My mate Bob got done for D.U.I. the other day. It seems the Landsborough hotel was the catalyst. To go back a little. The hotel’s business has been a little shabby lately, according to the publican not because of his expertise in running a hotel but because of the way that Julia was running the country and those Europeans who spend all their time partying and had forgotten that which side of the Euro was up. So based on these presumptions, sorry facts, the hotelier decided to turn on “Happy Hour” from five ‘till seven every afternoon. All middies for two dollars all other drinks three dollars and duly set his signboards and sandwich boards up to announce it to the nation.
Now anyone of you that knows Bob knows that he only travels the back roads, for apparent reasons and when he has to go into town he always parks away from commercial areas and behind buildings that no longer have any activity. This particular day, it was a Thursday; he had to go into town to get a deep cycle battery. The old one was cactus and those things are heavy. Bob is only a little bloke, there’s not much to him even wringing wet, so he decided to park in the laneway besides Midas so that he could get the shop guy to put the heavy battery straight into the back of his Ute. And everything went according to his clever plan. Except the Landsborough hotel is straight across the highway with all its signs and sandwich boards virtually giving away free grog.
“Wouldn’t mind a couple of them beers at that price.”
So over he trotted to sample a couple of the pubs wares. Well Bob, as he usually does, got on very well with the other patrons and may have had a few more than a couple but it’s hard to say. We all know what it’s like when you’re in the zone and having fun. Last cheap drinks at seven so Bob had to vacate the premises and he did something he never does. He walked straight to his vehicle parked across the road. He forgot the fundamental rule of men in his position.
Walk around the block first and survey the landscape for the bad guys. He went straight to the driver’s door. Not the passenger side as he so often tells other people to do. He had no sooner put the key in the ignition than the dreaded spotlight was shining in his eyes, the knock on the window with the baton and the trap was sprung.
I was able to convince Bob that he needed legal help because not only because he was high range D.U.I. (Driving Under the Influence) he was also driving an unregistered vehicle “why would you pay the government all that tax just to drive on them crook roads.” It seems he was a person of interest in several other matters that had happened a while ago but the police have now lost interest in but served as a statement of his character. But then there was the matter of verbal abuse of police, resisting arrest, and escaping from legal custody 32 years ago. According to the records he had been picked up for drunkenness and loitering in a doorway. He had sworn at police and had to be forcibly put in the back of the paddy wagon. When the police pulled over another drunk who also resisted arrest it took all three constables to subdue him. Bob, the ever resourceful, saw his chance and absconded from the van. Getting a lawyer was the best decision Bob has made in years. It seems all those who had sworn to serve and protect had died or left the force so there was no real verification, that’s why a lawyer was a good idea. The evidence consisted of only entries in police records but no proof to substantiate the charges. Bob got 18 months suspended but he had to report to the police station in Cains every month to tell the authorities where he was camped. They took away his driving licence so he couldn’t own a car and he had to become an alcohol rehab patient for what the woman judge said was clearly a drinking problem.
“Now what would she know, sitting up there all high and mighty? I’ze never had no drinkin’ problem. I ‘ave a drink whenever I feels like it.”
Take away his freedom to roam the highways and camp where he wants to and to come and go when he feels like it and you may as well hang him. Would community service be a better option? Surely because we consider ourselves as being part of a civilised society does not mean we should all have the same values and the same way of life. Though the lesser of two evils Bob cannot live this way he needs to be able to go when he feels like it and not be restricted or monitored. And surely have a bottle of his home brew when he feels like it.
“What are you going to do now, me old China?”
“Don’t you worry Johnno, I’ll think of somefin’.”
Spoke to Bob on the phone yesterday.
“How are you getting on mate?”
“Grouse mate I’m in NZ they give me a licence over ‘ere and I got a car and everyfin’ back on the road. Bit cold but 19°. Where are you?”
“Hay, down in the Riverina. We had 41° today with the same expected for tomorrow. How long will you stay?”
“Till me 18 months of staying out of trouble then I’ll come back and get me a W.A. licence and be terrorising the roads in no time.”
I hope so. The larrikin spirit in the character of our swaggie’s is a unique characteristic in our make-up that we cannot afford to lose for it is the very essence of what made Australia. Not the proclaimed authority that inflict their personal morals on the character of our nation.
The Julia that I have referred to is currently the Prime Minister of Australia.