The professional lifesavers have set up their station in front of the only wave on the beach worth catching this morning, a waist-high little left funnelling into the channel just under the verandah of the surf club cafe. Where the rip is.
‘Why put the flags there?’ I asked myself, ‘when a little further north there are long stretches of beach without channels, without rips?’
‘No-one likes cold coffee, I replied.
They have two desks inside the club entrance and a brightly-smiling female concierge who shepherds incoming patrons to the desks like dogs do to sheep when they want them to go through a gate. More ladies are behind the desks, they have pens and screens and a baby cameras on thin, flexible wands. This is where you register and show some ID, they may require a passport if you are not a national. This is their power, because without ID your night out is cancelled.
They need to know who you are.
This information is recorded.
They also take your photo with a baby camera on a wand while you are standing there, chatting.
This too is recorded and matched with the above.
You now have a file.
I went into the RSL at 11 am, left at 11:30am, came back at 3:00 pm and left again at 6:00 pm.
On the 6:00 pm exit, I walked over to the desk-lady, Jody, and asked what they did with these photos, she said it had to do with Occupational Health, Insurance and Workers Comp matters, the club keeps the pics for a day then deletes them.
A bright smile. I wait. There’s more.
We might have a fire, she said, and we have to know who has come into the club. Jody is thinking about white-suited forensic officers picking apart charred bodies because something is smouldering in her eyes and it can’t be me because I won’t allow it.
‘Let’s hope not’ says I, ‘but if it was the case and the club erupted into an inferno at about 3:30 pm today then you would be looking for both of us.’
‘You mean you and me?’
‘No, I mean me and my twin brother.’