The shitty old car
Gaz has a new car.
As with most things, I will now use this as an excuse to be introspective and disproportionately emotional about something.
He had his old car – the most disastrous 17-year-old Honda with 400,000km on the clock and paint peeling like sunburn and windows that scraped all the way up and down – when I met him six years ago. He was so pleased with himself for owning it: behold, its incredible level of shit! no one else has ever had a car as shit as this one! I am the most ironic car owner in the land! He said he needed a wagon to take amps and drum kits around the place, but I must confess to having only seen the boot fill up with chainsaws and rubbish.
The old car has seen some pretty dire things in its time. Somehow it ended up being the Bus to the Bad Stuff, maybe because if Gaz hadn’t been the one driving I would have pretended not to know where I was going and none of it would have ever happened. The sound it made as it screeched away from the house – the squealing of worn tyres and a rattling drive shaft – became the soundtrack to our fights, the nights that he ran from problems instead of talking about them. Even now its whining brakes in the driveway immediately soothe me, because that has always meant the fight can be over – even if there is no fight. I know how to slam the door for maximum impact and what number the volume needs to be on to drown out the driver’s presence. I know how to jam the door open so the driver can’t leave without running me over.
It’s silly to go on about, but I am nothing if not ridiculously sentimental and the kind of person who attributes human emotion to inanimate objects.
There have been good things too, though. When we first found each other we spent whole nights – from sunset to dawn – with the seats folded down, telling secrets to each other. The only time it’s even been washed was the day Gaz first loaned it to me while my car was being serviced, and I secretly washed it before I brought it back – he was endearingly mad about it, being a Serious Punk who would never keep his car clean. It always has the faint smell of Maccas, from years of hot afternoons and hungover mornings, and when I read in the front seat I remember the time I dropped a whole tray of little lemon tarts on the floor as we drove to Christmas lunch. Once or twice it bore witness to other bluer activities under the cover of night and the backdrop of the ocean.
There is a blood stain on the back seat. Sometimes when I put shopping in there the whole diorama plays out in front of me.
Yep, it’s off to the wrecking yard with you, shitty old car. Luggage load lightening!