Last summer my old student car was on its last legs – it was having all sorts of trouble with overheating, particularly in the hot weather or when standing. I would have to arrange my life so that I only drove in the morning before it got too hot, or along a route with the fewest stops, traffic lights, or other traffic. Pretty much every excursion I made last summer was full of edge-of-the-seat, anxiously-watching-the-temperature, begging-the-light-to-go-red stress and worry. Once, on a trip to Subiaco to order some CDs, I had to stop for half an hour on the near end of Subi to wait for the car to cool down, and then wait again on the far side. When I had to go back, I took the bus & carried my 200 CDs home in a backpack and a coles bag so that I didn’t have to go through that again.
This summer I have a new car, Daniel’s old one… Not new-new – it’s about 14 years old – but a distinct upgrade from the old one, which was only a year younger than me. And it’s summer again. And once more I am going on excursions to far off places like Cannington. And I’m finding it hard – I worry about the heat, and will the car be ok, and it’s too hot now, I’d better wait till tomorrow… Even though the car I’m driving now has shown no signs of being bothered by the heat (touch wood :p). I suppose I’ll get over it the more driving I do, as I replace my old associations of driving to Spotlight with new, less stressful ones. I didn’t have any trouble with driving to the beach on Saturday… It’s just the solo trips that have this stress attached to them – because this time last year, I was getting lifts to everywhere I could, leaving the driving for my ‘solo’ interests, such as sewing, when there wasn’t anyone else interested in taking me.
I hadn’t realised how much of an impact that stress has had on me. I’d stopped noticing the pleasure of having a car that isn’t falling apart, that doesn’t need its spark-plugs cleaned every fortnight or regular addition of geriatric-car oil, etc, etc, but I’m appreciating it all over again now. I love the fact that I can drive along without having to think about being in an edge lane so that I can easily get to the edge if my car breaks down. I can drive across the Narrows without stressing about the lack of emergency lanes. It’s great!
As important and educational and character-building as the student-car phase was, I’m glad to be done with it. I have enough else to stress about, thanks! So Daniel – glad you’re enjoying Japan, hope you get to stay long, at least long enough for me to finish uni and get a real job and save up enough money to get a decent car when you want yours back!
And now, I’m off to look for a drawsting for my newly-made exercise pants. It’s not going to be easy to find, but that’s ok – my car can take me many places 🙂