It’s one of the finer feelings about having this car, and it should be recorded. It doesn’t happen too often. I move in the wrong circles, but it is inevitable. I work 9 to 5. I dress as such. I do my hair nicely for the office. I accessorise with scarves my wife has bought me. I drive a black Nissan Skyline. Loud exhaust.
It’s late. Not too late, but 10:30pm. The line between home and party. I’m driving home from the hospital. I’m having fun up the windy hills roads. I’m not brave enough to exceed 40, but I sound loud. I’m a bullet painted black and a grown man making ‘brrm’ noises. Pull into the servo, I arrive at the servo.
A group of lads, men. Five or six, are hanging around the entrance, clustered about Park 1 next to the sliding doors where one of them, impossible to tell who, owns the Lexus IS300 with the aftermarket whiff about it. The Is-It-Pearl? paintjob not quite gleaming. They are talking cars. You can just tell. Someone is talking, everyone is nodding, one guy quotes a number, another an abbreviation.
As I swing around past the pumps towards Park 2, necks stiffen. Exactly no one looks in my direction. No one. Someone begins talking again. Someone says the word ‘turbo’, not about the Skyline, but because it’s a common-use word outside the OTR sliding doors at 10:30pm on a Friday night.
I turn the engine and leave all the windows open. I get out. I look like someone’s accountant. I’ve got checks where I should have logos. I have to step around a guy with dreads and say ‘G’day’ to a bloke exactly 5 years younger than me who’s pretty committed to the Tex Walker moustache. He says ‘g’day’ back. He’s the one who says ‘turbo’ again, on my way out.
You don’t buy a Skyline to be cool. You don’t buy your dream car to impress anybody. But passing through that throng of tuner car fan-dudes in my creased trousers with my intense hairspray, I felt cool. An article by Maggie Stiefvater in Wednesday's Jalopnik reported a guy showing pictures of his own stupid car and saying ‘This car is what I look like on the inside.’ It suddenly started to make more sense.
I love the feeling of looking like a career office worker driving a twenty-year-old boy-racer-mobile and having people have to concede that maybe, just maybe, all dickheads don’t hang around outside servos on Friday nights. Some of us have a backseat full of books because we took our wives on a Dymocks spree.
Making the fan-dudes gathered around their mate’s Lexus have to re-think who they thought wanted to be in their club, is also pretty great. That’s the feeling.