Driving with The Brick and cassettes

1992 DOESN'T seem that long ago - particularly to someone like me who was born in the Jurassic period. I didn't have much hair back then either but memory tells me that I had a comb-back as compared to a comb-over. This was in the days before I realised I was fighting a losing battle and went for the if-you-can't-hide


In 1992 many of us were still suffering the effects of The-Recession-We-Had-To-Have. My business had gone belly-up and I was driving a taxi in Sydney to make ends meet. The taxi business wasn't doing particularly well at the time. I drove day shift which meant up at 2am and home at 4pm. I'd do a 48-hour stint over the weekends. There were days I'd finish with only $40 to show for 12 hours work.

Back then technology was more basic. The cab companies had an open mic communication system. The chit-chat over the radio gave the drivers company in the early hours of the morning and a degree of (possibly false) security.

1992 was the year that I pulled out of the Monday lotto syndicate I'd been in for a year or so with three other cabbies. I quit on the Friday and they won a million dollars on the following Monday. The miserable bastards didn't even buy me a beer.

In 1992 my 1975 XJC 5.3 Jaguar Coupe was 20 years younger but still didn't work - having caught fire early that year. Some of that million bucks would have come in very handy. Sitting in the Jag was a Batphone. I'd thought about buying a brick but the in-car phones were more powerful. It was a very swish-looking Philips model and had cost me $3500. God knows how much the phone calls cost me back then.

In 1992 I didn't own a computer. My brother may have had one that had green type on a black screen - was it called the DOS operating system? All my music was on cassette tape, much less CDs or MP3s. My TV was a whopping 26" Philips CRT. It cost me $1200 a couple of years earlier - now you can't give them away!

In 1992 you'd drive through just about every town on the Hume Hwy. Now all that's left is Holbrook - and that'll be gone within the year. None of those towns had signs telling you not to use the Jake Brake. You'd stop at Greasy Joe's roadhouse for a nosh of steak, eggs and chips. Most of them are gone now and we're left with Maccas and company - the healthy alternative?

Back then - in NSW at any rate - you could get rid of all your accrued parking fines in one hit by spending 24 hours in boob. The smarter drivers would turn up at a small country town, one-man cop shop and hand themselves in. The jail cell had curtains on the window and the roast dinner was supplied by the copper's wife. That was how I got rid of my $3500 of fines. Nowadays they'll lock you up and throw the key away.

And of course, in 1992 someone decided to take a punt and start up a trucking rag called Big Rigs. As a relative newbie to this esteemed publication, I'll leave it to Smitty and the old timers to detail the changes that Big Rigs has seen. Suffice to say that if I'm not pushing up daisies in 20 years time and you, the reader still being willing to put up with my meanderings, I hope that I'll still be entertaining you through these pages.

Take care of You


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