Today we went to the Royal Melbourne Show, where the country meets - and shits on - the city. The Show is not a good place for those with a misanthropic disposition as it tends to attract a wide variety of unpleasant people who tend to obscure the fact that the majority of Show-goers are probably all right people who just want to have a bit of old-fashioned overpriced fun. Four months ago I couldn't have handled it; today I just went with the flow. Even when I saw a school-age kid in full view of his gurning parents slap a piglet to wake it up I couldn't bring myself to condemn humanity outright. This may or may not be progress.
The animals are very nice to look at, and there's little misplaced sentiment, eg. outside one of the sheep zones there was a life-size profile of a sheep with labels on it explaining where different cuts of sheep-related meat come from. So that's refreshing. One senses a certain friction between the largely suburban visitors and the country-based exhibitors, based no doubt on misconceptions and stereotypes like all city people think meat grows in plastic wrappers and all country people chew hay and like Lee Kernaghan. The Show is a great opportunity for city people to see that country folk are generally top blokes and sheilas who very rarely chew hay and/or listen to Lee Kernaghan and for country folk to see that city people are generally just as awful a bunch of pig-punching fuckwits as they've always believed.
Much has changed at the Showgrounds since I last attended. They've pulled things down and put other things up, pavilions and the like. There is even a new Ferris wheel, which was a bit of a shock as the old Ferris wheel was the site of a particularly memorable pash and breast-feel (over the clothes) during my teen years, and I assume others have similar memories, although probably not of pashing and feeling (over the clothes) the same girl. For all the changes, however, the fundamental elements of the show survive: fun, copious animal poo, and carnies gouging the fuck out of people's wallets at every turn.
On the train back to the city I was standing against the door and a woman got on and set a pet carrier at my feet. I could see feathers inside and I asked the woman if it was a bird. "No," she said with derision, "it's a hen!" Then a young woman got on with her boyfriend and another young man and she knelt down to talk to the hen, which was freaked out by the movement of the train and was trying to peck through the top of the carrier. The young woman had a stuffed horse which she was using to "talk" to the hen, which further distressed the hen. Then the train rocked and the back of the woman's head brushed against my crotch but she didn't move or seem to think there was anything wrong with her position vis-a-vis a stranger's crotchal zone. Then - then! - the young woman's boyfriend took a photo of the young woman and the stuffed horse and the hen and I'm guessing MY CROTCH for how could it be otherwise given the relative positions of young woman, hen, crotch, et al. The boyfriend and the other boy went and sat down (to look at the photo of my crotch?) while the young woman remained where she was crouched over my right foot with the back of her head hovering around my fly. This sounds like the start of a letter to Penthouse Forum but I was not aroused, I was extremely uncomfortable, especially when I realised that she wasn't squatting as I had previously thought but was in fact seated on something, but what, oh my god was it my foot? I thought about wiggling my foot but then considered that if the woman was sitting on my foot then wiggling said foot would probably raise more questions than it would answer. So I spent the rest of the journey feeling rigid and tense but not in a good way you filthy people, and when we got to Southern Cross station it turned out she was sitting on a small upturned tub or bucket but even then she was so keen to maintain her proximity to my "special area" that I had to ask her to move so I could get out of the train. It was utterly bizarre and sort of the perfect ending to a day at the Show or any day really.
I have said some of this already on twitter but this is really the kind of stuff I want to be sure to get down, for posterity.