A man­ual can be quite a handy thing...

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents -

It’s twi­light and we’re do­ing a fi­nal drive be­fore the Croc­o­dile Bridge rest camp’s gate is locked for the night.We’re watching a herd of ele­phants and right be­fore we leave a white Toy­ota Prado comes fly­ing past. Its lights are flash­ing and the hooter is honk­ing. A young guy is hang­ing out of the win­dow and loudly shouts “Oom! Oom!” while wav­ing his arms. “Sorry for yelling like this Oom, but I have a flat tyre.” Be­fore I can an­swer, an ex­cited fe­male voice pipes up from within his car: “It’s a cool car this. You can ac­tu­ally see on the dash which tyre is flat!”. I re­ply with a greet­ing, af­ter which the guy ex­plains his dilemma to me. The Prado ap­par­ently in­formed them of the flat tyre while they were tak­ing pic­tures of a herd of ele­phants. He wanted to drive a short dis­tance from the ele­phants and change the tyre him­self, but his wife would have none of it. “We’re on our hon­ey­moon trip through the Kruger and my wife doesn’t want me to...” “...get out of the car – I am not be­com­ing a wi­dow on my hon­ey­moon!” ex­claims the fe­male voice. The young man asks me to please ask the park’s of­fi­cials to come and help him. “Why don’t you change the tyre here?” I want to know. I’ll be on the look­out for any ele­phants, I say. “Baby, you know I don’t like this. Don’t come and com­plain to me if you’re tram­pled to death to­day!” the fe­male voice booms. “I’ll be care­ful my an­gel,” he an­swers with a voice filled with ten­der­ness, but a de­ter­mined look on his face. And so starts the tyre change with a jack and the other equip­ment that’s hauled out first. “Where the hell do you start?” the guy wants to know. “Oom must please ex­cuse me, I haven’t even been driv­ing the Prado for a month.” To­gether we de­cide that the spare wheel cover must come off first. But how? We reach an­other con­sen­sus on the car’s owner’s man­ual be­ing a good place to start and with a “Baby, get me the owner’s man­ual in the cubby hole” the search com­mences. The wife rum­mages around and finds the book with a cry of sur­prise: “Wow, this is a hel­luva thick book. I’ll have to study it!”. “No man, just use the in­dex at the back of the book,” he sug­gests. “Look for some­thing on ‘wheel’ or ‘spare tyre’.” “These Japs can’t even spell ‘tyre’,” says the wife af­ter she found it. “They write it with an ‘i’ in­stead of a ‘y’. How stupid do you get?” “What do they say about ‘spare tire’?” her hus­band asks im­pa­tiently. She reads the steps and the tyre change con­tin­ues. But she con­tin­ues read­ing and says: “You have to un­lock the wheel­nut with your key be­fore you can loosen it. And be care­ful, there is also a re­verse cam­era in the spare tyre cover”. Poor guy – his “hon­ey­moon” was start­ing to turn into a dark moon.There’s a mo­ment of si­lence and sud­denly she cries anx­iously: “Baby, these ele­phants look danger­ous.Three of them are star­ing at us. O hell, here they come! Baby, move your butt, we have to go now!”. “No ma’am, they’re just graz­ing,” I try to re­as­sure her.The groom’s eyes are tired and his shoul­ders are start­ing to sag. He’s work­ing fast, but his scrawny legs can’t carry the weight as he’s try­ing to re­move the spare tyre from its bracket. He ends up, wheel and all, on his be­hind in the dust. All you hear is a thud, a hic­cup, a cough... and two farts. “Where are the days when my grand­fa­ther could fix his truck with damn pli­ers and damn wire. Now it’s just gad­gets and gim­micks,” he says with dis­gust. Shortly af­ter, how­ever, the new tyre is on.The groom – with dirty pants, hands and face – gets into the car with his wife and drives back to camp.Through his back win­dow I could see his wife stroke his hair af­fec­tion­ately and give him a kiss on his cheek, but I couldn’t see any re­ac­tion from him. The happy cou­ple did come show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion with a slightly em­bar­rassed, su­per-quick “thank you”, af­ter which the highly an­noyed young man de­clared that he was go­ing to buy an old tjor like his grand­fa­ther’s, be­cause this fancy car of his, with all its gad­gets and gim­micks, al­most shat­tered his pelvis. That night I also changed my mind about tech­nol­ogy. Be­cause I re­alised that while tech­nol­ogy can do a lot for you, it can also do a lot to you – es­pe­cially if you have to fix it your­self and you don’t re­ally have a clue how to do it. That’s when pelvises are in­jured, faces get dirty, re­la­tion­ships fal­ter, and your self-con­fi­dence takes a knock.

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