Friday, July 15, 2022

Peaky Drivers

Peter has reached a number of milestones lately. Earlier this month, Peter officially graduated from high school. Next on his bucket list was getting his driver's license, which he proudly passed on his first try three days ago. Stay off the sidewalk, folks!

Peter was not the only one that was ecstatic. Angie and I were beyond thrilled to finally have a designated driver. Frankfurt, baby! Buckle up!

Both of those milestones played a role in today's main event - Peter's graduation ball. He and his friends had decided to wear suits like in Peaky Blinders, so Barbara took him to Frankfurt a few weeks ago to pick out a kick-ass three-piece suit and a Paddy cap. On his 18th birthday, we were already aware of this well-thought-out plan to dress up like late-19th century gangsters, so Angie I bought him a very nice silver Tissot pocket watch and chain, engraved with his initials on the outside and 'Carpe Diem' on the inside. Now all he needed was a kick-ass ride to really impress the ladies. How about a 1976 Porsche 914?

Yup, that'll work. 

We have had the 914 parked in a garage with the battery disconnected since late last year. Yesterday, we finally got it insured, although I think we might have inadvertently gotten a poor old lady fired. Est culpa uxor mea. 

Angie had called our old insurance company by mistake, who explained to her that an 'old-timer' car can only be insured if we already have a car insured with them. We agreed that we would switch our other car over and that problem was solved. Then Angie explained that she wanted to also add Peter so that he could drive it to his graduation ball, which turned out to not be a problem. That is, of course, until an hour later when her boss came back from lunch. I imagine the conversation going something like this:

'You did WHAT??!! He's had his license for THREE days and you thought it would be beyond brilliant to insure an 18-year-old kid for a Porsche 914?? Please tell me that you have not already sent them a written offer.'

'Yeah, funny thing, that.'

Not so funny was the man calling us to try and get out of it. Nice try, mister. As much as we enjoy listening to you back-pedal, I think we'll accept the nice lady's initial offer.  

To distract my guilty conscience, I went to the garage to put the plates on. To mount the back plate, I had to move the car up a little. I was relieved when the engine fired up on the first try. I had never driven the 914, and I immediately noticed that you need to really release the clutch a lot while pushing hard on the gas. It was a bit awkward, so I suggested to Peter that maybe we go for a practice drive before his graduation ball so that he does not stall out five times in the parking lot in front of his friends. He agreed. 

Peter got in the car and fired up the engine. He was literally shaking with glee. 

Mr. Safety immediately noticed that there was no side mirror on the passenger side and that the driver side mirror cannot be adjusted. Apparently, in 1976, you were either the right size for a Porsche or you were not. Peter was. 

After a brief and rather shaky start, Peter quickly got the hang of it. I was quite impressed. I was also  quietly relieved that the federal law requiring new cars to be equipped with seatbelts came into effect in 1968. You're doing great, son! 

After about forty minutes, I told Peter to take us home so he would still have time to gangster up. About two minutes from our place, the car died. I thought Peter had stalled, but he turned the key and the engine just kept turning and turning. Cars were backing up behind us and not far off a bus driver started long-honking. Peter started shaking again, but this time it was not with glee. 

'Relax, Peter. You gotta deal with shit in life when it happens, and this shit is happening. Put it in neutral - I'm going to push you backwards - just pop the curb there and let's make this sidewalk sexier.'

We got the car off of the street, which earned me a one-fingered wave from the friendly bus driver as he blew past us, still honking. 

Luckily we have the equivalent of Triple-A Gold Member status, so after a quick call, I was assured that we would have road-side assistance within 15 minutes. As we waited, Peter was obviously stressed out. He confided in me that he had not told any of his friends that he would be showing up in a kick-ass sports car because it was still not sure if it was all going to work out. When I told him earlier today that Mama had secured the insurance, that the plates were on, and that we should go for a test run, he promptly got on social media and began bragging the shit out showing up to the ball in a Porsche. 

Needless to say, he was sweating buckets. In case you are wondering what an 18-year old kid looks like as he is contemplating how best to roll back premature cloud boasting, here's one angle. 

But the show must go on, so I told him that I would wait for ADAC and that he should go home and get changed in case they could not fix the car and he would simply have to drive the Smart. Two-seater plastic toy cars impress the ladies, too - right? 

As I waited, I seriously questioned whether someone in the roadside service business would really be able to help with anything other than a dead battery or an empty gas tank, especially with a car that is only slightly younger and a tad more temperamental than Angie. 

The guy showed up after ten minutes and I was mega impressed. First off, he knew that the engine was in the back. 

I would have probably figured that out eventually, too, but my lack of car skills was not the point. The point was that after a few minutes, he had pinpointed the doohickey thingamabob that wasn't working and fixed it. Vroom, vroom!

After parking with style, Peter made a grand entrance and had a proper meet and greet with the Godfather. 

The ball itself was rather anticlimactic. The buffet looked promising at first. Until, that is, they ran out of food while we were in line and what they brought out after was, well, also lacking in climactics. 

After dinner, Peter allowed a single photo. 

Shortly after, he politely informed Proud Mama that parents do not need to stay for the dancing part. I'm not sure if 'sending your parents home to bed' was on his bucket list, but he looked quite content with himself as we waved goodbye from the Smart. 

Ladder Talk: [David and Tom were off being teenagers]

1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: The Abi ball, which I got to celebrate with my friends and of course that I got to drive the Porsche to and from the ball.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: The shock of the car breaking down and that this was the last official school event and now my friends are all leaving.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Figure out a name for the 914.