Double shuffle doo dah
500 words: Car Stories
“It’s your new car!”Yes, no and no.Yes, it was my new car. But no, it wasn’t a brand new car. And no, those words weren’t being uttered by a suave television host complete with svelte showgirl.My father stood in the driveway, gesturing with outstretched arms at a tiny white hunk of vehicular appearance parked patiently, awaiting my approval. My mother and siblings hovered nervously in the background.My dad had gone to the car auctions armed with instructions to buy whatever my few hundred dollars of hard-earned cash from my checkout chick Thursday-night-Saturday-morning job was able to secure.To say that my first glimpse of the car was a shock is somewhat of an understatement.And no, it wasn’t love at first sight.It was so ugly that it was exceedingly cute and, of course, I was soon won over by its “unusual” charm and beamed at my family, giving them the thumbs up on dad’s purchase and a nod of welcome to my new acquisition.I was 17, almost finished school, and when I pressed that car key into my hot little palm, I felt freedom, independence and the beginning of “me” – even if me and my newfound friend could only get a rattle up of not that many miles per hour.I was now the proud owner of an Aphrodite white 1969 Toyota Corolla – it was mine, all mine and I was overjoyed. Sure, the four on the floor gear stick was about 2 feet long and getting into reverse required a bit of a double-shuffle-do-dah, but I didn’t care. I could park it anywhere, it was so small, and washing it took less time than soaping up the family dog. My younger brother and his friends even managed to pick it up and turn it around after I’d left it parked at Canterbury station one day. I came back to it, sure that I had parked it in a different position that morning.So many adventures were had – day trips on twistingly scary roads to Jenolan Caves and out to the Royal National Park. Hotfooting it into the city on Saturday nights with stops at the Rocks and visits to family in Surry Hills. Early Sunday morning take-offs to the Central Coast before heading back late and getting stuck in weekend traffic around Mt White.We were even involved in a scene from “Duel” when my dad was driving and “whizzed” out onto the highway from a merging lane and right into the path of an oncoming three storey high monster truck, the driver of which let his hand collapse on the air horns and kept it there as we looked through the rear vision mirror, only to see the silver bumper about a centimetre from the back window. Dad swore in two languages, I girly screamed in one and we both threw our bodies forward into the jockey position whipping the black vinyl dashboard with open palms and urging my little car to go faster! faster! Thankfully, the three of us did live to drive another day – just.My little car became a loyal and steadfast friend that always got me where I wanted to go and back and never once let me down.And yes, on numerous occasions unkind individuals thought it funny to proclaim that my beautiful little white car was something only driven by old lady bowlers in their starched whites and Henselite accessories. Our response? to take to the road again, tootling defiantly off into the distance and enjoying every minute of it!