Saturday, February 7, 2009

Not Writing, Driving


I've just got hold of my new car - a shiny white Hyundai Getz. Yay! So great to have a car with air conditioning and all the other little mod cons that everyone's been taking for granted all these years, while I was still driving my Mazda 323, over twenty years old. Ohmigod, power steering! Ohmigod, electrically operated windows! It's a miracle!

I knew about Getzes because I've driven them as hired cars - now I'll finally get to learn what all the controls are REALLY for. It's scary how much of the engine and inner workings are computer controlled - seems no ordinary human mortal could ever dare fiddle with any of it.

I made a tiny boo-boo, leaving my eTag device stuck to the Mazda windscreen when I traded it in. I was thinking, how totally dumb of me, until I rang up the car sales place and they said I was the third that morning. Anyway, all sorted now.

Funny, how cars have been turning points in my life. I'd never learned to drive till I came to Australia - my family never owned a car in England. So getting my first car (a second-hand VW) and then my driving licence was like a huge achievement. I felt I'd really made it! Freedom to go wherever I liked whenever!

Then - well, there were a few bombs in between - but my next important car was the Mazda. My first ever new car - and so glorious to be able to drive around without that nagging dread it might break down at any moment! I bought it when I landed my lectureship at Wollongong Uni - which was soon after I'd moved in with Aileen, and also when I had a first (academic) book moving towards publication. A very positive turning point!

So now I'm thinking this new new car is another turning-point - it has to be! I just pampered it with new car seat covers. The first alphabetical part of its numberplate is AY, which is the short form for Aileen; and the last alphabetical part of its numberplate is WS, which is my abbreviation for WORLDSHAKER. The omens are unmistakable!

Meanwhile, I'm doing the index for the 145 Pages Writing Tips website and going round bookshops being introduced by Allen & Unwin representatives (I'm more and more impressed by Allen & Unwin all the time). I've just finished marking the essays from my Children's and YA Fantasy uni course, and I have only two books left to read for the Book of the Year in the NSW Premiers Literary Award. (I was one of 3 judges on the YA panel).

So all of those tasks are almost wrapped up. Yippee! Soon I'll have time to enjoy driving my new car!



Rowena Cory Daniells said...

You are a busy man, Richard!

And a great one for reading omens into things. Fingers crossed this will be a great year for your writing!

Cheers, R.

Flinthart said...

Electric windows and power steering. Pfeh. Just wait: you'll be driving along the foreshore. The engine will cut out. Without power steering you'll careen off into the ocean and sink like a brick, wishing you could OPEN THOSE F))KING WINDOWS!

... I've got power steering and electric windows too. I hate 'em both, but try finding a car without, these days.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Do you know, Dirk, that scenario worries me, too.

I think ... what if my car ends up in a canal (not that impossible on the Gold Coast) and I can't get out because I can't get the windows down. The standard things to do is not to open the doors and get out the window.

Is there a fail safe?????

Cheers, R.

Flinthart said...

Yep. It's called a claw hammer, under the driver's seat. Not joking. I know quite a few people who carry them there for precisely that reason.

I know, it's an unlikely scenario. But wouldn't you feel like an utter chump sitting on the bottom of that canal, watching the water trickle in through various holes?