Thursday, December 08, 2005

Did I Walk The Line?

I'm quite surprised that I did a post about cars yesterday. Obviously my mind was still full of car thoughts at the time because I'd been immersing myself in the task of finding a new car, and I had to dump it all out somewhere. But, quite honestly, I don't really give much of a shit about our five-wheeled, fume-farting friends. On one level I'm interested in them culturally, in terms of how they chart our lives and how we feel about them (which is why they come up a lot in my books). And quite clearly, reading back over what I wrote yesterday, I'm in some way obsessed with how they look. But really, for me, a car is just a car.

However, this was not always so.

When I was about 16 I truly was obsessed with cars. But again, this was nothing to do with mechanics and all about appearance. I used to get my hands on any classic car mags I could find, and pore over the old Ferraris and Maseratis and Lamborghinis. It was always the Italian marques I went for, never the more parochial Triumphs and MGs and Aston Martins, or the yank monstrosities and teutonic monsters. They were all so out of reach, and the most out of reach of all was the Ferrari Daytona (ah, I still go weak when I (v.v.rarely) see one). But I knew I wouldn't be getting any of those. My plan was to pass my driving test as soon as I was 17, then get my hands on a Triumph Herald banger (parochial but cheap, and open-topped), do it up, and become some kind of sophisticated playboy type.

God knows what I was thinking. I didn't know the first thing about mechanics (and still don't). And where was I supposed to find the money for this, or a place to carry out this "project"?

Luckily, all of these harebrained ideas went out the window when I failed TWICE to pass my test. To this day, I'm certain I failed from the anxiety of knowing that this promised land of beautiful cars and women (because, of course, they'd never be able to resist me in my Triumph Herald) was just around the corner.

Of course, it was a mirage.

But it all worked out OK in the end. For the next few years I was able to drink with impunity while friends sipped Kaliber and worried about their car in that shitty car park outside (and pulled women).

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