One of the things I had forgotten about my beloved home town is how abysmal the public transport situation is. Even on weekdays during peak hour, the buses are just a little too infrequent to be really classified as useful. And if you’re living out in Palmerston, you’re pretty much grounded unless you’re content to wait for forty or more minutes in order to get anywhere, especially on the weekends.

Yeah. Basically anyone in Darwin who can own a car does. And after a week of getting up at a quarter past six in order to get to work by half past eight, I decided they’ve all got the right idea, and set off to find me a car loan.

Now the thing about personal loan information brochures is that they’re always all about the benefits and the freedom you can buy (?) with your new money. I found them all really annoying, because I was already sold on getting a loan. I just wanted the necessary information on interest rates and repayment schedules. Apparently those data aren’t the sort of thing you want to include in an “information” brochure (notice my experiment with using /data/ “correctly” as the plural of datum. That’s classical styles, baby. I’m still not sure if it works in the new millennium, though. Thoughts?).

Eventually I stuck my head out and asked for an appointment with a bank … consultant? Assistant? What do we call these people? My bank … lady’s card just says “customer service specialist”. I think that’s a bit pretentious, but then, I use data as a plural, so I’m in no position to judge.

At this point the flood gates opened and I got so many facts and figures that I was drowning in them. It took me a week to get over it and figure out exactly which among my plethora of options I wanted to go with. I made up my mind and got myself a pre-approved loan just in time for the weekend. Tony Barber appeared from behind a nearby bougainvillea bush and exclaimed

“Let’s go shopping!”

And then disappeared again. Weird.

I spent the following Saturday shopping around the various new car dealerships in Darwin. The trick was that they were spread a fair way apart, and the bus system, as I mentioned, is not really an efficient way to get around. I started my mission at half past eight in the morning and had collected all the information I needed to make my decision by half past four that afternoon. I signed on for my brand new car, and got ready to take the forms to the bank on Monday.

At this point I hit my first snag. In order to fund the loan for the car, the bank needed to know the insurance details. In order to insure the car, the insurance company needed to know the registration details. And in order to register the car, the car company needed to receive confirmation that the loan was funded. It was a cyclic impasse the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the great frequent flyers calamity of ’07.

I let the customer service specialists battle it out between them, and eventually we got the loan funded, but not before I discovered the insurance company had created a policy under the wrong name, and the car dealership needed three extra days to treat the paint and tint the windows. Finally, after a three week ordeal, here are the specs for my brand new spacesh… I mean… car.

Model: Ford Focus CL Sedan
Doors: 4
Transmission: 5 speed manual (better than automatics for dropping down a gear and overtaking a road train)
Allegiance: Autobot
Power: 107kW
Torque: 185Nm
What those numbers mean: No freaking idea. A kW is a kiloWatt, and an Nm is a Newton metre, but I’d need to find my high school physics books to figure what that means. And that’s not going to happen.
Colour: TARDIS Blue
Average fuel consumption: 7.1L/100km
CO2 emissions: 169 g/km
Dimensions on the outside: About average for a small sedan, I guess
Dimensions on the inside: 15 decks, with accommodation for 560 crew, mess, cargo bay and holodeck.
Top speed: Well, the NT now has a blanket speed limit of 130 km/h (so stupid…), so obviously I won’t be going any faster than that. However according to the specs it can get as fast as warp 9.75
Armoury: articulated transphasic photon torpedoes, frequency modulated phaser blasters and a picture of a bear holding a shark.

Woah… sorry, I got confused between my new car and the USS Voyager there at the end.


Far from home



Garry with 2 Rs

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