Matthew and I hit the road just after 5am the following morning, we’d have been earlier but we had to wait for Matthew to put his make-up on and do his hair.
Okay that was a joke Matthew doesn’t waste time doing his hair!
I’m kidding of course.
There is a silly thing that has been around for years, maybe it’s local thing maybe it’s known around the world, if it is known around the world it most certainly varies in the way it’s spoken. For us we have what is known as Hairdressers cars. It’s used for all different forms of transport but in the bush we more often hear it attributed four wheel drives. As in “that’s the sort of four wheel drive a hairdresser would drive”. It’s meant as a bit of an insult but most of all it’s delivered in fun and usually delivered over a few beers between friends.
To us up in the middle of nowhere we see all sorts of hairdressers four wheel drives, the are the sort that only ever see dirt when they take the wrong turn, or the sort of vehicle that never get out of two wheel drive and the roughest surface they ever see is when the city dwelling drivers miss the driveway into their McMansion and hit the kerb.
Well that was the kind of four wheel drive Matthew had brought with him. Sure Toyota was a brand name associated with tough, dirt eating four wheel drives but the plastic fantastic Toyota Prado that Matthew had scored himself from the rental place was exactly what a hairdressers car looked like.
Don’t get me wrong it was a comfortable, the seats were so soft they nearly cuddled your bum but comfort isn’t all there is too a good vehicle. It also came with all the electrics you can think of, automatic everything, digital screens and displays and even seat warmers that made the bum cuddle even more luxurious. But quite often it’s all those electric things that fail and they fail when you least want them too like when you are in the middle of a water crossing, or half way up a soft sand dune.
It was all those wonderful things and more that gave me a chance to hang it on Matthew for the first part of our journey. I know it wasn’t his vehicle but he hired it therefore he was going to cop me reminding him he was a hairdresser. He also had to put up with me playing with all the knobs and dials I could reach, he could override a lot of what I did with controls on the steering wheel but that didn’t make it any less fun.
I managed to adjust the GPS and have it sending us the long way to Broome, as in via Darwin and the East Coast just too see how far it was but no matter how I tried I couldn’t talk Matthew into the 12,000 kilometre journey. I can only guess that he really did want to get back to Halls and start his new job with his wonderful boss.
Another think I learnt how to do was play with the entertainment system. Matthew had himself a USB stick full of music that he’d had plugged into the system for his trip from Broome. The best bit about finding someone elses music is sorting through it and finding things that are embarrassing for that person. We all have those guilty pleasures that we like to sing to when nobody is around, I’d tell you what mine are but this isn’t about me. Well it is about me, it’s my story, but that alone means that the embarrassing stories aren’t about me.
What I found in Matthew’s collection was stuff that would be better suited on a Love Songs and Dedications radio station, you know the sort that is still stuck on the AM band and transmits about a hundred yards to all of about three people. Maybe that isn’t overly embarrassing in itself but picture Matthew on the long haul from Broome, actually even further than that, sitting in his hairdressers car and singing a bunch of love songs to himself for a day or two. Now if that’s not embarrassing it’s definitely funny and worth laughing at him for.
Something else I found to do while he was driving was to turn his seat warmer on and wait too see how long it took him to notice. It was of course a stunt best done when he was looking out the side window but that didn’t happen often so I had to invent new ways to divert his attention. Things like telling him there was something worth seeing out his window, or asking him what was behind us worked but not many other things did. Either way it was a fun game and I actually couldn’t wait until we stopped somewhere that gave me the chance to turn it on without him seeing and leaving it on until he got back in the car.
I guess you could say I’m not a very good passenger at times but those little games and annoyances did keep me occupied for at least thirty five minutes before they became boring. That’s right we’d set out on what was going to be about sixteen hours of driving all up and I’d run out of silly party tricks less than an hour into the trip.
By the time the first hour had passed I knew that I was going to have to find something else to entertain me because I’d pushed every button, twiddled every knob and annoyed the driver more than a few times. I suppose if I achieved anything it was that I knew Matthew was going to eventually extend an invitation to me to attend the steering wheel for a while because if nothing else he had pay back to deliver.
Previous Outback Rescue story here.