I came into work with a bright red, awkwardly tanned chest area. My stylishly designed dress was not meant to be worn in the sun (rather in an air conditioned room with entrees and air kisses) and had cut strange white shapes into my otherwise lobster red upper half. (My legs, as always, are impervious to the sun and shine blindingly white when the light catches them.)
‘Why did you do that?’ asked one colleague, aghast, when I walked in this morning and she spotted my lurid red chest. Another helpfully commented, ‘The skin gets leathery there with too much sun,’ and gave a wise nod; her fingers resting on her collar bone. I touched my warm skin and thought of a polite and insightful way to say ‘I DID NOT INTEND TO DO THIS TO MYSELF.’ Instead I nodded and brightly said, ‘The event yesterday took place outside and I didn’t even think to bring sunscreen!’
Yesterday was a dry, hot, 27 degrees in Magaliesberg – and I was surrounded by cars, motoring journalists, car representatives and car experts. In short, it wasn’t really my scene. ‘Car’ factors very little into things I think about, and even less into things I know about. ‘Car-tastrophe’, ‘car-ma’ and ‘car-m down’ fill the majority of my car dialogue (and almost all of my car puns). Except for one notable exception (when The Boyfriend bought a car) I never talk about cars. With my car knowledge at roughly 0.001% I knew I was in for a crash course (geddit??) of car factoids, types, makes, fuel injecty-things, and more. What type of car does he have, you might ask, naively assuming I do not have a sieve for a head. To which I can safely reply, it’s a green one.
My first car launch was something like those conversations, but with the intensity dialed up to MAX. I got to drive new cars – at full speed, to test their barking, in a skid pan, to make them skid (and control it), and around a treacherously bent, complexly curved path to learn how to take corners properly (the trick is: braking and gear changing BEFORE you enter the corner, and knowing to start on the outside and when to cut into the inside). I drove so slowly and did so poorly the instructor singled me out for a special one-on-one lesson. The journalist next to me was unerringly polite but am sure, with her years of motoring experience, my ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach to learning must have made the hairs on the back of her neck rise.
Hopefully I will have retained some knowledge from the launch (expect to see anti-hijacking tips, and tips on how to get out of a slide on Marie Claire.co.za) and will have more to show than just my ghastly sunburn from the experience.