I’M EXPERIENCING a strange and disturbing kind of road rage.
Every time I head out for a drive I’m filled with hate and my mouth froths with foul words, not just at the stupidity of other motorists – that’s entirely normal and even comforting in its familiarity – but at my car.
I’ll admit I live a privileged life when it comes to motoring, so this experience of being filled with fury at the cussed crapness of my vehicle is an unfamiliar feeling. Not entirely new, though, because I have owned cars before, and my first one was no less than the four-wheeled embodiment of Satan himself.
It was a Ford Escort panel van, with the RS2000 motor, the full racy-spec one, and I can’t recall how much I paid, only that I’d spent far more than that figure on it in our first two weeks together.
It was so mechanically appalling that it once reduced an NRMA roadside guy to tears, of laughter. He eventually calmed down enough to tell me to sell it, immediately, or burn it. But the devil had his claws into me by now, and he wasn’t letting go.
When I finally found someone stupid enough to want to buy it, I couldn’t believe my luck, but just as we were turning back into my street at the end of our test drive, the left-rear wheel detached itself, and half an axle, and, after beating five kinds of shit out of the side of the car, tore off down the street without us. I swear I could hear it cackling.
I looked at the bloke next to me with a face full of pathetic pleading, but he still wouldn’t give me his cash.
What I recall about the day-to-day horror of living with Beelzebub’s Escort was that I’d started talking to it – well, mainly shouting – and it’s the same with my current vehicle, which should probably remain nameless as I’ve slated it enough in the Garage section of the magazine already. Let’s just call it a Cryoneday My Hurty.
Every time the My Hurty stalls on me, or fails to provide any acceleration up a hill, or I start it up and the stereo screams at me because the difference in volume between the Bluetooth streaming and the radio is so great (and it simply refuses to reconnect to your phone automatically), I bellow blue abuse at it, and question the need for its existence. Indeed, a kind of existential “WHY???” is the word that escapes me most, as in why am I stuck with this damn Cryoneday?
I’ve had the odd break from driving it, to be fair, when other, better cars – just about any motor vehicle in existence – has come to stay, but lately it’s just been the two of us, suffering each other’s company, and I can’t take much more.
But it strikes me that there must be many people suffering through this pain, stuck with cars they really detest, which let them down or annoy them on an almost daily basis, yet they can’t quite afford to replace the detestable shitbox they’re being weighed down by.
Frankly, I’m with Joe Hockey. The poor people should consider themselves lucky, because they don’t have cars at all.