‘Hick’ label sure to raise hackles
‘‘Do you mind if I ask a question?’’ the woman at the counter asks.
The shop is doing a roaring trade in hangover-curing pies and milkshakes.
Farm workers stand in an unorderly queue, covered in animal poo, their gumboots abandoned by the door.
‘‘What do you actually do here?’’ she asks, looking slightly down her nose at one of the shepherds, perhaps noticing his woollen socks are giving off a bit of a pong.
The shiny Audi people-mover parked up with the mud-covered utes outside and the Prada handbag are a bit of give-away that she’s not from these parts.
Her GPS probably got her lost on the way to some flash highcountry lodge we surmise, giving her the once over.
The hackles rise. The locals don’t like being thought of as hicks.
‘‘Well,’’ says one, ‘‘just here we have a journalist, a vet, an agricultural contractor, a couple of shepherds with university degrees and a small business owner.
‘‘On any given night in the pub across the road you could also be having a drink with some station owners, a couple of accountants, a lawyer, some livestock salespeople, a real estate salesman, three teachers, an engineer, truck drivers and their bosses, a plumber and a sparky.
‘‘We also have fully-qualified first response paramedics and volunteer firefighters. We might be a long way from your city, but we’re not dumb.
‘‘There’s probably more qualified people in this town than there are in your apartment block, and you wouldn’t need to sell a kidney to afford that drink in the first place,’’ he says.
She’s looking a bit dumbfounded, but continues to try and understand why on earth these rural folk seem to be living on another planet.
One she’s definitely not familiar with, that’s for sure.
‘‘But don’t you get bored here? There’s no beaches, no cafes! What do you do for fun?’’ she asks, digging herself a deeper hole.
‘‘We have a cafe and a pub we probably frequent a bit too much. But we also have a rugby club, a golf club, a squash club and a preschool for the mums and kids. The older ladies have a craft group and a coffee group, there’s an art group and a group that are running their own movie theatre.
‘‘And if that’s not enough to do, we go hunting and fishing and motorbike riding and four-wheel driving - and if that gets boring, we just go and visit people for a yarn,’’ he says.
‘‘Well, I think you’re very brave to live somewhere like this,’’ she retorts.
‘‘It’s kind of quaint. I’m not sure I’d handle it, but my money is all tied up in property so it wouldn’t be an option for me,’’ she says, grabbing her triple-shot-soylatte in a takeaway cup, flouncing out of the shop towards the Audi.
‘‘Thank god for that,’’ he says, and everyone agrees and carries on with their day, doing whatever it is you do in a town like this.
Dismissing people as hicks based on their appearance is not the smartest thing to do.