I walked into the Ferrari dealer downtown and asked to see a car that would fit my requirements. “I’m looking for something small, cheap, and not a convertible. Can you help me?” The salesman never has “no” for an answer. There would surely be something for me in the showroom as I completed my Christmas shopping for everybody else on my list.
The first disappointment was on the small side. My daily driver is a teensy but powerful German rocketship of an automobile. It has a recognizable silhouette, a landmark design since they’ve been building them in Stuttgart. It even has a bright bronze custom color that distinguishes it from the zillions of other recognizable silhouettes on the road. This is Southern California. Cars like mine are a dime a dozen around here. It’s small, powerful, and pretty, but it’s not a Ferrari.
Strike one. “All our cars are a little bit bigger than yours,” said the salesman, showing me all the big bad beautiful cars in the room. Six inches longer and five inches wider for the smallest car in the showroom missed the mark on my requirements for small. The dimensional units might have been expressed in miles for how far from ideal they seemed to me.
The second disappointment occurred over “cheap.” Now, the word is a relative measure. The term “cheaper” would be more precise. When there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar difference between the price tags, the lower one is indeed cheaper but definitely not cheap. You get the idea.
Strike two. Conceivably, I could dredge up my life savings for my cheap-er dream car, but a raid of my penny piggy bank would pay only for my next meal. Not eating would be called for after that–something I’m not willing to do for the rest of my life.
And the final disappointment landed on the top. No rag top for me. Another reminder: “This is Southern California. Spyders are popular,” said the perpetually smiling salesman of the cars in the showroom. (Or is it spiders?) This was a reference not to multi-legged insects, not one of which was in the room, but to the term they use for popular convertibles where the sun shines perpetually. The company that makes my small car calls convertibles “cabriolets.” I don’t know why so many different names exist for cars without roofs. Or is it rooves?
Strike three. I gave up convertibles with 35 years of contact lens wearing. More eye trauma than I want to recall occurred from what felt like bricks under my contacts while driving with the top down. I have calloused corneas from convertibles, not to mention what they do to my coiffure.
All of the showroom beauties fell short of my small, cheap, non-convertible requirements. Too bad, no Christmas present for me at Ferrari.
But the smiling salesman, in his holiday cheer, offered me a complimentary espresso, a cocoa-covered ganache, and a giant gourmet chocolate chip cookie, all of which which I consumed with abandon, abandoning my usual concerns on diet and hypertension. The calories and caffeine affected my spritely jaunt to the accessories display case. There, I bought a Ferrari pencil in Christmasy rosso corsa red, which allowed me to write this piece with the extraordinary speed of a bona fide Ferrari product that fit my requirements.
A Ferrari pencil really does write faster!