Somewhere around 1980’s, the tide of competitive sports started to break. Superhuman results along with technology to back them up, created beautiful spectacles of agility dancing around Olympic stadiums. Only few could stand on the same line, sacrificing resources, burning up healthy youth. Steroid control crawled on all fours, pros were given more grippy surfaces, scientifically proven gear. Where exclusivity of a circle getting smaller backed out from, sole engagement took over. Many signed up to that notion, with estimated 1800% increase in marathon runners being the iron core of the new kind. Market answered quickly. Nike Air Max technology came to satisfy this rising demand, making unbelievable amounts of quatloos. We had an unstoppable trend, ease of use, common glorification – Why won’t you run then? Start in some competition. There are t-shirts and medals for everyone! The pack psychology too. Look at us! Running all together like a herd of horses! Or cattle… Winners? Who gives a damn! Don’t worry, it’s either world record or infamy for weirdos at the very front. And even if some machine’s going to break the clock, next year it’ll be broken again. What’s the point?
It was just a matter of time, for such routine to became the norm. People like George Carlin of course tried, criticizing the whole phenomenon of winning, just by showing up. But it was here to stay anyway, with the next generation. And rightfully, I pour some rum on his grave, as the very important words – “You LOST Bobby” – aren’t even remotely in the right amount in our society. Loser became the last winner. The man was right, lots and lots of people just don’t get to hear the painful truth about what they did. Or at least up until they’re well-grown, 30-somethings. Struggling to survive in big busy cities, coming back home all sad because someone wasn’t kind enough right off the bat. Taking love for granted and internet comments more seriously than motherly advice. Questioning if someone really did something for them, or only to have it done. Don’t know where they’re doing. Socially sluggish. Had no choice, such reality was around since the day they were born. Side effect, anachronistic people like me tend to lose in the sand, is cooperation. Winning wasn’t an option to begin with. Someone falls, plethora of hands reach down.
June 2018. Motolegends meet. Magically kept from oblivion, Esprit from late 70’s. Lays limply on the ground, alone. S2 wasn’t the forerunner. In fact, the last generation before mighty “turbo” arrived. The type of creation, where leaking oil had to be cured using aftermarket parts. At least seats got wider and engine seemed to have more air coming in from the sides. The same engine as S1. Brakes mounted inboard on the chassis made working on it yourself a bit quirky – effect of that is felt quickly as weight taken off the wheels matters. Hard to tell really why would they throw it as another generation of Series I but nevertheless, I have infinite respect for Lotus drivers. It’s a fiberglass deathtrap when used inappropriately. And yet, you’re not going to win any race. Spartan ages are long gone, and it’s now people’s conscious choice to make things hard again. Impressive? Let’s put some perspective on this.
Time management, for example, can easily turn ambition into obsession. People with academic degrees, overpaying for cars, micromanaging every penny and second spent. Saying to themselves that it’s worth being stuck with 7 year financing, just to drive 10 kilometers each day in a brand new city hatch – Kick the door off the hinges, it’ll save you 30 minutes every year! And don’t forget to grind hard, this 0.9l three cylinder status statement isn’t going to pay for itself. Now! Faster! You’re not doing your job well enough! Here’s your life, and youth won’t be around much longer Bobby. Look at your hair going away, fat getting packed into your stomach. I think we’re better off just looking for someone to take your place Bobby. End of shift, back in the car, traffic jam. Tired as hell, pissed, sad, still no second can go to waste. Putting on some podcast about psychoanalysis. I’ll be helpful in all this fear of the future. Wife and kids turning into life-ruiners – Oh, goddammit I’ve missed the green light just as I miss the girl I had REAL crush on a decade ago. Horns in the back, angry faces of people seeing your front wheels on the crossing. Hatred, insecurity, loud voices both in the speakers and head. Cyclists scratching your mirrors. Green, quickly, go-go g..oddamn I’ve stalled it. First day of vacation, not enough money to fly away like the management. Two days of school left. Wake up, 08:07am, empty apartment. Fear of loneliness crushes from the inside. Back in the office then, just to be around people and talk over the dark thoughts. Break free from social isolation of multiple walls separating “the good neighborhood”. If not the whole trip, hi-reving his little city can, he wouldn’t even spoke to anybody up until evening, when wife comes back with kids, changing the flavor of the same feeling. Asking about car being finally clean, looking around living room in its final stage of disrepair.
