Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bumping Uglies a lovely little phrase to describe the act of sexual intercourse, isn't it? But that's not what I want to write about today, so any random surfers who got excited when the title came up in google are best advised to keep on clicking until you find what your right hand so desperately needs.

No, instead it was a real bumping of uglies - the front of my car against the back right hand side of a brand new silver BMW. It was my fault too, bugger it.

One lane on Portrush ('rush', now there's an oxymoron for you) road was closed and I decided to skip the delay and hang a right on to Magill road. The beamer was slightly over the line of the right-hand-turn lane, but I confidently swung the wheel of the Magna to the right, believing that I'd slip in as easily as Mark Latham at a Labor Party conference.

Alas, I heard an ominous scrape followed by a pop! At that stage it was debatable as to whether the pop was the black plastic on my bumper bar rearranging itself or the vein in my forehead snapping in response. I gesticulated (politely) to the beamer bloke and we pulled in to the BP car parking area to survey the damage: a 30cm scratch on his back flank consisting of a poo-like skid mark of rubber and my white car paint. "Oh I am sooo very sorry," I kept saying over and over. Neither of us bothered to check the front of my 10 year old station wagon. The six months' worth of dust cemented onto the body via scattered showers throughout the winter gave Beamer Bloke (BB) a pretty good idea as to how much I cared about the bodywork.

We traded addresses and phone numbers - he, not surprisingly hailed from the leafy and loaded suburb of Toorak Gardens and I, also not surprisingly, hailed from the mitsubishi and suzuki suburb just around the corner. We were both insured and as I went to get into my car to depart my scene of stupidity and shame, BB thanked me. Yes, thanked me. What the hell for, you ask - well, for being honest, friendly and stopping, apparently. He told me that he'd certainly had what he considered was more than his fair share of fifty-cent-coin lines scratched along his doors from jealous admirers in the past.

Driving despondently home, I of course regretted my impulse to ram the vehicle through to the right hand lane. Hell, I was heading home for lunch; hardly a life-threatening appointment that would change the course of the world as we knew it - especially if you could see my thighs..... I reluctantly phoned Love Chunks with the news. It wasn't so much the bingle that I was nervous about, but more the opportunity for him to lecture me about my attitude and such in a continuation of the argument we had this morning.

To his eternally gracious, kind and spunky-hearted credit, he did no such thing and instead commented "Ah, it's only a car. We've got insurance, he's got insurance, so you don't need to worry. If that's the worst you'll do, you're lucky." But it got me thinking about other car accidents I've been involved in....

Number One - as discussed yesterday, my regular summer holiday job was out at Mypo, apricot cutting in the summer heat in a corrugated iron shed. In my second season there, I was the proud owner of P-plates and found myself to be the only cutter that year with access to one of her parents' cars for transport. As such, I was the designated driver for several teenagers, one of whom included my younger brother David, who, at that stage, resembled Colin Carpenter but without the acne or dress sense.

I was used to getting access to our 1973 sensible volvo, but this particular morning Dad gave me the keys to his rugged and huge Toyota Landcruiser which felt to me like driving a truck - especially when I needed a leg-up to climb up into it. Little brother David and his mate Scott were singing loudly in the back and yelling out hilarious witticisms like "Show us the front of your bum" to early morning joggers and dog walkers.
"Will you two turkeys SHUT UP back there!" I screamed over my shoulder intermittently, which only served to make it seem more hilarious and necessary for them to continue.

At what was then the only set of traffic lights in Murray Bridge, I automatically turned right when the light turned green, completely forgetting to check if any cars were heading across the lights and BASH! The muesli I'd stuffed down my cakehole about ten minutes earlier found its way to the top of my throat and my hands were so immediately sweaty they slid over the steering wheel as I pulled over to the kerb in a series of crippled bunny hops - in my shock I could barely remember how to change gears. I couldn't even keep my legs still enough to get out of the car so the poor victim had to get out of his car and come over to me - how was that for insolence? "Mum and Dad are going to KILL me" churned over and over in my head like an unceasing mantra at the speed of light.

Dave and Scott sat in the back in shocked silence, both fearing to speak up in case I yanked off the sun visor and rammed it up their...... but this slightly comforting thought was interrupted by a gentle tapping on my shoulder. It was an oldish guy who introduced himself as Bruce who was on his way to the meatworks for the morning shift. He was a boner there. Even in my distress I could somehow get my cranium's synapses to function well enough to see the humour in such a job description, but a second later my eyes filled with tears - it was too much for a 17 year old to pretend to be cool about. "Hey, love, come out and check out my car."
Gulp: "Um, OK, I'm so very sorry....." My legs somehow managed to carry me the 10 metres to his vehicle.

