Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A poke in the eye with a burnt stick

It may be an Adelaide, South Australia thing. The smaller the city (one million), the more intense the efforts for the wealthy nobs about town to make it known that they're part of the Old Boys' Club.

This pathetic behaviour goes beyond cultivating an accent that comes from somewhere behind their epiglottis and their arses; driving $100,000 Range Rovers that aren't likely to venture anywhere wilder than their beach house in Robe; and way beyond wearing a shirt with a polo player on it. No, in Adelaide it's the tiny little sticker that's displayed on the back of the European model car that's the unspoken symbol of wealth, snobbery and bold-faced arsehole-ishness (if it isn't a word it should be) combined.

There's a proud but secret army of Audis, beamers, mercedes, Volky Golfs (no less than two years old, otherwise they're passed on to their teenage daughters or the nanny), top-level hondas and any four-wheel-drive other than Holdens or Fords. These sickening little stickers have tiny little coats of arms on them, or the old flag of Scotland, crossed oars or even some kind of poncy old latin saying that's meant to remind the rest of us great unwashed High School bogans that we didn't attend, don't belong and will never break into their realm.

Whenever I'm idling my car behind one of these Sociopathic Snobs in my dented, dusty, ten year old Mitsubishi station wagon, my blood begins to boil and my witch-like grip on the steering wheel bends it into the shape of a thigh-master. Yes, any of you reading this could quite rightly accuse me of being jealous of not belonging to such a wealthy, Old School Tie club and you would be correct.

Or at least partly correct. Growing in a small country town didn't mean that we were all clueless, dirt poor yokels who considered a pastie and iced coffee a fine meal (actually, I still do). Indeed, country towns can provide a rather interesting cross section of wealth - the struggling farmers coming in to the shops every fortnight; meat workers, the transferred teachers, veterinarians and doctors - all the way up to the one-and-only car dealership, grain silo owner and meatworks factory proprietor. It wasn't unusual to see the town's only Rolls Royce parked alongside a 35 year old Holden outside the newsagents.

As such, we had some rather well-off neighbours - doctors, and the owner of the car dealership. The doctors' families remained working and living in the town, but their children were all packed off to boarding school by the age of twelve. No-one was jealous of their boarding school kids. Meanwhile the car sellers (as mentioned in a previous blog http://blurbfromtheburbs.blogspot.com/2006/10/hey-mum-its-twenty-two-degrees-today.html) moved house from the town where they earned their millions to a more leafy home in Hahndorf; just right for their daughter's pony collection and shopping trips into Adelaide. They still sell cars in my hometown: it's just not good enough for them to live there. They weren't - and aren't - missed: if Mrs D had mentioned the 'facilities, quality of teachers and the best education and future that money can buy' to my mother one more time I would have likely been a witness to the first death by mix-master in this part of the world.

The jealousy I have, though, is that none of the car sellers' kids were what you'd call 'Intellectual Giants' and none of them made it through their final year with any form of academic success. Despite this, they all got brand new cars for their 16th birthdays and cushy little no-brainer-but-decent jobs via other parents whose children went to the school - the Old School Tie network at its finest. Any Mental Pgymies I went to school with ended up at the meatworks ("Hi there MillyMoo - I'm real lucky - I'm closest to the radio and I get $150 a week!"), stacking shelves at Woolworths or on the dole. No 'PA to Leading Award Winning Advertising Hottie' or 'Culture Coordinator at Marketing Mayhem, North Adelaide' for those poor bastards.

These days, a reasonably paid city resident, parent and blogger, I know that I need to get out more, but I harbour fantasies - fanned by my sister blogger My Little Zombie finger - about dressing up in night time camouflage, doing a few commando rolls behind wheelie bins and scribbling a swastika over every single little friggin' snob sticker I find on the backs of late model volvos, land-rover and renaults on the east side of the city. Or perhaps I could slap over a sticker of my own, with something witty printed on it like 'Eat Shit And Die, You Wanna-Be, In-Bred, Social Suck-Up.'

