Australian Misunderstanding



My girlfriend Beth and I were living in Sydney Australia. More than anything else we enjoyed going away for weekends on my motorcycle, usually camping out somewhere and usually with some of our friends who also enjoyed motorcycling. One weekend we set out by ourselves and ended up camped in a small state park outside a remote country town in the Hunter Valley. There was nobody else in the camping ground, so as evening fell we decided not to cook for ourselves but instead rode into town to look for a good meal.

There wasn't much to choose from, but as I was parking close to a small diner I noticed we were out front of the town's only movie theatre, and saw a poster for one of those small-budget films about two guys who go around the world on motorcycles. We'd missed this film in its first run in Sydney, so decided enthusiastically to catch it there tonight.

There was only a handful of people in the place, and together we enjoyed two of the kind of wonderful hamburgers which can only be found in country towns, as we discussed the possibility of doing some similar adventurous bike trip ourselves, perhaps around Australia for six months?. In that country the coffee comes after the main course, and I think Beth had just said something like "Wouldn't it be great if we could find some other couple to do it with?" as the waitress came over with our coffee.

As she set our coffee down, I asked her "Do you know what time the movie starts?" She told us 8 o'clock, which gave us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the coffee and some dessert. The waitress was a fairly attractive redhead in her early thirties, and she then asked us "Are you interested in that kind of thing? You know, in the movie?"

"Oh sure" I replied, "We love it! We have a bunch of friends back in Sydney who we're out with at least once a month."

"Really?" she said, then pulled up a chair and, lowering her voice a little, said "You know, my hubby Phil and I have talked about doing it for years, but we've never got up the courage. It's a small town, you know, and people talk. Then after we saw the movie the other night we got to talking about it again. I'm Angie, by the way."

I knew that bikers were looked down upon in country areas, but I couldn't imagine how anyone could ride a bike and keep it a secret. I was about to say so, when Beth chimed in "We're Beth and Rob. And yeah, I know what you mean. My parents hate it that me and Rob are so into it, but they're just being hypocrites. They loved it just as much when they were our age!"

"God, really?" asked Angie, a bit startled "How do you know?"

"Oh, Auntie Jane showed me the photos. The two of them all in leather looking all pleased with themselves. Of course they deny everything nowadays, but I know better."

Our waitress looked a bit nonplussed but, looking briefly over her shoulder at the other customers all the way in back, she turned back to us and asked "How long are you in town for?"

"Oh, just tonight. We're off back to Sydney first thing tomorrow."

"A pity" said Angie, "it would have been great if we could have gotten together." Lowering her voice yet again she looked Beth in the eye and said" I'm sorry I don't have a photo of Phil with me, but you'd really like him I'm sure. He's a bit, uh, small, if you know what I mean, but he's really good with his hands."

I pictured a diminutive mechanic, perfect for a long bike run! I said "Perfect! We should definitely stay in touch."

Angie looked at me, then at Beth, started to say something then thought better of it. Looking back at me she asked "If you don't mind me asking, uh… how big is yours?"

"460cc" I replied, without batting an eyelid. This seemed to startle her. She quickly recovered and said "I'm no good with Metric, what's that in inches?"

Now it was my turn to be baffled. I only knew cubic centimeters, so I turned to Beth who was something of a mathematician. "What would you say?"

"Shit" she said "I don't think inches is the appropriate conversion. Let's just say it's about mid-range."

"Right" I said, "there are much bigger beasts out there on the highway, but it's a good size for our needs. It was originally only 400cc but I had it bored out."

Angie was clearly at a loss to know how to respond to this. She gulped, but before she could say anything Beth turned to me and continued "You know how my bum goes to sleep if we go more than two or three hours? I have to get off and stretch my legs for ten minutes or more before we can get going again. If we're going to do anything really adventurous it would be really nice to have something a bit bigger!"

"Sure" I said "Just so long as it isn't too heavy for me to pick up if it falls over."

That did it for our waitress. Obviously deciding we were a couple of lunatics she got up from the table and said "Well, if you come back through town again be sure to look us up, okay? Bye!"

What a strange woman, we thought. We only realised what was really going on after we got to the movie theatre and found that the bike movie didn't start until the following evening. The movie which had been showing all week was a very adult wife-swapping film!

My God! I'm not sure if we were too embarrassed, or too busy laughing, to go back to the diner and explain it to Angie. God only knows what kind of strange people she thinks live in big bad sinful Sydney!