The painter in the Konzum

In Australia – I dunno, maybe this is a cliche – but in Australia men with physical jobs, say plumbers or builders or painters, will pack their Esky full of leftovers, sandwiches, soups and bring it in for their lunch. Mostly it’ll be last night’s dinner or whatever their partners are willing to make for them before they leave at 5am. They’ll pause for smoko or lunch and sit around eating their lunches out of their Eskies. In fact, in Australia, the blue lunch-size Esky is synonymous with the tradie.


Maybe, a couple times a week, they might pop into the 7-Eleven for a hot dog, or the servo for a meat pie, or a Chinese takeaway for some fried rice.

Here in Croatia, as you might expect, they do things differently. Each day, the boys will get together and choose someone to go the supermarket. The designated buyer heads to the Konzum or deli and buys up enough meat, cheese and bread for everyone’s lunch, and then they have a little buffet together.

I wish I wasn’t such a chicken and could take photos of people doing perfectly normal stuff. Because then I could show you the adorable painter in his white overalls and white cap who was standing in front of me at the Konzum this morning. I imagine it’s not a small responsibility, buying everyone’s lunch, and he carefully ordered 200 grams of cheese, 200 grams of ham, 200 grams of salami, and two loaves of bread.

white cap

I had just finished my run and was sweating like a maniac – but he, who had the lunch fate of his team in his hands, I wonder if he was sweating, too?

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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