12 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 18 (Car)

Work with the things you find in your car (or a friend's car if you don't have one).
Until last October, like the vast majority of people around the world, I had never owned a brand new car. I am now the proud owner of a lovely, new, shiny, blue car. With "SMF" in the number plate, naturally it is called 'Smurf'.

When we got married we had an OLD car; a car so old, and so big, and so heavy that steering it in reverse to get out of our curved driveway used to put my back out. Then we bought an almost new car. It was so beautiful. Little did we know that it would subjected to the indignities of a baby and toddler.

I know people who say, "Oh, we'll buy a new car before we have children." My advice, buy an old car. Wait until the children are older - old enough to have their own car is probably okay - and then buy a new car. Children, particularly babies and toddlers, are fond of decorating with food - at all stages of digestion. "Oh," they say, "We won't allow food in our car." Older and wiser parents smile and nod and allow them to continue in their fantasy. When you get stuck somewhere longer than expected and home is a long way away, the 'no food in the car' rule quickly becomes irrelevant, compared to the screaming toddler. And, besides, unlike the drunken friends of your youth, you cannot yell at a baby to hang their head out the window before they spew.

Yes, our lovely, near new car went through all those indignities. And several Nullarbor crossings. The Nullarbor is difficult for people who have never travelled it to comprehend. Our trips were normally from Perth to Melbourne (or return). That's a trip of about 3,500 km, or just under 2,200 miles. I work out that's the equivalent of driving from California to Fort Wayne (it's mentioned in a MASH episode). However, about 1,200 km (745 miles) of that is nothing. This is not Europe nothing or America nothing, this is Australia nothing. In that stretch there are no cities, no towns, no villages, no hamlets, no houses. The best you come across is a petrol station, with a greasy eats. You stop at every single petrol station; a, because you need petrol and b, because you need something different to look at for 10 minutes. How people survive and live out there, I'll never know. I love the bush, but this part of the world takes it to the extreme. By the way, I work out that's about the equivalent of Las Vegas to Denver.

I did have another car. It was even older. It was old when I started driving; it was really old by the time I owned it. I loved it. It went like rocket. It was definitely a lady car and it was going through menopause. It leaked, it had hot flashes (the air-conditioning was long gone), and the stereo consisted of AM radio (no modern fandangled technology for this ol' girl). A small car, on the freeway, without airconditioning, travelling next to B-doubles is no fun. Any car that leaks when it rains is no fun. It was a fun car to drive though.

When hubby was given a car as part of his work package I had to decide whether to keep my rocket or the family car. Sad to say, but comfort (and music) won the day and I reluctantly parted with my car. And I regretted it. Although my car leaked and was hot, it went. Our family car was slowly dying and becoming more and more unreliable. Although I am the child of two motor mechanics, I do not do greasy hands and I haven't a clue where to start looking when something goes wrong. Being stranded on the side of the freeway on a 36°C day is no fun.

Last year we decided we could afford to upgrade. And the new car is mine (at least, that's what the rego says). And being a brand new car I do try to keep it tidy ... well ... tidier. The sole contents of my car were - two jackets, three lolly wrappers, one water bottle. The glove box contains wet wipes, first aid kit, sewing kit (naturally). The back door cup holders have cups and some picnic cutlery. Now, I'm sure if I thought really hard I could have turned all that into something. However, I'm also sure it would have been classified as 'clutter'. (Theme 3: create no clutter.)

However, I was inspired to clean my car. I don't do it very often. I vacuumed and toyed with the idea of making patterns on my carpets. I wiped the insides and all the windows. And then I took my car to the car wash place. And I took photos. They're not wonderful, or outstanding, or even amazing. But I had fun actually "looking" at the water and soap as it played on my windscreen. Not fabric related, not word related (unless you count all those words up there), but also not clutter.

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