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Driver’s Seat

The BMW 3-series. I do not use the words "masterpiece of engineering" lightly, but I am convinced that any German engineer with skill and ambition desires no greater legacy than to have contributed to the magnificence of this car. Fuck Ferrari's that break down and need a 10-thousand euro service every 3500km. Dominic drove his 320d for the first 80.000km without ever having to stop. OK, maybe he got gas a few times, but it was a diesel engine, so probably only twice. Let me share you some real facts about how this car is conceived. Every single material that is considered for the interior gets heated in an oven and smelled by super sensitive noses for unpleasant odour – you don't want your car to smell in the summertime. When a new prototype is done, they drive it to the top of Finland, leave it out in the snow for a day, start it up, and if the windows are not completely fog free within 90 seconds, they fire the guy who designed an inefficient air duct. Even when it breaks it doesn't break. This spring, in our 325, we had ignored a warning light for four weeks. That light was trying to tell us we were driving around with a punctured tire. For four weeks. Doing 200km/h with a pregnant woman behind the wheel in Germany. With a punctured tire. I could bore you with pages of ranting about the engine – the sound a straight-six makes… You get it. I love this car. I've had six 3-series + a 5-series (my first car!) + a Z4 (to great enthusiasm of the cop who fined me before I had ALS). It is the ultimate driving machine and I think it is made for steep, sharp-cornered hill roads on Greek islands. A local is driving it just ahead of us. He knows the road and glides across it like a metaphor by a very good writer would. God, I wish I was driving that car. But.

 

The Hyundai i10. I know next to nothing about this car so I have to speculate: it's engine is 3 angry chipmunks and a happy squirrel. You don't sit in it as much as wear it like a backpack. The break pedal is a sponge pressed against the wheel. Sneeze in this car and you risk turning it into a convertible, that's how flimsy it feels. In a delusion of efficiency, the youngest Korean intern designed the numberplate as bumper and crumple zone in one. Hertz employees need counseling each time someone returns one as it means they're still stuck with it. Cliniclowns at their wits end with always get a laugh, no matter how ill the child, by confessing they drive a Hyundai i10.

 

Right now, I could pulverize granite with the force my butt cheeks exert on each other. That's how tightly clenched together they are. I look to my left expecting to see a maniac, a monster, a lunatic behind the wheel of our rented Hyundai i10, it's simply not possible that the sweet, lovely, peace-loving girl I married has suddenly turned suicidal. No person in his sane mind would drive like this. Each corner we screech 2-wheeled makes me wonder if I should be religious; each minute we survive, still tailing the BMW, proves that DIVINE INTERVENTION exists. I mumble a prayer, a mantra and a koan at the same time and breathe deeply.

 

Iris, completely at ease and enjoying the ride, looks at me and asks: "am I going too fast, dear?". I ponder my options; answering a pregnant tige… I mean woman is always tricky. I settle for: "n… n… noofcoursenot".

 

"Good, because that BMW is driving me crazy".

 

She moves to overtake it and I seek diversion in existential dread. What happened? I'm going to die, will I leave nothing behind? Where did she learn to drive like this? What fucking lunatic ever gave her the idea that you can do this with a car? And then, just as we swerve back into our lane, our front bumper missing the oncoming truck by inches and our back bumper missing the BMW by millimetres, epiphany hits me: I have a legacy, and it is Iris' driving style. I'm sniff 'n the tears, all right.