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.’
No self respecting hippy allows dubious “registration” when all he wants is a rib eye with green peppercorn sauce from the Alley…. that’s why said hippy always pays in cash to restrict his movements being tracked from steak house to steak house. And in a world where people willingly profile themselves (social media), the distracted sheep walk lock step with the security of social inclusion… even to the Butchers block.
Which brings a hippy to another inquiry…. There are few delicacies rivaling a perfectly grilled french cut lamp chop, but who the fuck decided to accompany that with mint jelly? Peter, please order mine with the Merlot demi glaze and I”ll sneak in through the kitchen after giving that restricted little left a go.
They had battered lobster tails, they looked like something cancerous a surgeon removes from your stomach.
At least the beer was cold I assume?
There was a woman at the next table whose laugh was part shriek and part kookaburra call … straight out of Blade Runner. But the best thing about Qld is that when a man wants a couple of shots of black rum in the one glass he gets them.
The restaurants here are eerily silent as most of the patrons stare vacant into the screens of their phones. Odd thing is, no one seems to take offense and conversations with the wait staff suffice.
Burleigh is a little bit different though, approachable, caressing.