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WT’s Big car accident.

I’ve unexpectedly had to come down to the Coast for a couple of days, but being a good little NaNoMoFo, I can’t miss a post. Here’s one I prepared earlier. This also means I won’t be commenting until I get back to a broadband connection.

Another in my series of "Close Shaves" stories

Has anyone ever owned an old VW beetle? This may apply to the newer ones too, but having never owned one newer than a 1968 model I wouldn’t know. Anyway this is a story about VW heating systems, a young dude’s refusal to wear shoes in winter, and paying attention while driving.

It was about six months after I had been kicked out of home, and things had been patched up with mum and dad, but I was still living on my own, and was not ready to come home. It was mum and dad’s birthday (yes, you read that right, same day) and I was at their place for a BBQ. Dad brought out a flagon of teacher (for those unfamiliar with the term, a flagon is half gallon bottle of wine and a teacher is a cheap wine that makes you very sick then next day – ‘"that’ll teach yer not to drink that crap again‘). We polished it off drank the entire flagon over the course of the arvo, as well as and some whiskey that dad had.

Since I was pissed as a newt, mum suggested I stay the night. The next morning I left for work, I should mention that mum and dad’s birthday, when they used to have them (which is pretty rare now on account of them being dead and all) was on the 1st of July, that’s the middle of winter here, and it was brass monkey weather. Here’s where the VW’s heater comes in; they had a little air vent just above the floor on each side of the car which delivered hot air from the engine, temperature control was by a lever that let you open or close the vent a little. This meant that while you drove (if you were wearing thongs, or flip flops for the yanks, as I was), one foot got third degree burns and the other got frostbite. So what I used to do was cross my feet periodically to even things out a bit.

And so it was, that as I was hurtling along in the fast lane of the Hume Highway heading east between Bass Hill and Yagoona at 5:30am one winter’s morning with my feet crossed, that I saw one of the newly released Norton Commandos going the other way. While I was soaking in all of its beauty, I failed to notice the cars in front slow down and then stop because a truck was turning off the highway. It may or, may not have been too late to stop by the item I brought my attention back to driving, but it was moot, because when I tried to hit the brakes I found that foot that was supposed to be for braking, was on the floor next to the heater and as a result, it got tangled up with my clutch foot, which was on the accelerator (you’d only do this if you were young and stupid). So without even slowing down from 40 miles an hour, I ran straight into the back of a ute, which in turn was pushed into the back of the truck that was turning off the road.

You’d think that this would be frowned upon by the police, but when he saw that there were no skid marks at all, he determined that the brakes must have failed, and who am I to argue with a cop. As a result, I didn’t even get fined let alone lose my license! (despite being on my ‘P plates’ at the time). Oh, and I wasn’t injured at all!

Unfortunately I had to pay for the damage I caused to the vehicles in front of me, and that put me in a hole for a while, plus my own car was totalled.

Stay tuned for more close shaves…

Yo,MoFo post #17


27 Responses

  1. I heart McDreamy

  2. Arvo? I’ve had to use the “wrong foot” on the accelerator while I slathered lotion on the other or put on shoes. I also switch feet for heat as well. Hmmm. Maybe that’s not such a good idea.

  3. My daddy’s birthday is also July 1. 1947. He’s not dead though.

  4. Ah…to be young and not too bright. Been there too. Had way too much to drink on a birthday and as usual there was a party down at the “corner”. We lived out of town so out in the country. After the party was done, I jumped into my Camero and floored it down the road. I totally forgot the frost heave. After breaking and hitting the frost heave…when I looked at the speedometer, it said 95 mph…in the air. I drove home real slow after that. Somehow I managed to land and control the car. Boy do you ever sober up real fast when you need to….

  5. For Pete’s sake, er, Peter … how many of your nine lives do you actually have left???
    That said, I used to own a ’68 Beetle (not very fondly known as “The Blue Peril”)(and I must just point out that I myself am a ’72 model so I found it particularly antiquated) … and I sympathise with the heating problems. I can understand why you got your knickers in a twist. Ok, your legs in a twist. Anyway.

    I actually miss that old croc. Sigh.

