Because of Fat Shite’s soaring taxi rates, the Boyfriend and I decided a car was an imperative purchase. We visited a string of car lots and garages, encountering hoards of pushy salesmen and as many well-driven, outrageously overpriced automobiles. Still luckless at the end of the week, we got three trains out to a suburb which consisted mostly of Indian take-aways in a last ditch attempt to find something suitable. We trawled the streets for hours, following the navigational systems on our mobile phones. We realised how stupid that was when we found ourselves playing Dodge-The-Truck on the Maroondah Highway.
After an hour we finally reached our destination. I bit my tongue as the Boyfriend hummed and hah-ed over Mitsubishis and Holdens (“They’re an AUSTRALIAN make, you know!”), and was over the moon when he decided a lilac 1998 Ford Mondeo warranted a test drive.
The car was lowered, with tinted windows and a sound system installed by an enthusiastic amateur. There were hideous earrings hidden in the glove compartment, cigarette ash all over the dash and the boot was inaccessible. Nonetheless, the Boyfriend fell in love. And I fell in love with the concept of not having to ask Fat Shite for a lift ever again. We even baptised her – Dallas.
Delighted with our success, we greeted Nick the salesman as if he were a long lost brother. “We’ll take it!” we breathed, eagerly storming into the Portakabin that acted as their professional headquarters. The Boyfriend whipped out his trusty debit card. “Stick it all on this,” he proclaimed. I chortled and made small talk with Nick and felt generally happy as a pig in shit.
But the Boyfriend’s Irish debit card wasn’t reading. And nor was his credit card. I shakily handed over my card. “NO TRACK READING” the machine I was quickly beginning to loathe spat back at us. Mortified, we said we’d try some ATMs. Our cards worked there, but we could only take out $200 at a time.
We shrugged and made our apologies, promising we’d be back the next day if Nick would be good enough to hold the car for us. We traipsed back through the Curry ‘Burb – which, it turns out, was a single kilometre away from Kelly’s Motors, and didn’t require any trek along the Maroondah Highway, thank YOU, Google Maps – to the train station and clambered aboard. Some poor deluded fool with an Eminem complex rapped to himself at the top of his voice while scrawling in a battered note-pad the whole way back into Flinders Station. The tram that followed was chock-o-block with self-important CBD types in pencil skirts and Crocs. Having left at 11 o’ clock that morning, we arrived back in the Old Lady House at 8 o’ clock that night, car-less and with blistering feet.
The welts on my heels were so grotesque that I enlisted the boyfriend to pop them. Face-first on the wire mesh that was our bed, I let my beloved pop my blisters. As terribly as the car hunt had gone, we had never been so close.