Monday, 17 May 2021

The Hitchhiker


Pic Courtesy The Sun. Not my hitchhiker.

Every now and again, something entirely unexpected and blessed happens.

This morning, as is my habit, I drove to my local Coffee shop for a takeaway. As I was getting back in the car, coffee in hand, I was addressed by an elderly woman who was looking quite agitated.

She asked me whether I was turning right or left when I left the car park.  It was left, which turned out to be the wrong option for her. She had missed her bus and was hoping I could get ahead of it on the route, which would have involved a right turn.

I asked her where she was going. She was on the way for an important appointment with her optometrist in the CBD. As I had nothing pressing to do, I offered to give her a lift, wondering whether she'd, first of all, be able to get into my car, and then get out of it at the destination. 

MX5s are AIF* vehicles, after all.

I must look pretty harmless as, after a small protest, she accepted my invitation, although I had to convince her that I actually enjoyed driving the car. It was only a few clics out of my way. 

And I had the top down, and it was pretty cool (-1, the coldest day so far this year).

 I put her walking frame in the boot. Fortunately, it folded, although it took me a minute or two to figure out how it worked. The MX5 has a very small boot. 

We set off for the CBD, and then followed an amazing conversation. This woman was 93, apparently in good health apart from cataracts (the reason for her appointment), and had lived a remarkable life.

She was the mother of three, had two postgraduate qualifications, had started her own successful business in partnership with her lawyer husband, and was a pioneer in the development of a very active Toowoomba charity.

Her husband died about ten years ago, and she had only retired from active work at age 92. That retirement was forced on her because her failing eyesight meant she had to hand her driver's licence in. The paucity of public transport in Toowoomba was an ongoing problem for her, and a barrier to an independent life, and it was quickly apparent to me that her independence was very important.

She had published two books and told me she was in the process of writing another.

We arrived at the optometrist, and after I had retrieved the frame from the boot and reassembled it on her instructions, she got herself out of the car without needing my help.

I told her I had also written a book which was on sale at Dymocks and she promised to buy it. I'm not sure that a memoir about national service would be all that interesting to a nonagenarian, but there you go.

I sincerely hope I'm as spry if I get to 93.

*Arse In First.

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