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By Pearl Bullivant on February 16, 2017 in Other

Photo:  John Symond

Photo: John Symond

After a boozy New Year’s Eve in Camden listening to 2WS’s Juke Box Saturday Night with my friend Tonnie, Pearl awoke to the sound of a howling greyhound and a squawking Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, and a disturbing front-page story on the Sydney Morning Herald iPad app. While it’s hard to imagine such natural ‘alarm clocks’ in Clovelly, the SMH headline, ‘Honeymooners forced to splurge $1,600 after Sydney NYE fireworks dream goes wrong’, was pure Eastern Suburbs. Maybe the Valium I’d quaffed to stem the hangover was to blame, but it was as if I had been teleported back home rather than having to endure the M5 traffic around Campbelltown.

Although the headline (which managed to bump the Istanbul nightclub shooting from the SMH app for a couple of hours) is self-explanatory, Pearl feels she must elaborate with ‘Pearlique’ effect.

The honeymooners were a Welsh couple, and they were extremely unhappy to be slumming it with the masses in the Botanical Gardens on NYE. In desperation to “get their dream back on track” (they had “been painstakingly planning their holiday ever since” August) they were ‘forced’ to part with $1,600 to view the fireworks in degustation comfort.

“Imagine if we hadn’t,” they said. Yes, just imagine. They might have been ‘forced’ to spend the evening on a verandah in Sydney’s southwest, busting drunken dance moves to Frankie Valli’s ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, just as Pearl was on December 31. OMG!

Sobered up and riding shotgun home to Clovelly via the car park known as the M5 tunnel, I posed the question: when did the affluent middle class become so pathetic? When did honeymoons become expensive, stage-managed events justifying headline attention when they fail to live up to the dream?

As I get older and wiser, I am finding it increasingly difficult to tolerate the middle class woes and issues that occupy media print space and now take pride of place in my own column as I maintain the rage against this lack of resilience.

We are now living in an altered reality, controlled by marketers and big business – a reality where ninety per cent of those who earn more than $100,000 do not believe they are wealthy and resort to adopting trendy afflictions such as veganism, mindfulness, gratitude, paddle board yoga, cosmetic injections, immunisation dissention, and kaftan and cowboy hat wearing to feel complete.

We ‘emotionally invest’ not in a hobby or relationship, but in the celebrity-aspiring competitors on The Bachelor series, and we feel ‘cheated’ when our favourite barbie doll doesn’t win, rather than feeling cheated when our government balances the budget on the back of the poor.

Call me an angry old woman if you must, but I see myself as a guru of enlightenment educating the masses to harden up and stop acting like spoilt brats. And if the success of a honeymoon is predicated by the view of Sydney’s fireworks on New Year’s Eve, I can also see myself as an accurate oracle when it comes to the success of the headline couple’s married life.