I did something this weekend that I had forgotten all about; it seemed a foreign and very strange thing to do here in Abu Dhabi.
I turned the heater on in my car.
It's been a while. Being from Canada, I'm well aware of how to use it, believe me, but there's really no need here in the desert; is there?
Unless, of course, you drive a convertible. I picked up a lovely Alfa Romeo Spyder a while back, and with this cooler weather, it's my first real opportunity to enjoy its al fresco option. And driving back from Yas Island one evening, I got such a chill - but I didn't even think of putting the top up.
You see, I think having a convertible is one of the pinnacles of driving experiences. It's such a great feeling those times where you have to don a thin sweater or even a jacket - rarities here in themselves - and maybe even a cap and enjoy the elements. But not everyone agrees with me on this one.
The thing is, you can't use living in this part of the world as a reason against convertibles; yes, it gets unbearably hot here, but it's called a convertible, meaning you can put the top up to be like any normal car, and then crank the air conditioning.
Of course, there are other reasons, so let's go over the for and against owning a convertible, starting with against:
Sand gets in your eyes
It messes your hair
The inconvenience of putting your top up and down (especially if it's a manual top)
Less protection with a soft top
The slim, slim chance that, if it starts to rain, you'll have to pull over and put up the top
A lack of modesty and anonymity (something I can understand with some people)
You just can't sing in the car, unless you don't care what people around you think
You've got to be careful with your comments about bad drivers, especially in a city situation
OK, now let's look at the for:
The completely visceral driving experience you get from being exposed to the elements. To be able to hear the road and the engine noise, to be able to look around, unencumbered, to be able to feel the wind rush by faster as you press the accelerator - all give you much more of a connection to the car. If you really love to drive, this will enhance your experience exponentially. And this one bullet, to me, trumps all eight of the reasons against.
Hmmm. Well, admittedly, I may be a little biased here in my arguments. If you don't want to drive a convertible, you must have your reasons, and I won't bother you about it. Too much.
But there is one issue where I do take offence; it's a travesty, a farce, a downright disgrace, and the offending person should be outed and shamed, especially at this time of year.
Yes, I'm looking at you, the person sitting behind the glass and under the fabric (and sometimes steel) folding top on this wonderfully beautiful Saturday morning. You bought a convertible - you actually spent more money for that option - yet you insist on leaving the top up in the most moderate of weather, either too lazy to hit the power top button or too vain to mess your hair up. If you have a problem with enjoying the cool breeze - especially after enduring 50°C summer days - and taking in the sounds and the sights around you, why did you even bother with the purchase in the first place?
You make me angry, and if I pull up beside you at a stoplight, I'm not sure I could contain myself in letting you know about it.
Oh, don't worry, you'll be able to hear me. I'll have my roof down.