My Saturday24 Jan 2011
A Tale Of Rollicking Adventure By Andrew R. C. White, BIT, Esq
It all began one marginally hung over Saturday morning - as these things often do - with me rolling roughly out of bed. This would normally be an unremarkable thing to do of a morning, save that my furnishings have yet to arrive in my new apartment. I thus awoke to find my face planted firmly in the floor.
Head aching and dehydrated, I realise with alarm that it’s nearly 8.30am and I’m due to be sea kayaking at 9. A hasty shower and brush of the teeth later and I’m on my way (large bottle of water firmly in hand).
I manage to arrive on time - not even breaking any speed limits - and spend the next hour and a half falling unceremoniously out of my watercraft. Interspersed with my amusing hops out of, and back into, the sea kayak, I manage to keep up a fairly cracking pace. This typically lasts until a boat (usually owned by someone fantastically richer and higher in station than myself) zooms past and upsets the otherwise comfortingly flat surface of Sydney Harbour.
(I’ll take a moment to aside here, in some small degree of self-defense; the vessel I occupied was a V10 racing surf kayak, a fairly unsteady beast. When allowed to pilot instead my mother’s V8 - a much wider-draughted affair - I remain firmly out of the water).
Still hung over, I eventually exit the water and we toddle off to consume morning victuals at a local cafe (where the coffee is, somewhat surprisingly, of reasonably good standard; gone seem to be the days when Sydney remained a relative backwater of quality beans).
We shop, we rest, we laugh. I purchase, with my first paycheque, some bodyboarding equipment with full-hearted intent to use it that very afternoon, then self-defeatingly have a nap when we return to our friend’s place.
We go snorkelling (with newly purchased equipment) at the South end of Manly beach (a small aquatic reserve known to the locals as Cabbage Tree Bay - I can only assume the name was bestowed upon the bay, which is hardly deserving of even that title, in pure whimsy). In the course of investigating a small flock of cuttlefish, I feel my snorkel detach from my mask. I reach up to try and grab it - too late! - only to see it sink into the stygian depths.
I surface, take a breath, and dive again, almost managing to reach the irritatingly non-floatational device. My fingers gently brush it - pressure pounding in my ears - when … alas and alack, the thin tube of plastic slips between two rocks, and is lost to sight.
The rest of the hour is spent with me “snorkelling” sans snorkel (an activity that is far more laborious than it may at first blush appear).
We pack up, and I head home.
There had been some sort of surf carnival on, and the traffic was thick. I manage to cross the sole bridge in and out of Manly (Spit Rd. Bridge) in fairly good time, keeping ahead of a large surge of traffic. I reach down to adjust my radio (finding old-timey rock not to my taste) when suddenly, the car surges and begins to smoke.
In a word: shit.
I’m ascending the hill on the other side of Spit Rd Bridge, a 3 lane highway with no safe shoulder upon which to pull off.
My car has completely given up the ghost. It’s not moving. I put on the brakes. Smoke continues to pour out. I rapidly disengage the engine as a kindly motorist runs forward to offer me her fire extinguisher. We pop the bonnet - mercifully, there is no fire.
The car, however, is not going anywhere, much as the traffic behind me would very much like it to.
Said traffic manages to hold up my tow-truck by a good half hour - my car planted inconveniently in the leftmost lane, unmoving. We eventually get it back to my apartment complex, only to discover that the tow-truck is too wide to fit down the thin road to the driveway. I pay the good gentlemen (of Egyptian extraction; a sturdy, friendly fellow with a penchant for highly aromatic cigarettes) the whopping sum of $230 for his time and roll my car down the driveway, assisted solely by Newton’s theory of gravitation.
Manoeuvring the car into my parking space proves a significant challenge. Some friendly neighbours assist me with locomotion and we manage to park the distressed automobile, only once chancing to lose the driver-side door (a fate narrowly averted by quick-thinkingly slamming said door shut).
Exhausted and defeated, I pull out a fascinating book on the nature of beaches and waves (Dr Rip’s Essential Beach Book, highly recommended), make it 10 pages in and promptly fall asleep, thumb still marking my place.