One thing I love about traveling are the families you meet doing the same thing. There’s even a camaraderie, with people helping each other out and having a laugh and the kids having fun together.
But we don’t usually plan to meet people places because our plans can change pretty quickly. It’s just nice when we happen to be somewhere and another family we know pulls up.
I’m pretty sure Tracey thinks I usually manage to embarrass myself around these families, but internally I’ve adopted the wonderful idea of myself being quirky to cover these many, many moments.
One thing I do which my wife finds especially embarrassing, but which doesn’t bother me at all, is I wear my dressing gown around the parks we stay at and I don’t care what people think. Essentially I figure the park is our home while we’re there so I’m happy to wear what I would at home. I love my dressing gown like the Queen likes a pastel hat. Like butter prefers a hot knife. Like bogans love mismatched panels on their Commodores.
It’s now a part of who I am.
And I mean I’ll walk around the bus in it all day. I’m sort of known for it with people we meet.
What I absolutely don’t do is go walking around towns in it, because that would be weird. Even for me.
But that was the situation I found myself in this week when I ducked into the tyre & auto place here in Umina Beach.
“You can leave it there until tomorrow,” the guy told me after a quick look at where I was pointing.
“It’s okay, I’m just around the corner,” I said. “Let’s book it in and I’ll be back in the morning.”
Oh, if only.
“No, I mean you can’t drive your car,” he repeated pointedly. “It isn’t safe.”
To be honest that shouldn’t have come as such a big surprise. I was at his workshop because the brake light had come on in our Kia Grand Carnival which, after I’d topped it up with a mere entire bottle of (going by price) liquid gold, had remained off for all of fifteen minutes.
“I’d offer you a lift home but we’re under the pump,” he went on sympathetically.
And they really were. It was an hour to closing and the two blokes had bits of cars off everywhere.
“No worries at all,” I said. Then I thought about my long walk home and the dropping temperature. I was in a tee, shorts and my dress thongs. “I’ll just grab a jacket out of the car before I give you the keys.”
Oh, if only.
I gotta say, for a mechanic this guy was very diplomatic. I mean he didn’t say any of the things I was thinking when I walked into the office and handed him my keys.
“I’m gonna look like the town crazy,” I said, pulling my dressing gown tight around my mid. The one thing I would have going for me is I wouldn’t be pushing a trolley.
“Lots of those around here,” he said without making eye contact. Then he cracked a smile. “You’ll fit in nicely.”
At that I knotted my furry blue belt around my waist and began my long walk of shame through town, back to the holiday park.
At least no-one knows me here, I thought as I left the office.
Oh, if only.
I glanced up to see four familiar faces grinning at me from a van pulling a caravan as it shot past.
“Looking good, Bruce!” yelled the driver.
As I said, I love when chance means we get to catch up with the families we’ve met on our trip.
Just not sure what I’m more embarrassed about in this instance, that they saw me wearing my dressing gown downtown, or that they think I’m so ‘quirky’ this didn’t trigger the idea I might need a lift.
Two Minute Noodle Mishap
A Map of Everywhere We Haven’t Been
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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