Monday, February 14, 2011

R.I.P. Big Red

And now the time has come to part with that most loyal, ardent, reliable and trusted of friends – my first car. It has served me far better than I deserved, especially considering that I drove it at times in way that one usually reserves for dodgem cars.

It’s only fitting that I pay homage with a trip down memory lane…

The First Cut Is The Deepest…

Nothing signifies the start of a new year at university quite like reversing at full speed into the crisp, white, brand new parked car owned by the woman in charge of handing out food in the dining hall. While I assumed this act of gross incompetence (which occurred in the summer of ‘03) would get me fed less, she was so grateful that I left a note with my details that she actually fed me more. Not only did Big Red get me from A to B, but he also kept me in hot chips throughout my uni career.

No Denting My Resolve…

Big Red also taught me to bring balance into my life, specifically through the act of balancing a discman (yes, a discman, that olde chestnut) on my lap and changing CD’s while driving between Bathurst and the Dor on weekends. I was forced into this life lesson when the tape deck in the Wisest of Wagons ceased working… it felt like a punishment at the time, but really it was just saving me from listening to nothing but a Norah Jones tape for 3 hour stretches.

Bending Like A Reed In The Wind…

The above comes from a particularly flexible moment in Big Red’s parking abilities, whereby instead of avoid a giant cement post in the carpark of my first job out of uni, I chose simply to wrap the vehicle around said post. That’s how parking spaces are made people.

The Key To Everything…

Nothing gives a car character like its first moment getting keyed. The origins of this mark remain mysterious. Equally mysterious was why the front passenger door suddenly stopped opening from the inside – it was a source of constant amusement watching people try and get out of my car. It was also the source of some dismay when my sister Mrs Woog once suffered from a horrible bout of food poisoning as I drove her home, only for her to discover she couldn’t escape the automobile without my assistance. After over a year of being amused Mother Painefull finally guilted me into getting the door fixed. She also insisted I got the handle I had accidentally snapped off the outside of the drivers door re-attached.

On It Bonnet (Don’t Go Messing With My Hood)…

And so we come to the final straw. While journeying out to the Dor I managed an impressively complicated rear-ending of the car in front of me while trying to change lanes. I was eerily calm – whether it was my pulling out onto the road into a vehicle as it went by last year, or having a man accidentally snap off one of my side mirrors as I drove past the year before that, these incidents have lost a little bit of their drama somewhere along the way. I did however manage to briefly have the trauma-induced idea that the guy I rear-ended might have been cute ("You see honey, your father and I met when I took him from behind"), though said guy abandoned all potential attractive-ness via 2 nagging phone calls within an hour after that (why he didn't trust my extensive, hard won knowledge of the car insurance claims system is beyond me).

But it seems even Big Red can only take so much. Even though he still runs like a dream the smash repair people explained, in sympathetic tones, that as the Wagon is so ancient (it's how the West was won after all) the parts to fix it don't exist anymore, thus making it a technical write-off... sob. And so I engage in one final hurrah, my last few days of glory with the old guy before he goes to the great big car yard in the sky (though this hurrah can not occur at night time, as he is no longer able to light his own way).

I’m not the only one in mourning mind you. Here are some moving last words from my family…

“How exciting – I’m going to go and google Rav-4’s… ooh, you should get a green MG I spotted the other day!” – Mother Painefull (fighting back tears)

“Well done, that car smelt like crap.” – Mrs Ryan (calling with condolences)

“RIP Painefull’s crap piece of shit car.” – Mrs Woog (email headline to entire family)

I’ll miss you big guy. I’ll miss the fact that your windows don’t close properly anymore, leading to a perpetual breeze. I’ll miss friends constantly pointing out old battle scars on you, somehow thinking they’re fresher/bigger than before. I’ll miss the easy knowledge that if I open my boot I’ll discover 3 umbrellas, 1 pair of heels, a picnic rug, a pile of notebooks, a copy of one of the Adrian Mole novels, an battery the size over an over-fed guinea pig, 4 disgusting water bottles, a beach chair and a large orange monkey.

You gave me a close relationship with the 2 NRMA guys who worked shifts at Bathurst, the ability to change a tyre in less than 10 minutes, the experience of getting towed off the Anzac bridge while copping abuse during peak hour traffic, the miss-guided self-belief to drive down a rather unsafe set of logging roads outside Oberon and the confidence to know that no matter how badly I parked I couldn’t make you look any worse. And you listened to me sing. No one should have to listen to me sing.

I salute you old friend.

Painefull Out

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