They are middle-class, well adjusted Australians who happen to have a better tan than me. They are probably happy to be termed "aspirational".
But that wigger and her brood - they were anything but. I thought about it afterwards and decided that her behaviour was all about exclusion - she didn't want to join in with the rest of us, or allow us to interact with her. She wanted to stay aloof and different. I have read about "social inclusion" policies in the UK, and can see what they are on about. But what do you do when people are "socially excluded" because they like it that way? At one point, she crashed into us, and I had that little moment of looking her in the eye as I turned around to see who we had collided with, and all I got was a "What the fuck are you looking at?" type of hostility.
I will make an enormous and unfounded leap here and say that she is probably a welfare case (there is a big housing commission development not far from the pool, and I have been through it and seen her feral type there all to often). People like this want us to pay our taxes to support them in their chosen lifestyle, but then they do everything possible not to join in with what I would call the "civil society".
Am I being mean when I say, "Just cut the fuckers off?" If you want out, we're not paying for you.
The best thing about this entire encounter was that I pointed her out to Junior and explained what a "wigger" is, and what it means to be a complete and utter loser. It was a good lesson in trying to reinforce what behaviours that are unacceptable.
I am sure I will get a note from the school next week complaining that he used "wigger" in the playground, and I will have to appear before a Human Rights star chamber somewhere.
When I mentioned this to J, her comment was that she couldn't understand why people should try to deliberately degrade themselves instead of bettering themselves. Her parents arrived in this country with nothing, started their own business and raised their kids to do the best they can. Wanting to be a wanna-be gangster wigger is just the pits.