Big Smoke joins the Hayseeds + Goodbye 2020

Well, it’s a wrap.

But before you all go off and do whatever you do at this time of year, there are a few things I want to say.

Big smoke joins the hayseeds

There has been much written about peeps moving out of our cities to more regional places this year.  Almost all have been written from the big smoke’s perspective.  Only a few journos have bothered to look at the other side of the coin.

I am, these days, a hayseed.  We moved to a small village, an hour south of Hobart, before Covid and it was part of a long-term plan.  We have been planning this move for over ten years.   So, if you are seriously considering a similar move – but not to Tasmania please as we are now FULL – then here are some things that we have learnt so far.

  1. Don’t talk about money or your financial situation. The locals don’t care, they aren’t impressed, and it is the quickest way to ostracise yourself.
  2. If you have personalised licence plates or are into similar shows of, well wankiness, then you might really ask yourself if moving a regional town, especially a small one, is really for you. Best drop all wonkiness too!
  3. If you think the move will change you, or your relationship, the maybe take a breather and think again, old habits die hard, leopards don’t change their spots. You get the drift. We weren’t going to get a TV screen when we moved.  Work as much.  Go out a lot more. Etc. Etc.
  4. Don’t complain. The local café, and other such businesses, open their set hours, there is often little choice and folks take their time turning up, especially when you employ them.
  5. Worse still don’t make enemies. What might be done, even encouraged, in the big smoke, could make your life hell in the hayseeds. Drop flipping the bird, loud hooting of the horn, cutting in at the grocery line or stealing parking spots.
  6. On a more positive note, if the weather is good embrace it. The locals do.
  7. Ask the local store owners what’s what and who’s who. Don’t announce your arrival, they can smell the newness on you from a mile away. And this is important, support all their businesses.  It will cost you more but well that’s surely one of the reasons you moved isn’t it, for that sense of community.  If so then you will have to support local things, including business.
  8. Having said that, and to misquote Dylan, “the locals don’t need you and they expect the same”. So, don’t get any ideas – well not too soon – about how you could ‘change the town’. Think them sure, wax lyrical plenty at home but don’t air that shite in public.  This is another sure way to ostracise oneself.   And if you are going to get involved, which is to be encouraged, slowly slowly.
  9. Pay your bills on time and don’t be too much of a pain in the arse if employing tradies, yard help and when receiving deliveries or similar. Yes, the locals want your work and brass, but they aren’t slaves, they aren’t below your standing and, well in small places, the word gets around fast. Spend time talking to them too, ask them who they are, what they know, you they recommend, it will pay dividends in the end.
  10. It will take at least two generations for you to be ‘accepted’ as a local. So, don’t even try. It’s their town, you are a blow in.  You might think you are putting down some roots.  Deep ones even, but the locals will think otherwise.

And once you get all that down pat, you might have some time left to read or listen to some tunes.  Below are some new books and music I enjoyed this year.

Goodbye 2020

Many of us are glad to see the back of 2020.  This year was a good one for us on a personal level, and it wasn’t too bad business-wise either, but it wasn’t a great one – if you ask me – regarding the wider stage.

The initial reaction to Covid19 was understandable.  But as the year rolled on the hysteria, alarm and inanity escalated to the extent that it has now become ludicrous.  We are shutting down places on whims.  And the ‘rules’ of engagement defy science and logic; most are in cloud cuckoo land.

We have also relinquished a lot to keep infections low.

Yes, it would be nice to save every life.  True some 900 people have died with Covid19 this year, yet about the same number died from the flu across Australia last year.  This year, due to social distancing etc., flu-related deaths were fewer than 40.

We could stop up to 1,000 deaths each year but a what cost?

The cost of what we have done, and how the agenda has been hijacked, will be felt for a long time.

Next year should be better, economically – well fingers crossed, and I do think we are putting a lot of pressure on 2021 if you ask me – but beyond the short-term economic bump, we will have to pay the cost of 2020’s hysteria.  And that cost will embrace far more than just things economic.

My biggest concern is how easily we gave away our civil liberties.

To paraphrase Chris Kenny recently from the Weekend Oz: “We are eroding our national character.  Once resourceful, self-reliant and anti-authoritarian we have become timid, afraid, longing for ‘rules of law’ and looking for government indulgence and protection.”

Also, of concern is how the media – in all its forms and across most ownerships – now just amplifies yet rarely interrogates.  Many things this year just didn’t pass the ‘pub test’, yet too many of us accepted what was being said or written as the gospel truth.

I do believe that it was our island nation status, our largely warm and relatively dry climate and our existing health system that had more to do with keeping Covid19 at bay than anything else.  For mine, government efforts (and of course bungles) caused more harm than good.

Dealing with Covid19 (or similar) is really a marathon, not a sprint.  We need to stay calm and carry on.

And on that note have a great Christmas and New Year’s.  Stay safe and spend a bit of it with someone, or doing something, that matters.

The Matusik Missive will be back on Tuesday 19th January 2021.

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