The Only Run I’ll Ever Do
WORDS BY EMILY DERLIN
I am not Australian. I grew up in New Zealand with a Swedish mother, a German father and an easily distinguishable kiwi accent. I had never been to Wollongong or seen a game of AFL or gone to Bondi beach. I had never had someone yell ‘Aussie’ three times in a row at me and instinctively respond with three ‘Oi’s’ like some sort of strange mating call. I had never watched Neighbours or been to Coles or almost been attacked by a magpie or despised Ibis’ with such heated passion or had a relative exclusively referred to as Shazza or fully understood why the dingo stole that lady’s baby. It had never even crossed my mind that removing the silver wine bag from the box would be regarded as the best innovation since sliced bread. I am not Australian.
Before I arrived in Sydney, I had never been to a McDonalds past midnight, and if I was non-Australian before, this fact would make me the least Australian person to ever walk the halls of the University of Sydney. Nay, the entire country.
A sacred ritual performed by the teenagers and young of Australia. An excursion to a local McDonalds establishment at an unruly hour.
Okay, so going to a fast food chain in the middle of the night with friends seemed like an easy enough task to complete in order to earn my rightful place in Australian society. Boy, was I wrong. It is not just the simple task of going to a McDonalds, walking in, placing your order and leaving with your greasy meal in hand. No. You must go through the drive-thru. This is where the first obstacle was encountered. We did not have a car. Half-heartedly, we started our midnight trek to Parramatta Road’s finest eatery under those picturesque golden arches. After approximately five minutes of walking we were stopped in our tracks and looked in awe at the beautiful sight in front of us: an abandoned Coles shopping trolley. As it stood there, leaning haphazardly against a bent stop sign in all its red and silver glory, we knew exactly what we had to do. Convincing was not needed to get my partner in crime for the night to hop in and with a squeak in our wheels, we continued our journey down Camperdown’s potholed footpaths.
As we approached the entry of the drive-thru I was not sure if this was something I could follow through with. There we stood, two eighteen-year-old girls in matching hoodies resembling oversized infant twins in a Coles shopping trolley, sandwiched between a black Range Rover and a blue Mini Cooper in the parking lot of a 24/7 McDonalds. It was a sad sight for sore eyes; it was too late to back out. With some convincing, a twenty second pep-talk and reassurance that in the case of our arrest we would at least have an incredible snapchat story which would give us mad prison cred, the trolley of dreams was pushed forwards, guided by the smell of processed cheese and chicken nuggets.
With brown bags in one hand, hash browns in the other and the Aussie heat melting our McFlurrys, we wheeled our way back home. No arrests were made that night. No prison cred was needed and even our dignity, if only ever so slightly, was still intact.
I had never incorporated Vegemite into every meal of the day or known someone who made it on to Bondi Rescue or binge-watched Kath and Kim. I had never fought someone in a Kmart parking lot for the last fan during peak summer or eaten myself into a Tim-Tam induced coma. I have, however, been on a Maccas run at 1 in the morning. I am now Australian.