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Howdy peeps, how’s everyone’s week going!
Yesterday in Oz, we just had the “race that stops a nation”, the annual Melbourne Cup.
Although a workday traditionally (except for our Melbournian cousins – who are bestowed a public holiday, (yes gambling is so in our blood, we need a mandated day off just to gamble)), everyone knows that you don’t do actual work on the first Tuesday of every November.
It would be un-Australian to do so.
Hmm you know, between you and me – this year I can’t help but feel a different vibe beneath it all.
I mean, in years past the day would go something like this:
Arrive at work. Greet everyone excitedly as it’s the one day of the year we all turn into horse-racing experts.
“Number 17 – it’s my favourite number, he’s the one”.
“I like WhoShotTheBarman, because I would want to know who shot the barman”.
“That fella wearing a funny hat (you mean the jockey?) yeah, the jockey fella, I like the cut of his jib”.
Participate in the office sweepstakes. Feeling confident that the horse you picked at 100-1 is a “shoo-in”. This is also when the more astute of us head to the local TAB (a form of legalized gambling den on every street corner) to place bets in person, to avoid the lunchtime/early afternoon rush.
Plenty of offices and workplaces around the nation stop working for the day now. Usually this is the time for the traditional Aussie Barbecue, the long boozy lunch and also when the ladies show off their hats.
Oh the hats! Rejoice ye hats! For one day out of three six five, you are brought out to the light!
We are now all sounding like bona fide punters after a day doing nothing but researching on horses.
“She’s a good mare but she’s drawn out wide with a heavier weight. I don’t fancy her last three outings. The wet also affects her performance as the last run in the Caulfield showed, I’m not sure… maybe one for the box trifecta”.
For those of us waiting to place bets at the TAB, the nervous and excited chatter in the queues makes us forget our original bet.
“I’ll… I’ll take a tenner on LA Lakers against the Rockets thanks… wait… what day is it today?”
5 minutes to go until race-time! By now, NO ONE is working. Seriously, look around you and you’ll probably see this:
That’s right, you can cut the TENSION WITH A KNIFE.
AND THEY’RE OFF.
Weirdly no one speaks for the first half, just murmurings to themselves:
“Ah shit, he’s gone out too fast”
“My horse is leading!”
“Get up you ffff”
“Did I leave the kettle on?”
And with that, 5 minutes later – the race that stops a nation is over. Some people cheer, most people moan, but everyone has fun. Everyone starts talking to everyone else and no one is in a hurry to get back to work – in fact most people just finish for the day and either continue drinking, or head on home.
That’s usually how it is ain’t it?
This time round though, I couldn’t help but detect a different feeling in the air – walking around the office, on the streets, at the TAB – something which makes it feel not quite the same as yesteryears.
Maybe it’s all the doom and gloom we’ve been reading in the media recently, about political turmoil, stocks crashing and house prices plummeting?
Or maybe it’s the fact that it was pouring in Melbourne and the weather wasn’t so good in Sydney either?
Even more so perhaps I was feeling a bit off from the numerous Bulmers cider I was chugging down the entire day?
Hmmm, all true and valid, but I would like to propose another hypothesis.
Could it be that deep down in our sub-conscious, amidst the cheering and horse-researching and over-cooked pork fennel sausages – we KNOW that change is afoot.
There’s a storm brewing on the horizon, you know it, I know it.
We’ve had 27 years of continuous economic growth. A record among developing nations.
But each year feels a little bit harder doesn’t it? Feels a little bit more oomph is required to better the last.
That’s the general sense I got from this year’s Melbourne Cup.
The api-as-larry sense of carefree and euphoric mood, although still evident – is not as permeating as before.
Why do I say this?
Well between the morning hours and post race this year, not only was I working throughout the day, but my colleagues, my friends, my clients, in fact – MOST people were still working on this day.
An almost unheard of concept in years gone by.
What do you think? Do you think it’s tougher this year than prior? Or is it just… dare I say it… horses for courses?
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P.S. Despite all this broodiness, managed to luck out and win $17 today!
P.S.S Say no to gambling, it’s dangerous for you. A coin told me this.