My definition of a bad day is when I have to pay for my own lunch and so far I’ve been back at work for two weeks and have had to buy it for myself every day. One day, I even brought in sandwiches in the ancient family Tupperware and I feel like a stalker the way I’m wandering around food halls, pointing to yesterday’s schnitzels in the bain marie. Is this really living? For some, I suppose, but not for me.
What is it about the torpor that seems to linger at this time of year? It is as if 2013 is struggling to find its mojo. There are no deals out there and whenever you meet someone, they are talking it down.
Even my old mate Warnie can’t get in the swing. Is he a cricketing eunuch now? To adapt an old phrase, he won’t bat, won’t bowl and can hardly field.
And I am sick to death of the flood of “2013 outlook” emails that are clogging up my inbox. Everyone is an expert, it seems. I had no idea there was a veritable army of soothsayers and economic tarot readers out there, all trying to advance their personal brands by reporting back from their gazings into the crystal ball.
If I believed everything everybody said I’d have bet the family pile many times over on everything from emerging market debt, biofuel futures and Chinese automakers. Piss off, charlatans, I say!
The mean-spiritedness of 2013 is surrounding me. The hard hats at Lend Lease and their cronies at KPMG have invited me to a PR offensive for that monstrosity which will be Barangaroo, and have had the audacity to provide only a “sandwich lunch.” Not only that, but they were cheeky enough to put “entry is free of charge” on their invitation.
Do they really think I would pay money to go and listen to them spruik their global eyesore to me? I’m not sure who is advising them on their public relations strategy but they really will have to do a bit better than egg and lettuce sangers and orange cordial. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Perhaps this is just a Sydney malaise. I’m off to the tennis in Melbourne next week and friends tell me the mood is much more optimistic down there. And of course they are partying in Perth as if there is no tomorrow, which, if the commodities boom ends, is precisely what will happen. They’ll be renaming their river the Black Swan – or at least we will.
I pondered these things as I wandered the Opera House foreshore the other day. I tried to get into the swing at Justin Hemmes pop-up Mexican cantina, but felt slightly ridiculous in my multi-coloured sombrero slurping my overpriced lukewarm margarita.
But you have to concede that Justin is entrepreneurial and I’m hoping to have a bit of a chat with him to discuss one idea I am sure will be one of the investment hits of 2013.
I’m applying to the government’s new renewable energy fund for some money to install a hydraulic dance floor at Justin’s Ivy establishment where the dancing throng will drive turbines to power all the electricity to the building.
It could be a hit and could spawn a whole new industry. I’m imagining the whole nation heaving on the dance floor for the cause of renewable energy. And I’ll make a real killing if I can also get the alcohol and party-drug franchise.
But by far my most miserable moment in several years came at Darling Harbour. There I was, the roof of my mouth scalded by the chicken and mushroom pie I’d bought – with my own money! – from the closest Pie Face franchise, staring at that giant inflatable bath duck, which is some kind of mascot to the Sydney Festival.
The tears flowed as I stared at the duck and had a dreadful existential moment, looking from the pie to the duck and asking myself: “What does it all mean? Is this all there is???”
Sadly, I think that might be all there is, for a few weeks anyway.
At least I’m off to Melbourne next week and have a nice seat in a corporate box at the tennis finals. I have to pay for my own ticket down there, but at least the lunch will be free.