The Old Garage

There was a really great prank way back where the newspapers all agreed to report that America might have been vacated for several months, due to all the goldmines drying up. This was way back before the internet, and when hardly anyone could afford to make international calls, so you couldn’t just verify it instantly.

It was a wonderful joke and it caused quite a stir amongst people fearing that all the Americans were heading to Australia, in need of a new home. But ultimately, it was not true. Life was just a lot simpler, back then. You went to see Mr Gendo if you needed a car mechanic. Ringwood locals knew he was their guy. There was only Mr Gendo in the area, because it was a poor area and hardly anyone owned their own cars. No roadworthy certificates back then, either. You just got on with your driving and tried to ignore the rattling noises if you didn’t have enough money for the mechanic. Things were built to last then, however.

Mr Gendo gained quite a name for himself, being a mysterious foreigner in a time when you never saw that sort of person running a mechanic’s garage. He was really nice, but very firm. You don’t bother him about how long the repairs were going to take. “It gets done when it gets done,” he would say, sticking the cigar back in his mouth and going back to his work. I was just a kid and I never bothered him, so he’d let me watch the mechanical repairs, and I learned how car servicing worked, and how to repair a brake pad, and multiple swear words in other languages.

No more Mr Gendo. He went back to his family in Japan once he was too old to continue, and multiple auto service centres near Ringwood have sprung up since then. It’s nice to have choice, I suppose. But I can’t help thinking of how things used to be.

-Rolf

Time for a ROAD TRIP

Finally, I’ve saved up enough for my holiday. Always wanted to go on a road trip, so I’ve been working towards it for a while. Turns out there are a few more things to think about than just having a car and a couple of friends. Petrol is expensive, planning is a huge hassle, and even if you want to take the free-spirited approach and just take things as they come, there are still things you have to do to make sure you don’t end up stranded in the middle of the outback. I know going on a holiday in the outdoors means that you have to sleep rough sometimes, but…not THAT rough.

I’ll ask my car servicing guy. Never gotten one of those before, which is, uh…that’s bad. I don’t even know if there are South Yarra car servicing places near me, so I guess I’ll have to find out. Before my road trip ambitions, all my car journeys were short and basic. Just to work and back, to food shopping and back, to football practice and back, and that last one is a fifteen minute walk away so that’s pretty shameful overall. But now, I want to take my car on a long drive across country, so it needs a really good servicing. Maybe repairs, because I haven’t really kept it in good condition. Maybe a whole new car? New car, we’ll see. It’s only a one-litre thing with three doors, and I’m thinking that’s not the best combination for driving around Australia. It even protests quite a bit just with me taking it on the freeway, especially if I have a passenger or two.

Is this a bad idea? I’m starting to think it might be, but I need a professional opinion. I’ll have a drive and a think, maybe see if there are garages nearby that can do my car servicing. Glen Iris is close to where I work, and I’ve heard good things about mechanics in the area. If they warn against my driving holiday…I guess there’s always a bus trip. That’s like a road trip except someone else does the driving.

-August