Blacktown is currently in the middle of giving itself a new mall heart. Streets are closed off with yellow signs, scaffolding has erected its steel bones, cement forms in grey walls, wire crawls between empty gaps to form spider web nets, and the four level, one block sized mall slowly grows across the road like a prosthetic limb, taking over a second block. There'd once been a small, rundown mall where the new building is happening, and when I was younger, you'd go there with your friends and ride skateboards (and shopping trolleys) down the looping plastic yellow slope that spiraled to the car park in the centre of the building. The inside of it was a hideous olive green, and it didn't have one shop of interest, which explained its perpetual emptiness; later, it acted as a thoroughfare into back alley shops, where you could find specialty bookstores. There are dozens of the little back alley, two level malls that are stained with the smell of fried food and cigarettes, and you'll find that most are dominated by second hand and pornography bookstores, and solicitors offices.
Across from the new building area, however, is a flat car park connected to a decaying K-Mart and Coles. That was where I was today, just passing through, ducking into the Coles to pick up some orange juice in one of those on the way to point B after point C kind of things. Which I did. No need to bore you with the details of said purchase. The interesting part came afterwards, when I stepped out, and found people hovering around my car in the lot.
Never a good sign, that.
I walked up. They were a bunch of middle aged people, one of them Asian, a white Australian couple, and a tall Greek woman, who was doing much of the talking. Talking about how she had called the Police. This, I decided, was also a bad sign. They were all hanging around the back of my car, so I figured that someone had hit it, and drove off. That was about the extent of my theory. If I had to pick someone who was involved in some way, I would have gone with the Asian woman, because she appeared a little upset.
"They say the number plate doesn't match," the Greek woman said.
"Excuse me," I murmured, pushing through the people to the driver's side. Looking for damage, which there wasn't. This also, I thought, was not a particularly good sign--though, in a selfishness, I added that it wasn't a good sign for the other people (probably the Asian woman), but was perfectly fine for me. At that point, I was next to the Asian woman, who said anxiously, "My bag just got stolen."
"Two Abos in a Commodore," the Australian woman added.
I said, "I'm sorry about that."
No one said anything, and I got into my car. After I had closed the door, I heard the Australian woman making a list of the car details, and the numberplate, which, as mentioned earlier, didn't link up to any car. I was a touch impressed by the fact that they could be so sure of the wrong details as that kind of stuff just dribbles out of my head, and I'm always quite unsure about saying something with certainty. However, what was most disturbing, was that I found myself wanting to say, How do you know that they were Aboriginal? but the truth was, I wasn't there, and years of Political Correctness and years of reading how racial groups are targeted as a demographical of criminality hasn't yet made me a complete and ignorant fuck. Aborigines do commit crimes--just as white Australians, Asians, and everyone else of colour and creed do. But I was a bit shocked at the desire to automatically argue it, and I'm figuring the years I've spent reading racial theory books has left a nasty guy reaction for when I hear, "Two Abos did it."
Still, I kept my mouth shut. I started my car. I told the Asian woman again that it was a shame, and then I drove away. Nothing else to be done.