The most peculiar thing happened to me today as I was walking through Casuarina. I was strolling, coke bottle in hand (He is risen, baby!), through the older section near K-Mart when I was approached and stopped by a misty-eyed exotic stranger. I knew straight away what was happening, having had some experience with shopping mall charity spruikers in the past, but nonetheless having a pretty girl stop me to chat occurs infrequently enough that I just decided to go with it.
Alice (name changed to protect the ignorant; it was actually a really hot sounding Russian name that I couldn’t spell if I tried): How’re you going today?
Garry with 2 Rs: I’m going pretty well. How’re you?
Alice: Pretty good thanks. Would you like to take a couple of minutes to see what we’re doing here today?
Gw2Rs: I suppose I have a few minutes to spare (translates as “I’ll look at anything you want me to, just keep that James Bond villainess accent coming”).
Alice: My name’s Alice, by the way. What’s yours?
Gw2Rs: I’m Garry. Alice… that’s an unusual name.
Alice: It’s Russian. And congratulations: you’re the first person today to pronounce it correctly. Most people can’t do that.
Gw2Rs: I’m a linguist (said with smug confidence that didn’t really match the content, but what are you going to do?).
Alice: Oh wow! I did some Slavic philology at college back home.
Gw2Rs: Fantastic. That sounds fascinating. (Yeah! Suck on that, veterinary science students I went to uni with! Who’s talking to all the pretty girls now?)
Alice: Well… anyway, I am here today representing Oxfam International.
And just like that, the spell was broken. I mean, I kept up the façade of being interested in what she was collecting for (something to do with sexually abused women building wells in Africa), but I knew what her real agenda was. It all starts off with a bit of innocent (well…) chit-chat. Next thing you know you’re buying a block of fair trade chocolate a week and pining over a forbidden love who starts making uninvited and frankly preposterous appearances in slightly embellished accounts of your European working holiday.
Not today, Alice!
Actually, it turns out Oxfam don’t even have a shop in Darwin. This sucks a bit because I left my make poverty history wristband on a table in Brisbane on my way through in November. These guys were based on the Gold Coast and were in town on the Darwin leg of a national tour. Somewhere, charity spokesperson got cross-wired with rockstar and I, for one, welcome the change.
And remember, it costs as little as a dollar a day to send as many cute Europeans to talk to Garry in shopping malls as it takes to buy just one cup of coffee a week. Give or take.
Over to you, ROOOOOOZ!
Garry with 2 Rs
What? Scraping the barrel a bit? Why yes. Yes I am.