Monday, September 19, 2011

Baby you can Drive my (new) Car

Brad the Tradie bought a new car.

Two weeks after getting me a second hand pushbike.

I'm not cross. It's a work car. But it is a little ironic. He has done the whole 'Baby you can drive my car' thing, and I fully intend to, given that he purchased a gorgeous new Holden Thunder ute thingy. Eventually. After I forgive him for buying a MANUAL gearbox. Gah! I've never understood the logic of buying a car with a manual gearbox. I mean... when are you supposed to drink your coffee if you're bloody well changing gears all the time?

I like my Urban Assault Vehicle.

It's a four-wheel drive, or as the yanks would say, an SUV. I drove it off-road once, but mainly I take Kimmy to Woolworths and back. An automatic, God bless her. And HIGH off the ground, so I can just run over any gutters or kerbs in the way. I'm not good with any lower cars, aka, 'cars you can't run over gutters in'. I don't know why they bother making those type of cars really. And, of course, Brad the Tradie's new ute is not only a bloody manual but also is LOW to the ground. A bitumen caresser.

Baby you can drive my car.... as long as you don't break it.

SO picky.

Just because there was that little incident a few years back with the car before the Navara, a little white Nissan thingy he called Bluey. It was quite an interesting gutter, the one I ran up in Bluey. Came out of nowhere really. It was only a little crunch for such a lot of damage too. Gutters are likely to make me nervous in New Ute. BUT, in event of emergency of HAVING to drive New Ute before it has any scratches not caused by moi, I have calculated route of minimal gutters between here and Woolies. Just in case... ie, I am forced to drive BtT's ute because Kimmy is elsewhere or temporarily incapacitated. Have got plan involving drinking coffee BEFORE driving (v unusual and quite inconvenient circumstance, so will have to plan house exit well in advance...) Have even chosen potential carpark at shops such that I don't have to reverse AND turn at the same time in the precious ute.

Don't get the wrong idea. I do like a good ute.

I grew up in the heart of Bogan B & S land...that's the good Aussie tradition of Bachelor & Spinster's balls for you youngens. Those classy events weren't really 'balls' in the same way as a Debutante soirĂ©e, though in my experience there were plenty of the other type of 'balls' dressed in their bestest moleskins and Levi 501's. And utes a plenty. In fact, bringing a ute was quite handy, given that it doubled as a bed for the night once the keg(s) ran out. Sleeping in the back of a ute was generally a bit on the nose with the aroma of cattle dog, hay and the previous night's technicolour yodel, but acceptable emergency accommodation none the less. So, I KNOW utes. I even owned one for a while. It was a chick ute, so I called her Uterus. A humming V8 Holden, bought in the days before you needed to be an heiress to afford the hooning fuel. (BTW, to my knowledge no one ever hurled in my ute... maybe a dog...)

But, being a bit scared of running over a gutter that jumps out of nowhere in BtT's glamorous New Ute, and having BtT drive my SUV on days he needs to tow three tonnes or use 4WD, I'm facing a very 1970's dilemma...

Having to ride my bike.

I say 'having' to ride my bike because that's different to 'wanting' to ride my bike. See, when my pre-loved fuschia Malvern Star 'Stella' first appeared I wanted to go for a ride. Like people do on Sundays in states of Australia where seven-day trading isn't legal (oh, that's just Western Australia apparently where life is stuck in 1982 and can't get out...) I like to WANT to ride my bike, not HAVE to.

Wanting to ride Stella necessitates a variety of conditions to align at once.


Sunshine, temperature in the mid twenties, no heavy wind (but slight breeze to cool face), good night's sleep, clean leggings, charged iPod, cold drink bottle, etc. Let's face it people...I'm not Cadel Evans. I don't ride up French mountains in the rain for the hell of it. I like optimal riding conditions, or.... I won't go. Riding is hard enough without adding yukky things like wind or warm drink bottles into the mix.


Just one condition out of place is enough to turn wanting to ride into having to ride. I have documented this in the past few weeks, and I give you my list of cycling preparation disasters:

1. Couldn't find iPod arm band. Wasn't major problem as discovered I could shove iPod down my undies. Looked like weird pelvis mutation, but acceptable.

2. Wet bike seat. ick. Why is it you never notice something like a wet seat until AFTER you've sat on it?

3.  Helmet malfunction. mental note... Do up the clippy thing under the chin BEFORE taking off. That way the helment stays on.

I don't remember riding a bike to be this hard. I used to do it every day as a kid. It didn't take me half an hour to prepare, nor was I a danger to self and others. This theory that you can pick one up thereafter in your life and it's 'just like a riding a bike' is bullshit. I used to be able to wave quite successfully at passers-by and still steer with one hand. Can't anymore apparently. Have taken to using smile-n-nod as my greeting strategy. Also, have discovered that I cannot change songs on the iPod whilst in motion. Granted, that is a little more complex given that the iPod needs to be fished out of the front of my undies first. Nor can I turn the bike suddenly in gravel, dodge broken glass in the underpass like chicanes, or hang onto a leashed dog and let her pull me along (for exercise for HER you understand, not to make it easier for ME...)

So this begs the question of just how I will manage when my car is at work with BtT and the shiny new and as yet unscratched ute remains in the garage. I wouldn't want to HAVE to ride Stella to the shops and cart milk home or return library books in drizzly weather.

No choice really. Shall just sit it out until New Ute loses his sheen, acquires a mark or isn't looked at so lovingly by his owner. Shouldn't take long given that the teenager is due to learn to drive soon.

And when BtT insists, "Baby you can drive my car" I'll just reply, "Nah, it's fine thanks darl. I've got my bike if I need to go anywhere... is that a scratch there?????"

Baby You Can Drive My Car, The Beatles, 1965.