Friday 29 August 2008

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Bad News Norman

© John Sawyer – August 2008

I notice Norman as I validate my MetCard on the 109 tram in Victoria Street. He’s staring at the time on the ticket machine. “Well that’s awful. They really have spoilt it now. That’s really bad. Oh no, why do they let that happen.”

Norman continues to stare at the machine and about every minute he delivers his misery mantra: “That’s done it. Now we’re in trouble…” Surely the time changing isn’t a problem.

The passenger next to me gets up and I notice an expired ticket on the seat. Norman pounces on it and slides it into the pocket of his tweed sports jacket. “At least now I’ve got it next time things go wrong. It’s wicked what they do! It’s …” He shakes his head and goes back to watching the ticket validating machine count trough its disruptive destiny. “Oh no, not again …”

Other than a slight squint and an apprehensive tilt of the head, Norman looks pretty normal. He’s certainly dressed more conventionally than the young bloke next to him. I wonder who wears black stove pipe trousers and a tight double breasted pea jacket with eight rows of buttons. What about that pork pie hat like the ones bookies and racecourse stewards used to wear? No, other than a foreboding about the passing of time, Norman seems quite normal.

Another passenger gets off and leaves his paper on the seat. Norman grabs it and starts reading. “Oh no! Not really. How will we…” Page after page of bad news in one of those throw away real estate rags. Every now and then Norman looks at the ticket machine, mutters and shakes his head. I wonder.

Norman might be a banker worried about the diminishing value in the real estate market. He might just be a pollie or public servant worried about the impending Myki ticketing disaster.

Perhaps Norman is right to be worried. Norman could even be normal.


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