When cabin fever strikes, Calvin Fisher goes off the beaten track. Way off.
Sometimes you’ve just got to take that low slung 1980s coupe and stick it in some dirt. It’s not a mantra you’ve heard before because well, two reasons. I’ve just made it up. And it’s not the best idea. But there I was, cooped up in my house while a team of plumbers, builders and contractors were having a debate threatening to turn violent over who was to blame for the hot water pipes that had in a moment of insanity decided to divert their efforts through the walls themselves. Gushing. Down the stairs. Flooding our ground floor and ruining my evening two nights prior. After frantically clearing and drying and mopping and switching off water systems and geysers and such I was left with three gaping holes where previously there was none. Two days later, most of the wall was absent, a newly crafted echo chamber for the rantings of three middle aged men. For two full days I sat with my humble laptop in dutiful harmony with coffee and WiFi in my makeshift office while ten pairs of feet marched in and did things. I was trapped. They’d disappear for a few minutes at a time, not long enough for me to leave the premises just fleetingly, enough time for me to count the bricks in what was left of my wall. Madness was setting in.
It happened at 2.45pm on the second day. “We’ll be back at 4pm to plaster” a stubby foreman said in my general direction. I was too stunned to reply, instead watching in disbelief as an army of gumboots marched out of my life for the next hour and a bit. I sat for a minute. Then I bolted. I burst into the garage via the kitchen, switched on the lights and there she was, my 1983 Toyota Celica Supra shod with semi-slick rubber and less ground clearance than you’d want for my next activity. I dribbled myself into the front seat (tis a tightish fit, this new garage) and proceeded to swing her ignition into rumbly, rorty life. Headlights up-and-on because one should always roll with one’s popup lamps erect, I began to back it up out of its cave and onto the tarmac of our street. Rumbling along, its smooth rubber kissing fresh asphalt for the first time in weeks, but not for long because it was the gravel, compact sand and loose dirt of the construction area and farms around my home I wanted to play in. The opportunity for catastrophic failure was certainly there, but I was quite mad by now remember? So I chucked her in, and had the most thrilling, dirty and unwise 10 minutes of my life (well, that day anyway – it’s all relative), bumpy as all hell, and proceeded to tear up the terra firma. It should come as quite some surprise to note that while the Toyota Celica especially in GT4 trim was an epic rally car in its time, its DNA wholly absent in mine, but oh man – what a blast! It turns in… eventually. Mostly too much, sometimes not enough, fun! And because I’ve stripped mod-cons such as carpets, sound and noise inhibitors of any nature, it was shatteringly loud by virtue of just about anything and everything making contact with the undercarriage, and EVERYTHING was. I eventually exited the play area and proceeded to a garage some 6km away for two reasons, excellent cappuccino and an excellenter ‘wash-n-go’ car wash. At 3.55pm I rolled back home with a fresh cup of java and a smile that wouldn’t go away for days. The fever had subsided and much like my wall earlier, I was gushing.