When my children were much younger, and I had them all at home, we were given the most unfortunate and embarrassing moniker, the “trailer family”. A trailer was like our permanent, but necessary little wart that always attached to my family car. Much needed back in the day to carry our purchases that were overflowing once I had squished all seven family members into the vehicle. As the years flew by, and the children gained more independence and the car gained more space, our little wart on the back of the car diminished somewhat and we suddenly found ourselves being able to park in single car bays out the front of shops – it was glorious. However, with a sharp direction change in our life, I suddenly find that little wart re-attaching itself to the back of our vehicles on a more constant basis and I am once again being dragged along for the ride. Practicality aside, I honestly believe that my husband likes dragging trailers around. It’s like one of those “men and their lawnmower” type things; a bloke thing.
Lately the trailer has been full to the brim, and with long distances to travel I once again catch myself dutifully listening to hours of what I have affectionately coined as his “trailer porn” conversations. Axles, drawbars, tyres and tie-down points are his preferred topics, in-between those frequent stops to check the load. Strop and rope banter can also prove to be riveting entertainment. Word of warning though, don’t buy the cheap ones, they have the capacity to induce all sorts of traumatic lunatic behaviour from the driver when they break. On one trip, when he thought my interest in trailers might be waning, he cheekily tried to compare the tare weight and tie-down points of a trailer to woman’s bra – don’t be ridiculous, Rodney!
I have a personal aversion to driving with a trailer and the idea of reversing them overwhelms me with fear. Strangely, I have always likened reversing trailers to rugby, that whole irrational concept of turning the wheel one way only to have the trailer shoot in a different direction seems alarmingly similar to running forward with the ball but passing it backwards! So, with excess trailer movements having crept back into my life, it was decided that I needed some lessons, in case I ever got thrust into the life and death situation of needing to reverse one.
We set out a little obstacle course in the paddock and I got to select my weapon of choice. I bypassed the single axle cage trailer and opted for the “big boy” with the double axle and long drawbar, because size matters, right? Driving forward and weaving through the obstacles I had a dream run, primarily because I employed the supa-scientific methodology of pretending the trailer was not attached! Now to do the reverse. With my husband coaching from the sidelines, I felt I was in good hands. I had seen him reverse a trailer within an inch of his life, so I was a willing participant in his bossy tutorial.
In the ute, and slowly reversing, it felt like I was in a scholastic blur, a flurry of testosterone induced wafting yelps from my husband. Left hand down, right hand down, forward and reverse. My errored attempts to reverse in between the first obstacles were mounting, as were the tone irregularities of my husband’s vocal instructions. I could feel us both getting extremely frustrated at my outcomes and, unfortunately, this led to the rapid degradation of the lesson. Rolling fits of hysterical laughter were quickly being replaced with his genuine concern for the vehicle and trailer, and my frustration at not being able to process the simple concept of opposites and basic instruction. To be fair, I think I was riding the clutch, but the stupid thing kept stalling if I didn’t. So, I tried, and then I tried some more, but I honestly felt like there were way too many factors working against me, namely the trailer, ute, obstacles, husband and, of course, me! The lesson culminated in me running over a cone and “jack-knifing” the trailer, after which I decided to abandon the mission before all-out war broke out in the paddock. Sadly, I have now decided that trailers are just not my thing, much in the same way that clothes shopping in the city doesn’t float my husband’s boat. I am happy to leave trailer wrestling to all you experts out there, or until they invest in one that turns the same direction as the frigging steering wheel. In the meantime, I get to keep my sanity and my new nickname, the “trailer wife”, hee hee.