A tale of sausages and judgement

“Where is my mouth guard Mum?”

And so it begins again. Footy season is upon us again and all over Sydney, puffer vests are getting a thorough airing as the weekends are now spent sitting on the sidelines telling all who will listen how corrupt the ref is. Hands are warmed with overpriced, takeaway coffees while younger siblings, high on the side affects of giant pythons, chuck impressive tantrums. Small and large dogs do a very good job of sniffing each others anuses, while Dads tear up and down the sidelines, yelling, trying to re-live the years when they played seventh grade for Joeys.

“Oi! Can someone get the ref a pair of glasses?”

We are talking under 13’s here.

We have a home game, and I follow my olfactory instincts over to the BBQ, where the sausages are a sizzling. I look at the crew behind the counter who are clearly over-worked. For we do a fine sausage at Lindfield, a fact that can be measured by the crowd in front of the BBQ.

“Do you need a hand?” I ask. And them immediately regret it.

“Yes.” I am told “Can you please work the cash register.”

The cash register is not a register, but can be seen in that photo up there. I immediately go into meltdown. Damn you helpful instinct! For you see, I might be good at stringing sentences together, and I make a mean martini but when it comes to mental computation, all bets are OFF.

It starts out ok.

“One blue Powerade please.”

I look at the menu, note that that particular beverage is $4.50, progress with the transaction smoothly and greet the next customer.

“How much is a bacon and egg roll?” Again, I refer to the price list and confirm that that particular item is five dollars. Ten dollars,¬†handed over, five is returned before I direct the boy to the BBQ. No tickets or tokens. We work on trust.

And then I spy a small boy, I think about three years old. He looks extremely shifty. He is eying off the box of Zappos near the till. And as I retreat to fetch a punter a can of Solo, I can tell that he is trying to steal. NOT ON MY WATCH. I inform him that despite his adorableness, he is not above the law.

The whistle blows, signalling half time and the crowd grows bigger at the sausage sizzle, but this time, it is serious. A dozen North Shore Dads arrive with their dad bods in the uniform of knee-length shorts, boat shoes, navy polo shirts and caps that have logos on them, letting me know which investment bank they work for. And now it is my time to come undone.

“Yeah I’ll have one bacon and egg roll, one sausage sandwich, two cans of coke and a yellow Powerade thanks…”

My eyes scan the price list while my brain takes leave of my skull.

And then they hand over a fifty dollar bill.

My hands shake as I try not to lose my shit.

I fumble everything. The men all stare at me. They are judging me and I can tell that they are stifling laughter.

“FUCK OFF” I scream at them before storming off. Of course this is what I want to do, but instead, I ask them to add it up and tell me how much change I need to give them.

“I am bad at maths….” I offer up but really I want to scream “I am a published author you know. I run a successful business writing shit on the internet. I have personally met the last three Prime Ministers! I can bake risotto in my oven. My step-dad died last year. My son is making his debut in the A-grade in a few minutes, and I had a very difficult labor with him…..”

And so it goes. The next five minutes is a mixture of fumbling and apologising and giving back the wrong change. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my mini-nemesis makes his move, swiping a handful of Zappos before disappearing into the crowd.

“Stop! Thief!” I yell. But no one cares. So I figure, why should I.

I approach the person who is in charge. “Do you mind if I knock off? My son is about to play…”

I am excused from duty. I chuck $4 into the cash box and grab myself a sausage sanger. Dousing it in sauce, I take a bite and watch as a large dollop of sauce lands on my boobs.

That will do pig. That will do.

Are you back on the sidelines yet?

How are you at mental computation?