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Tip 97 – Don’t fence me in

The low fences of Annerley

This tip starts with a quote from a poem. A longer version of that poem is provided here.

Two men with hammers took away my childhood views today
We chatted as they fenced me in. Yarns of tennis across low fences, shared barbecues, pet escapees, joy and pain, shared memories of neighbourhood, the suburb where I live.
“It’s all going mate,” the young one laughed, disappearing behind a ton of Colourbond and palings.

The jokes were short, the view went fast, their friendly faces and high vis vests went too. Behind the rapidly advancing wall.
Morning jokes, lunchtime farewells and then the sound of hammers on the other side, drifting across the unseen afternoon behind the fence, my isolation real, now. Permanent.

My work is different. I knock on 100 doors each weekend, encouraging people to open up and share the details of their life, so banks, car manufacturers and insurance agents can better stuff their wares through the crack I open on their behalf. My friendly face and pleasant voice, wedging open doors, closed against the very depredations I visit on them.
My knuckles know, statistics show, it is written across my door knocking heart, “High fences breed fearful people.”

We fear what we do not know.
We do not know what we cannot see.
We are in the dark about the family who rest their head two meters from where I rest mine. Where you rest yours.

Two men with hammers took away the views of my childhood today.
Two men with hammers, a ton of Colorbond and palings took that away.
They have their job.
I have mine.

So that was a poem that I wrote the day that two men did come and build a big fence across a neighbour’s backyard where I lived in Annerley. At the time there was, as is lovely case in Brisbane suburbs where houses were built in the 50s and 60s, there were a lot of one meter high, wire fences and people did play tennis across the fence and pass cakes and garden produce across the fence and I was very sad to see them disappear.

The full story of that day unfolds in a conversation between author, Geoff Ebbs, and his colleague, Claire Tracey on the radio show, Fashion by Dad. Among other things, Claire shares the story of the high fences of UlaanBataar. Read the full story at the Fashion by Dad website, or hear it at Soundcloud.

The fences of UlaanBataar — photo: 2Vegetarians in Mongolia

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