automobilia

Well I’ve had a particularly lively few days of late, which if nothing else, have given me a bit to think about and the time to think about them in. Over these days, there were a lot of things that went on, but two were a bit more profound than the others. I moved house, and I had a car accident.

Moving house was a pretty straight-forward affair, and although it took several days of back-and-forth-ing, I have most of my stuff with me again, and I’ve begun to acclimatise to the new habitat. I have deeply seeded internal routines in my brain, programmed to tell my body where the john is in my home, which constantly have me ending up on the other side of the new house in the living room when I need to go. The toilet is about four feet from my bedroom. Obviously I’ve faced greater obstacles in life before, but I imagine it would seem odd to my parents watching TV, who ask what I’m up to only to be told that I wish to go to the john, something it would seem I’d come the entire length of the house to tell them. I also have no shelves, leaving my CDs and DVDs nowhere else but boxes to live in for the meantime, but in exchange I have ended up with a cupboard in my wall, and I find it an ingenious and useful device which well overshadows my previous shirt-hanging arrangement of a broken towel rack held to the top of a refrigerator with paving bricks.

And now, about that car accident…

Firstly I’d just like to say that I hate having car accidents. It grates me. Big time. Not because it ends up costing me money, or time, or I end up hanging around the side of the road and without transport, none of those things are really of any consequence. What grates me is that I had an accident at all. I’m elitist scum when it comes to driving, in that I think I’m a pretty competent driver. This doesn’t neccessarily mean I think I’m better or worse than anyone else, but I believe that I’m a decent driver and am able to deal with pretty much all things that might come up while I’m driving. I’ve driven and ridden a reasonable amount of kilometres in the four years or so I’ve been driving and year I’ve been riding, I know it’s no superhuman feat, but I like to think I’ve got a reasonable amount of driving experience. It just shits that something like this happens and shows me that I’m not perfect, it belts around my ego or pride or whatever you want to call it, and it hurts.

But anyhow, enough superfluous angsting. The story goes a little like this; I’d been at my place loading my old man’s car with things from the old house to bring over to the new house, and was on my way to the new place in a car laden to the brim with various boxes and bags of things. For those aware of it’s existence, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say I was approaching the Eelup roundabout from Sandridge Road, for those unaware of it’s existence, it’s a ridiculously large roundabout seemingly two lanes wide but with no line markings. Intending to go through the roundabout, I got to roughly 1/4 the way around and whacked on my left indicator to exit. At the same time, a bargearse orange schoolbus approached the roundabout from my left (Koombana Drive) at what seemed a bit much speed for a bus coming into a corner. The passengers, as schoolchildren on buses tend to do, were waving at anything that isn’t a log, so I quickly waved back. Looking over at the bus, I decided I was a bit close, being adjacent to the rear right quarter), so I edged over to the right a bit. At this point the bus came closer still, now a fair way into what I would consider “My” section of the road (i.e. The bit where my car currently is), and looking at the bus coming towards my car, complete with even more madly-waving children (since they now knew a response was possible), I edged off a bit more and started to hit the anchors since I didn’t want to run the possibility of running into the front of the bus, which was even more in “My” part of the road. It was then that I flicked my glance between the bus and the road again, just in time to see my right wheel come up on the kerb. Now normally hitting your average mildly angled kerb wouldn’t be a big deal, even at the 30 or so k’s an hour I was going, but for some reason, the Statesman decided it was too much work for it’s pompous arse and conveniently had one of the strut supports give way, meaning my front tyre was now rubbing furiously against the base of the spring housing, making some toasty rubber and thus gobs of thick oily smoke. At this stage the bus sped off and I made my way across and off the road a couple of hundred metres up (pulling the car off the road and into the river didn’t seem like a good an option at the time).

In summary, I got run off the road up the kerb by a bus that wasn’t cornering enough, and hitting the kerb made the car decide to throw in the towel. Now while this seems like a pissy thing to call an “accident”, it still grates me that I didn’t avoid it. Of course everything I’ve just told you happened in the space of a few seconds, but it annoys me that I didn’t nut out a way to get out of the situation at the time. With hindsight I can only guess that I was focusing on (a) quickly decreasing area of road available for car in front of me, (b) incoming behemoth of steel and mutant children incoming from left and (c) exiting roundabout. If I’d have thought of it at the time, I guess I could have pulled back out of the marked exit lane and tried to rejoin the roundabout and taken off, but that might have cause another accident anyhow. Of course I don’t know this bus from a hundred other orange buses, and the fact that there are no marked lanes on the roundabout also wouldn’t help if I could be bothered jumping up and down hollering about justice and all that rot. I say he was too close, he says there was plenty of room, some kid says I waved to them a moment before, and you’re not getting a nobel prize for predicting how things would pan out. So that’s the extent of the actual incident. More entertainment ensued however.

After jacking the car up in the vain hope that a good solid belting would detatch the tyre from the bottom of the spring housing (which required the emptying of the boot to get to the jack), I resigned myself to calling my dad, seeing as I didn’t have the RAC number on me. It was pretty noisy and windy next to the highway, so I figured while the phone was ringing that I’d stand behind a tree to quieten the wind noise. Coincidentally at the same time, your friendly neighbourhood bee decided to launch a kamikaze attack on my person for approaching what I assume was the tree housing a nest. Being an intelligent warrior species, the bee knew to go straight for the biggest threat to the nest and the colony, my right earlobe. Simultaneously my dad on the other end of the call picked up, only to hear what can be roughly recalled as “CRAP! aaaAAaahh! lousy bastard… bee… damn… mother…”. After several more seconds of thorough insect cursing, we sorted out getting a tow truck to come pick up the car, and myself, sitting on a pile of housewares on the side of a highway with a right ear now closely resembling a billiard ball.

After I’d finished watching a girl in a red hatchback plough up the back of some woman’s AU falcon wagon, the tow truck arrived, at which point the driver decided his truck wasn’t up to handling the wieght, and called in another truck. After explaining what had happened and having the driver tell me how great for business buses are, featuring regularly in stories he heard at pick-ups, the second truck turned up and they managed to pick up the front end of the Statesman, I jumped in the truck, and we were off to a guy we know’s workshop with the first truck in tow. We got a few hundred metres up the road and turned the first right in front of Waldecks, when there was what can only be described as one seriously nasty sumbitch of a sound, as the cable holding the tow mechanism up snapped, dropping the car and the metal frame it was sitting on back to the bitumen, carving some nice trenches for about ten or fifteen metres before we came to a halt at which point the driver let out a very fitting if colourful query regarding the nature of the event that had just occurred.

After several more minutes of dialogue reminiscent of the sound of a pack of drunken sailors being dropped off of a balcony, the tow guys went to fix the cable with their tools, which consisted of a single small adjustable wrench and a pencil. Things went along much quicker after I got my toolkit out of the car (which I was conveniently shifting in this load) and gave them a hand. Once that was all honky-dory, the car got jacked up again and we took off. A chat with the driver revealed he’d never had that happen to him before, the closest thing he knew of was when a mate of his was towing a car between Mandurah and Perth when the car came off the frame and rolled into traffic, causing a six car pile-up. So things could have been worse, though I was now sporting a small tomato from the side of my head.

Thankfully Dad was waiting at the workshop when we got there (with a drink no less), and so after the workshop owner telling us how good buses were for his bottom line (as he gets a lot of work this way), I was able to get home only a few hours after setting off, and with only one car out of commission. Once I got home I was also able to get some assistance in removing the bee sting from the back of my earlobe (read: abominable head-growth).

It was an interesting Friday. I also read a book.

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