Around a year ago, just a few short months after I’d got my car, a mate of mine (in the sense that I see him perhaps once a year, but when I do, I say something like "Mate! How’re you going?"), Mike, asked me "so, has the car changed your life yet?"
At the time, I said no. After a lifetime of relying on (and, believe it or not, enjoying it) public transport, just because I had my own wheels propelled by more than just a couple of pedals, it hadn’t fundamentally changed my life. But, a year later, I think it may have. Bit by bit.
There are things that you just wouldn’t contemplate in this city without a car. Traipsing out to Broadmeadows after dinner is probably one of them. My dad’s been in hospital there for a couple of weeks after a hit and cycle incident. He hit his head when he fell, and they’ve kept him in for a while now, because they were worried about his head, not to mention his… uhh… eccentric behaviour. At first he was in the Royal Melbourne, but now they’ve moved him to the new Broadmeadows hospital, which in a way is good because it’s a much nicer hospital, but is a pain because it’s right over the other side of town.
But thanks to the romantically named FYU463, I think nothing of driving out there to see my dad every few days. Easy, you just take the airport route for most of the way. I set out to do this last Wednesday night, also planning to drop past his flat to get some stuff that he wanted. Naturally Mr Murphy was present, ensuring that I got halfway there before realising that I didn’t have his key.
The 40 minute detour back to home again to get it delayed me somewhat, and by the time I’d got home, then back to the flat, then to the hospital, and back home again, not only was it way too late to be doing anything but yawning. But in the process, thanks to the humble internal combustion engine, I’d also covered more ground in one night than my ancestors of several hundred years ago probably covered in a lifetime.
Thanks to these hospital visits, not only have I got to know the Tullamarine freeway quite intimately, but I’ve also got the giant roundabout at the top of Elizabeth Street just about licked.
Speaking of driving, the RACV board elections are on right now. Now, I’ve got my little RACV membership tag on my car keys, and I’m all for participating in democracy, but this strikes me as being a complete waste of time. The ads on the radio and newspapers encourage you to vote to protect valuable member services, like roadside assistance. Uhhh, hold on, are any of the candidates for board membership actually proposing to stop providing roadside assistance?!
Fact is, if you read the stuff in the members’ magazine about the candidates, it tells you absolutely nothing about how they’d like to run the RACV, what their beliefs or political views are. So unless by some unlikely coincidence you actually know any of them, you might as well just vote at random. How would you know who you should vote for? What is the point?