I bought a 2009 Holden Astra last Friday. It’s by far the most reckless thing I’ve done this year apart from hitting a Volvo in mum’s car a few weeks ago. She told me she was just glad that I was alive, but her eyes went kind of foggy like she was imagining driving in to visit me in ICU in an undented Forester.
Ok, so let me put this in context. I’ve upgraded from a beat up ’95 Barina that I have died in every summer because it has no air conditioning and no power steering which means I can only do seven point turns that make me even sweatier. The sad thing is that heap of junk was a massive upgrade from my ’84 Corolla where I literally almost died.
I was driving it on a 40+ day with no air-con, and I couldn’t even open my windows because they’d been stuck into place by my brother (not a mechanic) using Gladwrap and Superglue. If I rolled them down I wouldn’t be able to get them back up again, so I would just drive, get to a red light and swing the door open and shut to try and generate some air flow. It was a low point – the window washer boys didn’t even bother asking me for money.
I distinctly remember, though, driving down Morrison Road and suddenly going – I’m the frog in the pot. I’m the frog in the frigging pot – GET ME OUT!!!
I screeched off to the side and just sat on the bonnet for a while, and when people looked like they might stop to help I motioned them on because I didn’t want to explain to them that my car was being held together with the stuff you use to wrap sandwiches.
That car didn’t know how to say when, until two years later when I forgot to top up the oil and it said when quite loudly. It just kind of just self imploded, shuddered a few times and gurgled what sounded like ‘it’s been a pleasure’ before it flat-lined.
The worst part of the whole ordeal – worse than blowing up my car – was taking it to Pete, our mechanic, to see if anything could be done. Pete doesn’t realise that a car is an inanimate object which means he gets personally offended when you damage yours. I was like, brother that thing’s done over 400 000 kms – think of it as a mercy killing. I was not going to apologise to him because I was the one whose car had blown up, but I went along with everything he said even when he used the word ‘reckless.’ I just kept on saying yes, no, reckless, negligent, sinful, homicidal etc until his temperature gauge came down.
But my car!! I don’t belong in it – it’s way too nice. When I got it home I opened a bottle of white wine (there was no champagne) and poured some over it which made no sense at all but felt quite celebratory. I quickly washed it off cos my car smelt like a big bottle of Evans & Tate. I was hoping that my Yemen-bound sister would join me as a break from packing her bags but she wasn’t interested in my first world concerns so it ended up being just me pouring wine on a car. It looked some kind of weird pagan baptism, so I took it back in and did what people in Maida Vale do with wine early afternoon. No shame in that – bottle was already open.