Wednesday, October 25, 2006
You would have thought I'd have had a car by now. I've been in South Africa since November, after all: that's about a year without wheels. In South Africa, that's not easy. Of course, technically, it's not true that I've been entirely without wheels. I mean right now my Cannondale is leaning against the wall of the computer lab (after a small tantrum they allowed me and only me to bring my bike into the lab - pretty much in line with Dupree in You, me and Dupree).
And my long suffering girlfriend has borne the burden of trips to gym, trips to the supermarket, trips to coast and so on an so forth. I'm sure the Girls Guide To Men states somewhere: only date men with jobs, houses and cars.
My father has also consented to me using his rusting green frog, and at other less frequent times, the girl magnet - the Willy's Jeep.
Barendine has also driven me to a number of cycle races and running sessions, and plenty of others - too many to name, have given me a ride from university or elsewhere (including more than one lecturer, and others).
I expected to take delivery of a CA registration 2005 Golf, especially after my sms precipitated a flurry of eager calls on a Friday morning by a guy called Pieter. I liked the car, didn't love it, and thought R65 000 was a reasonable deal. I was surprised when I offered R63 000 and he accepted without blinking. I was supposed to get the car on Saturday, then cancelled because of a cycle race, and then took off work an hour early only to have the banks computers crash on Monday.
Today his driver arrived half an hour late, and when I arrived at the Car Bar my red number was nowhere in sight. Instead Pieter offered me a navy blue 2002 model, for R56 000. He seemed to be trying to wean me off the red one, and now that I thought about it, he hadn't called me much since Saturday. After Friday's obsessive calling, what had happened?
He explained that the car was being cleaned, and that the bank wanted R33 000 up front. I said it wasn't a problem, that was at 3pm, and he assured me I'd have the car at 5pm. It's almost 10pm. It's quite a deliriously dumb feeling to be wanting, needing a car after all the dismissive articles on the end of oil etc.
Seeing as though my daily commute to work is now 15km, I'm really just buying this car for those rainy (windy and hailly) days, and so I can stop being such a pain to car owners everywhere. There's another perfectly simple reason: I'd really just like to have a car. You can get around when you want.
If there is one thing the world will learn with a shock it's the stress, the unfathomable frustration it will experience when that freedom has been taken away, and not for merely a single year in our lifetimes. Let's hope that time is a few decades away, but my guess it isn't. It may well be in this decade. Scary thought.