Saturday, just after midday.
I have spent the morning working at a pharmacy in South Yarra. I am wearing a cream blouse and a navy pencil skirt. It is the uniform of the glamorous assistant at the perfume counter at DJs.
I am 22.
I don’t do glamorous. Or blouses. Or fucking navy.
So there I am, feeling decidedly unsexy after work. I have walked the short distance home and now I am preparing to move my car into the driveway since my boyfriend is away for the night and I want to make sure it looks like someone is home.
I am just hopping into the car as three guys walk past on the other side of the street. They are cute enough that I am embarrassed to be seen in my uniform.
Because I am 22, I have to make sure the way I manoeuvre into the driveway looks cool. Is it possible to look cool while steering a car into a driveway? And more importantly, is it possible in a shitty old Toyota Corolla that was born the same year as I was?
37-year-old Angie knows the answer. 22-year-old Angie; not so much.
So I’m parked flush to the curb and need to make a sharp left into my driveway. Thinking about it now, turning the car from this point would require that I steer out wide to the right as I nose into the narrow space between the brick letterbox on my left and the wooden fence on my right..
I am 22.
I am not thinking. Except about trying to be cool.
I get into the car. I ignore my seatbelt. I start the car and I throw it into gear. I let the clutch out quickly and the car jumps forward. I am probably going too fast. I don’t consider this. I pull hard on the steering wheel. My back left tyre mounts the curb which probably means I am too close to the brick letterbox. I don’t consider this. I drive my passenger door directly into the letterbox. I am definitely too close to the letterbox. The letterbox is now broken bricks, and in my rear-view mirror, I see the three guys, expressions hovering somewhere between amusement and disbelief.
And then the worst part. They come over to help me.
“How the fuck did I do that?” I say, as I climb from the car. I am all sweary and nonchalant. No big deal.
My passenger door is actually jammed against the letterbox and in order to move it, they need to sort of lift the car off the bricks.
Have I mentioned I am mortification personified?
Have I mentioned I am wearing a blouse? A FUCKING BLOUSE!
My car is now free enough that I can drive it. One of the guys picks up a slab of bricks and mortar and perches it awkwardly on top of what used to be the letterbox.
“Thanks for that,” I say, and as the guys wander off, I slowly inch my car all the way into the driveway and stop. I get out once again and walk to the passenger door that is now concave, like a giant has punched his fist right into the middle of it. Or like some blouse-wearing, cool-feigning, 22-year-old drove it into a brick mailbox.
I walk to the front door of my house. I turn the key in the lock. I step inside and close the door behind me.
And then, I cry like a baby.
I actually wrote this post a couple of weeks back in response to the prompt The Story Of My First Car as part of Clairey Hewitt's Blog Every Day in May challenge. I failed that challenge but I like this post so here it is anyway. 🙂