  6. Been there. We do have some things in common. 🙂 Oh the stories I could tell….it seems I am reminded of them alot when I read your blog!

  7. ’70 bug yellow. great car. especially downhill.

  8. Embee had a Beetle (he’s not here to ask the year but it was pre 73) also my mother and step-father had beetles, they favoured green which is my least fav car colour so I was not that fond of their VW’s and of course I always choose a car by the colour!!

  9. Lucky you didn’t get hurt. This must have been a long time ago if you were travelling in miles per hour.

  10. Hey, I love Bugs.
    I have a 1974 Super Beetle convertible but I wear socks and shoes when it’s cold.

  11. running full bore into someone in a VW beetle and not getting killed seems like quite an accomplishment!

    my high school boyfriend had a VW beetle. funny, i only remember it parked…..

  12. I reckon your lucky that you’re still among us.

    I know of several wines that should be named “Teacher”, Boones Farm, Strawberry Hill comes to mind right off.

  13. I think both my mom and dad had VW bugs that were 1968 or thereabouts models. I know they both owned several VW bugs when I was a kid and my dad really loved his. In fact, every time I see a light blue VW bug, I think of my dad.

    I do remember several cars that had that heater problem, but I don’t remember which ones. (We always had old cars when I was growing up.) My brother learned to never sit on the back bumper of a VW bug just after it had been running. He got a huge burn on the back of his knee from the tailpipe and it hurt for a couple of weeks whenever he stepped or sat down or bent his knee at all.

  14. OMG hi marnie!

    Peter, I can’t believe you’re still alive.

  15. It’s amazing you weren’t injured! Lucky you for not getting a ticket or losing your license;).

    The one time I used the wrong foot for the brake? I gave everyone whiplash. Man, my left foot just doesn’t have the same touch as my right one.

  16. My favorite part about driving the VW in winter? – having to scrape the windshield while I drove – you know, because the defrost really sucked. So – it would be FREEZING outside, and I’d have the window open with one hand out, scraping. Good times, I tell you – good times.

  17. Gosh you were lucky, very funny that policeman thought the brakes had failed.

  18. Great post – brings back memories. I never owned nor dated a VW Bug but I did have a lot of ‘teachers’ and Bren is right, Strawberry Hill should be right up toward the top of that list!

  19. Wish I could get a ‘close shave’ on my legs…chin, too.

  20. Owned the same yellow 70 VW referred to by both mom and karmyn. 🙂 I wrecked it a bunch. Glad you are okay!!

  21. The thought of an old VW Beetle being totaled is almost too much to bear. Was it a ’68 and yellow? I always wanted one of those. My mom’s best friend had one, and I loved it.

    How many lives are we up to now for you?

    I nearly fell of my chair when I read that your parents’ birthday was July 1st, the same as mine. Hard to imagine it being a winter birthday instead of a middle-of-summer birthday–too wierd.

    I had pictured you living in the states at that age. When did your family move to Australia? I was thinking that only YOU and your DW moved there.

    Have a safe trip back home!

  22. I am glad that you survived the accident unscathed. A few of my friends had beetles in the 60’s. I can remember an adventure or two.

  23. I hate close shaves. Glad you lived to tell about it!

  24. I remember as a kid sitting in the back of a VW in bumper to bumper (back then they tended NOT to leave a 3 second gap, they literally sat on your bumper) traffic being scared shitless as about a week previously one had coincidently blown up after someone ran up its backside.

    Scary thought. But for some reason after that I did not find the sweet little VW so cute any more!

  25. I’m not trying that with my car.

  26. damn! I actually get to comment… lol.. not that I have a lot to say! But, I’m wearing my Australian beenie! It’s snowing and I’m loving it! Movies and popcorn night! I’m going to watch Flicka.

    My puppies are not happy though!

    I loved all of your pictures I saw the last time I popped over to your blog. So far I’ve only been able to comment on 5 blogs.

    We had VW buses… but one time we got pulled over in a VW bug… and the cop yelled at us to get out.. We did! All 13 of us!


  27. I’m not trying THAT, no sirree. Near death experiences? I’ll let ’em happen to YOU and then read your recollections.

    Funny, I didn’t know half of what you were saying but I still understood every word. Hmmmm….

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