It’s that time of year again. This is, it’s time to start planning the annual 21-hour drive to visit my family for Christmas. It seems it’s my lot in life to take on this gruelling task year after year, without fail.
Why should it always be me who has to do it? To be fair, all four of my siblings live up in Queensland near my parents, and it was technically my decision to set up shop in Victoria. Still, I’ve done this seven years running now, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to come down here just this once.
One year in eight: that’s all I’m asking. But they won’t do it, and then I won’t see them, and then I’ll feel bad for not going up. It’s a catch 22. I just wish they’d chip in somehow – like, maybe they could split the cost of the fuel with me. Or they could pay for the suspension repair I’m going to have to pay for in a couple of weeks, ahead of the long drive.
You know, given that I have to give up two days of work for each leg of the journey, as well as for the duration of my stay, I think it’s only fair that my family pays a significant portion of my car’s running costs. This is just occurring to me now, as I’m writing it. Maybe this is my ticket to finally getting the air con fixed. I know there’s got to be at least one auto electrician in Underwood, where my parents live… maybe I can feign that the unit conked out on my way up. The truth is that it’s been out of order for months, but it’d be a white lie.
I mean, car air con repairs aren’t exactly the cheapest thing in the world, which is why I’ve been putting it off. And given that I’m going to be driving to Queensland in December with no air conditioning, I think it’s the least my family could do.
I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’m friends with a sentient car. It didn’t happen by choice. Certainly not. I was just at the cafe, enjoying a cup of coffee while working on my stupid bestselling sci-fi series. I can’t believe a couple of books that I wrote with such little effort took off, and now there’s all this pressure on me for a conclusion to the trilogy. I can write the book easy enough, but that doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy it.
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. So there I was, working on my third novel, when I heard somebody behind me mention that they are looking for an auto electrician close to Milperra. I had actually just gone to see a really good auto electrician, so I turned around to provide assistance. When the words were already halfway out of my mouth, I realised that this person wasn’t a person at all. It was a sentient car, sitting in the booth beside mine. Naturally, I was appalled by this. I had no idea they served sentient cars in that cafe!
But I was already halfway through giving some advice, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, so I told him that I knew a mechanic who might be able to help. And then this sentient car had the audacity to move around to my booth, sitting across from me! At first, I was completely lost for words. I tried to tell him where he could get an auto electric service, but instead, I simply said that there was a good mechanic near me. Of course, that was of no use to the sentient car, as there was no detail in my words. Nothing that he could look into, based on that.
Finally, I managed to explain what I really meant by it. We started talking, and slowly I began to realise that maybe this particular sentient car wasn’t so bad. He’s almost like a person, like me!
It was a pleasure to meet Samuel C. We’re getting lunch and going bowling later this week.