Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boomerangs on Planes?

With the hard yards of breaking the news to my family behind me, I could begin to prepare for the adventure ahead of me. The handsome Australian and I had kept in touch mainly through e-mail since he departed Argentina and I returned to the USA. Phone calls were quite expensive and the time difference made it difficult to connect. In one of the last e-mails we exchanged before I departed for Australia, we were working out the details of when my flight would arrive and how we would connect at the airport, etc. The handsome Australian also had some last minute tips for me about my flight:

"Oh yeah and by the way, we do have a problem with Kangaroos on the runways here. So as the plane is landing, don't be alarmed when the Captain comes on the PA and asks you to look out your window and see if you can spot any kangaroos on the tarmac. They will instruct you what to do if you see one, but I'll go ahead and tell you now. You'll find a boomerang in the seat pocket in front of you. If you do see a kangaroo running loose on the runway, you need to pull the boomerang out of the seat pocket in front of you and toss it in the direction of the nearest air hostess to alert them of the kangaroo's presence and they'll let the captain know. Depending on how many kangaroos are loose on the tarmac, they might have to abort the landing and reapproach, but that doesn't happen a lot...maybe once or twice a day. I know you've probably never thrown a boomerang before, but don't worry--on the back of the laminated evacuation cards are very easy to follow instructions about how it's done. You'll be right."

Yes, I'm serious. Chivalry is not dead. What a thoughtful tip to share. Handsome, thoughtful and full of sh*t. I might have believed him if it weren't for the glaring error he made on our first date--He almost successfully convinced me of the existence of the Drop Bear in Australia.

The conversation started out innocently enough. I was telling him about a holiday my Aunt and Uncle had taken to Australia and all the amazing wildlife they had seen including an unfortunate run in my Aunt had with a leech during a bush walk she took. This is what followed:

Him: "Well your Aunt got off lucky. Leeches are terrible, but they're nothing compared to the Drop Bear. You really have to watch out for those when you are out in the bush."

Me: "The Drop Bear?"

Him: (enthusiastically) "Oh yeah. Haven't you heard of Drop Bears before?"

Me (hanging on his every word and trying to be my flirtacious best): "No, why are they so dangerous?"

Him: "Well, these Drop Bears they hang out in trees out in the bush and you will just be walking along when all of a sudden out of nowhere they will drop from the tree on to your head or upper body and begin to attack you. They've got very sharp teeth and long claws and they can really do a number on you."

Me (starting to get slightly suspicious, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, I mean there could be such a thing as Drop Bears right?): "Are you serious? Bears that drop out of trees and attack unsuspecting hikers?"

Him (with a completely straight face): "Yes, they are native to Australia, but it's not something we advertise--you can imagine why."

Me (asking myself, why would this guy be lying to me I only just met him and he seems trustworthy): "Well, I don't think you'll find me hiking in Australia then. Attacked by a random bear that falls from a tree? No thanks."

Him: "Aw you Americans really are too soft. Can't let a ferral bear get in the way of a good bush walk."

Me (is he serious? This sounds out of this world, but he doesn't appear to be making it up and why would he?And what the hell does he mean by ferral anyway?) "Well, we may be soft, but we aren't nuts. That sh*t's crazy."

A pause in the conversation and we just look at each other.

Me: "Are you sure there are really such things?"

Him: "Why is it so unbelievable?"

Me: "I don't know, it just is. Look I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt because we just met and I know you wouldn't tell me something that wasn't true."

Him: (realising he'd gone too far) "Okay, okay. We don't really have Drop Bears."

Me (surprised because he was so damn convincing and disappointed in myself for almost falling for it) "I thought as much. You do realise now that I'll have to take everything you say with a grain of salt from now on because I won't know if you are telling the truth or not."

He went home thinking he'd blown it. He told his Australian roommate he'd told me the Drop Bear story and it hadn't gone well. Good thing he's handsome or he mightn't have gotten a second date.

If there is one thing you need to know about the Australian sense of humour, it's that Australians love "taking the piss" out of someone. In American terms that means making fun of someone. They like to use the geography and exotic nature of Australia to their advantage, especially in conversations with Americans, and make up all sorts of gems just to "take the piss".

Learn the Lingo
ferral=wild, crazed, etc (there are other meanings which we'll get to another day)
take the piss=make fun of


Annelise said...

HA! You never told me that story. And your poor pride at believing him. You are the one usually doing all the ribbing. I loved "the handsome Australian" before that story...but now he has street cred! Drop Bear!! HILARIOUS.

Oh...and very Carrie of you to call your "Mr. Big", "The Handsome Australian". Please don't share the Carrie fashion though! hahah, what am I thinking??? You HATE heels!

trish said...

Have to hand it to the Handsome Australian, that is one great story. Too funny!