Once upon a time, a magical dingo in the outback coined the phrase ‘bush week’. For our three Japanese readers, firstly, congratulations for taking the bold step of immersing yourself in some Australian culture. You will be richly rewarded for your gamble. Secondly, bush week refers to ‘a time when country people venture into the city, and due to their diminished neurological functioning, are tricked by the intellectually superior city folk’. Using it colloquially, if someone at a local primary school working bee tried to charge you more than $2 for a snag in bread, you would respond ‘Fuck mate, what do you think this is? Bush Week?’. Then you would have a chuckle together, connecting over the weekly battle to stay afloat in this economic climate where a humble snag in bread costs the same as a litre of petrol. Alternatively, you probably get into a punch on and empower the next generation to resolve their petty daily issues with violence. It is also worth noting the open stereotyping of country folk as dumb hillbillies in this saying. I’ll leave it up to readers to decide whether they are smarter or dumber based on their geographical location.
So, I’ve taken the term Bush Week and applied it to a regular column to discuss things that us people in the city – or outer suburbs – do. It begins with the infamous post-dinner trip to McDonalds, or Maccas, as any decent human should call it. After a few long, tough working days and nights, we (my partner and I) thought it best to whip up a good delicious home cooked meal. We went for a special gnocchi recipe that the very clever lady made herself – involving gnocchi, toasted pine nuts, mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomoatoes, a thai basil pesto sauce, and some coconut cream. It is a cracking dish. So ho ho ho, we make it and we eat it. It was great. Probably left the gnocchi in a touch too long, if I had to critique it, but otherwise very good. That should’ve been the end of it. Watch a bit of TV, off to sleep, up early the next day. But, with lots of late finish shifts and study, this naughty writer has been in a pretty good paddock of late, and the stomach kept meowing like a hungry little cat.
It got to about 10.15 when I floated my cravings – a Maccas run. “C’mon mate,” the punters cried on the streets. “You don’t need another meal.” I fired back, hand on my stomach, a booming voice reminiscent of Craig Willis at any Melbourne sporting event. “Alas, my good folk – the homeland, she pines for me, she pines to put her products into my digestive tract.” So off we trot to the car, girlfriend in tow for ‘support’ at my heinous late night crime. As soon as we turned the first corner of the 4 minute drive, I panicked. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck what am I doing?! It’s twenty past ten on a Thursday night, I don’t need another meal and I don’t know what I actually want.’ It was a wave of guilt, yet I kept driving. I drove faster, if anything. The sooner I could get this over and done with, the better.
We pull into the drive thru. Instantly another car comes behind; there is no backing out. By now I’m feeling dirty, fat and ready for the delicious garbage I’m about to consume. Medium Quarter Pounder meal, a cheeseburger and a chocolate sundae. Nice. As I get ready to drive to the pay window, my girlfriend spits out ‘And a Spicy Jalapeno Burger, no fillet, and a hash brown!’. This sneaky little minx masqueraded as a support act when all along she wanted the same as me. What a bastard. So we pay, and proceed to the final window, the point of delivery. By now we’ve got two others behind us. Typically ordering a hash brown past brekky hours will get you ‘bayed’, sent to the waiting bay. This is okay – it takes a while to cook as it’s not in peak time for purchase. It also takes the social pressure off of you – where you sit for ages behind someone thinking “How many fucking meals has this fat lard ordered?” before they finally receive the goods. Not this time. No waiting bay, and hungry bogans in 4wd’s behind us.
After about 4 minutes, the bloke behind us leans his head out the window and catches my apprehensive eyes. Not my fault mate, I try and communicate with a wry frown and eyebrows slightly raised. Then, I receive the sundae, sans everything else. Who the fuck brings out the sundae first? It’s already melting, with an appalling chocolate sauce to soft serve ratio. You ALWAYS eat dessert last, and these pricks at Kilsyth Maccas have thrown me well and truly under the bus. So in an attempt to save this late night run ship that is sinking rapidly, I shove two huge gobfuls of sundae into my mouth. Due to the heat and earliness of delivery, it was pretty much liquid and I spilled at least a quarter of the un-viscous sweets across my top. Cue laughter from my comrade, and condemnation from the vehicles waiting behind. Can’t blame them. If I saw a car in front reach a hand out to receive an item, then still be waiting 5 minutes later, I’d be ropable.
After about 10 plus minutes, and no directions to head for the safety of the waiting bay, we receive the goods. By now the sundae looks like milk with some brown side of the toilet bowl stains of chocolate sauce. With no time to waste, I park near the exit to start tucking in. Was it worth it, the shame, the wait, the pressure, the melted sundae? Probably not. The quarter pounder was good, but the cheesey was dry. The dear’s lot was good, apparently. As I moved to finish the sub standard sundae, the gas came swiftly. There we were, the two of us, blowing hot, dense and very unpleasant wind out of arses, blow for blow, while eating shit food. At this very moment I thought, ‘This is what it’s like to be an obese person in a low socio-economic status area.’ Maccas runs late at night 4 out of the 7 days, and a feeling of helplessness, guilt, shame, hunger, and yet despite all this, a real thrill that I could put my body and mind through such turmoil for so little gain. What a bastard I was. We laughed all the way home, before the sick feeling in the stomach hit as we rolled into bed, large of belly, sweaty of neck and back of knees (I genuinely get this when eating shit), and smelly of orifices. Fuck you, late night post dinner Maccas. See you in a few weeks.