Tlellian Janet Rigg drives her kids to school in a peppy little Mazda. (Chris Waits/Flickr)

Tlellian Janet Rigg drives her kids to school in a peppy little Mazda. (Chris Waits/Flickr)

Tlellagraph: In free-wheeling Tlell, everyone has a driving record

“Should you wash your car? Or is it okay being a little dirty?”

By Janet Rigg

The big news out of Tlell this week is that Bob Crooks got a new truck. We have all grown accustomed to coming up behind Bob on the highway, going at his leisurely pace. His white truck with the black line down the side was easily recognizable.

I once asked Bob why he preferred a slower speed, and he said that by going slow, he sees things other people miss.

Truer words could not be spoken. But now our understanding of the Tlellian universe is thrown into tatters as we try to adjust this new maroon truck. There’s a moment of confusion — is he a lost tourist? — before realizing it is in fact Bob, seeing what others miss.

Tlellians spend a lot of time in our vehicles, so they come to embody our personal reputation.

Road etiquette is extremely important. I would never overtake Bob. Good sense dictates that I slow down, and see what I’m missing. He’s usually just driving to the other side of Tlell anyway, so it’s a fully reasonable delay.

The other day I made the unfortunate mistake of overtaking a friend’s truck on my way to deliver the kids to school.

The school run has very different etiquette attached to it. Rule No. 1 is to never impede the swift progress of a mum who gets a strange thrill from frantically making it to school on time.

I admit it, I always check out the number of lates on my kids’ report cards. I was fascinated to discover that my son in kindergarten had four fewer lates than my daughter, whose classroom is at the other end of the school.

Goes to show how close, and how thrilling, the race to beat the clock can be.

This particular morning, however, I forgot that my friend’s truck takes time to reach cruising speed — my peppy little Mazda just loves acceleration.

As a result, my friend periodically rode my tail as we made our way to town, clearly showing it was me who was not driving fast enough.

The faux-pas has been noted on my Tlellian driving record. These are special records kept by the Tlellian Illuminati (see previous column).

It’s serious business, and requires that I publicly apologize to my friend. So, sorry friend.

If my car embodies me, what does my blue/grey Mazda say?

My Mazda looks like she’s smiling when viewed from the front, and I certainly like to smile. She’s peppy and sometimes goes a little too fast.

She’s quirky, as she has a clear signal light in the front where she should have an orange bulb (I keep forgetting to put in the replacement). It makes her unique among Mazdas, and perhaps not quite in accordance with the law. She’s beginning to show her age.

She’s dirty, but handles, well, fast and easy? Does that sound like me? Depends on what you’ve heard 😉

Now take a look at your car. What does it say about you? This is important business.

Not only are you judged by the appearance of your car and your adherence to an unspoken driving etiquette, every other person who has a vehicle that looks like yours off-island is cast in the same light.

So think carefully. Should you wash your car? Or is it okay being a little dirty?

Send thoughts on my car, or yours: