Life on the Edge

There are some things I usually won’t take a chance with like walking in a dark alley late at night or driving too far once my petrol light has come on in my car. Typing that makes me grateful as something flashes back in my mind. I have a low petrol light indicator in my car that tells me when I am running low on petrol. Not to mention a petrol gauge that works.  You see I have an MG, which is beautiful in every way, but as with classic cars from way back when things eventually stop working. I used to drive my MG everyday, where ever I went. Now my MG is used as a leisure car and I have another every day car. A few years ago the only problem I had with driving my MG (although it really wasn’t a problem at the time) my petrol gauge didn’t work. So I would fill up my little sports car and then I would have to calculate how many kilometers I could do on that tank. It was my way of knowing how far I could go and mostly, because the gauge didn’t work and I didn’t know how well I had calculated my petrol usage, I didn’t push my luck.

out_of_gas_361515Now, driving a modern car I have a petrol gauge that works wonderfully and I have the added bonus of a petrol light warning me it’s time to fill up.  This past Saturday after our hike up Platteklip, I had numerous errands to run that would take me to Camps Bay, Sea Point, Gardens and Tamboerksloof (all areas in and around town) and then finally home. The most important of my errands was to stop and check out some equipment for my upcoming Aconcagua trip.

As I left the mountain, I headed to my first stop in Camps Bay which is when my very effective petrol warning light beeped into action and illuminated on my dash-board. This normally isn’t a problem but due to hiking I didn’t have much cash on me, except for a mere R20, which was to pay for parking and I had left my bank cards at home leaving me with no money on me to put more petrol in my car. I really needed to get these errands done because due to exams I had put them off long enough and with regards to checking out the equipment I needed to get it done before stock ran out and prices sky rocketed as new stock came in. This was high priority. I had to make the call, take a chance and do as many errands as I could and hope I wouldn’t have to push my car home or head straight home and come out again tomorrow with a full tank of petrol and peace of mind. Thankfully it was all downhill into Camps Bay and so to try save some petrol I turned off the aircon, kept all my windows closed, all of this practically suffocating me in the hot car and I free wheeled into Camp Bays, ran the errand I needed to run and then headed back over the mountain to my next stop in Tamboerskloof. Quick in and out and it was on to Gardens. My brain was obviously not functioning at full speed yet after my exams and I parked in the shopping centre underground parking, thankful for the shade and the hopefully cooler car I would have by the time I emerged again. I parked in a different place to where I usually park and due to this, once inside, I was completely lost as to where the shop I was looking for was. I ended up asking a security guard if he could point me in the right direction only to be told that there was no such shop here. The look on my face must have been priceless. What, no surely you must be wrong was the though running through my mind. Just as I was asking the security guard for directions a staff member from another hiking shop happened to walk to the same security guard. He joined in our conversation and as luck would have it, it turned out I was in the wrong shopping centre altogether. So much for trying to conserve my petrol but luck was still on my side! I got chatting to the shop assistant and we went inside the store and for the next half an hour I spent some valuable time asking questions, getting info and getting a nice fat future discount on all the things I still need to purchase! I also managed to secure the name of the Marketing Manager of this company, who now has a nice email from me telling him all about what we are doing and how we would love to partner with them.  Even though I landed up at the wrong centre and I was now down on petrol, edging ever closer to running out and pushing my car home and although I didn’t buy anything, I left with lots of valuable “goodies” that is going to help me over the next two months. As I paid for my parking, I had to decide again whether I take the chance and run my last errand and then attempt to make it to the correct shopping centre or was it time to call it quits and go home on the petrol fumes I had left. I decided to live a little and take a chance. I really couldn’t put it off any longer. It really needed to be done. As I drove I wondered which ‘Phone a friend’ I would use. I decided my ‘phone a friend’ would be determined by what area I was in when I ran out of petrol. It was kinda fun rolling the dice and seeing where I would land up… Off to Sea Point next, I went up some hills and stopped high above the city, ran my errand and headed back down to the centre I needed to be at in the first place. With just R12 left, I hoped the parking was cheap and I didn’t take too long else I would need to phone a friend just to get me out of the parking lot, never mind my petrol drama that was going on! Finally, at the right shop, I chatted to my contact and we checked out equipment. My sleeping bag (a wonderful blue minus 25˚C sleeping bag) has been put aside for me and I think I can happily say I will be snug and warm on the slopes of Aconcagua and we won’t be having a repeat of my ‘Michelan Man style pyjama bed wear). On top of that the very last down jacket on the rack, which just happened to be my size, was still on the rack waiting for my arrival. Luck was definitely on my side so far and I was so glad I took the chance and didn’t wait for the next day to check out the equipment. I tried the jacket on and it fitted perfectly with room underneath for all the layers I’m going to be wearing.  The temperature outside that day was a mild 24˚C day in Cape Town and within seconds of putting the jacket on I was breaking out into hot flushes! The jacket didn’t feel as bulky as it looked on the rack and I didn’t quite feel like someone in a sumo wresting outfit as I thought I might, which is always a good thing! I didn’t realise at the time of the photo the hood strings had been pulled but this is a good test for summit day if the wind is howling in that you can still see my face (and my smile), unlike some of my summit pictures from Kilimanjaro where it’s hard to tell it’s even me with all I had over my head and face. This jacket was nice and snug and very, very cosy.  Yip, this jacket gets two thumbs up from me!

Here’s me sporting my fabulous red down jacket that will see me through the icy-cold temperatures as we climb higher on the slopes of Aconcagua.

Here’s me sporting my fabulous red down jacket that will see me through the icy-cold temperatures as we climb higher on the slopes of Aconcagua.

With my items for Aconcagua finally sorted and safely packed away until I am ready to go and get them, it was time to drive home on my petrol fumes, that was of course if I had enough money to get out of the parking lot first. As luck would have it yet again, my parking was free and it was time to head home on the fumes that remained in my car. I’m happy to say I made it home without having to use my ‘phone a friend’ option and even made it to the petrol station the next morning to fill up! There is definitely something to be said about living on the edge. It’s like gambling somehow. You roll the dice and see what comes up. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. But if you are lucky, like me The universe leads the way, perfectly!

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