Maybe even take a risk and forgo the subtle approach and go straight for the Lacoste-encrusted jugular: "May the Fleas of a Thousand Camels Infest Your Groin and End Up Growing A Brain Down There That You Currently Don't Have Anywhere Else", or "Anyone who went to private school, played hockey, rowed, went to a 'formal' and thinks Adelaide's borders end at the Burnside Shopping Centre will have their eyes poked out with a burnt stick and their entrails used as jump leads for the stalled commodores of the underpriveleged northern suburbs folk."

I choose to blame my Dad for this attitude regarding stickers. No, he didn't encourage me to spew out my hatred for snobs via blogs, but he has been known to use a sticker or two for mischievous reasons. Cottees is a company that makes icecream toppings and has done for as long as my memory stretches. What Aussie kid didn't have a scooped mountain of neopolitan icecream (chocolate first, then strawberry and only vanilla if was the only flavour left) in a cereal bowl surrounded by a glossy, brown moat of Cottees' chocolate topping?

My point - murkier than a Hilton sister's brain cell though it is - is that Dad loved to peel off the smaller dark blue sticker that was around the neck of the bottle that proudly proclaimed the syrup was 'Thick and Rich.' Being an active family of five with a mother who considered cooking to be about as fun as a pap-smear done with salad tongs, we therefore accumulated many of these stickers.

Dad used to sneak around the Murray Bridge high school teachers' carpark, slapping them on the windshields and licence plates of his mates. Sometimes it would be months before they'd even notice them (and then immediately guess it was him), but I'm sure it provided the driver behind them with a bit of amusement at the town's one and only set of traffic lights.

Sadly, these days the bottles have 'thick and rich' incorporated into the main label which can't be easily peeled off without turning it into paper mache.

However there may be some scope for me to exact some revenge by using up some of our office's old mail merge labels, printing out 'FAT BASTARD' on every single one and slapping them next to the Snob Sticker every time I see one during my walk through the Coles Norwood carpark......


Betty said...

I hope that felt good. Came from Dr John's doing a marathon of blogs.

Margaret said...

Adelaide sounds so much like Savannah, GA USA. We're full of "gated rich communities" here and since I happen to work as a housecleaner (aka: Toilet scrubber) I need their stickers to get in through the gates to do my job.

Meanwhile, while shopping or running errands peeps think I'm one of them. I thought I could counteract the negativity I've been getting due to my sticker by sticking on a Jesus fish.

That sure didn't work.

(stopping by via Dr. John's mini marathon.)

Chana said...

funny how perspective is different..one million people in one city is what we all Calgarians are complaining about is too big and too much...our city is rich with oil..it is cold and non family oriented..i don't like it much anymore.it's lost that feeling of togetherness...money and power has made a huge difference in the city i first came to and what i live in now..there is too much attitude of betterness and superiority and it sickens me frankly..way too many snobs.dr. John sent me here but not to rant that was all me, sorry.

Gingers Mom said...

You're a funny gal. Just stopping by on Dr. John's marathon!

Jan said...

Ok, so I came by from Dr. John's blogging marathon, but have decided to add you to my favorite blogs.

I am in the US. I grew up in a smallish city, about half a million folks. I now live in a tiny town of less than 2300 folks. I love it here. The rich, poor, and in between go to school together, shop together, and the entire town shows up for the homecoming parade.

I say slap some stickers over the snob declarations, you can it!

Stacy said...

I drive a school bus in a town that is swimming in the rich and/or famous and don't they all just think owning a Hummer or a Beemer gives them automatic right of way?
Here on Dr. John's marathon trail.

Anonymous said...

WoW! New in town and never noticed any stickers. Will look out for them....

Anonymous said...

What's this Dr John thing.....?

The Elusive Loo said...

I believe that Latin roughly translates as "Christ What A Tosser"

Cuppojoe said...

We live in a city built on oil money... and it shows. While neighboring cities promote family, tourism, etc., everything here is geared towards the well-to-do. It's sad.

Dr. John sent me by to let you know it happens everywhere...

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Andy said...

It's unfortunate that Adelaide is built upon cliques and keeping up with Joneses. The never-ending search for symbols to disassociate us from gutter level upbringing seems to be more prominent than before.

I blame increased land value. And Cashed Up Bogans.

Adelaide is often looked down upon by other east coast cities... so maybe we're trying to convince ourselves of our own worth?