Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gabby Bogan

Bogan is the term Australians give their less fortunate, lumberjack-shirted, soap-dodging, educationally sub-normal, mullet-sporting, Jerry Springer-watching, dentally challenged trailer trash. They can usually be found polishing a rifle on a porch whilst drinking tins of beer and then, after, shooting at the tins of beer with the polished rifle. And today I met one called Carl.

I was tasked with taking an EFTPOS machine, which is a hi-tech cash register with a touchscreen and a barcode scanner, to a rail depot in the middle of nowhere. The machine weighed an absolute ton and after two of us had manhandled it into the back of a taxi, I set off for middle-of-nowhere suburb Sydenham, so close to Sydney Airport's Final Approach that if you flipped a coin too high it would probably ricochet off a QANTAS jumbo.

When I arrived I was greeted by two "security guards" one of whom was sat lolling on the gate. I explained who I was and what I had to deliver waving my Railcorp pass about like it could earn me a free lunch or something. "Carl?" called the guard over the walkie-talkie "There's a guy here called Phil who has an EFTPOS machine for you"

"What?!" came the strong Aussie accent through the handset "I don't bladdy know anything about it".
"OK" said the guard "Well, can you come round?"
"What?!" came the answer again, and then "..... but I don't bladdy know anything about it".
"But can you just come round?" repeated the guard
"But I don't bladdy know anything about it!" said Carl again.

This was going to be hard work. The taxi meter was still running at this point, luckily on expenses and I waited for what seemed about 10 minutes when all of a sudden a figure appeared about 30 feet and away, and like Omar Sharif appearing out the desert in Laurence of Arabia, loped towards me. Carl was in his mid 50s with a baseball cap, luminous safety tabard and straggly grey hair flowing out behind him like some pissed wizard. He greeted me with a "What?!", which was a good start, before I attempted to explain to him I had been asked to deliver the ETPOS machine so it could be installed into the buffet car ready for tomorrow's journey.

"What?!" he said again, and then "But I don't bladdy know anything about it!" "I work in the stores. I'm Carl".
"Yes I know" I said "and I was given your name, and told to ask for you".
"I work in the stores. I'm Carl. I don't bladdy know anything about it".

Oh Christ! At this point with a waiting taxi, a mad-eyed Bogan and a impossibly-hefty, $6000 computer I began weighing up my options. At that point Carl announced "I'm going to speak to my supervisor. I'm Carl. I work in the stores" and stomped off in a huff. Luckily I had a phone number, and so rang it. I explained the situation to the chief electrician who chuckled to himself as if he was expecting it, and phoned another person whilst I was on the line to tell him Carl was "not having any of it". Again, his tone suggested this wasn't the first time Carl had got a bit riled.

Carl returned a few minutes later with another bloke who was clearly more switched on. He took a look at ETFPOS machine and said "It's like a till Carl. It's so passengers can buy their food". His tone was as if he was speaking to a child. Carl looked at the machine as if he was looking at an annotated diagram showing how black holes are formed, before saying "I don't bladdy know anything about it". He grabbed a trolley, loaded it up and trundled away, chuntering to himself.

I think I can guess what he was saying.

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