Thursday, August 21, 2008

Every cloud has a panty liner





Winnebago of Pants is superseded by Subaru of Pants with a haste that must be considered unprecedented in the present emotional micro-climate. It occurred in the flash of a gavel. I wasn’t expecting to be attending a car auction but it so happened that the Victorian Government decided to dispense with a number of its excellent vehicles at exactly the time I acquired a notion to buy one so I motivated myself into gear. The lethargy that has dogged my 2008 has disappeared with the flush of fortuitous opportunity, thanks to sane and knowledgeable friends. Who knew I could marshal such reliable resources? After my rejuvenating stay with Ms O’Dyne, I have recently been taken in by kindly Shirley and Roddy who have not only been wining and dining me to within an inch of rendering my jeans completely redundant, but have sorted out my dishevelled finances, not to mention the laundry bag that is my backpack. It was the redoubtable Roddy who sourced and conquered the auction process on my behalf. Even when completely in command I never would have had the patience to unravel the intricacies of this giant car bazaar myself.

On Tuesday we journeyed to the outskirts of Melbourne to kick tyres with dealers and like-minded bargain hunters. Mustering a presence of mind I feared may have deserted me for ever, I perused, surveyed and assessed nineteen potential Subaru Foresters, the car I had previously identified as the perfect travelling companion. My standard research method is indicative of my general displeasure with shopping. I usually wait until I find someone in similar circumstances to do all the hard work and then I buy exactly the same thing as they’ve got after asking them some basic questions like ‘is it any good?’ and ‘do you feel like opening a vein when you think of all the money you’ve just pissed away?’ In the course of my methodical search, I met three delighted Subaroosters and that was good enough for me. I have better things to do with my time than question the integrity of decent, hard-working people.

Of the nineteen potential pantmobiles, nine were eliminated because they had a few scratches or were a manky colour or looked at me the wrong way. I then used a highly scientific method involving snaps taken on the Kodak, notes scribbled on the catalogue and several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc to prioritise the remaining hopefuls into a hierarchy which serendipitously looked remarkably similar to the order in which they were to appear on the auction floor. Together Roddy and I developed a strategy so simple as to be virtually idiotic. I would bid on the first car, which happened to be the favourite and if I didn’t get that one, I would bid on the next and so on until I got one or the nice auction people ran out of cars.

My car was number 4 which meant I had only three opportunities to learn to interpret the strange language that auctioneers speak which sounds like a cross between high speed bingo and Bim Skala Bim. By the time my intended zoomed into view, it was already apparent that the people who were sitting all around us were not there to buy cars. Perhaps they just fancied the ambience and the sausage rolls. It was all insanely painless. A dealer made a listless opening bid. It ping-ponged a couple of times. I made the final bid. I thought it was all over and lept up waving my bidding card like a lottery winner who'd just evaded eviction. I looked at Roddy and couldn't understand why he wasn't punching the air like it had just mugged his mother. The auctioneer had passed the car in because it hadn't reached its reserve so I was led bewildered into a quiet corner. We haggled with the government agent until a satisfactory conclusion was reached. Suffice to say 'quids in' is something of an understatement.

This morning in the blinding rain, we headed across Melbourne for the third consecutive day to pick up the car. I’m not a nervous driver but I do have a bit of a problem with vertigo and there was an awfully high bridge to navigate. I’m pleased to report that no citizens of Melbourne were injured in the course of this delicate operation and we weaved between the grime-generating pantechnicons like spaghetti through bolognaise. Roddy has been telling me all week we need to go see someone called Vic Rhodes. I have no idea what that is all about but, hey, every day is a new adventure and he sounds nice. SUV’d up, I’m ready to hit the road again. The next quest – to establish a new Seat of Pants – could begin at any time...

32 comments:

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Mr Vic Rhodes is one of the most corrupt people you will come across in Australia Pants. Any probs, slip him twenty, and not pounds.

Just wait until B tripples are travelling over the high bridge. I will be afraid.

So you are thinking of settling in the arts and literary capital of Australia. A wise choice, in my opinion. May I ask, vaguely what area?

That's So Pants said...

Hi Andrew

B tripples? What is please? I'm looking at the coast and will look more now that I have wheels. Any recommdations gratefully received.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

How disappointing, I had a nice car to sell you: '86 Holden Commodore, going cheap. Or you could pay it off.
You've been to Fowles Motor Auctions. I've been there myself, many times. It's on this side of town, the smelly western suburbs, but with little colonies of lattiedom here and there: factories knocked down, latte put up, funky soul diva open mic. The RH Temple of Extreme Thought: a little wooden house, is 10,000 miles from Hackney. Yes, how astonishing, and so next time you cross that bridge wave and yell out: you got close to me, within half a mile.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH

Had no idea I was in such extreme danger! I thought my only fear was that hideous bridge. I feel very lucky. Yes - bought the car at Mannheim Fowles. Rest assured it's still a relatively latte free area. More Billy Tea and Four'n'Twenty as far as I could see. I enjoyed the whole experience - not least of all the bit where I got to pay far less than I expected for the car I wanted. Subaru Forester is the active old ladies' SUV of choice I discovered.

xxx

Pants

xxx

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

And you passed Altona Bingo too. "Bingo City".

Good heavens.

You're an Aussie again.

That's So Pants said...

But I didn't go in so I can't be an East Ender either.

xxx

Pants

Andrew said...

B triple is like a B double only 3 bits instead of four. It is a truck. B double cabin and two trailers, B triple, cabin and three trailers. There is talk of them being allowed on Melbourne roads.

Just across the water from us is the very nice town of Port Arlington. While it is around one and a half hours drive from here, it would only be twenty minutes across the water in a boat. A bit flatter and cheaper is the town next to it, Indented Heads. We could signal each other with mirrors flashing in the sunlight.

