Monday, November 10, 2008

Aussie Word of the Day: Unemployment Edition

Aussies tend to abbreviate everything. No frequently used word remains intact for long. The two main forms of diminution are by shortening the word and then tacking "-ie" or "-o" on the end. Thus, "afternoon" becomes "arvo." "Petrol" becomes "pettie." "Beverage" becomes "bevvie." Jason's brother Dean becomes "Dean-o." "Sunglasses" becomes "sunnies."

My favorite of these is "smoke-o," short for "smoke break."* Smoke-o falls at about 11 in the morning, between breakfast and lunch. For those that don't smoke, it can be used for morning tea or a snack. When Jason was working, he would call me every day during smoke-o to say hello. In fact, he set an alarm on his watch to remind himself.

This morning Jason and I went for a surf after dropping Zeke off at daycare. There's a nice swell coming in from the northwest, so we decided to head up north and hit one of our favorite breaks. The waves were nice and clean, about 3-4 feet, with an offshore breeze. There was a good 5-10 minutes in between sets, so we tended to bob around on our boards waiting for the waves to come.
A side view of the wave

During one of the lulls, I looked out at the waves just in time to see, about 50 yards away from me, a dolphin jump out of the water and spin around before diving back in. There was a huge pod swimming and playing, and the younger ones were showing off to each other, flying out of the water and flipping around. Then out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a giant turtle surfacing not to far from where I was sitting. He poked his head up, looked at me for a couple of seconds, and then went back under and swam away.

There's something so magical about being out in the ocean and encountering beautiful sea creatures willing to share their habitat. And it was a gorgeous day, sunny, not too hot, not too cool, blue skies. I may not love living in Hawaii, but on days like today, it's hard to beat. There
are certainly worse places to be unemployed (or under-employed).

So there we were, enjoying the day. I caught a bunch of really great waves, including one that was about as perfect a ride as I've ever been able to produce. As I was paddling back out to the line-up, I heard Jason's watch beep.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Smoke-o!" Jason laughed.

"Well, thank God. I certainly need a break from all this...perfection."

*For full Aussie effect, say the word with as nasal a voice as possible, and pronounce it "SMAU-kau."


  1. Ohhhhhhhhh, gorgeous! As you point out, it's an amazing place to be under/unemployed. I am glad you've got the time to enjoy this before you go.

  2. I don't care what you call it - sounds like heaven to me!

    (It's gray for one day here in ATL and you'd think I hadn't seen the sun for a month!)