Like the clock ticking away in the background in which it is slowly counting down the minutes and seconds until the stroke of midnight. During the lead up to that moment of clarity and wishful thinking that an excited and slightly uneasy crowd gathers around the world.
While those would naturally assume this crowd is waiting for the royal couple to grace their world with their newly married presence or the joyous cries of welcoming another cherub to the family are assuming wrong. Instead, the crowd congregates for the political and visual merging of different social statuses, cultural beliefs and ethnicity; which in turn get pushed aside for a few hours as they linger for the promising ringing of the up and coming New Year.
Those present have decided that they’re going to leave the current year that was filled with many taken and missed opportunities, unlimited self discoveries and capabilities as well as heart stopping adventures for a year of freshness and a clean slate. Alongside, the annual promise of the 365 days are going to be ‘better and brighter’.
With this, we welcome into our hearts and minds the prospect of something unforeseen and different. However, we boldly accept this ‘something‘ holds the element of fear and passion and in my case, the element of fear and passion had me clenching my fists both in anticipation and uncertainty. For it all boiled down to having my famous Gibbs gut reaction telling me that something of worth, the greater good and simplicity all lurked around the corner.
Expect, I was told that I had to be a little bit more patient before this ‘something’ arrived.
As my pre-loved party goers partied away with the remaining minutes of 2016 and as the roar of 2017 was rung in with a series of fireworks and endless street and house parties featured an endless bounty of champagne and food. All the while, I celebrated my New Year in a relatively quiet manner by packing a small duffle bag and loading up a car with an array of bags.
For my New Year was starting with an experience of a lifetime and would turn into an adventure that would finish with a skip, bang or two before eventually finding ourselves being escorted into our destination.
However before all the titillating adrenaline-packed moments occurred, the early hours of 2017 were spent in silence as I watched the endless array of twinkling white spots in the black skies and the blinking lights of a satellite or two kept me company. This silence lasted all of a few minutes before my brain started wondering about the secretly squirreled away next-door neighbours and how they’d broken their silence by calling out with slightly slurred voices, “Happy New Year!”
The only thing that had actually suggested someone lived in that house was a discarded pink child-sized scooter in front of the stoop and when coming out the next morning, I noticed the exact stoop had been covered in white chalked Hindi phrases that were aesthetically pleasing to the mind.
All the while, I couldn’t but wonder as to what these delicately drawn and stylish chalk drawings meant.
But those thoughts of mine soon turned to the 12 hour drive I was facing and ultimately trying to find the humor of being stuck in a car with four other adults. By the fourth pit stop and having discovered by accident that Kaffy’s head didn’t weight a lot upon my shoulder and became handy for a pillow of my own, I also found out that the journey was having a serious toll upon my body.
It only became apparent when my feet, hands and face resembled something of Violet’s from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and the 12 hours spent in the middle seat at the back had left me permanently feeling queasy in the stomach or moaning in pain as I welcomed the idea of sleep like a long lost lover.
My happy place that didn’t include being pressed against another person’s body or feeling like my feet had now obtained a heartbeat of their own would only last bar a few moments. With the car skidding to a holt, I went from being sound asleep to awake in a matter of nanoseconds.
I noticed that our friend’s car was perched off to the side of the highway and my brother was no longer behind the driver’s wheel. My head rotated and as I felt a sense of panic flood my body for the driver’s door was open, it was only then that I noticed where Frodo was standing and watched as his big, burly body walked back towards the car while his head shook from side to side.
He lowered his body back into the driver’s seat and it was in this moment, the stench of
warm, fresh blood seemed to coat the air thickly and I knew we had either hit something or something had hit us. Without having to ask what exactly we had hit, I tried to envision what a tourist would think about these ‘wonderful’ creatures and pictured them bounding through open pastures, while possessing the cuteness of a loaded shotgun being pressed against your forehead.
It would be only after checking to make sure it was dead, Skippy (a kangaroo) was the first thing that welcomed us into the New Year and our adventure of a lifetime. Least to say, no apologies or a series of ‘unfortunates’ were uttered by either of us as we questioned if the car was okay before each of us burst out with, “Fuck, this keeps getting better and better.”
After a few more Skippy’s decided to test out whether or not they wished to die that day and we were no longer the once cool, calm and collected people we’d been when we left Sydney; it was in this moment that our patience and perseverance was truly tested when we noticed that our entourage and family member’s car had decided to let out a little puff of black smoke.
Like any brainy person with a driver’s licence and doesn’t have a death wish, we were able to locate a tiny clearing in what appeared to be someone’s front paddock and thankfully weren’t hemmed by what seemed like the never ending forest of Narnia and assassins dressed as kangaroos.
It was only then after piling out of the car like a bunch of clowns that we got the full brunt of exactly what a stupid mistake of an idea we’d initially made and how close we had all come to greeting death that day. In more ways than two.
For we discovered after removing the item of choice that had let out a little puff of black smoke and the poetic sound of metal scratching against a blackboard in slow motion, that the left rear tyre had essentially decided to not only pop but it had melted, shredded and nearly destroyed the brake pads.
As the women within the travelling circus kept the children occupied with the hint of movies, unlimited supplies of sugar and chocolate alongside a bountiful amount of hugs and kisses shared between all four women; we allowed the two burliest of men to gather around the wheel before ultimately showing us the extent of how serious the incident was.
With the sound of tyres coming to a crunching stop, we all glanced over at the car that had pulled in behind ours and watched with anticipation as three of the four doors opened. It would only be then after popping the children back into the car with a handful of candy and a quick but firm kiss to the cheek, each of the adults proceeded to get out their wallets and driver licences.
After scanning our licences and vehicles for registration while duly noting we were from interstate, they watched in silent amusement as Delicious and Frodo became the entertainment for not only us and the police but also the line of traffic. Who were merely doing that civilian duty of slowing down and having a sticky beak as to why the police had pulled over before eventually driving away after noting that no one was getting arrested.
With the last nut was being applied and the male police officer had asked as to how we found ourselves down the end of the country and with a firm but polite welcome, the police officers decided that the entertainment was over and made their way back to their patrol car.
As the children waved goodbye and Hey Jude! got a handshake in return of being a good boy, we watched in silence as the patrol car left the scene of the incident but not before a sneaky photo was captured.
It was in this moment of waving goodbye to everyone who had slowed down and the police had driven away that 2017 was going to be the ultimate year and when I woke up this morning, I hadn’t for one minute thought that my trip would include a suicidal skippy, the promising thought of death and sexy uniforms being involved and the welcoming arms of Melbourne.
Until next time,