Twingo itself isn’t a problem here, it’s the target audience it was created for with all its ease of use. The same people, pumped, show up on weekends to feel the pain of running a half-marathon knees-deep in the mud. Dragging a huge log strapped to the waist while birds shit on them both literally and metaphorically. Blood, sweat and tears approach to life getting channeled back. They must get rid of this instinct before coming back to the office, full of unnatural, unspoken rules. Finish line, gasping, wasted nylon-wrapped life casualties. Pulling out pieces of dead bugs from every body-hole for the next week. Taking a bath in ice-cold river. Looking for thrills to compensate level of abuse done to them during business hours having gained too much alcohol tolerance. All of them, paid top dollar to be there, but finished it, never exceeding pace imposed by the body. And, of course, nobody cares about who’s first.
What? Right, Lotus, yeah. There it sits still. Shiny, true, but what for? It’s so hard to drive it, maintain it. All this for what?
So you can walk it like you talk it. Rare little trait. Appreciated in value faster than real estate in the Los Angeles area, being divided into even smaller parcels. But there are only few corporate ladder champions out there willing to pick the keys up. This one is for people of meat and substance, worthy of Stirling Moss’s handshake. Putting up with claustrophobic interior, rattling on every feather-deep chip in the tarmac. Driving away with nothing to prove, as doing otherwise would beg asking the real “what for?” question. You don’t mind taillights from Rover up until they’re functional. 7 seconds to 100kph is enough, being so close to the ground, connected with the vehicle feels like way less. Handling matters the most, so the car can be pointed and reach precisely such point, moving on to the next one. You are, the person to conquer, take what’s yours, without any need to boast about it. Understanding the balance. Driving maybe too quickly for anyone to know what you’re sitting in. No wheel spin, just rapid speed. Consistency. Perfect rev-match, clutch release, full throttle and steering swing, managed in a way endangering stability on taken course. Looking far ahead, working on 101% of brain’s capability. Trees on the sides turn into Space Odyssey blur. Going uphill. 90-degree left turn with no barrier separating from falling down. Cold sweat of knowing well how much there’s to pay for any mistake at your speed. Too serious for an approach maybe. Coming back home, there’s a party. Drinking heavily isn’t really your thing. People all around complain about things that cannot be influenced, wasting air. Waves hit you, coming all together as condensed masses of little substance in the big picture. No way to escape them, and it’s YOUR house. Kids have fun, your spouse too, time to flee. Back in your Lotus, with loneliness of not taking part in social competition.
British comedy hero is a person who wants life to be better, while it craps on him from a terrible height. Who’s sense of dignity is constantly challenged by the world letting him down. Hearing these words from Stephen Fry I stopped for a second. And everything started to make sense again. There you have, something trying to punch above its weight. Challenging supercars with both basic specs and racing ability, but not racing them. Like Nicole, moving out of her apartment block to get married, share a mortgage, toilet in the morning, dinner plate and snoring at night. One of her old friends, walking the dog the next morning, seen dustmen taking all the leftover stuff away. Out of a black MacBook box, red little strap-on fell out. Guys started laughing their lungs out, throwing it at each other, but she remembered it god damn well. Bobby made a huge noise coming out early in the morning to get the latest one. Which is confusing, because most Apple fanatics mostly care about phones. Housewarming party, again, typical redundant middle-class people drinking, sharing recent stories from the office, discussing avocado nutrients. Everyone knew at the time that something’s up, making jokes about Bobby. Imagining him being taken from the backside by Nicole. She’s just a cute, pink-sweatshirt wearing English major weighing about 50 kilograms. In the end, it took her three years, one more pregnancy, four nervous breakdowns with some small victories trying to fight for her place in the music industry, just to finally get drunk with old friends again. There was dead silence after she asked “what? A strap-on? What’s THAT?”. Hungover, but desperate to know what the hell is going on, she found out the truth. Fucker’s been faking membership to community service emergency responders, leaving the flat every fourth night. And wasn’t accepting the red little penis but was wearing it as a secondary one “because she liked it like that”. In a culture over-occupied with cherishing what’s weak, low-number and disliked, both women past 30 like her and Lotuses of this world, are alone.
I should start some movement.
But seriously, if given a possibility, try it. Will make you feel little, long way from the prestige of Aston Martin ownership. Whole process can be counter-intuitive. Scary even, when pushed to the limit. It’s waiting for somebody to look honestly, straight in the eyes. Went through a lot, and all flaws are on the table for you to see. They’re past faking.