There are two vehicles parked in my carport, and they’re both paid for. This is not a boast; it is a statement of fact. One is almost brand new; the other is extremely old, has a cracked windshield, some rust and quite a few battle scars, but I cannot get rid of it because I love it so dearly.
The almost new vehicle, a S.U.V., is frightfully modern, with all the bells and whistles you could wish for. In fact, it has far too many for my liking. It is like having a brand new cholicky baby in the house and it is causing me restless nights. It shouldn’t be that way; I am far too old for that sort of nonsense.
I should be joyfully revelling in my S.U.V. and barrelling down the highways, my sun-roof ajar, the music blaring from the several speakers. In fact, if one were as old as I am, be just like Toad of Toad Hall in his brand–new motor-car.
But it is not generally that way. I would just love to turn a key. Listen to the engine roar into life, wind the window down by hand, put my foot on the clutch and shove the gear into first, then charge off into the wild without a single flashing light and definitely no warning ‘peep’ twittering at me. I just hate to be nagged when I am out for a drive.
I mean I can’t even “bump start” the S.U.V. if I have an incident with a failing battery. It is no use parking facing downhill on a slope just in case. In fact, I can’t park anywhere on a slope because, if I do so, the darn vehicle’s doors won’t lock.
To tell the truth, those hand-held key-less locking devices were invented by Satan himself. Like last week. After delivering some friends to their place and seeing them safely inside, I drove home and parked in the carport. I put the beast into park, pulled on the hand-brake, pushed the button to switch off the engine and then stepped out and shut the door. I was ready for bed, but not so the vehicle; it kept twittering like a baby being left alone as I tried to lock up. I closed the door even more firmly and lights flickered like a Christmas tree inside.
It’s a waste of time saying “sshh!” to cars so I said several rude words and walked around the beast slamming all five doors decisively. Twitter! I climbed wearily back into the driver’s seat, re-started the motor, checked that I had in fact put the gear-shift into park and lugged on the hand brake then once more switched off the motor. I climbed out carefully, closed the door firmly and again tried the electronic key. Finally, like an exhausted parent, I sneaked away, expecting at any moment an outburst of childish petulance and wondering if I might have to resort to warming a bottle of milk.
I know that I am electronically inept except for operating light switches, using the coffee maker and plugging in the vacuum cleaner. After all, it was my 12- year-old grand-daughter who had to install my first computer and wire my work-shed. So I am inclined to panic when I am faced with a new TV or anything else that involves electricity. Thank goodness I no longer need that hair-drier.
Years ago, the battery in an old clunky car of mine died up in the mountains near Fernie. Four of us pushed that weighty beast up the slope about a 100 feet and then let friend Bill bump it into action. We drove home in the dark without benefit of head-lights or flashing lights.
Right now I am faced with the awful task of plugging in a new keyboard and mouse so I am putting off the awful moment and, leaving that cholicky baby in in the carport, taking a quick drive somewhere, anywhere, in my old clunker. I know that it might break-down at the drop of a hat, but it won’t nag me.