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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