“Are you SURE you can drive stick?” I asked my Dutch friend, Shannon for the fifth time as we climbed across the steep, dusty mountain track back to our little pink “Barbie Car” which was parked perilously on top of a mountain on the tropical paradise that is Magnetic Island, “OF COURSE, don’t you trust me?” Shannon replied with a cheeky smile on her face; how could I say to my friend that the thought of getting into a car with her driving filled me with a certain dread that I normally only feel when I consider swimming with sharks or plummeting to my early death on a bungy – That feeling that you’re sure you’ll be fine, but you know, it’s a pretty risky choice. But like most stupid things in my life I did it anyway.
I shook off the dread and replaced it with a tight smile on my face as I climbed into the tiny pink car, telling Shannon that of course I trusted her and that it didn’t matter if she hadn’t driven stick since passing her test years previously. Within a few seconds I knew that my decision to fly down the steep mountain road with her just to go Paddleboarding was a bad, bad choice.
The tiny, tiny plastic car spluttered to a shaky start as we pulled out of the carpark and turned to the windy mountain path with its steep jagged edges pulling down towards rainforest and dropping to the bright blue sea.
Just as we got on the road Shannon looked at me as if to say “Hah! I told you I could drive stick”, just as she did the adult sized Barbie Car stalled and started rolling towards the cliff edge, Shannon thinking she had control was quite happy as I screamed at her “Is the car on? IS THE CAR ON?!” in her dutch annoyance she ignored me for a second until she cast her eye upon the dashboard and screamed “NOOO” the car was picking up pace with every microsecond, it rolled faster and faster towards the jagged rocks of the mountain edge.
Without thinking and definitely not wanting to drop to my death on Australia’s East Coast I leapt from the roofless car seriously lacking the grace of a gazelle and the style of Jane Bond, in fact I’d be quite comfortable saying that I fell from the car like a sack of Potatoes tumbling slowly from a van. Shannon was now on her own screaming in the car, the edge was flying ever closer as she somehow managed to stop the car just a few inches from the mountain drop. I ran up to her, shocked to see her Dutch face smiling at the chaos that had just happened, so happy to be alive instead of being fish food.
Just so you all know, I still trust my lovely Dutch pal Shannon. I would get into a tiny pink barbie car with her on a tropical island any day. Maybe not up a mountain this time though.