Bla Bla Black Sheep
“How was your day?”
This is the daily mantra of couples, housemates, families and indeed anyone who doesn’t come home to a wall of pink and a sofa of cats.
Sometimes it’s rhetorical and sometimes it’s just an ice breaker before the real questions: “What’s for dinner”? “Where are my underpants?” “Do you mind if I go out with friends and you come collect me from a pool of vomit in a gutter outside the casino at 4am?”
But sometimes it is genuine: really, how was my day?
Here is my problem: Sometimes I have amazing days. Sometimes I have profound perhaps even intriguing days. I have a penchant for meeting peculiar people, going on bizarre adventures, engaging in unorthodox activities and my work loosely involves criminals, sex pests and the justice system.
But for some reason often when I am asked this benign question I respond with some short amusing snippet that does no justice to the real events that unfolded.
Tuesday is a good case in point. On Tuesday I travelled hundreds of kilometres into the abyss of Australia’s rural wastelands (aka the Bush) to meet a number of people including Aboriginal elders.
They told me harrowing tales about their forced removal from their families during the 1940s (and many years after) under cruel legislation that basically attempted to breed out the indigenous people of Australia, and their culture.
I stood with a man who pointed out his mother’s grave and tearily spoke to me about decades of incarceration in what were essentially concentration camps.
This person, and other remarkable people, showed me the lock up where children were detained when they were caught trying to find their way back to their communities and brought me into a dilapidated church where I spotted a grubby teddy placed into a shelf in an otherwise empty church – a poignant reminder of how Australia robbed Aboriginal children of their childhoods, their innocence.
As an aside they brought me into a shearing shed where I watched shearers shave away wooly sheep coats, a welcomed gesture I imagined in the searing heat.
But when I returned home sweaty, sunburnt and emotionally exhausted, filled with new information about the world and how it once ran, these weren’t the stories I retold.
It went pretty much like this:
“How was your day?”
“I STARTED A STARING COMPETITION WITH A BLACK SHEEP!”
“AND I WON!!!!!!!!”