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Posts Tagged ‘that NEW CAR feeling’

The Love Bus was the First Love of my driving life, which I came rather late to at the age of 36.  The idea that I could just jump into it and drive wherever my heart desired without looking up timetables and working out connections quite simply Blew. My. Mind. I was happy. The kids were happy. The Love Bus was happy. My husband was also happy – mostly because it meant he could sit in the passenger seat and line up vodka jelly shots along the dashboard.

Then the cracks began to show. The Love Bus started to let me down. It made me refine my skills at entertaining small children in roadside fields while it overheated. It made me flash my breasts in a country pub. Its door started falling off without warning. Every noise it made caused me the kind of anxiety usually only experienced by first-time parents.

But it when it broke down the last time on The Long Journey Home, I was Officially Over It. As my friend MGK pointed out, it was like an abusive relationship that I had to just walk away from, never to return.

And she was right. The Love Bus became as good as dead to me. Whereas I’d once cried at the thought of decomissioning it, this time I was dry-eyed and cold. I never wanted to see it again. Not even to say good-bye. And in any case, it hadn’t taken me long to find myself a New Car. With functioning air-conditioning. And a key that didn’t require me to jiggle it around for half an hour to get it to turn. And a floor that wasn’t covered in 100s & 1000s, squashed sultanas and stale cake crumbs (yet).

And then my husband decided we should fix the Love Bus and sell it, rather than end up paying someone else to take it away for scrap metal. As far as I could tell, his reasoning behind this move was pretty much: “We’ve poured so much money into the thing already, why not pour some more in?”.

And so The Love Bus went off to be rehabilitated at the mechanics and soon returned with a reconditioned engine and a new automatic transmission. At which point, it proceeded to sit untouched, unadvertised and (most certainly) unsold outside our house for one long month.

Most of the time, I just carried about my business as if it wasn’t even there. It’s like I couldn’t even see it any more. But some nights it felt like The Love Bus was standing out there with a boom-box held over its head, blaring out some Peter Gabriel song, willing me to come out and play. Still, I couldn’t afford to open my heart to it again: I remained unmoved. Unmoved, that is, until the first Gentleman Caller arrived asking to look at The Love Bus.

The Gentleman Caller was a man with a small business who wanted an old van for his fleet of old vans. To be quite frank, he didn’t look good enough for my Love Bus. He kicked its tyres and even sneered at the little dent on its side that I’d caused while parking next to a trolley bay. I didn’t think he would appreciate its magnificent turning circle, nor its rainy-day picnic venue potential, nor the fact that its documentation listed its official colour as ‘Champagne’. And he quite obviously didn’t, because he offered us far less money than we were asking.

“He’s not good enough,” I said to my husband. “He doesn’t deserve it.”

“Well, if we don’t get our reserve price, we’ll just keep it,” my husband replied.

Um… Put that way, I wasn’t so sure. Especially since we were standing in the long black shadow of credit card debt thanks to its recent extreme makeover.

But while I didn’t want the Love Bus myself,  I most certainly wished it well. I wanted it to go to a nice family. You know, the kind of nice family that would look after it and take it nice places and who didn’t mind spending quality family time alongside the highway waiting for the engine to cool down and/or the roadside assistance guy to arrive.

At the very least, I wanted the new owner to appreciate its turning circle. In fact, I think I’m going to add the words “Impress your friends with your U- turns!” to the FOR SALE sign and draw some love hearts on it. Of course, that would involve me actually going over to it and touching it, which might give it false hope that we’re going to get back together after all. So I might just get my husband to do it – including drawing the love hearts. And then I’m going to make him drive around in it until he finds a genuine buyer OR it breaks down again.

I think we all know which one is more likely to happen first.

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So, it’s official. We have a NEW CAR to replace The Love Bus, now dearly departed (see “The Long Journey Home“). This is the first time I have ever experienced this NEW CAR feeling. By the time I got my license to drive in the winter of 2007, The Love Bus had already been with us for over a year, and around for at least 20 years previous to that. This NEW CAR is not only NEW to us, it’s also NEW within this decade. That’s worth the capitalisation of NEW CAR, wouldn’t you say?

My NEW CAR joy, however, has been somewhat dampened by the extreme pain I’ve been experiencing following my little oral surgery “holiday” (see “Result“). Some holiday that turned out to be. I can bet, though, that my oral surgeon is thanking his lucky stars that I have had that NEW CAR feeling to distract me. So, instead of marching into his office and kicking him where it hurts so he can experience just a small taste of the pain I’ve been in, all I’ve done has been to mutter vaguely on twitter about dropping the words “fuck” and “arse clown” into my next exchange with him (as in “I’m in fucking pain, you arse clown”).

[For the record, when I did actually ring “Dr Nick”, he was extremely dismissive about my complaints. “Oh, that’s just muscular,” he said, after I’d explained how I felt like I’d had to squint directly into harsh sunlight while being forced to smile for the camera and repeatedly slapped on my right cheek for 24 hours straight.]

[Also: I have a theory that while I was sedated, Dr Nick and his anaesthetist made me their Ventriloquist Bitch and video-taped me for hours doing a testimonial for their upcoming late-night infomercial by squeezing my cheeks together repeatedly and making me appear to say stuff like “Even when I’m heavily sedated, I am extremely happy with the services of Dr Nick and Associates”. Or that they tried to fit a whole basketball in my mouth as part of some kind of sick bet and then posted their results on YouTube. Either way, I really can’t explain the “muscular” pain, otherwise. Or why people keep recognising me on the street.]

Anyway, the NEW CAR came to us with its own name. Because it is a Mitsubishi “Starwagon”, we have rather imaginatively named it “The Star Wagon”. 

Other than being NEW, The Star Wagon has other some other qualities to recommend it:

For one thing, it is white. Just like the A-Team Van. Except that the A-Team van was actually black. Whatever.  From certain angles, it might even be taken for a “light commercial” vehicle. The Mild-Mannered Lawyer, in particular, was impressed with its “loading zone potential” and my husband and I are currently looking into buying some magnetised Australia Post signage to slap on its side when we need a handy parking spot. But don’t tell anyone. 

Also, it has “walk-through” from the front seats through to the back. I think this particularly excites my husband because the next time the kids won’t quit their jibba jabba, he can shout at them “Don’t make me come back there!” and it will actually mean something. Because he can. Go back there. Using the power of the walk-through.

It has a “vacation stripe” down both sides. 

It hasn’t broken down (yet). 

It is NEW.

On the downside, it lacks a certain “personality”. When Mistress M first saw it, she exclaimed “It looks great! But it’s not very ‘you’…”. Which suggested that The Love Bus had been “me” and made me wonder what part of “unreliable 80s throw-back champagne-coloured rust-bucket on wheels” she was referring to. And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything right now. 

Anyway, as wise friend LSK pointed out, “too much personality in a car can be a bad thing.” Just as Dr Nick is about to find that too much personality in a patient can also a bad thing, if my pain doesn’t disappear by our appointment on Monday. Which, also for the record, I will be driving to in my NEW CAR.

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