Vol. 2, Issue 15, April 13, 2004
I am Accustomed to my daily Promenades: they are an Invigorating and Vital part of my schedule -my Perambulations are in fact a fixture of my Day. The Club, the Park, the Tobacconist, the Haberdashery; all Destinations are reached with jaunty Step and cheerfully wielded Walking-Stick.
But there are of course Times when a man must rely on Other forms of transport. Though generally I am content to find a Cab, I must modestly Declare that I count the Driving of Auto-Mobiles among my various and sundry Skills. For longer Journeys, it is my trusty Crossley 15/30 that I turn to. This splendid four-door Saloon model has all the modern Amenities: a pair of Flower vases, a silk Blind to the rear Window, an ash tray with Pipe rack. Truly, I could ask for nothing More in a Vehicle.
Though it has been some Time since I have operated the Auto-Mobile, the fancy took me this Weekend for some Reason to go for "A Drive." But alas! - My faithful Crossley did not make it out of the Gate; mechanical Wear had rendered it in need of Repair. But still the urge Remained to drive the open Road, and I managed to Prevail upon the Mechanic to loan me a temporary Replacement until my own Carriage should be Fixed.
The first thing I noted about this new-fangled Machine was its lamentable lack of Style. It had no Character; gripping the ground with thick dull Wheels, it sat Unappetizingly before me, like a squat green Frog with Head-Lamps. Well, there was nothing For it. In I went, willy-nilly!
I nearly Fell as I stooped to enter the Vehicle. My own car has a nice Step: one Mounts the vehicle and is seated safely Aloft, well able to observe any Road-Hazards. But this was nearly Flat to the Ground. Moreover, the interior was disappointingly Spartan. I saw not a single square inch of Wood-paneling, nor even a proper Ash Tray. Bakelite abounded, or some Variation of the same. Travel in Comfort? - Not by my Definition! There are little Holes billed as "Cup-Holders," but I find they are an ill fit for my Tumbler, let alone the Bottle. And I find neither Shifter nor Clutch. How in the deuce is one supposed to Get this contraption Rolling?
But get it rolling I did, and let me give you some Advice: the many Buttons and Knobs upon the Control-Panel are not to be Trifled with. My brief and Traumatic foray into the Controls was wisely Ended before several Minutes had passed.
I rolled down the Streets, peering up from this little Vehicle and trying in Vain to feel a Breeze on my face. However, there was no Crank to roll down the Window. I attempted to Circumvent this design flaw by driving with the Doors Open, but the local Constabulary objected due to some local Ordinance or other. (Lucky that I am a Man of Law and was able to talk my way out of a Ticket!) I was eventually obliged to make a slight Modification to the window with my Walking-Stick to get some fresh Air.
But it was not the Same: I missed the stately Thrill of riding high in my Crossley, the smell of Mahogany and Leather, the open Air... I returned the borrowed Vehicle to the Mechanic after a short While: driving it was mere functional Transportation, and lacked utterly the Charm and Adventure of an Outing in my own Touring-Car. Getting out was a Challenge, and I believe I lost one of my Cherry-wood Pipes in the seat somewhere. But never Fear - Bakelite is not Flammable (it truly Is the Material of a Thousand Uses!) and I am sure the wretched Vehicle will be Fine once the Smoke clears.
There is more to Life than hustling from Here to There like an industrious Bee. The Journey's the thing, esteemed Readers; don't settle for mere Traveling.