R.H. said...

I've got a shed for rent, very nice, private entrance from a dirt laneway, and you could put your car in there too.

Let's know.

-Robert.
Australia's greatest poet*


*No extra charge for that.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Andrew

Thanks for all that. Recommendations always welcome. Now that I have wheels I can get about and look at all these places.

Hi RH

Generous to a fault - AND Australia's greatest poet! I could sleep with my car like soldiers used to sleep with their horses. What fun.

xxx

Pants

Ann O'Dyne said...

Congratulations - Wheels Of Pants ... room for B.OwlyCat in the back too.
From one lot of foresters to another.
Bless Her and all who sail in her.
Vehicle Auctions definitely = A Guy Thing.

mwah mwah

(ooh I got a Welsh WV - blcynwwn)

That's So Pants said...

Ms O'Dyne

Well spotted - the cage is definitely Barney's personal space. It was a USP of the car.

xxx

Pants

Wisewebwoman said...

I have to say Pants that I am no fan of SUVs, for many reasons. On the other hand I'm glad you're motoring your way to a new pants establishment and it sounds like you are feeling positive again.
And I am happy for you.
XO
WWW

That's So Pants said...

Hi WWW

I know, I know but I'll need an off-road vehicle where I'm going and the Forester is one of the smallest. Importantly it's sturdy enough not to be blown away by high winds and produce conveyors. I'll carbon trade with rainwater tanks, solar electricity and an Aga and I'll grow my own vegies if I can find a suitable green thumb on e-Bay.

Reading the Signs said...

I am glad you have a Pantsmobile, and particularly interested to hear about "Barney's personal space." So he's back with you then? That's wonderful indeed to hear, as I'm sure that in your heart of hearts you must have been missing him. Lovely as it was to have him, I don't think you should consider sending him for any return visits as being in the country doesn't really suit him. Where you're heading it will be different, of course: wide open spaces etc.

Good luck with establishing new House of Pants and keep us informed of everything and anything en route.

R.H. said...

Miz Panz. Howdy-doody. I confess to practising for when we take tea, I can now hold a cup between thumb and forefinger balancing an arrowroot bikkie in the other while rolling a smoke. How's that. Not bad. I'm impressed. Well important things in life need rehearsal, and then some, the rest are accidents.

Yours sincerely,
Robert.

R.H. said...

Well I look at my comments and I'm astonished, I can't work out what I've said. This business has really taken me over, I'm even producing comments in my sleep. Reading them and feeling mortified.
But then I'm back on earth. 'Hang on' I say, 'it was only a dream.' Thank goodness.

R.H. said...

It's exhausting, you've no idea, two or three comments and I have to lie down

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

Barney returned in the dead of night - a shame it was just the night that was dead. We have just completed a road trip, about which more soon.

Hi RH

Keep taking the tablets, and practising the tea ceremony, obviously.

xxx

Pants

Jo Elliot said...

I have always thought that you were temperamentally suited by to buying cars as you seem able to recognise in them a personality and allow them to develop a life of their own. Very impresive to someone like me who has no imagination and can't tell one brand of car from another. Delighted to see you have a red one.
Have you still got my mobile number? I will be in Melbourne on Monday and Tuesday night.
Love Jo

That's So Pants said...

Hey Jo (to quote Hendrix). Now back in the western wilds having traversed the state yesterday in search of the lost seat of Pants. Sorry about that. We will no doubt catch up again soon.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

I waited three hours for you at the Dancing Dog Cafe yesterday and when you didn't show up I went on open mic and recited three of my poems to uproarious silence and bewilderment. Thanks very much. Because when all else fails there is always recklessness. No artist is an artist without it.

Yours,
(until Thursday)
Robert.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH

You live and learn.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

You live and argue then you die. Totally useless.

That's So Pants said...

Hi RH

Not while there's gin and there's tonic it ain't.

xxx

Pants

trousers said...

Well done on what sounds like an excellent purchase - and I know what you mean, I just hate it when a Subaru looks at you in the wrong way.

Ms Baroque said...

26 comments?!? You don't need me! I don't know what it is, first Ms Rational Self-Determinism and now you, sprouting wheels and heading off for a new kind of life! Mind you, you went all the way to the tropics to do it so I can hardly complain at this stage.

Congrats Ms P, well done! I hope the vehicle takes you to wonderful places.

xx

That's So Pants said...

Hi Trews

My feeling is you definitely have to let a car know who's the boss from the off. There's nothing worse than being stared down by something that has four wheels and an internal combustion engine. I mean really.

Hi Ms Baroque

Lovely to hear from you as always. It's the quality, not the quantity you know. The tropics is something of an overstatement. I have never been so cold. I've driven all the way over to the wild west (truly, former gold rush area) and it certainly is blustery. Much warmer in the east where I have just been and plan to settle. It's the first day of spring but you'd never know it.

xxx

Pants

Ms Baroque said...

Well, it's the last day of summer here and you'd never know it - cries of, summer, what summer? Greyest August apparently in 150 years.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Ms Baroque

Far be it from me to wish misfortune on others but I have been freezing for four whole months without respite so I am rather pleased that there is say, solidarity out there. Australian houses - a triumph of appearance over comfort! I know what I'll be prioritising in my house search - heated towel rails.

xxx

Pants

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Oh fab, I have a red Subaru Forester XT, it's a beast and I love it.

HG

p.s. If you're pissing in the pines, I hate to think what you're doinh in the screw palms.

That's So Pants said...

Your dameship

Honoured to be in such esteemed automotive company. It seems the vehicle of choice for country ladies of a certain vintage. I believe the colour is burgundy - like the wine.

xxx

Pants