Larnook. Friday, 7.30am:
Morrison is sick.
Actually, if the definiton of sick is that you're alive but not functioning well, then a government that puts its aquifers at risk is sick, but Morrison is dead. Stone cold. Not a flicker.
This is not good.
Morrison, my Hi-Ace van, is showing no signs of life. Deader than Lismore after 9pm.
When I turn the key I get nothing - no red lights on the dash, no whine from a sick battery, no clickety click of a dying one - nothing. I turn the key and I get an aching silence. Birds chirp. A wind whistles.
I don't know what to do.
Panic pokes my chest. I need Morrison. We're co-dependent. I turn the key again, and again, freaking, almost praying for salvation (almost) but none of the gods care. I can understand that. They have gay marriage, bad films and abused children grown old and angry to worry about.
Personally, I'd rather make a deal with the devil. But I can't get to the crossroads.
My first response to unexpected bad events is always panic. (I bought land up a hill when I first heard about climate change.)
Then comes self-pity.
How could Morrison do this to me? I have a job in Lismore to get to. Okay, job schmob, but I have a date with a latte at my regular table at my regular coffee haunt with my regular coffee partners before I start work. I can't miss coffee. I'm not on Facebook so I have to have fleshy friends. How can they like me if I'm not there? What if they like me more when I'm not there?
Oh dear, my day is ruined already and I haven't even listened to the news.
After panic and self-pity comes anger.
How dare this stupid piece of carbon-spewing, fossil fuel-guzzling dinosaur technology do this? Did I not just recently change its oil? Sure, it was a bit overdue. White oil with chunky bits like curdled cream is not good. But I changed it myself. Myself. Like a real bloke. I put on my work sarong, found a wrench in the grass - luckily it was rusted on to the right position (from the last oil change I suppose) - and changed the white oil for black.
And when a cancerous rust spot appeared on the back door, did I not put a 'Solar Not Coal' sticker over it?
Yes I did. That's love.
And what do I get in return? A bloody inconvenience!
"Noooo!" I yell, hitting the steering wheel so hard something falls from the roof and down the front of my shirt. Having once had a painful experience with a paper wasp entangled in my sarong, I immediately smack my chest hard where I can feel the fallen thing. A mud wasp nest explodes, leaving a brown mark on my shirt and bits of dried mud and dessicated food for newborn mud wasps tumbling down my stomach.
I jump out of Morrison, rip off my shirt and slam the van door shut as hard as I can. Another mud wasp nest drops to the seat.
"Up yours, Morrison!"
After panic, self-pity and anger, comes regret.
"Sorry Morry," I say, gently opening the door. "Stupid wind caught the door..." (Under pressure, I lie.)
I flick the mud wasp nest onto the floor.
"Look, we're old mates, right? We've shared a lot of good times, eh? You and me, the old team."
I edge into the seat acting sort of casual-like and breathe out all my negative energy. Ahhhh...
"So, Morrison, mate, if you'd be so kind, start now..."
I turn the key.
After panic, self-pity, anger and regret, usually comes a long walk...
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