In 2019, I made a rash decision – maybe due to a midlife crisis or perimenopause, but more likely just tired of seeing to the needs of three dependents single-handedly for way too long. I’d been left a little inheritance, which I diligently placed into savings for a rainy day. Being the responsible individual that I am, the savings remained untouched for a good few years. Two adult semi-dependents later, both with driving licences, I thought it might be worth permitting myself an upgrade on my little entry level vehicle, which the children could then share (whichever was at home at the time). I decided that a cash purchase could save me a lot of paper work and would keep my monthly expenses the same. I was grateful for the inheritance but still trying to act responsibly.
I started looking. I thought I had a relatively decent amount of cash and would find something of an improvement: it could represent a pat on the back or be a symbol from the Universe of a job well done and here’s a promotion. I was mistaken. I canned the idea of a newish upgrade and decided the two semi-dependents could have access to my car and I should perhaps look further afield at all the possibilities within my spend limit. Maybe I could find something with more class or more savvy or more sexy than any new model. What the hell? I had worked hard and seldom put my needs above those of my children.
I looked again. It jumped off the page. A classic little sports car with a drop top. And within budget. Yes, you guessed right: a Porsche. It’s a Boxster Sport 2001. I had no idea what that meant but I liked how it looked and I fancied how it might make me feel when driving it. So I bought it 24 hours later. One of the most impulsive things I have ever done and one of the wildest thrills of my life.
What precedes prejudice is ignorance. The irony is that my ignorance was greater than that of others. I can admit, even with a sense of shame, that I knew not what I had done. I am not a car fundi and only ever considered cars like Porsches to be on the higher end of the market, rather than in a market of their own. People perceive Porsche owners as having extreme wealth and lavish lifestyles. It goes without saying that you’d be part of a Sunday drive club or own at least one other luxury vehicle. This is the one you take out once a week or once a month to cruise around and strut your stuff. Oh dear. I think I preferred what people thought of me in the Hyundai i10 – even if it was pity from people making assumptions that I couldn’t afford any extras.
People who’d known me for years, and those who hadn’t, suddenly saw me as wealthy, got it all, made the grade and holding a status worthy of making sure all company was informed of this latest acquisition. They never considered that their SUVs might be double the price I paid for my sexy car! Suddenly I was somebody different in the eyes of almost everybody. I didn’t like it.
It affected my pride.
Pride can be good and bad. My negative pride made me feel guilty by what was perceived as a show of excess. My good pride made me laugh with joy, drop the roof and enjoy the smooth ride this car offered – I never understood what driving a car with power meant until I drove this one. It’s a two-seater so there is only space for one passenger – no more lift requests! This is my car and I love it. But I’m too easily swayed by popular opinion and my pride gets in the way of ignoring what others think.
So now I sit with pride, prejudice and a Porsche.
What might Jane Austen say? Give it time, be not too quick to judge and love will blossom in all the right places. For all of us!
Note: Thank you to SAFREAN colleague, Gudrun Kaiser, for editing this article.
Disclaimer: the views expressed herein are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of SAFREA or the SAFREA Chronicle.