I remember the line from the Thin Lizzy song, “told them you were livin’ downtown, driving all the old men crazy.” Oddly, just after my neighbor Amos passed at 94 years old, another old guy down the street popped up and it wasn’t me. And this one didn’t like cars, especially loud ones. Like my Fiat 500 Abarth.
Just so we’re clear, I drive slow on city streets. The Abarth was snarly though, and even going 30, it made as much noise as a liter sportbike with a hot exhaust headed for the corkscrew. Car and Driver referred to it as a “wake the neighbors exhaust note.” Were they right on that one. Every time I’d come around the corner, no matter how light on the gas I was, there he was, leaning against the mailbox screaming at me. “Slow down.” “G-dammit, slow down.” After a while I got a bit perturbed, so I’d make it a point of going past him in first at redline, which I think was about 2 mph under the speed limit. Looking back, that car pissed everyone off. Which was part of its charm.
Much fun as it was angering the living hell out of this guy, Amos’ words came back to me. “Remember, you’re going to be the old guy someday…” Not to mention I didn’t want to be the one responsible for giving him a heart attack or flipping a bit and deciding to shoot me. You know, guns and such.
But then we made a vehicle change. (The exhaust pretty much got on Pam’s nerves too) We bought a Smart Cabrio EV. 0-40 it was just as quick as the Abarth, maybe even a little quicker, but perfectly silent. Hmmmm.
One day, I was rounding the corner and there he was. Sitting at his post. He was waiting for me and I was waiting for him, but this time armed with a different weapon. Foot to the floor, I shot past him at 62 mph in total silence. I could tell he’d short circuited a bit, as he was all ready to start screaming, but no sound came from my car. He didn’t know how to react. I’m guessing to 300-year-old guys, a white Smart probably looks pretty similar to a white Fiat 500 from a distance. After playing cat and mouse with him a few times, he wasn’t at the box anymore. I never saw him again.
I’m guessing a few years ago, Sponge Bob Cranky Pants went to that big mailbox post in the sky. And I’m getting older too. Today, coming around the corner in my white 981 Cayman S in Sport Plus mode, I wound it out all the way in first past the mailbox, just for old times sake. And there’s an annoying young guy down the street in an STi with an exhaust that’s big enough for one of my terriers to crawl up in. Driving the old man crazy.