“Are you coming with me?” I asked Matthew after I hung up from Nick.
“Are you kidding? Of course I am, I’m not going to miss out on spending time with Super Woman and her side kick!”
I didn’t want to get into a trademark war so I let his mispronunciation of my ‘official’ title slip and moved on to more important things. “Ok, you’ve got five minutes!”
“You told Nick ten minutes!” He cried as he got up from his chair and took his dishes to the sink.
“Yes, but if I told you ten minutes you’d take twenty. Now go and put on your big boy pants and get moving! I’ll be outside.”
Of course I didn’t need to treat Matthew like a city woman who holds up everything because she can’t leave the house without her clown make up on and the pleats of her dress ironed properly, I did that for fun.
The first thing I did outside was kick the old girl in the guts, (warming the engine remember not physically kicking some old bird). The temperature had already pushed well into the twentys but warming up the old girl’s oil and giving her some lubrication before we took off kept her in good running order. She is female after all!!
I didn’t need to check my safety straps and recovery gear, I knew they’d all be there and in working order, but I checked anyway. Just like I checked the fuel levels, gave the tyres a kick and checked to make sure there was enough liquid refreshments in the fridge in the cabin. Even though my after trip checks are thorough it takes less time and embarrassment to check these things before I leave than it does when I get to where I’m going. Besides I needed something to do while I waited for the woman of the house!
I know I am a little rude towards Matthew, and I don’t apologise for it, he gives as good as he gets, but in all honesty he’s not that bad and when he exited the house ready to go I did notice that he’d even managed to beat the five minute deadline I’d given him.
“Are you ready?” I asked. Matthew knew to take things like hats, sunscreen and long sleeves when heading out into the desert so I didn’t need to ask him if he had the things he needed, asking if he was ready was enough.
“Of course I am,” his voice was slightly snooty, “Your name will be mud when I get together with the girls down the coffee shop and start telling them how you, in your passive aggressive jokey tone, rushed me into getting ready because of your silly little agenda, but I am ready!”
See, that is exactly why I need to be on my toes with the comments and the games. Without even prompting Matthew came out with his whiny housewife routine. It was one he’d perfected over the years after seeing the way our Aunty Joan, Mum’s sister, would constantly moan about everything her husband did, to her friends. As youngens we often wondered why she spent her time bitching and not telling Uncle Wally her issues, then when we were teenagers we realised it was because Wally wasn’t as bad as she was making out. The majority of what she was bitchy about was done for a select audience to get their sympathy and Wally wasn’t the grumpy, passive aggressive, yelling machine she made out. But Matthew did a very good impersonation of her.
“If you’re coming with me you wont get a chance to join the mother’s club and sip your lattes while bitching about everyone.” I said
“It’s not bitching when it’s the truth, child!”
“It’s not the truth when it’s bitching, old lady!”
We could have done that all day but there was no coffee shop mother’s club in Halls Creek for Matthew to join so his only real choices were to sit at home and do nothing or jump in the Beast with me. Hardly a difficult choice, time alone, or time with his wonderful sister.
“Need me to do anything?” Matthew asked after a few moments of silence.
“Actually yeah, there is something you can do.” I could have easily reverted back into our silly conversation but it was nearly time to leave and there is a time and a place for everything, so our mother used to say. “I’m not entirely sure what we are going to be dealing with out there. Reports of the truck size and load are a bit up in the air so I’m going to go and get a few spare straps from the shed. While I’m doing that can you go back into the house and get a slab of water bottles from the back room.”
“No worries,” Matthew said as he turned and started to head back to the house.
“Thanks. You’ll probably get half a dozen in the fridge, the rest can go into storage.”
When I got back from the shed with three extra heavy duty straps Matthew was in the cabin of the Beast stashing the slab of bottled water. The extra water was of course for Justin not because we desperately needed twenty four bottles of water. Oh do you know Justin? His full name is Justin Case and should not be confused with his cousin who was so small he was only ever Justin Side! boom boom!!
Ok I’ll stop with the bad taste jokes now.
I walked around the Beast to the driver’s door. I wasn’t a deliberate thought but I did find myself mentally checking things over one more time. An old carpenter mate of mine once told me he lived by the saying “measure twice, cut once”, I think you can understand what he meant by that and my mental checks, even after doing the previous physical checks and finding things ok, was just force of habit based around a similar theory.
I climbed into the cabin, Matthew did the same on the other side of the truck and once we were belted up we headed off to meet up with Nick.
Previous Desert Rescue story here.