December 02, 2013

Horse 1573 - No-One Should Have A Convertible

Due to a strange set of circumstances, I was given the opportunity to drive a BMW 120i Convertible. Now I'm sure that the car is excellently put together and I will admit that it is very very smooth to drive, the experience made me realise that even though people can drive a convertible, no-one should.

Before I'd even pulled away from the kerb, I was struck by just how incredibly claustrophobic it all felt. Whilst the car didn't have any B-pillars, the inside of the hood was black and the plastic window in the back was incredibly pokey. I imagine that driving along in wet conditions might be a little like driving a truck with a pantech on the back. If that plasticy window gets foggy, wet or old, there'll be no way at all that you'll be able to see through it.
So my first act was the put the roof down; this immediately led me to the second point as to why no-one should ever drive a convertible.

What does the W in BMW stand for? Exactly. Not only is everyone else on the road thinking this, but as you drive along with the roof down, anyone with any degree of normalcy should be feeling it. Despite the impression that we get in the movies, with teenagers driving to the malt-shop with the roof down, this is simply not the case in real life. If it had been someone in their 20s or younger, you'd instantly accuse them of driving "daddy's" car and had it been someone in their 30s and older, you'd accuse the driver of having a useless job; contributing nothing to society (and in a lot of cases there'd be an element of truth to that).

I suppose that as a male drive in my mid-30s and driving along with a white shirt and tie (the uniform of corporate oppressiveness the world over), that I looked the part in the car but I suspect that everyone else on the road, secretly wanted me cut into small pieces and fed to Sakti, Kartika and Kembali, the trio of Sumatran Tigers at Taronga.

Not only is the driver of a convertible subject to the scorn and derision of other road users but I found that drivers of other European cars want to race you in the traffic light grand prix, tradies want to cut you off in traffic and I even had one lovely chap in a Falcon, spit into the car. Jean-Paul Sartre is misquoted in context with the quote of "Hell is other people" and in a convertible, you really get a first hand sense of that.

If the car had been an ordinary BMW 120 no-one would have thought anything of it. If it had been a BMW 120 coupe, then most driver would probably think that the driver was the embodiment of the W in BMW but at least you'd still have the anonymity of living in a car with a roof on. A convertible is just a little bit too exposed to be sensible and for that reason, the reason that people should have them just isn't strong enough... unless they want to look like a total pratt.

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