Monday, March 3, 2008

What is a sports car really for?

I drove our Ferrari to the grocery store yesterday. I was making curry for dinner and needed some ingredients. I had to go to a store where I usually just by wine not food because, on Sunday afternoon, it is impossible to park at my usually grocery store. When I am driving the truck this is an inconvenience but I park it there anyway. With the Ferrari I wussed out and drove to a different store. I don’t like to shop for groceries in unfamiliar stores.

I thought about this on the way home. The utility of driving the car did not exceed the self imposed effort of driving it, effort arising from shopping in an unfamiliar store. There is more. When driving the car I cannot extract what I want from it, an entertaining driving experience that results from using the car in a way it was meant to be used, driving back and forth to the grocery store. I have to fight the urge to wind the car up through each gear, focus on carrying as much speed through turns and hitting a perfect apex. I want to increase the lateral g forces until I can feel rubber shearing off the tires. I want to push the car to my limits in it. I want to drive it fast. It is very frustrating to drive slowly. The rock star everyone looks and takes pictures part is no longer entertaining. The reality is I have a wonderfully designed tool. A tool whose place in society and whose brand is built upon, in no small part, its history of winning races – in short a tool made to go fast. What do I do with it? Drive to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for chicken curry.

I did not have a chance to drive on the track this weekend. I had promised to take my daughters skiing if the weather was good. Saturday was rotten. Sunday was fantastic and we had a great time skiing. I tried to find a helmet and nomex gloves on Saturday and could not find any so I would have had to find, beg, borrow some at the track had I been able to go.
So, I still don’t know what it is like to drive the car fast. This has not stopped me from thinking about what I really want the car for. To drive fast in a safe, controlled environment. I have absolutely no experience driving on the track or driving a race car but what I think I want is a race car. Probably calling it a track car would be more accurate. I want a car which makes no compromises, no radio, no leather seat, no AC. I want a car and a place where I can push myself and the car without fear of running over bikers, dogs, or grandmas.

I hate to say it but I am not interested in driving the Ferrari to the grocery store again. I will probably do it but more often than not I am just going to drive my truck.

I mentioned earlier that I had been scheming on ways to keep the car past my one year. I won’t keep it. Keeping the car would be copping out. And they lived happily ever after would make a pretty weak ending to my book. Also, I would have to make some sacrifices that I am unwilling to make. Hun, we have to take the kids out of private school and you have to go back to work so I can keep a car I seldom drive. No I have to sell it.

By the way. The used ashtray lid from the car is selling on ebay right now. Last bid $61.

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