The 13th of February, 2008, has already been marked as a big and important day in Australia’s social history, and in the future of this society. It was when Kevin Rudd apologised to Indigenous Australians, fulfilling one of his campaign promises. A lot of people marked the day with celebrations, with gathering, with appropriate, you know, events. While Andrew and I weren’t inappropriate in our ‘marking’ of the day, we certainly would have been some of the most oblivious two individuals about it.
After a night of drinking, eating, relaxing, and staying up to wee-hours of the morning watching The Office, as well as having nothing planned for the Wednesday, we both slept in. Andrew woke up before me, and when I stumbled out my room, we sat down to the television and went around the dial. Finally, we came to the news channel – Sky News – which I had only ever turned on now-and-then to try and get U.S. primary election updates. If Barack, Hillary, John, or Mike wasn’t on the T.V. then I wasn’t interested. That might be one explanation as to why we didn’t know that the apology was going to happen. Actually, it’s the sole reason. We hadn’t kept any serious connection with the world since we left Sydney, other than the odd phone call back home. No news, no papers, no serious magazines. No serious what-so-ever.
So you can imagine our surprise when we saw that the apology had already happened, and we were now waiting for a ceremony involving various indigenous people to start. We sat around and waited … and waited … and laughed when we heard the only former Prime Minister who weren’t there were either dead or John Howard … and waited. And then we gave up. I put my MP3 player on the speakers that I had bought with me, and we resumed our game of Jin Rummy (that was started as we waited for our food delivery the night before).
Eventually that ceremony started (we could see the T.V. from the table we were playing at). It looked good and all, but out card game had spread over 50 hands, and we were keeping a running tally of points, so it was pretty important. Anyway, the music in the background kept playing, and in a moment of rare cosmic alignment ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancing’ by the Scissor Sisters started up. I muted the television, and I swear to you it was all in sync. All the dancing and movement by those doing it down in Canberra mirrored the beat, rhythm and the tune of the song. That lasted for 4-minutes, and was a bit of fun.
I wanted an early lunch at some point, and was pleased with myself for planning ahead. You might remember towards the end of the last entry that I had ordered roast chicken and extra chips, with gravy, all in anticipation of a snack to tide me over to tea the next day. When I got up to get my chips, chips I had paid extra for, I couldn’t find them. I looked around. “Andrew, have you seen those chips I was saving for today?” I found out he had thrown them out. Man I was pretty ticked off.
Eventually, we decided that sitting around the room, playing cards, might be a waste of time. I wanted to go to the beach – so I did. I up’d and went down. Andrew followed, and we walked nearly the entire length of the beach Southwards – to the point where you have to stop because they are moving the sand around with heavy-duty machinery. I went in the water for some stints, and then we walked back. From there, we decided to test out the pools that this hotel had. There was the indoor heated first, and then the outdoor one second. I don’t particularly like pools anymore. It might be the thought of having had hundreds of people of all different ages floating in exactly the same water as each other. At least with the ocean, there’s a vast amount of water that gets rotated (of sorts).
After doing that, we returned to our apartment and decided that it was pleasant enough to go out to get tea from Woolworths still. You see, we wanted to actually say that we had cooked something on our holiday, so we ventured down to the Woolies to get some supplies.
I should have mentioned that the weather was lovely that day – sunny for the most part, though the clouds began to come over eventually. It would have made for a good day to go to SeaWorld. I thought to myself “Of course, we picked the worst day between two great days to go.” But I didn’t mind as much as I probably could have.
Anyway, we went to Woolies, and we were walking around, looking for sausages and supplies to make dinner out of, when Andrew commented “Was that Patrick West?” as we passed someone. I turned around, and sure as heck, it was.
Now let me tell you who Patrick West is. I’ve known him since I was 5 years old. We were in Kindergarten together, and were friends from then to year 10 in high school. So 11 years. He left my high school (East Hills Boys Technology High) at the end of year 10 to go to Picnic Point High. I saw him twice after that – both times in year 11. That summed up our friendship towards the end though – I was a pretty lousy friend to him by the end of year 10, and when he changed school, instead of trying to figure out why, or even stay in contact with him, I hated him for having changed. It might have to do with how I found out – a teacher at school told me that he was leaving. I had, for a long time, said that he didn’t even have the guts to tell me (his friend for 11 years) that he was leaving our school, and if that was the case I didn’t need that sort of friend. Turns out, though, that he had a legitimate reason to change school. And, like the bum friend I was, I didn’t particularly care.
And we never met up since. Something like 4 years went by and we never caught up. Funnily enough, I had been wondering what he was up to prior to going on holidays. I was genuinely interested as to what had happened to him. Anyway, there he freaking was! In the middle of Woolies, in Queensland! I was astounded, amazed, and just shocked. The randomness of the whole situation was absurd. Queensland. Woolies. Day. Time. Insane.
We stood there and caught up for about an hour. He was with his girlfriend, who is quite pretty. We ended up parting ways, and Andrew and I were amazed that we had met him. We got our stuff and left.
We cooked the sausages. Let that be the end of it.
The night ended with watch yet more of The Office, a return to festivity and a lively apartment. In between episodes, we would look out our windows and into other apartments, looking for something worthing looking out. I noted that this has been the start of a few horror and suspense movies in the past, but I thought it would be worth the risk. Eventually, the end came to a slow and (intentionally) non-eventful. Andrew had made arrangements to get the bus to MovieWorld the next day. We had to do it Thursday or Friday, and Friday seemed like a worse day to do it. We needed our sleep and rest for the theme park that we were most looking forward to, so we turned in for the night.