It was a van, at least twenty years old and once painted white. It had dings, scratches, rust spots and dozens of peeling bumper stickers festooned all over it so that it resembled an obese rhinoceros with a skin condition. Bruce smiled at me. "Hell, I can't even tell which one is yours. Let's have a look at your bull bar." The bullbar did have a vague smudge of rust-spotted white across it, but Bruce wiped it off with a hanky he found in his back pocket.
"Ah, don't worry about it love. Just remember to have a quick check before you hang a right turn next time, OK?"

How lucky was that? And my fault, too! Not that I let on to Dave and Scott who were white, still and unnaturally quiet. Instead they were lectured by a now pompous seventeen year old responsible driver all the way to Mypo and back, in nit-picking detail about how their noise created such a distraction that it caused me to have an accident. For once in their hormone-driven, spotty-faced teenaged lives, they didn't answer back.

Accident Number Two was not my fault, but I still felt pretty foolish at the time. My uni buddy and flatmate Fiona and I had spent a wonderful afternoon at the beach in Semaphore. It was 1989, and despite the prevalence of Slip, Slop and Slap, we still returned with red noses slightly dusted in beach sand and shoulders that were stinging. Fi's Mum had lent us her little brown cortina whilst she worked as a nurse at a nearby old folks' home. All we had to do was to remember to pick her up from work at 9pm.

After a shocker of a bad health meal of fish, chips, choc wedges and caramel milkshakes that only the young-and-slim-but-too-young-and-dumb-to-make-the-most-of-it girls could get away with eating at the ages of 21, we glanced at my plastic swatch watch and readied ourselves to pick up Fi's Mum. The cortina was a 2-door job, so I decided to climb through the back and wedge myself up against the towels, lunch esky and several big pot plants that we'd bought for our house a few hours earlier.

As such, my position was not one that involved either sitting or being upright. In order to keep the ferns in as comfortable a position as possible and ensure that the esky didn't fling itself to through the front windscreen, I lay crouched on the miniscule back seat in the foetal position as a human buffer between the two. It was a balmy summer night, and we were both singing along to Fi's rather worn out '1983 in the Sun' compilation tape...."Just got lucky...I've been fooled by love so many times, I gave up on all its silly lies, get my feelings locked inside my heart...." when SMACK - my bum was in the air, my face pressed unbecomingly against the coleman cooler and potting mix was scattered all over me like icing sugar on an oversized dessert plate.

"What the hell just happened Fi" then changed to a more worried, "Hey, are you OK?"
She was. Some bogan in an even older Gemini had roared out of a park in front of Fi and smacked into the side of the car. He then backed up and got the hell out of there in a squeal of tires and rubber smoke. The driver's side door of Fi's Mum's car was too busted for her to get out of but she did manage to clamber out the other side. As for me, I was still trying to spit out potting mix and shake off the wet beach towels when onlookers surrounded the vehicle. Helpful inquiries such as "What sort of animal have you got there in the back", then changed to "Geez, what the hell were you doing in the back?" I was extremely grateful that it was now nearly 10 o'clock and no-one could see my red face from embarassment and sunburn. Luckily one of the people still intrigued by my backseat antics had also managed to take down the hit-and-run driver's licence plate.

Mobile phones were unheard of, so a kind onlooker drove us to a phone booth to tell Fi's Mum the news. Her sobbing could be heard as I stood outside the box, listening in unwillingly. A few minutes later and Fi butted in angrily, "Hey Mum, have you wondered whether I'm hurt, or on my way to hospital or lost a leg or OK or are you still going to keep on bawling about the death of your 'little brown baby' - which is pushing 20 years old by the way!" It was all too confusing for me - Fi and her Mum both had their points but was I starting to wonder just how some potting mix managed to wind its way down into the cleavage of my bathing suit and it was starting to itch....

Therefore, Accident Number 3 was annoying but nothing in the scheme of things. Same goes for my first two. Here's hoping that I'm lucky enough to have had my three (I'm a big believer in things happening in threes) and will never have my arse sticking up in the back seat of any car ever again - whether it be for the real meaning of 'bumping uglies' or otherwise.....

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