Fringe Dwellers are a mix of older retirees and younger undereducated singles and couples, united by the common need to live in low-rent metro suburbs and regional areas. Living on pensions, unemployment or family benefits, or a low income derived from work in retail or personal services, rent is the chief expenditure—and as rental prices have risen, Fringe Dwellers have been squeezed into left-behind areas.
Fringe Dwellers just want to catch a break: a job with fair pay and conditions; a doctor who cares at the local medical centre; one decent win on the pokies. While younger members are digitally minded and may already own lower-end smartphones and tablets, the majority are late adopters or technophobes who don’t want the expense or hassle of a new gadget.
Walk with Me
I was pretty flush today: my dole money and rent assistance came in this morning, plus I got $80 cash-in hand from a day house-painting on Sunday, plus my nan gave me $50 for my 26th birthday that I’d been saving.
I tried to get my mate Ben to come down to the RSA with me, but I forgot he has to work now. My other mate Shane must’ve still been asleep ‘cause he wasn’t picking up so I left a message on his phone saying drinks are on me today.
So I caught the bus into town with all the oldies—must be their pension day too. There’s a new CD out I want, so I went into The Warehouse but it was twenty bucks. I reckon I can wait a month for it to be ten or twelve. Or else I can go over and use Shane’s computer and buy it online. I don’t have a credit card or anything so I’ll have to use PayPal, which is annoying. Nah, I’ll just wait a bit.
In the RSA there was this old bloke playing on the machine I like. I sat down at the one next to him and put twenty in and got free spins straight away! It didn’t give me much but I figured it was ripe for more. This guy next to me starts talking and he’s alright. He must be about 75 and used to be a brickie. Turns out he worked on my block of flats about 40 years ago! I’ve been thinking about getting into construction and he tells me all about it.
He’s on his own too, because he’s divorced. It’s pretty sweet living by yourself, you can watch whatever you want, eat whatever.
Jack’s lost a bit so I buy him a beer. I get my machine up to $40 and he’s eyeing it off so I ask him if he wants to swap. We do, so then I’m on my favourite machine and I get three pyramids straight away. Jack’s annoyed but that’s the luck of it, mate. He goes off in a huff.
When Shane finally comes down about two, I’ve done my painting money trying to get those stupid pyramids again. I’ve still got Nan’s fifty so we have some bourbon and cokes and play pool. Not a bad day.