Even at my advanced age there are many things I do not understand.
Firstly, why do so many Australians take every opportunity to lean on something? It seems to me that, as soon as they stop walking they, young and old alike, look around for something to lean on. It can be a traffic sign, a storefront or simply, and very disgustingly, a street refuse container.
I have always thought this habit to be very strange, not to mention very unhygienic. Now, in these days of Covid-19, it seems even more so but the leaning habit has not abated in the slightest. What is the point of using sanitiser, wearing a face mask, and then leaning against a garbage can?
It really does beat me. Once an IT specialist came to my home to help with a problem and, almost as soon as he walked in he sat down, quite uninvited, on our dining table! Was he really that tired, I wonder?
Secondly, and while continuing to focus on Australia, I am at a loss to explain the use of what can only be considered as “baby talk” in the local dialect. Why, for example, should the Covid-19 pandemic have become the ‘pando’, sanitiser ‘sani’, and isolation ‘iso’?
Is this another sign of inherent fatigue? Is it really so exhausting to pronounce a three or four syllable word – even when leaning against a street sign?
While on the topic of baby talk, the Australians have a fascination with nicknames that is topped by very few. Most of the names derive from the addition of a simple unimaginative suffix: Jones becomes ‘Jonesy’, Smith becomes ‘Smithy’, or an equally unimaginative abbreviation when Thompson becomes ‘Thommo, and Jack becomes ‘Jacko’.
Looking on the bright side, some of the nicknames are very imaginative indeed. Steve Waugh, one of Australia’s venerated cricket captains became ‘Tugger’ whereas his twin brother, Mark, also a very capable cricketer at the international level, simply became just ‘Junior’.