31 May 2003

Incidentally, before I am away to spark one on a bench next door in the yard of graves, let me quickly recommend a fine red for you. It is from Lindemans, who I think are located somewhere in Eastern Australia. It is called Cawarra and is as close as any Shiraz Cabernet will ever get to being a rainbow. Juicy during the primary stages, levels out in the middle and unlike alot of reds arrives back down to earth will a lovely palatable curve and leaves you sitting in the pot of gold there beneath.

As I sit down to write the sun dips his head goodnight.

And Lo! What the Lord had said very much came to be! There was light, a great light, a really big ball of fire in the sky that warmed the earth and her inhabitants. Although many millions of fathoms away, this wonderful and enormous torch in the heavens had the ability to light the whole of the day and add brightness to every passing moment. Some moments, however, can be a little too bright and overly warm.

Take for example, returning to my car after a long stint on the beach, the car having spent the time lazing in the sun. Thanks in part to the sun and the glass windows, my modest banger, normally only just capable of providing adequate power to break the speed limit and only then when going down a very steep hill, has developed immense internal thermal energy probably capable of laying to waste a small to medium sized hill village in Sicily. If that was your wont, of course. My wont, at this point, is normally to get into my vehicle and drive off somewhere, possibly the pub. Okay, probably the pub. No? Fair enough, it’s always the pub. (There you have the small, noisy and loathsome part of my conscience that has recently been attending AA meetings behind my back. Anyway, it digresses.)

So, you have just carried yourself up the cliff path from the beach to your car. You are hot, salty, knackered from the swimming and running and handstands, and you want a long, cold beer with condensation running down the outside of the glass, just like they had in ‘Ice Cold in Alex’. You can often find me sitting on a bench outside the Carriers at about six pee em, ignoring for a moment the nice cars passing by on Bude’s Rivera, the acres of fine, firm female flesh flittering about, with all of my attention on the full pint glass on the table before me as I savour what was (hot day), what is (me thirsty) and what will be (world at peace). It would not surprise me much to be told that, like Sir John Mills, I too looked as if I had just pushed and pulled a seven ton lorry through a large and inhospitable tract of the Sahara desert during the second world war with the sole intention of diving into the first bar in Alexandria and downing a cold one.

I open the door to the car and it is as if I have opened the gates of hell. A veritable tsunami of scorching air rushes over me and my eye lashes curl and my eyeballs shrink. The first thing to do in this situation is to remember to breathe. Breath in deep the kinetically charged air molecules that storm your facial orifices, as despite the pain, it will help you acclimitise much faster to the inside of the bakers oven that your car now resembles. It will also oxygenate your red corpuscles and you will have the stamina to force yourself into the driver’s seat. I frequently find the need to throw my wet towel in ahead of me to momentarily staunch the expulsion of roasting air and then, with one hand on the doorframe and the other on the roof wrack, I force my buttocks into the seat all the time fighting against the unbearable pressures within.

This point of the entry is crucial. There is a mathematical equation to explain the vital importance of quick action at this time. It is T=a(w)*h / S(w/3) + sR; where T= Time of Survival, a = Average heat for the day, w = the number of windows in the car, h = hours in the sun, S = speed of opening, sR= Sunroof. You might think that the sunroof should be included as one of the windows but once, and if, you manage to get the key in the ignition and start moving, an open sunroof will provide at least three times as much cooling wind rush, or CWR, as any window. I have frequently come close to passing out at this point, leaving my dehydrated and handsome corpse for some local fisherman to find a week later and then use as bait.

So far, so good. Due to the appalling state of health of my short-term memory and my unbearable thirst, I normally forget the sting in the tale. The heat of the car is finally just bearable, you’ve started the engine and are now in a great rush to get some godforsaken airflow into the proximity of yourself. You check your mirrors in anticipation of a rapid pullaway and your foot hits the accelerator with such an alacrity that means you will be doing 30 mph in the next three seconds. And then you place your hands on the wheel to steer. At first there is no problem and you are debating exactly which lager you are going to murder the dryness in the back of your throat with. I imagine it is akin to when you are stabbed by a very sharp knifeblade or shiv, apparently you feel nothing at first and only start becoming concerned when the pain kicks in moments later. I have never had that pleasure but I have had my palms melt on the plastic overlay of a steering wheel. When that information arrives at your cerebellum, the effect is excruciating. Thoughts stampede through your mind as if fleeing a raging forest fire.

“Pub, cold, beer, umm, motherfuckaAAAAAA, hot, hands, melting, pain, aroma, barbecue, pain, never be the same again, cannot move my hands, doing thirty, lorry coming, can’t turn, shit.”

Well, admittedly I have exaggerated a little, but you get the idea.

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