We have a little car which was nicknamed by my sister Ilse on one of her trips to Australia, “Pauly” (actually “Paulchen” in German).
We have owned the car for fifteen years now and it never caused us any problems or breakdowns. It went and went and went…
When Ilse named the car, she advised us, never to talk bad about it in its presence. She seems to think, cars have a soul and can easily be offended.
Last weekend was my 80th birthday and I had a really good time. Our son Martin had even flown in from Melbourne for the weekend. He had to fly back on Sunday and we offered to take him back to the airport and daughter Caroline home to Sydney.
The only way out from Wollongong, which is practically just a few meters above sea level, is up a steep road, Mount Ousley Road, across the Illawarra escarpment. It was only constructed during WWII by the Americans with their “can-do” attitude.
While going up the steep hill, Caroline was driving, the car seemed a bit sluggish. With four adult people on board, it did not seem unusual. But, we started to discuss the car’s age and Caroline suggested we could buy another car. Maybe not a new one, but at least a well preserved and reliable second-hand car.
Just seconds after discussing this, and not remembering Ilse’s advice, the car showed severe signs of illness. It lost power and no amount of gear-shifting would help. Soon enough, belching smoke poured out everywhere and we feared the engine could blow up. Our car looked more like an old steam engine than a 21st Century automobile. We decided to pull up at the turn-off to the Clive Bissell Drive where there is a convenient parking area. We thought of letting the car cool off and then continue.
Caroline did not trust “Pauly” anymore and rang a friend who lives in a neighbouring suburb. He came and Martin made it, just in time, to the airport.
I set off, full of optimism, that I would be able to nurse the car home. But it was not to be. Our talk about getting another car had offended “Pauly” too much and after about a kilometer the car stopped. We rang the automobile club and organised the tow away to our car repair station.
While my first eighty years ended on a high note, the second eighty years started not so well. See how the next eighty years go. And next time we talk about a new car we will make sure “Pauly” will not hear us. I have the feeling it is on its last leg.