Australia Day is a funny thing.
It would be nice if my immediate gut reaction to the day wasn't to cringe, because, hey, I live in a beautiful country, and there is so much to be grateful for, and appreciative of. It's okay to celebrate that once a year together. Why not?
But oh man. Do we have to celebrate it like that?
I went into the city last night and had the great fortune of catching the train with multitudinous boganeering teens. They seemed to be on their way somewhere else after a day at Cronulla beach. Flag capes. A lot of nakedness. And drunkenness. And terrible haircuts. And cut off shorts. And southern cross tattoos. And sunburned naked chests, except for- wait for it- white inscriptions of Sutherland Shire postcodes left where they had been written in zinc at the start of the day.
So it's hard not to cringe and just be embarrassed of any kind of association with this sort of stomach churning patriotism. But I do wish there was a middle ground. Australia Day shouldn't be just a cringe, or something that I am cynical about. I'd like to be able to celebrate the day, and my country, in a non ironic, non tongue in cheek way.
But they make it hard for me, they really do.