Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A lie very obviously

As the girl got into the train at Macdonaldtown station I heard her saying into her phone that the train had been really slow and in fact it had been sitting for a while between Macdonaldtown and Redfern – a lie very obviously, as the train had still yet to go to Redfern station – but so used are we to hearing such lies that none of us said anything. No one even looked up.

Someone is thinking of swine flu

So far I’ve seen three people wearing surgical masks: a young couple in Chinatown and an older man crossing that part near Newtown station where the blue wheelie bins, too full, are disgorging their contents onto the street.

He wasn't rich here

He told us that in China, when he worked for China Shipping, he worked from eight in the morning to midnight, and since the company owned the hospital next door, all the employees had free beds to sleep there. In the middle of the night – at four in the morning, say – he would have to wake himself out of his hospital bed to make a call to check on a ship which was just at that moment due to arrive in a foreign harbour. It was like being in jail, he said. He never saw the sun. He never wanted to work in an office again. At midnight the elevator doors would open and those elevators were full. Everyone worked late.

In Australia he was intending to buy a restaurant, but when we said that he would be working long hours in a restaurant – even working all day and long into the night – he just smiled as if he didn’t understand.

Someone said he would have been rich in China. He said: yes, in China, but he wasn’t rich here.