Saturday, 6 October 2012

The "Laser" and I

I gave away the wreck of the “Laser” today.

It’s been with me through a tumultuous period of my life, moving all around the country in search of something, I'm not sure what. I first joined forces with the “Laser” when, in a dazed state, I returned from Africa and renegotiated life in the western world. I was a car owner again.

It took me from Copa to Tumbi to work in the bush with Foz for a few lantana-filled months. Then it was loaded up with all my gear and we drove south, to the sound of The Panics, with the windows down and the spring sunshine streaming through the windscreen, as I headed for new beginnings in Tasmania. The green south coast opened up for me, and I wound along the bends with excitement and anticipation. I drove into Melbourne with From St Kilda to Kings Cross by Paul Kelly playing on the ever-unreliable CD player. The “Laser” and I boarded the Spirit of Tasmania and crossed Bass Strait through the night, then drove from Devonport down to Hobart over the next couple of days. We explored Tassie together – looking for waves at Clifton with Tim and Brooke, cruising down the Tasman Peninsula with Dad, up Mt Wellington with Mum, Cradle Mountain with Crumbs and Rowson, and trips up to Triabunna to get the ferry over to Maria Island for work. I spent the week on the island, and when I came back, there was the “Laser” waiting for me, quiet and reliable.  

In Winter, with a rare snow falling on the streets of Hobart, I once again loaded the “Laser” up with everything I had and said goodbye to old places and one or two friends I had made. With uncertainty and sadness we drove north and again crossed Bass Strait in the night. Through Melbourne, and along the Great Ocean Road, this time the “Laser” was taking on the mighty road west. The mechanic in Hobart said it wouldn’t make it; the road was too long, too hot, too much. Not worth it, mate. But the “Laser” was in and out of Adelaide in a flash, then it conquered the Nullarbor, swallowing up the kilometres. As I lost the plot, the “Laser” held us together, and guided us safely to the coast and into Perth. We were once again together in a new city, not really sure if it was the right thing, the right place, but it was a place and that was enough. The “Laser” helped move all my stuff into Sam’s house, then in with the Shazza’s, then again in with Alena on Forrest St.

It’s taken me on trips through the beautiful WA south west. Camping in calm, quiet Karri forests, and past white sandy beaches. Around Christmas I let it overheat, and the mechanic asked if I was sure it was worth fixing. Heck yeah fix it up, I said, it’ll go forever.

It drove me and Foz on a marathon trip to Exmouth and Karijini, without missing a beat. Michael Franti was blasting whenever the smug CD player deigned to allow music, and the wind blew through the open windows as we raced through the WA outback. We stared at the expanse of flat red earth, we relished being alive in this wild country, two good mates living the dream. The roads got rough and sandy, but the “Laser” just kept on going.  It was loaded with gear and covered in red dust, and it loved every moment.

The “Laser” was with me on those trips away with Suzie – we explored the WA mid-west, singing along to Gomez, Pearl Jam and even Johnny Farnham for a laugh. Her foot tucked up beneath her on the seat, the wind ruffling her blonde hair. She looks over at me, pokes me in the arm and says I just wanna wish you well in synch with Bernard on the stereo. The “Laser” was alongside on that moonlit night as we played guitar and drank red wine, talking about the strangeness of life.

It’s been with me through all of that.

Then in a careless moment I smashed it face-first into the back of a truck.

“We’ll take it off your hands mate, but that’s all we can do for you”.

The wreckers made it sound as if they were doing me a favour. I signed a piece of paper, gave them the keys, and walked out into the sunshine. With a phillips head screw driver, I slowly removed the number plates, put them in my bag, then turned and left.
Tall trees - Mt Field, Tassie

Camping somewhere in South Aus

The road to Red Bluff, WA 

The bluff

Karijini WA

Injidup WA

Foz stylin in red trackies


1 comment:

  1. What an evocative piece, Steve.. I loved the bit about the smug CD player the deigend to play !!
    Photos trific too. I felt sad, too.....