Old folk at lunch

Monday, October 8, 2018

Unexpected kindness


It is a very long time since I carried a wallet.  I had one in my teens when a motorbike was my means of transport but it kept falling out of my back pocket when I rode so I thought that was a bad idea.  I would lose not only my money but the various other items one carries in a wallet.  So ever since I have simply kept my money loosely in a trouser pocket.

That was not a perfect solution either.  In pulling money out of my pocket I would sometimes drop some.  Mostly I noticed and picked it up and for the rest of the time, other people would kindly alert me to what happened and would even sometimes run after me to return it. I have always been rather surprised and pleased at how kind Australians usually are to one another.  And I of course do what I can in that way too.

But I don't always get the money back so I am pretty alert about dropping it.  I tend to look down at my feet before I leave any place where I have taken out money.  But we all get a bit careless or distracted at times and I did drop about $200 in $50 notes recently.

It was at my favourite pie shop and I must have been a bit high at the prospect of eating one of their exceptional curry pies.  They are Vietnamese there and they know all there is to know about baking.  After buying my pie I hopped into my car parked close by  and drove off without noticing that I had lost anything.

But the pieshop staff had noticed and were going to pick it up and hold it for me.  I am a regular customer so that was reasonable.  Before they could come around the counter, however, someone else picked it up and put it in his pocket.  The staff said to him that the money was not his but he said "It is now" and walked off.  The staff were not in a position to run after him and tackle him so the thief got away with it.

He would have seen that I am elderly so for all he knew he was ripping of a pensioner's money for the week -- which makes him a very low type.  He is clearly one of the small percentage of the population who cause all the problems.

The manager told me all that when I came in to the shop next day for another pie -- and he seemed embarrassed by it.  They gave me my pie free that day.

This morning, however, they told me that they felt so bad about the whole thing that they were going to give me my pies free for the next two weeks.  I was inclined to refuse as I am not poor but that would have been churlish so I simply thanked them very much. They did not need to treat me so kindly but it is a credit to them that they did.  If you are ever anywhere near Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, drop into the Central Brunswick Bakery and buy something.  You will not regret it



Friday, October 5, 2018

Leftism is largely inborn. Is bureaucracy too?



All the twin studies how strong heritability for Left/Right political orientation.  Leftists are born dissatisfied and conservatives are born contented.  And Leftists love bureaucracy.  They can hardly get enough of it.  As V.I. Lenin remarked: "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything".  So is there also an inherited bureaucratic instinct?  Something I encountered recently inclined me towards that belief.

A little background:  I have a pinup on my bedroom wall.  It is a picture of the Queen.  No doubt many would say that I must be a poor thing to have the Queen as my pinup but it is a large and beautifully done portrait so I think it could be called a pinup.



And I am an unapologetic monarchist.  I believe that a constitutional monarchy is the best form of government,  Americans have to wait 4 years before they can get rid of an unpopular  President but, in a monarchy on Westminster lines, parliament can boot out at will any Prime Minister who has lost popularity --which the Australian parliament has done rather a lot of in recent years. So it suits my views that I have a picture of Her Majesty and Prince Philip on my wall.

But I have acquired that picture only recently.  There is an Australian tradition that Federal politicians can give out free pictures of Her Majesty to their constituents.  So I wrote to my local Federal MP, Terri Butler, member for Griffith, and requested one.  She represents the Labor Party so I was slightly surprised that she wrote back to me and agreed.  I had to pick the picture up from her electorate office but that was not far away from me so off I went.

When I arrived and rang the bell a large sandy-hired young man appeared. When I made my request he said; "We haven't received any correspondence about this".  I said, "I wrote to Parliament house".  He said "Did you get a letter from Terri Butler about this?"  I said I had.  "Have you got it with you" -- "No". "Where is it?" -- "At home".  And he went on generally in a rather circular way about having authorization to give me the picture.  I inherit a rather short temper from my father however so I very soon started to shout and bang on the counter.  That dislodged him and he gave me the picture.

As the  pictures are freely given out, there was absolutely need for any bureaucracy but this employee of the Labor party dreamed some up anyway.  He appears to have a bureaucratic temperament.  I suspect it was inherited -- JR