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Shabadoo and wifelette down under

Key to the Kingdom

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 4 December 2008 | Views [891] | Comments [1]

So, Cat had rather a bad habit on our trip. Rather than secure the car key in a water-tight, fireproof safe which we would drag around behind us like some reluctant metallic child, she would instead leave it (and the attached keyring and mini-torch) dangling from the butt pocket of her jeans, as if her arse was fishing for thieves. There were more than a few occasions when I mentioned this to her, being the kind, loving, paranoid security freak that I am. We only had one key. Everything we owned was in that car. And yet still, the arse-fishing continued.

Once we started our week of pearling in Broome, we would travel out to the main boat on a very bouncy, very unstable dinghy. You see where this is going. On some occasions, "I told you so" might be the sweetest sentence in the English language. This was not one of those occasions.

Returning from our first day of pearling, after our 10 hour shift, hungry, covered from head-to-toe in sweat and fish-smelling crud, and with our dinner in hand, we approached the car (about 5.30pm). Cat checked her pockets - nothing. At this point, I immediately thought "She's lost the key." But we pulled her rucksack inside out in a futile search. The key was gone.

Now, with hindsight, I can appreciate that this was another one of those experiences that enriches the journey, and provides a hilarious story to share with people when we get back. And I can confess that with hindsight, I was certainly not the loving, supportive husband I should have been, and I feel very bad about that. At the time however, these thoughts were not going through my mind. I can't remember the exact train of thought, but it went something like this:

"Oh dear God, she's lost the fucking key. Every fucking time she locks the car, she puts that fucking key in her fucking back pocket, and every fucking time I tell her to put it somewhere safe, she looks at me like some fucking paranoid idiot. And now she's lost the fucking key. What the fuck was she thinking? We sat on the side of that fucking dinghy, with our arses hanging over the side, bouncing over 4 foot waves, and she didn't think once, 'What the fuck am I doing? I should put that fucking key in my fucking back pocket, before that fucker sinks to the bottom of the fucking Indian Ocean.' And now we're fucking stranded in the middle of fucking Broome. I can't fucking shower. I can't fucking cook. I know it's fucking pointless screaming at her, because she didn't do it on purpose [the one lucid thought that saved a marriage?]. But what I can do is destroy the planet Earth to satisfy my desperate need for vengeance against fate itself."

I must confess I wasn't very happy. I'm very glad I didn't yell at her, for many reasons, first and foremost of which was that I might never have stopped if I'd started. Unfortunately, the blinding rage I felt was not conducive to being helpful, so I simply shut down. I sat on a camping chair and stared off into the distance. For about an hour and a half. Utterly motionless I slumped, in a desperate internal struggle to fend off an embolism. I was able to utter the occasional sentence - nothing helpful or comforting, and when Cat came in for a comforting hug, I'm ashamed to say she had to lift my limp arm over her shoulder. I was a bad boy, but under the circumstances, I hope you can appreciate that all my efforts were being pushed in the direction of preventing my head from exploding.

Well, Cat called the equivalent of the AA, and they tried to get someone out to help us. Well, they tried, but unfortunately they only have two drivers in Broome, neither of which was picking up his phone. Both were supposedly on duty, but there was a big horse race on that evening, so - surprise - neither fucker could be reached.

Cat decided to ask around and see if she could get a blanket to cover her still immobile husband. Hubbie was quite adamant that the last thing they should do was let everyone else know that we couldn't get into our car, perhaps a last remnant of the security impulse screaming through my locked-up brain. Regardless, she set off and came back with a blanket from Gary, the painter.

On this score, the Aussies were brilliant. The guy over the road offered us a tent for the night (which we declined, since we figured the AA wouldn't take long). Three hours after calling the AA, with not the slightest sign of help (and a rather embarrassed woman on the other end of the phone), Gary wandered over with a piece of wire, and so the amateur car-unlocking began. Poorly. We were all eager, but for some reason the terrible car we drove seemed to be unusually thief-proof (yeah, yeah, whinging Pom). We tried both front doors, but no joy. Then I came up with my one coherent idea of the night - next to the steering wheel was the central locking button - if we could reach that with the piece of wire, it would unlock the car. The wire wasn't long enough or strong enought, so Gary, sensing victory, headed off to his caravan in search of a new tool.

And at 10pm, with me cheerleading him every step of the way, Gary managed to reach that blessed button. I came this close to divorcing Cat and marrying Gary. I nearly hugged him, but sensed I would get a beating if I did, so I offered to buy him a beer instead, which in Australia is actually the preferred alternative to a handshake. Gary graciously declined and disappeared, which left me with just enough time to race to the shower and hop into bed by 10.30, without dinner, but desperate for sleep before getting up the next morning at 4.45.

Cat didn't have to worry about working the next day. Her job was to get new keys for the car - it took two days, and a fight with the total uselessness of the AA, but she did it, and got a second key cut, all for the reasonable sum of $220. Lesson learned. Both those keys were glued to hands/pockets/bags for the remainder of the trip.

The moral of the story? If you can't say anything positive, keep your mouth shut and seeth silently with a blinding rage that could wipe out universes if unleashed. Nope, I didn't study psychology.




I had forgotten what a grumpy little poppet you are when you are tired and hungry.
I spend 10 minutes blue pencil marking the naughty bits and replacing them with words ike 'darn'.and 'bloomin''. I may have gone as far as flipping.
Now, I know Nan is not stupid and may well detect my work but I think it was a bit much 'in the raw'. So now she can now read it with her glasses on but I suspect that she will not share this one...................
Love Ma xx

  Ma Dec 11, 2008 11:56 PM

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