Top Down Planning

N+1. Works for me.

Planning is pretty much the ultimate irony. It’s practiced mostly by those with rapidly diminishing time trying to work out exactly what they wish to fit into it. Those with lives barely touched by entropy are blissfully care free, so embrace directionless as something entirely tribal. While they carelessly wonder ‘what next’, the rest of us wonder ‘how to do all this shit in before I die

That’s middle aged angst right there. I’ve mostly avoided it through failing to grow up, and not being terribly interested in desperate grabs at materialistic stuff that somehow represents youth long lost. Because when we were twenty, I remember exactly how cool, hip and right now was the round-in-the-middle bloke, fashionably on-trend and sporting a disappearing comb over while driving a red Ferrari looked to us. Let’s be charitable- Not Very.

So this isn’t that. You cannot enter your second childhood without ever leaving the first. However, I’ve been a bit distracted since we ‘Woke Up Little Suzy‘ a couple of years ago with the notion that – regardless of the inclement climate – an open topped car may dull the boredom of an oft travelled commute, and offer something for Carol and I to reasonably ignore the lack of kid seats to go do something interesting instead*

And that’s not the Cappuccino. Roof on it’s a study in claustrophobia, while roof off it’s fun but there’s always the feeling that maybe the designers failed to appreciate most humans have two legs – both of which are longer than a table leg**.  It’s also insanely impractical to the power of amusing. The tiny boot is always full of roof which leaves space for absolutely nothing else. The passenger compartment as we’ve mentioned doesn’t really leave room for normal sized humans, and while there is the odd tucked away space secreted in the remaining space, there’s far more convenience and volume in the average pocket.

The plan was to sell that so to channel those funds into something a little bigger we could both drive. Being a project manager-y type of bloke, I decoupled the sell swiftly from the buy critical path and hit Autotrader augmented by various internet forums*** before deciding an Mazda MX-5 would be perfect. One with a proper roof rather than the leaking tramps hat recommended by those whose abode is clearly far removed from prevailing atlantic westerlies.

A rather frenetic Friday night followed where a coalition of the good headed south led by the Matt the technical expert, Carol the Financial Controller and Alex, the impulsive idiot completing the traffic bound deposition to a dodgy housing estate in Bristol.  Where we met a lovely fella by the name of Jake who explained away any scratches or dents with the rather nonchalant excuse that  ‘it’s my wife’ car‘. He was trusting enough to let me drive it on barely adequate insurance, and I was stupid enough to ignore the bald rear tyres, damp carpet in the passenger footwell and a few other niggling faults that’d normally trigger a discount clause.

The problem with a mind which is steered almost entirely by instant gratification is none of this stuff matters. Hence bringing a pair of proper adults to restrain my impulsiveness. ‘Try a few more‘ they would say, ‘there’s loads to consider, don’t make a quick decision‘ and ‘it’s 8pm on a wet evening, this is not the time to hand over the family savings‘. Gloriously none of this real world was surfaced and a deal was struck at a price below that of asking, and probably about right considering the almost instant garaging of the car to have ‘expensive things done’.

Further amusement awaited via the power of electronic funds transfer on a dodgy wireless collection, whence various expensive computing devices emptied our bank account in the manner of a 90s technology heist movie. I could almost see the numbers count down. Transaction done, hands shaken and smiles faced, we called our late night insurance agent to confirm driving arrangements. Twenty minutes later we gave up shouting at people and accepted that because of my small mishap with Carol’s car earlier this year, she’d be driving the MX-5 home, and I’d be playing with the Stereo.

Still all was good weaving our way back to Herefordshire with Carol enjoying the umpty of even the icky 1.8 engine, and me mildly ecstatic at securing something relatively cheap and much fun without significant tedium and buggering about. I even had to fire it up later that evening to demonstrate the electronic elf-age of the retracting roof to child#1 who declared this ‘quite cool‘. Which is pretty effusive praise from a 14 year old.

The next day dawned windy and wet – as one would expect for mid May in the UK – which had us dodging showers while carefully recycling wood and garden waste to make space for a planet killer. Then the uninsured took it upon himself to wax-on wax-off in the manner of the Karate Kid. Except his efforts a) turned him into a mini-ninja and b) at no time reduced the entire enterprise to a pointless, slimy mess.  That’d be the rain then.

Finally we found some dodgy internet firm to insure the mildly careless one, and I took the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how much fun a rear wheel drive car with bugger all tread on the driving wheels in the mildly damp could be. I decided to hunt down the rev limiter hoping to hit it before the next bend. What I actually hit was the ‘wife limiter‘ who wasn’t massively impressed with a man recently booked onto a Speed Awareness Course passing ninety and accelerating strongly on a road designated for quite a lot less than that.  Probably for the best as it’d be a shame to park our latest acquisition backwards in a hedge.

This week we paid a bit off the mortgage. That felt terribly middle aged and responsible. Yesterday we went and bought a coupe of which we have absolutely no need. That felt a whole lot better 🙂

* not permanently. I’ve already got one offspring with Childline on speed-dial on the grounds of a father who appears to be 9 years old.

** And it’s for sale. Hard to resist I’d have thought after such a hard sell up there.

*** Which really are a metaphor for ‘some people need to get out A LOT more’

4 thoughts on “Top Down Planning”

  1. Drove it to work this morning. It was definitely a good way to start a Monday. Top down, heater on. The default approach to British motoring without a roof!

  2. It just started drizzling on my way home but by the time I’d dithered looking for somewhere to stop and activate the electronic elves, the sun came out 🙂

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