Down Under – Bill Bryson
“.. we went to Len Vodic Vehicle Hire to pick up a four-wheel-drive for a two-day jaunt into the baking wilderness. The eponymous Len was a very wiry old guy, energetic and friendly, who looked as if he had spent every day of his life doing tough stuff in the out-of-doors. He jumped behind the wheel and gave us the kind of swift, thorough rundown that people give when they assume they are dealing with intelligent and capable listeners. The interior presented a bewildering assortment of dials, levers, knobs, gauges, and toggles.
‘Now, say you get stuck in sand and need to increase your offside differential,’ Lend was saying on one of the intermittent occasions I dipped into the lecture. ‘You move this handle forward like so, select a hyperdrive ratio of between 12 and 27, elevate the ailerons, and engage both thrust motors–but not the left-hand one. That’s very important. And whatever you do, watch your gauges and don’t go over 180 degrees on the combustulator, or the whole thing’ll blow and you’ll be stuck out there.’
He jumped out and handed us the keys. ‘There’s twenty-five liters of spare diesel in the back. That should be more than enough if you go wrong.’ He looked at each of us in turn, more carefully. ‘I’ll get you some more diesel,’ he decided.
‘Did you understand any of that:’I whispered to Trevor when he had gone.
‘Not past the putting-the-key-in-the-ignition part.’