Australians in general are a fairly cordial and friendly people. This is especially prevalent in the rural countryside, and even extends to the friendly police force, out to keep the peace and do their jobs.
So I guess I should have expected that with such a friendly disposition in the country, the friendly police force doesn’t exactly have a full work-load on their hands.
Hence, my recent encounter with the Aussie country police.
It goes something like this:
Nora is driving along, minding her own business and (of course) obeying the speed limit. She is heading home from a lovely dinner at a friend’s house, 10kms away. (This means they are neighbours. In a land where anything under 50kms is considered to be close , 10kms is practically next door).
Nora spies headlights in her rearview mirror. They are approaching very quickly. Too quickly. She is alarmed at the speed with which her rearview mirror is being dominated by bright headlights.
“Meh. No matter. They’ll pass me if they’re in a hurry,” Nora figures.
“Whoops. They’re not passing. They’re flashing.” And in the blink of an eye, Nora goes from her blissful non-speeding after-dinner glow of a state to a shaking, slightly panicky mess.
Knowing that she has done nothing wrong though, Nora keeps her cool. “How can I help you, officer?” are the sweet words that pour from her smiling mug, masking her authority-adverse core.
“Just a routine check. License, please.”
Nora rummages through her purse and produces a license.
“Um….My driver’s license.”
“Where is your Victorian license?”
“Um…I’m not from around here. I’m from Canada.” Nora is slightly alarmed that her Canadian accent and Canadian driver’s license did not paint a full enough picture. She hopes that simply being from Canada will pave the way to an imminent release from her current captivity on the side of the road.
The conversation thankfully picks up from here, with some small chatting about Canada and idle conversation about how long she’s here in Australia.
After breathing into a tube to make sure Nora wasn’t drinking (which she wasn’t), it seems that she is all in the clear.
Just one more question.
“So…what are you doing out here at this hour?”
Nora looks at her watch. It’s 9:35pm.
Really? It’s not even 10pm and I’m a reckless night-crawling brawling brazen Canadian, tearing up the quiet streets of Australia? Really?!
I’d like to say that I gave the slightly misguided police officer a piece of my late-night mind, but I just smiled and said I was on my way home from an evening with friends, all the while wondering what sort of life this guy has outside of work.
But that’s what you get when you live in the country. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t be too loud. Too quiet. Too rambunctious. Too early. Too late. Too…anything.
And for Pete’s sake, don’t go out driving after 9pm and not expect to have to answer for it. I mean, really.