Friday, 7 September 2012

What's Great about this Ocean Road?

The Boyfriend and I were going to give up cigarettes. It was going to be wonderful - we'd have lots of money all the time, we'd have fine smelling clothes and breath, we'd exercise more, we'd have glowing skin, we'd be inspiring figures and return to Ireland to parades and confetti and general applause and awe. An admirable plan, but with one major Fat Shite-sized flaw.
After several incidents - sizable unclaimed cloggers and floaters in the toilet, remote-control hogging, stolen food, refusal to buy toilet roll - it was becoming clear to me that Fat Shite and his lemon-sucking girlfriend were going to make conquering my addiction difficult.
So after we got Day One over and done with, and I subsequently woke up the next morning with pillow in my mouth, we decided to get out of the house and drive down the infamous Great Ocean Road. It seemed like the perfect distraction - a leisurely day taking in the picturesque coast that was Victorias glory, relaxing and avoiding all stressful situations or people that would make us want to eat a bag of tobacco.
The first test came when Dallas started steaming at the bonnet, clouds billowing out from under the hood and almost blocking our vision. We'd been on the road a full thirty minutes out of the expected four to five hours that the brochures proclaimed the drive to take - and that wasn't counting the return journey. We pulled over, where The Boyfriend discovered that he'd forgotten to replace the oil cap when he checked the levels the previous afternoon. There was oil everywhere, pooling out under the car alarmingly. We trekked to a hardware store we spotted nearby, filled Dallas up and cautiously continued towards Geelong, the first town on the Great Ocean Road.
Outside Geelong, we stopped at a quaint little Tourist Office with a great expanse of nothing on either side. The portly woman who worked there clearly didn't receive many visitors and the enthusiasm with which she met us at the door was kin to that of a slightly mentally challenged Labrador. Another half hour dragged past as she babbled, and we had to physically disengage ourselves from her arm-draping friendliness to get back to the car before sundown. Leaden down with leaflets and brochures, we grumpily carried on.
Suddenly, the weather turned. Fat black clouds filled the sky and the wind picked up drastically. The speed limits were erratic and precise to a point -  it was 35kmph at one bend, yet around that corner it jumped up to 50kmph. It was hard to maneuver and the going was slow. There was also an inordinate amount of cyclists clogging up the road, because, of course, the day we decided to do the trip coincided with some sort of biking festival.
We stopped in a town that boasted a veritable overpopulation of koalas and found empty trees on our arrival. The day was not going according to plan, and when the first droplets of rain ran down the windscreen , our moods dampened reflectively.
 On a rare stretch of straight road, The Boyfriend and I decided it was time to head back to Fat Shite and Sour Puss. The day was almost over and it hadn't gone as perfectly as we'd hoped, but it had gone without either one of us smoking a cigarette.
The return journey loomed ominously, but we were both smiling, proud of ourselves. And then we saw the flashing blue lights.
The Boyfriend rolled down the window.
The police officer had his book out already.
"82 in a 70 zone, sir?" he said, pointing to the "70" sign that was a metre behind us.
He handed The Boyfriend his ticket.
"$244" I read.
We stopped in at the next newsagents and bought 40 cigarettes. Each.