Remember how I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have the car for a week and how tough it was to function without it – sheesh what a carbon moronoxide.On the 23rd Aug I drove down to Mornington to perform a corporate gig for the Alinta Energy group. The route took me down through the sites of my childhood, Frankston, the start of Golf Links road and where my regular milk bar used to be – it’s now a Ritchies Liquor store and there’s nothing left of it. It was here that used to buy my mixed lollies, Star Wars and Indiana Jones bubble gum cards as well as the occasional packet of roll caps for my (frowned upon) toy handgun which I had for around two weeks before it was ‘mysteriously’ lost. Wolfe was right – never go back.
I arrived at the location and went inside, men in working blue sat around looking blue and talking somewhat blue as well – hilarious to watch and hear especially as one launched into an impassioned speech about the managers that would make Joe Pesci do a double take. After a full afternoon of Safety roleplay I drove away (still feeling my way with the new clutch and gearbox that had been put in). I was off to meet Carole Patulo for another corporate gig the next day when I realised I was heading the wrong way down a dusty dirt road, cursing, I swung the car around and headed back. On one particular stretch a car sped passed me, dust flew up, and I swerved slightly out of caution, lost control of the steering and went into fish-tale skid. The little voice in my mind went through all the classic instructions: “slow down… no – is it speed up? Turn into the skid…no wait if I do that I’ll end heading for the embankment………………” and that’s what happened – at that point the voice gave up “well there’s nothing I can do now knucklehead”.
The car hit the small, grassy wall and launched into the air, rolling over and stopping on its side, driver’s side down. I opened my eyes and thought “this is different…” I turned off the music and the engine. All the crap I kept in the car was strewn everywhere, the back of my head felt wet and I was starting to go into escape mode. I tried the passenger side door but it had been crumpled in and wouldn’t open so I wound down the window and hoisted myself out, Dukes of hazard style (an oxymoron?). The first thing I saw was a cluster of cows who had come over to see what was happening. They seemed vaguely disappointed that I hadn't sustained greater injuries (later when the tow truck came and took the car they all left mumbling about ticket prices and “value for money”.)
The other car hadn’t seen me crash and was long gone, soon two guys pulled up and asked if I was ok and wanted a hand pushing the car over. Another guy stopped as well and we all gave the battered Mazda 121 a shove and she thudded to the ground, leaking green fluid and looking decidedly worse for wear.
A quick body check seemed to indicate that I was ok (there was no wetness at the back of my head or back) and a few phone calls later the car was towed and I was being driven back to
So – no money, no car, feeling sore and depressed… but wait! Who’s this on the phone? It’s my agent (bless ‘em)… what’s that? Mulliners are desperate for someone for a Television ad? They want me to audition and its $10,000? Wow! What’s it for?
The Workplace agreement ads for the Liberal party.
Deep breath as I thank her but decline the offer. No matter how low life gets, no matter how hard fate grinds it’s boney finger into my breastbone… there are just some things I won’t do.
That night I attend my mate’s book launch* at the Trades Hall – I walk up those steps and notice that my head is still proudly held high (even though my neck hurts).
*The book is Game as Ned by Tim Pegler and is a brilliant piece of against-the-odds teen fiction about an autistic boy in a country town. I had a wonderfully massive lump in my throat as I finished the last chapter and can’t recommend it highly enough.