The men who live opposite put not one but two Australian flags over their balcony yesterday. Bloody hell.
'The men opposite' intrigue me, in a distantly sociological kind of way. I'd guess that they rent the house, not own it. There seem to be three of them living there, though random other heterosexual men seem to wander through. They're not that young any more - late 20s at the least, mid-30s for one of them, though it could be the fact that he's balding makes him look older. He'd be the one on the lease. He drives an Audi, so I'd guess he's something like a marketing manager. The others have what I take to be expensive cars as well. Cars feature prominently in their daily routines and conversations. The Audi has a Ralph sticker on it - that's the type of men they are.
Every couple of months they have a loud party, at which they sing raucously and very drunkly till about 3am. Often these parties seem to be male-only affairs, (but don't worry, they're not poofters). Not long after we moved in, the Audi driver had a loud conversation with his ex-fiancee on his mobile phone about getting the bloody ring back, even though the cost of it didn't matter to him - it most definitely did not matter to him (repeated loudly several times) that the ring had cost $8000.
The Audi driver regularly gets paralytically drunk and abuses the other men at the top of his lungs. At these times he sounds like a fifteen year old boy screaming at his parents. None of them seems to give a shit about the fact that they let it all hang out. Perhaps we can be very easily dismissed as the middle aged women who live opposite (I'm not sure if they would have figured out we're a couple - I'm not sure if we would have entered their consciousness to that extent. They seem too busy being ostentatiously obnoxious to worry about anyone else.)
They do a lot of walking around while loudly talking on their mobiles - they walk in the yard and out into the street. Not many cars pass by in our street, so they can stand in the middle of it and talk on their phones. All of which gives me a valuable glimpse of how the dominant half lives.
But two flags? Double the patriotism?
At the sight of the flags, Olle said "Go Aussie". Today's children learn this kind of slogan early. It's in the air they breathe.
Poor boy, it must be confusing to him to have parents who were almost spitting at the tv during the 15 minutes - 15 MINUTES - of ABC news time given to breathless reporting of Anzac Day ceremonies in Canberra, Sydney, Solomon Islands, Kokoda, Iraq and Gallipoli this evening. Actually, it's me, the fifth generation Australian, who was spitting. Co-parent, a mere migrant, was merely bemused.
Oh, on one hand I can laugh at it, but actually this kind of blanket reverentiality (is that a word?) frightens me. It's such nationalistic, militaristic crap. It presents such a uniform picture in which not a single word of dissent is heard. That our national identity is based on military battles is not to be questioned.
In a way I'd like to know what the two flags mean to the men opposite. Then again, I don't know that I could bear to hear what they'd say.