When I Graduate, I’m Buying a Fiat

Alpha KeysThis weekend my sister got married, which means I got the special job of chauffeuring the brides maids. In taking on that job, I got to realize one of my life’s ambitions: to drive dad’s Alpha Romeo.

Across the weekend, I made two drives to church, as well as to the reception in Rogerthorpe and the Temple in Chorley.

From the experience I made two observations: 1) fast cars are significantly restricted in residential areas, and 2) fast cars are severely restricted on the motorway.

When driving from my home to church I crossed three 20mph zones, half a mile of ring road and a billion mini-roundabouts. In a car designed to reach 130mph this meant I seldom left second gear, or touched the accelerator. With minimal speeding up to do, there wasn’t much slowing down to do either. All in all, the GT carried me in supreme comfort with all the kicks of driving round the supermarket car park.

What about the motorways?

It’s a bigger car, and has less room to look round, so after carefully navigating Leeds city centre, and then patronising the new managed motorway at 50mph, I got to the open road. I put it into sixth gear and that was it. 2,500rpm the rest of the way. My elegant carriage succeeded entirely in mediating the feedback of the road into a nothing.

After it all, I got back into my old dented up Rover, reopened to the entire spectrum of its performance, with all the feedback of the road and with enough room to drive with feeling. And it leads me to consider: maybe my Italian stallion should be a Fiat, not a Ferrari.

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