Car Guy goes on a date
A car guy in a romantic situation. This can only end well, right?
Who'd have thought that a tweeted picture would result in a date? In fact, who'd have thought going on a date would have been a remote possibility for me in any way?
Such is the power of social media that even guys like me, monosyllabic and an unwavering dullard in every way, can come across as having a modicum of that thing the tabloids call the "X Factor," but most of us still call personality.
Anyway, I digress. A photograph of an S-Class appearing in a hitherto quiet follower's timeline had sparked a conversation. As much as I'd tried to steer the conversation toward Mercedes W-code numbers, the lady was having none of it. Before I knew where I was I'd agreed to take her for a drive, and dine at a restaurant, before returning her home again.
First surprise upon meeting her was that she looked exactly like her profile photo. She said the S-Class looked exactly the same as it did in the picture, too. First impressions are good then.
"BlueTec -- so it's a diesel then," she stated as she glanced at the boot badge.
"Err, yes," I responded with a conspicuous note of surprise to my voice. "How did you know?" "I thought everyone knew that?" was her quizzical reply. "Although, of course, the 350 part is just a marketing trick as it's a 3-litre engine."
I was so taken aback by her fundamental understanding of Mercedes-Benz nomenclature I momentarily forgot all I'd learned that afternoon on Web sites about modern chivalry, and almost failed to open her door for her. Doing the right thing was about to cause me a dilemma.
Now, the S-Class is a long car, especially in long-wheelbase form, and by the time I'd got around to the driver's seat enough seconds had elapsed for all of hell to be unleashed inside.
I like things just so. Air vents pointing in the same direction, control knobs angled in a uniform angle, ancillary buttons illuminated symmetrically. You know the kind of thing -- I'm a man who's so OCD I call it CDO.
So try and empathise with my bewilderment and inner torture at letting loose a button fetishist in car festooned with things to play with.
Fearing this date might be the first and last, I summoned up all my inner strength and bit my lip. It wasn't just that she'd adjusted the climate control to one degree Celsius higher than on the driver's side, the colour of the ambient lighting had changed from a soft white glow to a pretentious purple affrontery to the eyes.
As I glided away from her house she was busy keying in the post code for the restaurant into the sat nav, looking for places of interest en route. Can you even see disused car dealerships in the dark?
The first bend I hustled the Benz into, my hips were gripped by inflating cushions within the seat, at which point I also noticed an air conditioned breeze nuzzling its way through the perforations in the leather and into the innards of my best corduroys. Were there any of the buttons and controls she'd not tweaked with infinitely in her quest to see what they do?
Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't too far away, and aside from us both checking the salt and pepper grinders to see if they were made by Peugeot, car talk subsided, replaced by an altogether warmer one of shared interests (read: "Doctor Who," snooker, and the National Trust).
Meal over and journeying back to her house I was subjected to my buttocks being toasted by the seat heaters and settings about whether the car pipped the horn as you locked it. But worse than that, she'd discovered functions that were so deep within the sub-menus only a handful of Mercedes top brass even knew they existed. And they're sworn to secrecy for fear the S-Class might take over the world in a Cyberdyne Systems pastiche kinda way.
As I pull up back outside her house she asked, "So, will I see you again?"
"Yes, I'd like that; you free on Thursday?"
"Sure, sounds good. What will you be driving?"
"Dacia Sandero, I think."
"Oh right -- many buttons to press?" she quizzed excitedly. "Err, no, it's the base model."
It seems Prefab Sprout were wrong all along, nothing hurts much more than cars and girls.