Sometimes the Honourable Reader might be tempted to think this blogger of yours is a boring arty-farty kind of person, spending too much time at the fronts of the Kulturkampf. Not even the occasional description of a fancy-dress party seems to prevent him for thinking so. It gives me a certain pleasure then to tell this little story that happened to me last week, involving the indulgence of trying a Maserati Quatroportte, the most beautiful and elegant car of the current days.
Only a true intellectual (in the sense of a person that introduces a reasoning and a cultural context in between perception and its follow-through) can enjoy a soap-opera without guilt; only a serious person with the capacity of profound insights can enjoy thoroughly the joys of self-frivolity.
To try a grey-silver Maserati with warm burgundy leather seats in the lanes of a self-contained Reservation of the super-rich in Madrid is, perhaps, the epitome of a frivolous act.
The Gods had an ironic reminder, though, that one should never count on a free ride.
As I was leaving the drive-way where my Italian Homologue had stopped to let me have, myself, a go at tasting the wheel of the beautiful "berlina", I got a sense that my handling of the sequential automatic transmission might be less than up to standards. I went ahead, any how, with the nonchalant recklessness that a car a like this demands. This Fitzgeraldian toy roared like an ad for Metro, Goldwin & Mayer, and a few seconds later all I had to do was to gently touch a handle on the right of the wheel to accede to the upper gear. Something went wrong.. and I had the (pre-automatic gearbox era) traditional reflex to press hard the non-existing changing-gears pedal to prepare for the next maneuver. I found the brakes pedal instead, of course, and the powerful brakes did their job accordingly, and very efficiently, thank you very much. For a split second - the AudenFan, on the back-seat; the Director for Europe of Maserati (white and ashy-looking), seated alongside the driver; and this driving blogger of yours - we all thought some or the other of the cars following us on the road were going to crash that 150 ooo Euros-worth of elegant "carrosserie". It did not happen, I'm glad to report, and the blood circulation was re-established in my corporate neighbour's face, who advised me, without even a hint of anxiety in his voice: "Just forget your left foot altogether". I drove without further incident to our starting point, set next to the manicured lawn and the fountained small lake. As I left the car the flash lights of the photographers and the rush of the busy TV cameramen gave the final touch of reality-show-like unreal aura to it all.
As much as I've liked the gorgeous Maserati, its acquisition is out of question though , I must regretfully conclude. Can't afford it and, besides, my new Porsche has not even reached 2000 km yet...