Subtly Ostentatious Or Not


For the past several months my son-in-law has stored his Porsche convertible in our garage. It was parked on the side that previously was reserved for my pickup. My truck was subsequently stored in their carport. It was more of an open venue, but offered some protection from the elements.


The kids were having a pool and landscaping added to their place and Kevin thought the temporary arrangement would offer more protection for the ragtop on the Porsche. A heavy layer of dust is easier to wash off of metal than porous canvas, or so it seemed.


Since I seldom drive my truck, it was a good arrangement. For one thing, the Porsche convertible offered a “subtly ostentatious” appeal to the garage. Parked next to the General’s Lexus, it appeared that we have discriminating taste. Secondly, do you have any idea how much less space the Porsche took compared to my Ford tough truck?


I guess it is the same principle as staging a room. If you want a room to look larger, use smaller scale furniture and don’t fill every square inch. I had gotten very comfortable with the look of the Porsche in our garage. You know what they say, “All good things eventually come to an end.” One day I came home from work and there was a huge pickup parked in the space where the Porsche used to sit. Honestly, I had forgotten how overpowering the truck was in our garage.


It isn’t that I’m hooked on subtly ostentatious because I am not. However, I liked the added open space on my side of the garage. Now if I want to circumnavigate to the far side of the truck, I have to open the garage door. “Unacceptable” is the word that comes to mind.


Speaking of mind, mine obviously is skipping. My cognitive approach seems a little offbeat. The solution I came up with in my head to rediscovering the openness associated to my side of the garage was to remove my truck and replace it with a convertible of my own.


Seriously, doesn’t every little boy dream of the day when they will have their own convertible? Twenty-five plus years ago, the General bought a Toyota Celica convertible. From my perspective, it was the cat’s meow. She even opted to get the five-speed transmission. If you want to put the fun back in driving, there is no better way than top-down and shifting gears as you travel.


The General and I don’t always agree. Almost from the very start, we didn’t see eye-to-eye on how to travel in that car. Even if it was marginally cold outside, you could still lower the top, roll up the windows and turn on the heater. Back then, cars didn’t have heated seats, but that could have made a nice difference as well. It was the perfect solution. Well, just for the record, the General didn’t see things exactly my way. In fact, whenever we were together in her car, she wanted the top up so her hair didn’t blow in the wind. She also didn’t want the sun in her face. She clearly is not a “ragtop momma”.  However, on those rare occasions that I had access to her car without her presence, the top was generally down and I was sporting around town like the cat that ate the canary.


I remember it like it was yesterday. We were living in Midland and I drove her car to Round Rock for a meeting at the children’s home. Ranch Road 620 was more often referred to as the dam road because you drove across the top of the dam to get where you were going. Ranch Road 2222 between Lake Travis and Austin was the absolute ideal spot for top-down kind of driving. Did I mention, “I had so much fun in that car?”


I also have the memory of taking my 90+ year-old grandfather for a ride in that car. He absolutely loved it. When we finally got back home, he said: “This has been a real treat.” He was grinning from ear-to-ear. Riding in a convertible with the top down can do that for you. It may not experientially be quite as good as being on a motorcycle that puts you clearly in the midst of nature, but it comes close. There is nothing to muffle the sounds and the sights like a top-down kind of experience.


The General’s Toyota didn’t have the pizzazz of a Porsche Convertible, but experientially if you’re driving the speed limit, it provided all I needed. Sure people didn’t turn their head to look my direction as I went flying by with my salt and pepper colored hair blowing in the wind. I also had big eyeglasses (frames) back then. Whether it was the Age of Aquarius, I don’t know. But I do remember it was the age of perfect contentment. I really liked driving that car.


So what was I thinking? I stopped by a Mazda dealer on the outskirts of Houston as I made my way home on Wednesday afternoon. Twenty-five years ago, I almost bought a Mazda Miata. At the time, it wasn’t ideal because I occasionally needed to transport others. Maybe now is a better time?


If there is an upside to being older, anyone who listens to the General talk about my driving is terrified to ride with me. Clearly, it is an overreaction on their part. However, maybe, just maybe, I am approaching the time when a two-seater convertible is ideal.


Did I mention that the Miata convertible has never looked better? Wow! Wow! Wow! It now has a six-gear option. Whose to say, maybe I can regain some space in my garage if I take the plunge. Only time will tell. Of course, I’ve got to arrange some kind of vehicle storage for my truck with my son-in-law.  It would be unconscionable to set it outside totally in the elements. After all, I’ve kept it mostly in the vault over the past five years.  This week, I turned over 19,000 miles.


All My Best!









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