Got a lift into town to collect my car from the garage where it has been languishing for past two days.
Went via ATM to draw the necessary to pay for car’s equivalent spa-experience. I approach ATM with some trepidation – not only because last time it swallowed card whole but because current predicament means financial health somewhat compromised and so I live in perpetual fear that my request for $20, $50 or – on rash days – $100 may be denied. If I were an adrenaline junkie, and I’m not, I’d be very happy with the predictable, quiet life I do not have, a visit to the ATM would bring on same rush that bungee jumping, parachuting, swimming with sharks and white water rafting apparently does.
Anyhow, ATM obviously not yet aware of dire financial straits and sweetly obliged by proffering precisely what I’d asked for and giving my card back.
On to garage which is owned by charming Sikh gentleman with whom – on account of my very regular visits, not because I fancy him but because my car is lazy cow who seems determined to spend more time dossing in his workshop than on the road – I am on first name terms.
I pay my money and make for a hasty retreat lest I get a lecture about state of my car. Am not fast enough, Koga’s faster.
‘We had to weld the whole of the underside of the chassis’, he tells me sternly, ‘the whole of the rear end of your car is cracked and buggered’.
Buggered! Unfortunate turn of phrase I feel, but I don’t say anything.
Instead I smile sweetly, ‘she’s very old I explain, 16 this year’ (which, on reflection, makes me sound like sick, mad old bat who holds annual birthday parties for a set of wheels).
Hmm, mutters Koga sternly, he is not pleased that I seem to find his discovery amusing: I ought to be taking warning of car about to fall to bits very seriously and I would – really I would – were I not so excited at prospect of getting behind the steering and being mobile again.
Not that I’m going anywhere – just home. Bouncing down the 12 klms of potholed dirt rejoicing that the banging in the back isn’t quite as bad as it was a few days ago.
Last night I bumped into somebody I knew years ago. In the interim his beautiful teenage daughter has died of malaria. He was a news photographer once and has recorded hundreds of images portraying every angle of Africa’s tortured face. He said he though that perhaps Africa prepared us for tragedy. I don’t think anything can prepare us for the death of a child; I don’t really think he thought so either.