Manuel es muerto

MOTHERSHIP:  Shauna. Are you sitting down? I have some terrible news.

SHAUNA:  Oh god. What happened?

M:  I've had a car accident.

S:  Oh my god!

M:  I slammed into a semi-trailer.

S:  Oh my god! Are you in hospital?

M:  No, I'm fine! I was only doing 15 km/h!

S:  Bloody hell, woman!

Our Scottish jaunt was largely funded by the sale of Manuel, our darling maroon-with-pink-stripe Festiva hatch. The Mothership bought him with the understanding that she would look after him and keep him clean. Writing him off just two months later was not part of the deal.

The accident happened on a tiny country road, where The Mothership crept out from a Give Way and didn't see the semi barreling by. Luckily she is a infuriatingly cautious driver, otherwise she could have been a goner. She finally sent me the photos yesterday, and from the filthy state of the vehicle, I'm not convinced it was an accident. I think Manuel was so depressed by such blatant neglect that he wanted to end it all.

My habit of naming inanimate objects really must stop, because the pain of losing them is so great. Our time with Manuel was brief and bittersweet. It was devastating to see his crumpled, mud-streaked corpse.

Manuel memories:

The competition to name him, which sparked an unprecedented 70 comments

The near clash with a kangaroo

The day I roasted a chicken under his hood

The highlight was the final time I drove him. It was from Canberra to Goulburn on the Friday night before we left. It was on the verge of a thunderstorm with The Dirty Three brooding on the stereo. Lightning scribbled across the sky, showing random bursts of sheep and gum trees out of the darkness. The road was empty so I drove too fast and tried to stuff all that space and quiet into my memory.

poor baby


About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author and freelance copywriter and content person. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs.

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25 thoughts on “Manuel es muerto

  1. Now you’ll have to roast chicken like the rest of us do. (Which, if you’ve forgotten, is by coop arson or, if they’re free-range, setting strategic grass fires.)

    By the way: can I buy that last paragraph?

  2. Good lord! Everybody’s having car crashes. I think there’s a death warrant out for the Tiny Hatchbacks of Canberra.


    Poor Manuel.

  3. Sorry about Manuel. But I get very attached to cars I don’t name. When they try so hard to run after you neglect them…they can be real friends sometime. Not sure what that says about me and my friends. I tend to mourn the old cars, though.

    Glad the mothership’s OK!

  4. The passing of a car is such a sad moment.

    I remember when I crashed poor Kermit(1970s Mazda 323 hatcback, lime green) into a car-park pillar – I was (emotionally) scarred enough that I never named a car again.

    Still, better a car than a mothership!

  5. Holy moly!!!! Well, I’m glad that the Mothership’s okay, that’s the most important thing. Yikes.

    Oh, the second most important thing is – did she make all her payments? Writing it off doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to pay. Family is family, but business is business, and when family meets business, it’s still business.

    Sorry, that was very Godfather of me … I don’t even know what I’m going on about.

  6. Crikey Moses two picture sessions in fast succession. First we get a haunting Iceland under a gray an ominous sky and then we get that last paragraph. My goodness you can communicate when you choose to.

  7. Oh the sadness of an impacted crumplezone. The mothership was lucky not to become one herself – manuel chose his target well – there’s not much that’s bigger than a semi!
    My brother sold his car to my dad in the same situation – and my dad is surrounded by tiny country roads. I shall warn him of possible impending 14-wheelers.

  8. Ah Shauny! Thats just too bad!

    I don’t have a car of my own but I have become rather attached to my best friend’s car. Its a big comfy green Jeep Liberty (American SUV madness- don’t blame me) and we call him G-Love. He’s such an integral part of our college life- …driving down the I-95 into Boston for parties with the windows rolled down and the bass of an Outkast rap song throbbing through out the car (I never liked rap until I listened to some in that baby!)
    Sigh- I’m going to miss him next year when I’m off to study abroad.

    By the way, hello everyone. I’m the newest fan of Shauna’s blog. Prepare to be seeing a lot of me : )

  9. But how could you forget our drive to see the giant potato? You called us “crazy Americans” for wanting to see such a thing. Manuel was in fine form that day…

  10. my sincere condolences on the passing of poor manuel. may he rest in peace. or rather, as Demos mentioned, in pieces.

    and huh? you leave anonymous, unpleasant comment on the weblog of someone you don’t know?
    sounds like you’re a jerk to me.

  11. Technically, and I mean this in the rev head version of technically, you can’t slam into anything at 15 kmh. Its a nudge at the speed. Slam according to the rev heads dictionary requires ooooh, lets say at least 100 k’s.

  12. Oh no! Twasn’t the nasty braidwood road was it? (I thought I hadn’t seen Manuel for a little while, I used to drive past him every day!)

  13. it’s sad losing a car you named. We had “grasshopper” a green ford escort station wagon and “gray baby” a silvery grey chevy cavalier and both were totalled. we don’t seem to have it in us to give this new one a name that will stick.

  14. When I was in Oz, i came to think of the festiva as a crappy little chix car (mate).
    I barreled about in a 71 kingswood wagon (186 three in the tree).
    But since coming back to blighty (shit fuck bugger) and driving a ford fiesta (nee fiasco) I now see the the festiva a quite the sporty lil number.

    The Kingy was called Dirty Pierre and he too has gone to the great scrappy in the sky.

    I feel quite sad now.
    pol x

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