20 March 2004

Another Friday night and another shift at the restaurant that I wait tables at. I usually like to get there at least five minutes early by last night I was running just on time. It’s getting harder to find a park these days as there a lot of construction happen in the area and parking bays get reserved for truck and such. So I ended up having to park around the corner from work which si ok except that I have to walk down the main street wearing my bright blue gold embroided Thai shirt (I work in a Thai restaurant) Now being a Friday night the main part of town is like a Mecca for teenagers and Bogans. And you’re bound to get some kind of homophobic or just plain ignorant comment vaulted at you. I locked the car and rounded the corner, so far so good, I thought. I was about halfway there when I could see four teenage Bogans* coming my way with an entourage of tacky looking girls; walking submissively behind the guys of coarse.
Just look blankly straight ahead, I thought, don’t look down or don’t show fear, this was my strategy. I was almost home safe when right at the point of passing the nearest one let out a sudden and violent growl at me! Obviously I jumped, it was unexpected, a natural reaction. The group of girls behind them started laughing hilariously. I was fuming, how dare they? I instantly wanted to run up behind him and go berserker on his arse, or even just yell back some witty quip that they would never understand. But I thought, I don’t want to be as stupid as them why should I lower myself? I figured his punishment could be living the rest of his life as a dumb bogan, always wondering why things don’t work out for him. Why his girlfriend left him from only one beating, what the cops have got against drug dealing and car theft.
I started my shift feeling nervy and jumping not being able to swallow what happened. I hate being harassed on the street, but it happens so often here living in Ballarat. Last year I wrote about how only in Ballarat would someone hang out the door of a moving car (as I witnessed) and yell abuse at two passers by (Heather and I) Fellow cartoonist David Blumenstein wrote to me and said, “You must of never been to Newcastle…I go there for the young writers festival and it happens all the time…”

*Bangers, Bevens, Westies, what have you.

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