Saturday, 16 April 2016

2 Girls Amazed by Car Windows - Forty Years Apart

Before I started primary school, I used to spend Mondays with my Mum at the tennis courts where she and bunch of other ladies played a series of doubles matches in short white skirts.

Although at times it was boring (I was often the only child there) I generally loved hanging out with these women, watching them play and listening to their grown-up chit-chat in the shed at lunch time.

There was usually something sweet to eat during the last session. I can't quite remember what, but I do think of cream when I try to recall.

The highlight of the day, however, every week, was saying goodbye to a lady named Pearl. Some forty years later, I have absolutely no idea who Pearl was or how she fit into my Mum's life besides tennis, but I certainly remember her. More to the point, I remember her car.

Pearl was always the first to leave. As she said her good-byes, I would look up at my Mum, fingers crossed behind my back. Mum would nod and with a skip, I would follow Pearl up to her shiny blue car with the sleek '70s bonnet.

Pearl would start the engine, leaving the driver's door open, her hair and makeup perfect despite several hours at the tennis courts. I would stand on the dirt next to her car, shuffling from one foot to the other and push the silver button on the inside of the door.

I'd watch in awe as the glass slid smoothly down into the door. Pearl wasn't winding a handle and neither was I. This window was magic.

Of course, over the coming years, I came to understand that her car wasn't magic. It was the future. And now, in that future, it's just plain normal. So normal in fact, that until last week, my seven-year old daughter had never been in a car without automatic windows, well not that she remembered, anyway.

Husband's car broke down (while it was at the mechanics, ironically, but that's another story) and he was given a replacement vehicle while his was being fixed so he could pick the kids up from school. I'm not sure what it was (I'm really not into cars) but it was old.

Miss 7 came bounding up to the door. "Mum, mum, come and see!"

I came flying out the door, no idea what I was about to see. I guess I secretly hoped it was that truck from the Lotto ads, you know the one, full of money? Unfortunately, I saw this incredibly ordinary four-door sedan, something pre-2000 I imagine. No cash in sight.

Miss 7 went straight to the car, yelling something I couldn't quite catch, something about buttons and handles. She opened the door of the car and, with impressive audience eye-contact, gave a full demonstration of this amazing vehicle.

She showed me how the windows were operated by a manual handle and how the car was not locked by a button with a beep, but rather by a knob.

It was awesome. It took me straight back to 1976, back to the carpark of the tennis courts, back to Pearl's puffy silver hair and her magic machine that was the highlight of my week for many months.

Now, I wonder, what on earth will kids be impressed by in 2050?

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