Reverberate
2012 Finalist

I must be getting old

I must be getting old

Picture the scene. You got up this morning at 3.15am. You left home at 3.30am and you are now standing at Edinburgh airport at 7.20am feeling pretty weary and with a full day ahead of you.

You trudge out to the car hire centre as you now have 100 miles to drive to your next appointment. It's raining. You don't have a coat and you get wet.

So far, today is not working out so well, is it?

You then arrive at the hire desk to be told that you have a base spec' Renault for the day. It's getting worse. Suddenly you find yourself dreaming of the Star Trek transporter and wonder if it could "beam you up" back to your bed at home. But then reality dawns. You are stood, slightly damp, in Edinburgh and there is nothing that is going to change it.

So you smile sweetly and politely ask, "Would you have anything better than the Renault without me having to spend too much to upgrade?".

The car hire representative looks like a decent chap. He bends over to review the box of car keys he has at his feet. He looks up. "I can let you have a Porsche Boxster 2.9 turbo for an extra twenty quid," he says.

Suddenly the 200 mile round trip looks more interesting. You reply, "Done!" and within 5 minutes are walking out to the car collection point with a smile upon your face.

Now this might sound rather far-fetched. It might sound like every car enthusiast's dream day. But it is actually what happened to me when I was in Scotland for the day last week. And I have to admit - I did wear that smile as I walked across the car park. It lasted right up until I got into the aforementioned Porsche. And then, if I'm honest, I felt a bit silly. What's more, I felt conspicuously silly.

I drove away like an old lady, thoughts running through my head of the stories of old about rear engine, rear drive Porsches throwing you off the road and spectacularly killing you with the slightest blip of the throttle.

After about 20 minutes I had relaxed slightly. I was still alive after all, and I seemed to be able to keep this monster on the road. I stuck to all the speed limits around the outskirts of Edinburgh (I am a law abiding chap, after all) and found the whole experience really rather… well, boring actually.

It felt similar to having a powerful dog on a lead that I couldn't let run. And so, as I trundled along, I found myself picking holes in the vehicle.

The ride was incredibly hard. It was very noisy, there was no space in the cabin at all, and I noticed that the indicator stalk was very similar to the one in my wife's Seat Ibiza. Parts sharing gone mad at VW Group, I think!

But the reality is, what struck me most of all was that I felt like a bit of a fool. I found myself stopping at a services and parking at the rear so that no one would see me.

Now it is worth pointing out that, whilst my friends would possibly describe me as a car enthusiast, sports cars have never really been my thing. I'm a practical sort, you see. If I won the lottery my first purchase would be a Landrover Defender double cab pick up. After all, you can put wet, smelly dogs and children in Landrovers. You can drive across muddy fields and you can tow trailers. None of these things can you do in a Porsche.

In fact, my little adventure was the first time in my life that I'd ever driven anything remotely sporty and I can also tell you with some confidence that it will be the last. Maybe I'm getting old. I do seem to have developed a disturbing desire to own a tweed jacket and I drive a Volvo, after all.

But for now, my mid-life crisis is on hold. Maybe one day I'll start to feel the need for a two seater sports car. But I am sure that next time I visit Edinburgh and need to hire a car I'll just take the base spec' Renault offered to me, and walk across the car park with a smile upon my face.

Philip 10:40

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