Mind the Gear Stick, Love

My first car was a 1989 lime green Honda Civic given to me by my parents when I was 17, before I even had¬†my licence.¬† Yes I know you’re all groaning because mummy and daddy gave me, what was at the time,¬†a reasonably newish car.¬† Trust me, it was as comfortable as driving¬†a Model-T round Le Mons for 24 hours and I’m sure Dad¬†got it¬†for free – or near to.¬† It had air-conditioning which didn’t work and the tape deck, yes tape deck, had a sticky play button, which meant¬† I could only listen to tapes SOME of the time.¬† Car is so green and little that¬†everyone calls it “the aphid”.

Day One.¬† Still on my L’s.¬† Dad takes me for a¬†burn around downtown Winston Hills where¬†a half-blind woman, with all the steadiness of an angsty teen¬†who’s just¬†sucked down¬†a¬†quarter of¬†gorilla biscuits, obliviously pulls out of her parking space¬†directly¬†into my lane.¬† And me.¬† Well, my passenger door. Ace.¬† Dad’s worried that it freaked me out and I might be¬†upset – I’m just pissed at the old bag… and so begins a life-long hostility for anyone over the age of 60 behind the wheel.

Day Five-teen.¬† Got licence.¬† Terrified of driving alone but unwilling to admit that to a soul including self.¬† Faining excitement, I get in the car and drive off, merrily¬†waving goodbye to mum and dad.¬† I make it about half a klick down the road, pull over into an empty car park and sit there for¬†about an hour reading a book.¬† At which point it’s been a respectable enough length of time to head back home and tell everyone what fun I had.

Day¬†Ninety Five.¬† New boyfriend.¬† He has a car too but his is much crappier so we take mine everywhere.¬† By which I mean, we take it everywhere we can find that has some semblance of privacy¬†in order to shag madly.¬† We’re young,¬†our parents are christians, it’s first love and¬†for both¬†of us,¬†our first sexual foray – the front seat of an ’89 Honda Civic parked in the back streets¬†of Eastwood is the best we can hope for.

Day Three Hundred and Sixteen. Picking up¬†Andrew from his place.¬† Approaching traffic lights at a brisk pace when I belatedly realise the light is red.¬† Gracefully slide into a¬†very tidy¬†360 in the centre of the intersection, barely scraping the¬†mudflaps of an oversized semi trailer. Nice!¬† Andrew tells me “I’m a bit of a crazy driver but I do seem to be in control most of the time”.¬† I take it as a compliment.

Day¬†Eight Hundred and Twenty Three.¬† Sharing an aging fibro 3-room¬†house in the suburbs with an old friend from school.¬† Can’t afford rego.¬† Again.¬†¬†Lime green paint is now a muted beige in places.¬†¬†Most¬†panels are more putty than metal.¬†¬†Car¬†dismally succumbs to rust in the front driveway. RIP.

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