So I've spent a lot of time in the last few days reading books - not very exciting, but my days of making things up died when Yahoo chat stopped being interesting. Anyway, I've been reading the William Shatner book a lot lately. Part of that book is all about how if Mr Shatner is enthusiastic about something, he basically rings up every single one of his friends and badgers them into liking it also - for instance, if he likes a prime rib restaurant, he goes on and on about it until everyone else is eating there. It's an interesting pay off for the prime rib restaurant - sure, business increases, but who wants to go to the restaurant where you can't get the best table because Shatner found it? And it's a lot of pressure to keep one man happy since he's basically providing all your customers.
Anyway, enthusiasms - now I was taught in Scotland that having over enthusiasms was incredibly bad, and punishable. However, I do have some enthusiasms - the ring work of Leilani Kai, the tennis career of Anke Huber, both series of the Henderson Kids, wondering what happened to Frankie Raso, the musical stylings of Melissa Mars, the complexities of Kim Pages WCW entrance video - the usual. Although I also find a lot of my enthusiasms are rooted in hatred - a hatred of Collingwood (even though I support them), a hatred of work, a hatred of Sharelle McMahon...so on and so on. However, I did want to do a post of an enthusiasm of mine that has only really come to me in the last few days since I started blogging - the Australian Post Office.
Let me underline that this is the Australian Post Office not the British Post Office. The British Post Office is a horrible place. To emphasise this point, let me talk you through a day in the British Post Office - you queue for something, some old people grumble about one of two things, either the length of the queue or your being ahead of them in the queue, and then you get pretty much chewed out regardless by someone for either not walking fast enough or not walking slow enough. It's like the last bastion of pure unadulaterated non PC bitching. God help you if you are an ethnic minority, I can only imagine what they say about you. In Kilmarnock, I was completely bitched on for being an Australian, just because I had a Gold Coast Chargers top on. I tell you, Postman Pat might have been a fantastic man who delivered in all kinds of weather with his loveable kooky cat, but even his spirit would have been crushed after five minutes in Kilmarnock post office on pension day.
The Australian Post Office however is a fantastic place, like a little junk shop where people somehow buy stamps as well. Just to take a post office at random, the post office in Burnie until very recently was still selling antique 1995 Fitzroy toy vans. Now, Fitzroy went out of business in 1996, so these things if flung on Ebay would be worth a fortune. Yet there they are, sitting in a little sale tray table for 50c. You want to pretend Steve Irwin didn't die? There's Steve Irwin DVDs everywhere. Hi-5 aren't getting paid enough? Prop up their income with a CD or two, purchased for a dollar from the post office! It's the last bastion of stamp collecting, which isn't as crazy as it sounds. When I was growing up, the local newsagent was as insane about stamps as the local pervert was about the bikini girls in Australia post. Not now though. Most newsagents have become progressively grumpy and stick to their routine with a grudging despair. Luckily, the post office is obvious safe haven for the stamp obsessive - I think it's part of the interview process. They show you a Red Guinea from the 1800s and see how impressed you are. Plus, you just know the sorting office is rife with theft and mockery. How much of a funhouse must that be!
However, the reason I'm really enthusiastic about the post office in Australia is that it's probably the last place a confused old battler can sit down and spend the day. In Britain security or pushy staff would probably throw the old battler out, but in Australia a battler has two choices, sit in the post office or hide in the library. Hey, I can't talk about the library, I spent most of my unemployed days in the library flirting idly with single mothers and hiding in the sports section. However, the Internet is now something you have to pay for, and to the best of my knowledge there's nothing on microfiche anymore. You can certainly enjoy a relaxing day in the university library, but it gets a bit boring around lunch time and for the older gentlemen there's the possibility of sticking out like a sore thumb amidst the gathering of hippy radicals and lefties. So, the post office it is to while some time away before Million Dollar Wheel Of Fortune. I only realised this when I went in to go and get my passport picture taken. This is an elaborate process in the post office, involving the slender Asian woman behind the counter getting out a box brownie from the 40s and winding it up for ten minutes. However, in the corner in a designated area was an old female battler having a nap. I felt bad disturbing the woman, but a passport photo is a passport photo. We had to poke her with a stick to wake her up. However she didn't take that as an invitation to leave the post office, she simply shifted down two seats and went straight back to sleep. And no one batted an eye lid. And I loved that very fact and was proud that old battlers had somewhere to go, in fact, a multitude of places - the casino, the post office, a local pub where you can have a tab - I really appreciate that my retirement is so well planned.
It's a wonderful world out there. There's something in this Shatner thought process.