This driving to work thing is becoming more normal to me. I don't like this, but appreciate it in the same.
For the first time in my Melbourne working career, I'm not working in the city centre, but out in a suburb some eight kilmetres away from home.
There other ways of getting to work. Once I get my nerve back there is the bicycle. I did a test run a few weeks back and ended up connecting with a wall. The bruises and grazes have almost healed. I'll try again on the weekend and see how I go so I can get the timings right.
Another option is the trains. It's either a 25 minute walk to one station, four stops up a train line, against the commuter trains, then a ten minute walk at the end. Or I can chance the tram at the end of the road, go to the same train station and go from there. Except if the tram is delayed it can be a 25 minute wait for the connecting train... all a bit complicated.
So I've been taking the car three or four times a week.
First thing, I have to be out of the house by 7.30 am. I get in the car, plug in the iPod and let Rodgriguez, Laura Marling, David Bowie or whoever else is on shuffle sing me to work.
The time frame is strategic, as the traffic after 7.45 am is appalling. As the route I take to avoid trams connects with five private schools, you get caught up in a seemingly endless stream of four wheel drives dropping Prudence, Rupert, Annabelle and Oscar at the gates of Xavier, Methodist Ladies College, Carey and Preshill (though Preshill parents are more likely to be driving a Prius). You can't see where you're going through the sea of blazers, black tinted windows and straw boaters.
Secondly, the way my current workplace is constructed, if you're not at the building by 7.30 am, you have to park at the paddock out the back. This is a huge car park that caters for the 90 percent of the company's working population. The access to the building from this car park is up a very steep hill which has the efficacy of a spin class.
It's fine. I'll be happier when I get the courage back to ride the bike, especially as the bike path is glorious, winding its way along the Yarra and Gardiner Creek.
The one thing that I have noticed since driving to work is the apparent wear and tear on the car. Being somebody who has always taken public transport or walked, the car has spent its days in the carport, not out in a paddock.
Another thing that I've not taken into consideration is Melbourne's daft weather, which has been even more daft in the last few weeks. We're not getting the heat waves that Sydney's been receiving, but we have been having howling winds and driving rain in between the odd nice day.
A few weeks ago, it happened.
I'm very careful how I open the door of my car. On this day, one of the really windy days, I opened my door, let go to grab my handbag from the seat next to me... and the door blew on to the car next to me.
I assessed what had happened - a very small mark on the car, barely visible, but there - no more than a centimetre in length. The car, a beaten in family sedan had a few marks on it, but in generally good nick.
So what do you do? I was late for a meeting. I felt bad, but I rushed off to the office and my meeting, vowing to photograph the mark and leave a note for the driver later in the morning.
It skipped my mind unfortunately - I didn't get a chance to leave the note, when I got back later in the day the sedan had gone. I put the incident down the small stuff happening and vowed to not let the door fly open again, taking special care on windy days.
Thing is, karma got me. Two days later, returning to my car in the same car park, an identical ding in the front passenger door appeared on my car. There wasn't anybody parked next to me.
I'll wear it and put it down to karma.