australia you’re standing in it

I rented the car in Sydney from Borat, “from former Yugoslavia”. Croats say they’re Croatian, Bosnians say they’re Bosnian and Serbs say they’re “from former Yugoslavia”. Anyway, Borat – a fiscal conservative with a strong stand on human rights – seemed charmed by my sleep-deprived, free-associative thoughts on geopolitics and the uses and abuses of American power, so he upgraded me to a Toyota Avalon, which is the biggest car I’ve ever driven. It’s seventeen feet wide and two hundred feet long. We drove out of the airport with the emergency brake on, because it’s where the clutch would be on a manual car – by your FOOT. The HANDbrake. Right. That car is Frankie, because he’s an Avalon.

We spent Friday in Sydney mostly sleeping, although Woollahra Council has thoughtfully installed a brand new playground in the park across the road where Jeremy and I were married. Claire was mostly delighted by this, but was trying to play barefoot, and the bark groundcover pricked her feet. She came sadly to the bench where I was sitting and reported: “Sticks are sharp. I cannot play.”

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at Petit Creme with three shifts of friends: first Pesce and Big and Rachel, then Pesce left when Kay and Kelso and Mark Bennett and Peter the Rocket Scientist arrived, then Kay and Kelso left when Adrian and Sam and Korbin turned up. Claire greatly admired Rachel’s blue motorbike, and announced that she wanted one. I explained that she’s not even allowed to date anyone who rides a motorbike, but she seemed unconvinced.

I had a joke I was going to tell Big, but I forgot: now that we’re Americans, we’re amazed that there are no kangaroos hopping along the street!

Flight to Brisbane went reasonably smoothly, and then our car rental got upgraded again, to a red Commodore, which is twenty three feet wide and five hundred feet long. This car is Jack, because he’s a Commodore. Fortunately the handbrake is where it is supposed to be, give or take the steering wheel being on the other side. Unfortunately we missed a turn on the way to Sarah’s house; fortunately, we had a map and got ourselves unlost.

So, Ferny Hills. Claire fell into the thrall of her cousin Kelly, where she remains. Ross loves the game we bought for him. Sarah and Julia bonded instantly. Oscar the cat is now a gigantic prey animal, as beautiful as the day. I bought a couple of bottles of cold white wine and got deliciously drunk.

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