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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Long Service Leave is what you get paid for being bored for ten years

Ulladulla Harbour

We drove to Ulladulla where we had lunch at the local bowling club. Their meatloaf is a treat - and a bargain at five dollars - and I washed it down with a glass (or two) of riesling.

The same friendly young man who always collects the empties was on duty. Tongue firmly in cheek, I suggested that he must be due for long service leave soon. "Actually, I am due for my 10-year long service leave this April," he replied.

I looked at him again and tried to visualise what his life had been like, collecting empty glasses for the past ten years, and what his future would be. Perhaps, when the old steward behind the bar had retired, our young man would take over as barman, and in due course retire himself and hand over to another young man who has been collecting empty glasses for the past ten years.

Do such men have dreams? Do they live lives of quiet desperation? Or are they happy with their lot? Perhaps they have found the solution to the mystery of existence which is to say that there is no great mystery at all because human existence is mostly about food, sleep, sex, and finding harmless and pleasant ways to fill in the rest.

I shall be back in April to "celebrate" the young man's tenth anniversary and perhaps find the answers to my questions!