|On the road again....|
Apparently the average Sydney driver spends about 35 minutes in their car a day. I can definitely say I'm above average (woohoo, I'm above average in something!). Between ferrying kids, picking up shopping and general chore-running, I spend a great deal of time in my car. In fact, I'm in my car as I type these words, don't worry the engine is off, I'm just in the car park waiting for Goosey to finish up at her kindy.
Thinking back to exactly how much time I've spent driving in my car over my lifetime, brought back some good memories, strangely enough. So, I'd love to share them with you.
Five years old
In the back of a Ford Escort, my feet unable to reach the black furry carpet. The sky flicks past the window, the tops of leafy gumtrees blowing in the breeze breaks up the blue. Back 'home', though this 'home' felt strange and the people spoke weird. I pick the beige and brown threads from the seat, as Kids in America pours out of the radio. We turn and the cars begins to bump until we stop. My brother, dressed in a pale blue jersey jumps from the car and runs across the oval. I go back to slowing pulling the beige thread from around the brown thread, listening to Kim Wilde, knowing this is going to take a while.
Seven years old
It's dark, hands slowly lift me up. Music and laughter wafts in from the next room. Glasses clink and then suddenly light blinds me, forcing me to screw my eyes shut. "Oh dear, she's really tired. Poor thing." Cold air hits my face like a slap and I'm awake. "Bye! Thank you! See you next time!" I can feel the soft velour of Dad's grey Fairlane on my cheek. Stars are scattered across the sky. The odd light flashes past blinding me again. Jazz notes fill the car and I feel myself being carried off with them...
14 years old
Whizzing up the leafy suburban street, the strap of my bag clutched in my hand. I hope he doesn't do it today, not again. He thinks it's hilarious, but it's not. We pull up. "Bye, thanks for the lift." "No worries, have a good day." "Please don't do it, OK?" "Do what? I don't know what you're talking about." I sigh and get out of the car and head across the road toward the school gate. I hear the whir of the car window. Oh no, he's going to do it. I start walking faster. Then I hear it. "Rinny! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnny! You forgot your lunch box! Riiiiiiiiinnnny!" I shudder, put my head down and go, not daring to look up as I hear the chuckles from the playground.
17 years old
The cold vinyl is gripped hard in my hand as sweat pools in the crevices. Check the mirrors, check them again, check the blind spot, indicator on, check mirrors again, slowly take my foot as the brake and push down on the accelerator. I glance at the bespectacled man, with the brown tartan vest and brown shiny pants, making strange markings on his pad. Keep breathing, keep checking the blind spot. Not too fast. Easy on the brake. Before long we're pulling into the car park once again. "Get out and follow me inside," the brown man said. I follow and sit down opposite. "Yep, you passed. Go over there and fill out the forms." I'm shaking with relief and joy.
23 years old
Cruising down the highway, a weekend in the bush with a gang of mates. The rain pelting down, turning the road into a river. Every now and then the car whooshes and I feel like the wheel is out of control. The mates swig from bottles oblivious to my white knuckles. Oasis blares from the stereo. "I said maybe, I'm gonna be the one that saves yer". I bloody hope so. The hours feel like months as I squint at the snaking road. Finally we turn off onto the gravel road, it's dark and the headlights are pitiful torches on the road. Finally the rusty gate comes into view and I pull on the handbrake. Grab a bottle and swig. Beer has never tasted so good. I'll think about how to get out of here tomorrow.
27 years old
The last of the tarps, tent and camp chairs are flung in the back. I scour around the campsite as Skip starts the engine. The rattle of the diesel engine puts butterflies in my stomach, I've done this many times before and can't wait to be on the open road again. New adventures, new places, just new, fresh. Campsite clear I jump into the passenger seat. "Let's get out of here." I take one last peek out the side mirror and then focus on the road. "On the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again...." Who knows where we'll pull up tonight, it just might be paradise.
30 years old
I strap the screaming ball into the seat and slam the door. For a brief few seconds there is peace, quiet. I savour it. Then I open the driver's door and am pulled in by the insistent yelling. I pull out and head out on the road, wondering when the yells are going to silence. I can barely hear the tick-tock of the indicator. My sleep-deprived eyes barely focusing on the road. I hit the expressway, the needle hits 80km and the yells start to turn to sobs. As I burn up the road, the sobs begin to hiccup. Then silence. Golden. My ears ring with the quiet. Where to now?
34 years old
The sun streams in through the window. "I see Old McDonalds!" "Fish and Chippies!" Giggles and squeals fill the car. "I want the wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty song on, puhleeeeaaasse!" A chorus of "Puhleaaaasses" begin. I slot the CD into the player and flick to song 5. Two squeaky voices start singing along in the back. I lean over and squeeze Skip's hand on the handbrake. And smile.
What's your favourite driving memory? Did you love hitting the open road? Do you have memories of long car trips squashed in the back and playing corners? Tell me all!
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|Lil-lil asleep in her favourite spot.|