Wealth of sur­prises lurk in cars

Some ve­hi­cles are full of bling, but usu­ally it’s not that glam­orous

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at The Aus­tralian. Twit­ter: @mur­phymi­randa

I NEARLY spat out my hun­dredth cup of tea the other day read­ing that $3 mil­lion worth of jewellery had been stolen from the tour bus of a Cana­dian mu­sic star.

Blimey — $3 mil­lion worth of bling in their ve­hi­cle?

I’d strug­gle to scrape to­gether $3 in park­ing change from the dash­board thingy in mine.

My au­to­mo­bile con­tains no jewellery.

In­stead there’s a crum­pled iced cof­fee box, about 30 use­less pens and one big-ticket item: a large forked stick that my five-year-old in­tends to use for a sling­shot.

That’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween celebrity wheels and your classic fam­ily car.

Our house­hold drives one of those an­noy­ing sev­enseater 4WD tanks, nec­es­sar­ily huge enough to squeeze in all our kids, their gear, their friends, their friends’ gear and their gear’s gear.

It’s only the sec­ond newnew mo­tor my hus­band and I have owned, after a run of “quaint” or “quirky” old clunkers that ended with the on­set of our par­ent­ing era.

We were so high on its new-car smell that we naively tried to keep our lat­est ve­hi­cle pris­tine de­spite the three small chil­dren oc­cu­py­ing it.

Fast-for­ward five years and it’s like a job for CSI Sydney in­side there.

There’s a strange sym­bol scrawled in Biro on the ceil­ing that no one has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for, de­spite heavy in­ter­ro­ga­tion.

Uniden­ti­fied sub­stances are deeply em­bed­ded in the up­hol­stery.

There’s sun­screen, or pos­si­bly tooth­paste, sunken into door han­dles.

There’s tiny bits of fos­silised food­stuffs and mi­cro­scopic Lego in every cranny.

Shoe prints are in­deli­bly stamped on the backs of the head­rests, some­how, and a beach full of sand from var­i­ous lo­ca­tions is in­grained un­der­foot. Miss­ing jig­saw pieces, cru­cial bits of pa­per, a tonne of DNA-in­fused hair elas­tics — they all get sucked into the ve­hic­u­lar vor­tex.

I do re­quire the kids to put their rub­bish in the “door bins” but clean­ing them out can be as creepy as stick­ing your hand in a box of taran­tu­las. The far “back back” of the car, home to the ex­tra two seats, re­mains as un­charted ter­ri­tory.

I try not to go there but re­cently found a whole mum­mi­fied or­ange — it must have es­caped from the shop­ping and died a lonely death.

And we’re not a par­tic­u­larly sporty bunch, yet in our wagon there’s the un­mis­take­able thud of a ball rolling around, some­where at foot level, each time we take a cor­ner — that ball will never be found.

So I pity the fool who breaks in to our fam­ily ride look­ing for jewellery.

Still, as al­ways, it could be worse. Years ago a col­league took her car to a me­chanic, com­plain­ing about it los­ing power and conk­ing out, no mat­ter how hard she pressed on the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

“Leave it here, love” he said. “I’ll call you when it’s done.” Five min­utes later he rang cheer­fully to re­port it fixed. Re­turn­ing to pick up her trou­ble­some jalopy, my friend said: “That was quick! So what was the prob­lem?”

Clonk, the me­chanic plopped a tin of peaches onto the desk.

“This was un­der your ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal,” he replied.

“No charge.”

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