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2017

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2010-12-21

The Christmas Spirit

According to the soundtrack,
  "The weather outside is frightful
   but the fire is so delightful."

In Bondi Beach it is obviously summer, but you wouldn't know it's Christmas.  We have sun, we have sand, waves, surfing, swimming, running and walking the dog.  There is a group of four sitting on the rocks, three of whom wear Santa Claus hats, but they aren't giving away gifts, only bored stares.  In Bondi Junction it doesn't matter if it is summer because it's Christmas.  It is serious business and we see people shopping and we hear the soundtrack reminding us all why we are shopping.  I was with a friend who is not as law-abiding as I am, who does not respect the sanctity of Christmas as much as I do.  He walked into the supermarket and walked out without paying for his items, which we later found out amounted to the value of $AU17.90.  Of course he was tapped on the shoulder, of course no one ever gets away with this type of immoral behaviour and the young security man in his non-uniform shorts and tattoos took the three of us downstairs to the office in the basement with the outdated computers and the knowing stares from the lunching employees.

It is nice when a little tap on the shoulder reminds us all what the Christmas Spirit really is all about.  Bondi Junction exemplifies this, of course.  Our tattooed friend prefers working in nightclubs as a bouncer but it's Christmas so there is much more shoplifting than usual and therefore far more security required to enforce the no-pay-no-food rule.  His job is to "walk around pretending you're normal" which he did beautifully because neither moral me nor my stealing friend noticed his pretend-normal presence watching us as we pretended to have money.  He was not only glad that we didn't fight or run away when he tapped my friend on the shoulder, he was pleased that he could sit around in the basement office with us for half an hour instead of walking around the shop, which is "boring"; he doesn't personify the Christmas Spirit perfectly, sadly.

The perfection of the Christmas Spirit perhaps is personified not by the temporary contractor security guard in the supermarkets but the police-creatures standing on street corners and traffic islands around the shopping district, wearing their uniforms and radiating the consequences of lawlessness and disobedience.  According to my tattooed friend there are twice as many out of uniform walking around, making sure no one cracks the veneer of the precious Christmas Spirit.

The consequences for my friend were that they didn't believe anything he was saying and they threatened to call the Police if he didn't provide them with banal personal information.  In the chatty moments afterward he gave them intimate and irrelevant personal information without duress.  They were all rather friendly, it turned out, the threats and suspicion were merely tricks-of-the-trade.

When we were let back out into the irrelevant but comforting sunshine we had learned a thing or two about the Christmas Spirit and we watched with warm hearts while a young man sitting in a doorway wearing a Santa Claus costume used a microphone and amplifier to announce, "Excuse me, Madam, your shopping bag is not big enough."

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