The arrival of the Red Rocket, a 1988 Daihatsu Charade for Miss16 to learn to drive in, has been well received here in Devereauxville. Miss16 is actually talking positively about getting her learners for the first time ever. Her plan prior to this was to get her driver’s licence when she turned 25 and didn’t have to worry about all the 100 hours nonsense.
A key part of this plan was generously allowing her grandparents to drive her everywhere in the meantime.
“They like driving me places,” she explained to me on one of the countless times I attempted to point out the flaws in her plan. As I’ve patiently tried to explain to her:
- A) Seriously, nine years? You’re not an only grandchild. They have spares. There are nine others and if you make them do this they will drop you like a stripper’s knickers before you’re 18.
- B) When you move to England, as you’ve indicated you will, they might have difficulty adjusting to driving on the wrong side of the road. Also, living in a backpackers might interfere with their daily routine a bit. You know how Grandad likes to wear his y-fronts around the house.
- C) Their driving is more dodgem than textbook, which is why their car already looks like an ad for a car-sized, car-shaped cat scratching post. When Master6 started to cause accidents on his bike recently with erratic braking displays he was upset saying he shouldn’t be allowed to ride. We explained that if being a little chaotic on the road was a reason to stay off them my folks would never be allowed to back over their letterbox and go shopping. But a few weeks ago my dad ended up across the road in his neighbours flower bed because he “tried to brake with the accelerator.” Once innocent flora is involved it’s time to consider hanging up your driving goggles.
So any sign Miss16 was keen to get behind the wheel and start sideswiping things herself was a step in the right direction. Given her past performance I daresay she’ll be springing into action and have her learners sometime late in the new year.
For now I’ve been driving the Red Rocket around town, and boy it takes me back to when I got my first car. It smells of twenty years of fries and farts for a start. Plus it bunny hops in first, just like my first car.
Today I waved goodbye to all my fellow staff members and went to my bag to grab the keys and tottle off myself. But they weren’t where I usually leave them. After tipping all the contents onto a table and patting myself down I did an emu parade through the branch, looking in all the usual spots – in drawers, in the loo, in the fridge. Deciding I must have left them in my computer bag when I ducked home at lunch, my boss generously drove me to my place. Nothing.
At this point I decided I must have locked them in the safe.
An hour later, on a whim, I decided I’d stop by the car after I dropped Miss16 at my parent’s place, just to check it was locked up safe for the night. It was. So were the keys. I’d locked my keys inside it, just like I used too. It’s like riding a bike, you never forget how.
When I spied the keys through the window I went from a flush of anger to flushes of embarrassment as car after car of people I know drove past and beeped at me. It was like I was 18 again. I swear if I run out of petrol this week at a set of lights during peak hour traffic I’ll break out in zits and start listening to angsty songs on its stereo. This car is the proverbial Fountain of Youth.
Finally managed to break into the passenger side but not, of course, until I’d rung my father-in-law to come save me.
If there was any doubt Tracey and I were meant to be together they evaporated in a puff of wonder when I learned her dad was an ex-RACQ breakdown service man. Seriously, as a P Plater I spent more time chatting to his co-workers by the sides of roads in Brisbane and Surfers Paradise than I did my drinking buddies on Friday nights. He was perfect for me.
And this car is perfect for Miss16. The Red Rocket is the key to her independence and will take her on a fabulous journey, albeit without her grandparents riding shotgun.
Bruce started his blog because friends and family kept wanting to know how he managed to feed and clothe such a large family while still having fun and being able to afford holidays and beer. He had no idea, but thought if he started writing things down some sort of pattern might emerge. When not at work Bruce enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies. He’s recently taken up the cycling challenge with a view to surviving long enough to see all his kids out the door so he can finally sleep in.