She was parked where the red Rav4 is in this photo,
only with two less wheels on the bitumen


Finding a car park outside my favourite cafe is hard. It must be. Seems every time I sit down to eat there lately someone is out to entertain me by doing it wrong. Firstly there was the parking incident a few months ago, and now this.

Miss17 and I were having lunch today when our chat was suddenly severed by scrapping metal and a loud bang. Across the road a car had reversed parked into a parked car, which in turn slammed into another parked car. But the poor driver didn’t stop there: ending up with her rear end mounted halfway up a stone wall at a jaunty angle the city town planners hadn’t considered.

“Is Grandad joining us?” I asked Miss17. When my parents buy a car they never want a new model: They want something with parts and panels readily available from the wreckers. My dad’s driving is worse than mine, which is saying something, and parking his car seems to be a particularly hazardous task.

Tracey can’t sleep in the car when I’m driving, even on long trips. She bleats on about at least one of us needing to watch the road.

“Left! Right!” she’ll snap as we drive around town, like I have no idea where we’re going. Seriously, we live in a town, not a city. It takes five minutes to drive from one end to the other, and only because there are a couple sets of lights.

Although I will say, if Tracey and I entered Targa Tasmania, I think we’d turn some heads, with Tracey, as my navigator, barking out directions from beside me. “Left! Right! Left in three, two,one!” Yep, we’d do well  – until we went through a built up area.

“Did you see the wallpaper in that house, Tracey? That’s the sort of thing I’ve been trying to expl…..”


And for us the race would be over. Well, for us, someone’s cat and a power pole.

Miss17 and I raced across the road and found a lady with her head in her hands.

“Are you alright?” I asked. Turned out she was, but the old dear was in a real dither. Traffic was still pouring past. As her hands were shaking I tapped on her window to get her attention, suggesting she turn the car off-

-and immediately jumped back as the car rolled forward, threatening to make roadkill of my feet.

“And put the handbrake on!” I yelped, banging on her window again.

For the safety of all feet concerned, we encouraged her from the driver’s seat and I drove the car down off the wall. That bit was hell fun. If Tracey was there she could have been yelling navigational instructions at me like, “Dismount!” That would have made it funner.

Then Miss17 and I set about calming the dear down.

“It’s okay. No-one was hurt. You’re not hurt. They’re only cars,” we told her. “And they’re all old cars too, so there’ll be lots of parts available from the wreckers.”

“You don’t understand,” she moaned.

“But I do understand,” I reassured her. “You’re upset. But no-one is hurt. That bump on your head will buff out. It’s all good.”

“No, you don’t understand,” she repeated, and I wondered if sounding like a broken record was maybe a sign she’d hit her head too hard afterall: but then I remembered how many times I bark the same threats at my kids any given day.

Finally she explained – it wasn’t because she’d damaged two other cars, or she was embarrassed with everyone looking on, or she wasn’t insured, or she wouldn’t be able to afford the repairs, or her husband was going to ridicule her. The problem was a matter of poor timing.

As she explained, “I only picked the car up from the panel shop an hour ago.”

Like this whole thing wasn’t funny enough (for us).

Oh, and she may be wrong about the ridicule. I know for absolute certainty if I’d mounted our car like a prize salmon Tracey would give me merry hell for the rest of my life.

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