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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Just a spoonful of governance

Recently the New South Wales Government announced it was going to trial ‘marshals’ to guard the early morning train doors at platform three of Town Hall Station in Sydney. You can see the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage of the story here.

Unfortunately this is one of the platforms I use as I head to work on those rare mornings I do. As someone who would never run to jump on a train just as its dodgy doors are about to close (why bother, there’s always another train), I feel quite offended that a ‘sheriff’, sans cool star-shaped badge, will now be watching over me and 50,000 of my closest commuters.

Interestingly, these marshals will be ‘trained’.

What does this mean? How many months of training will they have? Will they be trained to form a human barrier to stop you getting on the train too close to departure time? Will they have one of those poles with a wire lasso on the end to catch those errant people who try to board as the train is attempting to move away? Will they be able to tackle you, preferably between the shoulders and knee, if you attempt to board a train? Will they have a taser to stop you from over-stepping the mark (if this is the case then I want them to have years or decades of training)?

Are these further steps in building a nanny state? Maybe it’s what we need. The Government could just give us all nannies to help live better. Imagine a Mary Poppins like helper there for you all the time, reminding you to do things nicely and correctly.

There are people who travel along my street, particularly at three in the morning, who  could do with a person sitting by their side, fully seat belted of course, suggesting they could drive a little, or even a fair bit, slower. And they could remind them they should get someone to take a look at the exhaust pipe.

Maybe all dog owners could have a nanny with them when they take their pooch for a walk. The nanny could carry the little plastic bags needed when ‘Rover’ stops to do his business.

Wouldn’t it be great to have nannies holding fans for us or providing individual oxygen tents as we make our way from the arrivals hall to the taxi rank at the airport. Or better still we could have nannies for each of the smokers who stand by the door desperate for the post-plane puff. However, these nannies would need to be supplied with respirators or other breathing apparatus so the secondary smoking wouldn’t be an occupational hazard.

We could have nannies with us when we use public toilets to make sure we keep the seat clean, use the right amount of toilet paper (how this is judged I have no idea), flush properly (the full-half flush conundrum would be solved), make sure we don’t put inappropriate things into the bowl and put paper towels in the rubbish bins. We could even have nannies there to make sure we wash our hands. Ideally they would also open the bathroom door for us so we don’t risk cross contamination from someone whose nanny fell asleep and wasn’t reminded to wash their hands (it’s bound to happen, these nannies are going to be busy people).

For me though, the perfect nanny would be the one who reminds you people on platform four at Town Hall station at around 5.30pm on a weekday afternoon who stand at the yellow line even though your train is third in line to arrive, to step back. You see, for us others who actually want to board the next train, you’re in our way. And at the moment there isn’t a nanny to bore a path for me through your masses. Thus I am forced, sans nanny, to walk the fine edge of the platform and hope to make it inside the train before the dodgy doors close on me.

Maybe we need these marshals after all. I wonder if Mary Poppins is free to lead the training?

Perfect days

The anticipation

Two weeks ago I was preparing for what could potentially be one of the most exciting days of my life.

I am reminded of a song by Bryan Adams where he recalls heady times bashing around in, one presumes, his garage with some mates making music and how those days were the ‘best’. Obviously he led a pretty unfulfilled life from the time of those bashing days up until the point of the release of the song. Could he see in to the future? Surely some great event may still fall his way? Could it not be providing songs for the soundtrack of Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood would give him some good days? This guy has sung with Sting and Rod Stewart so unquestionably they were fabulous days, weren’t they?

It’s often a surprise to others when I say that one of the best days of my life was in September 2005, the day I was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to see the Sydney Swans win the Grand Final in the Australian Football League.

It’s something the Cliche and I have given each other permission to say. Yes, it was even better than our wedding day. For so many reasons. That isn’t to suggest our wedding day wasn’t fabulous. It certainly was. But we have the rest of our lives together and as the Cliche rightly points out, who wants to think it’s all downhill from there. We’ve had some extraordinary (by that I mean best) days since then, or early mornings in particular as M1 and then M2 arrived to brighten our lives. And the Cliche has been to two successful Grand Finals since then and I know how much they mean to him.

So was the 2012 Sydney Swans Grand Final winning day one of the best of my life?

Absolutely. It is a truly rare occasion where one gets to see their football team take the ultimate prize in the competition. You fight to get a ticket to the game. The cost of said ticket is high. You have to find a way of getting to the ground (distance from Sydney to Melbourne = 877.9 kilometres) coupled with the cost of getting to the ground. And then getting home again (in the same day).

It’s worth it when you’ve given up your Sunday afternoons of winter sunshine to sit in front of the television to watch every match. It’s all worth it when the siren sounds and you can finally breathe properly. It’s worth it when you can hug the complete stranger sitting next to you at the MCG because they know some of those emotions you’ve been going through.  It’s worth it when those 22 players and their coach are standing on the stage, holding the cup aloft while a snowstorm of red and white mini streamers burst forth.

I know the Sydney Swans players don’t know me like I know them. I call them by their first names, like we’re mates. And we are. Because one of the great things mates do for you (just ask Bryan) is give you the best days of your life. But unlike Bryan, I expect there are a whole lot more to come.

Go Swannies. See you in 2013.

1 We support different teams.
2 Thanks Google Maps.