Now if you’ll remember back a few episodes I happened to mention that Alex, you know the guy we were rescuing because he found a snake in his four wheel drive and he decided to park under a tree until we got there, had a bit of a unique sense of humour. It was the sense of humour bred from spending too many hours alone with only oneself as company. Some people don’t understand it but I think I did a wonderful job of explaining it so I’m sure you understand it and will be more accepting of someone like Alex next time you run into them.
Anyway when Alex said to us that there was a funny story related to his vehicle only having one spare tyre, despite even most the poverty pack utes in the mines having two spares, especially those that drove any distance, you can see why I chose to end the last episode where I did. That’s right I knew that the story was going to be so outrageously funny that you’d be wetting yourself with laughter.
Sorry, I know that is a bit unfair, I was only a moment ago suggesting other people should be more accepting of peoples sense of humour and I went and made a joke about Alex’s. I promise if I ever see him again I’ll apologise for such words…honest.
Ok let me get back to it.
“Actually there’s a funny story to that!” Alex said.
It was Alex’s response to my question about why his company had sent him out into the middle of almost nowhere with only one spare tyre when it was nearly a company wide policy that such a thing didn’t happen.
I wanted to say something along the lines of it’s never funny to send a person out into the Australian outback unprepared for everything they possibly can be but I decided to remain quite and let the conversation flow naturally.
“I don’t know how much you know about the company,” Alex paused at the end of his sentence to give us a chance to tell him what we knew.
“They probably aren’t that much different to the mob I worked for,” Matthew said, “as long as the money keeps coming in the workers don’t mean much to the system.”
“Yeah that about sums it up.” Alex replied and given that he and Matthew had already spoken about their respective jobs I figured that was enough to stop Alex giving us the company history.
“But even our mechanics made sure the vehicles were in a fit state for use.” Matthew said.
“Yeah most of our guys are pretty good too, but even they have to answer to someone. Thing is that despite this trip of mine being planned months ago the day before I left the vehicle I was suppose to be driving was totalled when it was run over by one of the dumpers.”
I’m not sure if you’ve seen videos of the big tip trucks they drive in the mines these days, but they are huge, even the little ones are huge. I don’t know if we have the biggest in the world, I suspect not, but they are still huge. With big trucks comes big tyres, tyres that dwarf a normal road going vehicle, and when those tyres come in contact with a road going vehicle, even a larger four wheel drive, the smaller vehicle posses little threat. It happens more often that some mining companies want to admit but in such a large truck it’s easy not to see a small four wheel drive and simply drive right over it. That’s what happened to Alex’s vehicle before he left.
“Lucky you weren’t in the thing at the time,” Matthew said. “those trucks make a hell of a mess when they run over something.”
“You’re right on both accounts, although I wasn’t driving, I was back at the office.”
“Lucky.” Matthew repeated.
Meanwhile I was happily and quietly driving along making sure Alex’s vehicle wasn’t jumping around too much on the back of the Beast and wondering when we were going to get to the funny story.
“So of course they had to rush around like blue arsed flies to get me another vehicle.” Alex said using an Aussie slang term for someone who is run off their feet as referenced by the blue arsed fly, or blow fly that buzzes around frantically bouncing off walls and windows etc.
“So you ended up with one that doesn’t usually go off site?” Matthew asked, I think he was looking for the funny part of the story too.
“Not only that they couldn’t find me anything that wasn’t one of the povo pack utes and company policy states that they couldn’t send me in one of those because there is a minimum requirement of luxury for long distance.” Alex took a breath, we were still waiting. “So in the end this thing was all they could find me. It’s an exec vehicle. Straight out of the managers car pool. It’s got everything on it, it’s as comfy as anything and I think I’ve put as many scratches on it as I have kilometres!”
Alex laughed loudly at the story, or maybe at the last bit which was obviously an exaggeration, I wasn’t sure but I was hoping that we hadn’t reached the punch line because I wasn’t laughing. When he realised we weren’t laughing he continued with the next part of his story.
“Here’s the bit you might find funny.” Alex said. “Before I left the workshop the mechanic gave me a card, said he sticks them in all the vehicles that are headed in this direction.”
He then pulled the card out of his pocket and in his left hand held it forward between the seats. I don’t think either Matthew or I needed to look at the card with too much concentration to know that it was my business card.
Previous Outback Rescue story here.