In the mid-80s I lived in Clifton Hill while my siblings were St Kilda dwellers. I got to be very familiar with the Punt/Hoddle trek. One blistering summer's day I was driving my newly acquired ($300) HD Holden on the return leg to Clifton Hill when I became stuck on the Bridge Rd hill in thick traffic. Despite my best efforts I could not manage a hand-break start, the car being an old manual “three on the tree” and me a new driver. I kept stalling the car, much to the aggravation of the traffic stuck behind me.
And then there appeared at the window a man – he said, Move over (bench seat) and I’ll drive you through the intersection. Too flustered to care this might be a car jacking, I did as suggested. I looked around to see a young man taking over the wheel of his car and off we went through the intersection parking out of the traffic on the other side of the hill. He suggested I sit quietly for a few minutes and I would be fine. I was and never forgot the random act of kindness.
My other Hoddle Street moment was after my father had repeatedly warned me “when it rains the roads will be slippery” – I had learnt to drive during a drought. Early on Sunday morning we loaded the HD with a surf paddle to head down to St Kilda beach. It had bean raining overnight. Braking heavily at Johnson Street I managed to spin the car 360 but, still being early (and the 80s), there was little traffic on the road so both I and the car lived to drive another day.