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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!


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Anna Spargo-Ryan

I’m Anna, a digital strategist and writer who likes to drink 'Ice Tea' but doesn't understand why it's not called 'Iced Tea'. By night and occasionally morning, I eat things, write things, berate my children, walk my dogs and hug my chocolate.

  • Caroline

    Ha, this made me giggle. Who doesn’t reminisce about shitty old cars and the secrets they hold.

    December 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm Reply
  • Sue

    This has renewed my love for my shitty 1998 Mitsubishi Lancer coupe that I hardly ever wash. Thanks!!!! :)

    December 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm Reply
  • Deb @ Bright and Precious

    I’m ridiculously sentimental too. And attribute emotions to inanimate objects. All those memories attached to the car – yep, I get that.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm Reply
  • Sara

    Well, I think I understand my partner a bit better after this – he also has some strange relationship with crappy falling apart objects, and views them as some ironical statement – I blamed the grunge era gen x’er thing. It’s the same with clothes. His car is filthy, sprinkled with tobacco, empty bottles and take away food wrappings. We have been sharing a car for 10 months! Aaaarrgghh :P

    December 8, 2012 at 7:56 am Reply

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