Adelaide visits Santa, but not at the Magic Cave

Adelaide knew that the Magic Cave promised much more than it delivered.

As a child, Adelaide’s parents – teachers both – brought her to the Rundle Mall every school holidays. Adelaide traipsed behind them, stopping every four steps as her parents bumped into people they hadn’t seen since last term. People like Richard, who had just started his two years country service leave which he had earned by working at a school in a country town he loved. Or Simone who fell in love with the PE teacher, but married that guy who took biology because he didn’t already have a wife.

Adelaide’s parents took her to the Mall, they took her to John Martins. But they didn’t take her to the Magic Cave. Adelaide knew it was there, because girls at school told her about it. They had ridden on Nipper, they said. Patted Nimble’s mane, they had.

Adelaide begged to ride that horse.

One year, one glorious year, her parents did take her to the cave, but she was old enough by then to see that the icicles were made of foam, that the fairy floss was a rip off, and that if Father Christmas were real, he wouldn’t have two doors. One expensive and one cheap.

By the time Adelaide had her own children, the John Martin’s had closed and the Magic Cave had moved. Adelaide was no different to any other mother and she decided to do everything for her children that her parents had never done for her.

Adelaide took her children to the Magic Cave.

A good-looking young boy helped Adelaide’s children on to the merry-go-round and as he waited for the ride to finish he flirted with one of Santa’s elves who giggled and programmed his number into her mobile phone.

While her children rode the merry-go-round, Adelaide heard the whisper. The line to see Santa is an hour and a half long. So Adelaide waited while her children rode Nipper or Nimble. The white one, which is that? She showed them the mirrors which shrunk their legs and stretched their chests. And she pointed at the diaromas where the elf put his face in the porridge again and again and again.

Adelaide tried not to sneer at the dudes in mirror glasses who had followed their girlfriends here after school, because the Magic Cave is so daggy it’s cool.

And when her children had finished looking at the horses and the mirrors and the diaromas because that’s all there was, Adelaide took her children to Myer where it took ten minutes to get to the front of the line.

Ten minutes was much more Adelaide’s style.

Adelaide, the tram and the RAA

Adelaide liked to drive. She drove to town, where she could always find a park. She drove to the football. She drove to the video shop.

Adelaide liked to drive.

Being a sensible girl, Adelaide had a premium membership of the RAA. It was a high school graduation present from her father. ‘You’ll be needing this,’ he said with a wise nod and a knowing twinkle in his eye. And he renewed it every year, along with her comprehensive insurance, until she graduated from university and got a job as Executive Assistant, Stakeholder Relations at the Underwater Weapons Plant. That was only the mid-nineties too, and already they knew what stakeholder relations were all about.

Over the years, Adelaide had reason to be grateful for that premium membership. She was not a bogan, but she drove crap cars. Adelaide identified her geography by the places she had broken down. South Road? Solanoid. Main North Road? Clutch. Burra? Starter motor. But luckily, never the brakes. No, the brakes were always there, ready to be applied.

Adelaide had never truly been out of control.

Even now, even with her successful marriage to a retired footballer turned caryard owner, Adelaide kept that membership up. Because Adelaide was passionate about motorists rights. Society needs someone to speak up against the dreadful pedestrians and the self-righteous bicyclists. ‘When they pay registrations and levys, that’s when they can have rights,’ Adelaide said. Adelaide always nodded when she spoke.

And as for the buses and worst of all, those dreadful trams. Unsightly things they are. And now what do they want to do? Extend them all the way along the King William boulevard. Adelaide shuddered at the thought. Ann Moran was right to make a fuss. And what about the planter boxes Adelaide thought. Only just last week she had driven along King William Street and pointed the boxes out to her mother. ‘The pansies look glorious at this time of the year,’ she said. Her mother had nodded. ‘The red looks very dramatic,’ she had said. Adelaide and her mother always agreed.

So Adelaide was happy when she opened the Sunday Mail on the first very hot day of the year, and saw that finally, the RAA was taking a stance. The tram extension would be expensive, worthless. It was something Adelaide just didn’t need.

‘At last,’ Adelaide thought. ‘Let common sense prevail. A public transport infrastucture? F*k that. A visible transport alternative which links in sensible ways? F*k that. And if what they said on the radio was true, that 21 million they were planning to spend would build a lot of hospitals, keep a lot of schools open and employ a lot of police.

Adelaide cleared her throat, swallowed, took a sip of her freshly-plunged coffee. She smiled lightly to herself, then turned the page of the Sunday Mail.

Adelaide wanted to read what Kevin Naughton had written this week.