So we're getting rid of the car, like the hippies we are.
It's for a variety of reasons: the primary one is that I can't afford to keep it. I'm only making around $10 thou per year, so I can't afford to spend more than ten per cent of that on registration and insurance alone. Add to that the fact that the last service cost me over $800 and it didn't fix all the problems
, and the rising cost of petrol, and the car is dead weight we can't afford to support.
The other reason is the fact that we have both tram and train in easy walking distance. And I have a bike (albeit rusting in the backyard at the moment, because the local Big Road scares the crap out of me). And we have three supermarkets within a ten minute walk. And we can take public transport to a market quite easily to do our shopping.
So yesterday I called up the charity
to which we're donating it to find out what the hell's going on. The nice lady on the phone said, "It says here that it's been picked up already." My housemates and I, who have to squeeze past said car to leave the house (poor driveway design) can vouchsafe that this is not the case.
She amends the paperwork, and arranges for the car to be picked up today (Tuesday). She tells me there is a sign I have to place on the dash, and another form I have to fill out, and she'll email them to me. I also have to remove the numberplates, she says, in order to deregister it properly.
I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the car of crap, and throwing in the recycling bin all our old litre bottles of water (we used to have to keep a lot around for some time, before we had the radiator fixed). One was nearly full, so I took it through the house to the tomato plants out the back. Tomatoes are thirsty, so I like to top up the reservoir below their pots whenever I can with "spare" water. (We're on water restrictions.) I came back through the house, and threw away more plastic bags and other detritus that I'd collected into a big cardboard box. I realised I'd left my keys inside. And automatically latched the front door behind me. I had no wallet and no phone.
I had $9.25 in five- and ten-cent pieces that I'd scrounged from the car. We also had our old Yellow Pages sitting on the front porch. Monday nights we have morris rehearsal, and I cook dinner and bring it in. I had no dinner with me. I hadn't even started cooking. I looked up Nat's number and scratched it into the back of my hand with my nail. I walked to the RSL and tried to call her to let her know what had happened – Steph works for the government, so doesn't have her number listed in the Yellow Pages. The phone ate my 50c and didn't put the call through.
My only choice was to head in to the city. Metcard prices had risen again recently, and I knew that they used to be about $6. For those playing along at home, I had $8.75 remaining. I cut my losses and walked to the newsagency to buy a ticket – ticket machines always chuck a tanty if you try to pay with too many coins.
It was humiliating. I had to stand there for five minutes, counting out $6.50 in five- and ten-cent pieces. It also set off my poverty complex. Still, it was a stroke of luck (?) that I'd just pulled all that silver out of the boot, and hadn't taken it inside yet. I came into the city, met up with Steph, and we bailed on morris, so we could still cook dinner at home. It was a little relieving, since I was going to have to ask Steph to cover me for dinner.
Today I went to take off the numberplates. All the screws are rusted in. I manage to snap two of the ridges on our Phillips head screwdriver by trying to force it. So far I've managed to mostly get out one screw. One. Of four. I have NO idea how I'm going to get these plates off in order to take them down to VicRoads. Which, can I add, have no pages on their website about de/unregistering your vehicle. If you search, the only pages it brings up are about arranging for a temporary permit to drive an unregistered vehicle, and pages about re
registering. This says more than a little something about our society, frankly. Clearly I am a REBEL.
I also checked my email. I have not been emailed the sign OR the paperwork. Guess I'm chasing that up come nine o'clock.
WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO HARD??