THERE'S been debate lately about what it means to be Australian.
And maybe it doesn't mean heading overseas to fight for Islamic State. And maybe it doesn't mean offering asylum seekers the opportunity to resettle in Cambodia.
But surely it's got something to do with helping out someone with a flat battery.
That thought hadn't even crossed my mind as I walked down to work the other day, having left my lights on.
I'd made a mental note when I turned them on that morning that I would turn them off when I parked. But, of course I forgot that and so, as is the case with ignorance, everything was bliss.
Fast forward nine hours later and I was still ignorant of what I was ignorant of.
In fact, I was more blissful because the end of the working day beckoned.
Blissed turned to pissed when the car wouldn't turn over.
Not even a fizz.
More lifeless than a change management memo from HR.
That do-gooder of a whim to turn the lights on for no real reason other than to give myself a pat on the back for being somehow responsible on what was barely a misty morning had come back to haunt me that evening.
Apt really, because it was getting kind of dark stranded up on the bluff at King Edward Park just on dusk. "Haunted" wasn't far off the mark. Mainly by my decision to turn those lights on.
Not to worry, all I needed was someone to give me a jump. But not jump me. Which was another thought that began to haunt me the darker it got.
And with that, as if out of a cliche, a convertible sports car pulled up and the driver jumped out for a quick selfie with the striking colours of sunset airbrushing the skies over Newcastle beach behind him.
Pretty inspiring stuff - until my could-have-been-a-champion bloke declined my humble, possibly, grovelling, plea for assistance.
Cue the debate about whether people should forfeit their claim to Australian citizenship in some instances.
First response was he didn't have jumper leads. That's OK, I said, I had some.
Then he said he was "going out". To which I said, it would only take a minute and he wouldn't have to get his hands dirty.
To which he then said, he didn't think he could do it to his car.
And fair enough, his car was pretty schmick and so I suppose I couldn't 100 per cent blame him for not wanting to somehow compromise it. But call me bitter, I did. And as I turned back to my car I also thought rather ungenerous thoughts about his status as a human being.
With that the individual zoomed past with what can only be described as exaggerated acceleration.
I'm not sure if his Monaco-meets-Newcastle Hill Climb salute was intended my way, but it crystalised many emotions bubbling in my brain - "wanker".
Which provided some consolation as I waited for my next victim, I mean, good Samaritan. A young female, as it turned out, in a rather small car.
I didn't feel exactly comfortable approaching said lady in fading light, given Catching Milat had just aired on TV and she may have been packing pepper spray. Having said that, it was my intention to communicate need.
Straight off, she was receptive as I gave my side of the story from what I hoped was an unthreatening three metres away. I truly didn't want to freak her out.
She duly manoeuvred her vehicle into position and an exchange of energy was initiated.
To no effect. My vehicle remained deader than a Tony Abbott press grab.
Fearing that she may soon be fearing this was a set-up, I thanked her and off she went.
Within minutes, the next target appeared, a father and son combo. And again, without hesitation, they generously agreed to help spark up my beast.
But again the beast slept soundly.
So strike three. A call to roadside assistance and an indefinite wait loomed. It was pretty much dark now and everyone who was going home, had gone home.
Save for target No.4 who had, I won't say "snuck", because that's not a fair description of how he got in his car as me and the father-son pit crew worked under the bonnet. But he had definitely got into his vehicle, as you do when you're going home from work.
His mistake, if you had to call it that, was texting someone on his phone - the glow thus alerting me to human presence.
In the spirit of a Steven King novel, I emerged again from the darkness to stand in front of his vehicle a good three metres away to safeguard against getting run over, and gesticulated.
Once again, there was no hesitation in lending assistance and this time, my vehicle kicked over.
What a top bloke he was. What top blokes everyone else had been, even the guy in the sports car who'd denied me.
I could afford to be generous, now that my car was going.
And maybe when it's all said and done, that's what it means to be Australian.
She'll be right.