Some changes I find a little hard to deal with. New jobs for example I’ve never welcomed with joy. I usually battle through the first 12 months and then I start to enjoy my ‘new’ job. Same holds true for any type of machinery, on- or offline. Sending my first texts with my new iPhone ten years ago, sent me into a rage.
I could have known better when we got a Fiat 500 old timer a year ago. The famous Cinquecento. Building year 1968, just one year my senior. She was insanely small, off-white and equipped with a black linnen rooftop that opens. Marc knows that I tend to judge cars by how they look and didn’t have a particular hard time to get my ok. Also it was supposed to be ‘my car’. Yeah. Right.
It turned out to be very hard to purchase the car, but that was nothing compared to driving the thing. This being the age of Tesla, I expect my car to recognise me walking up, adjusting my seat to my preferences, cool the interior before I get in and just take off without further ado playing my favourite music.
No such thing with a 50 year old car. Bianca as I named her, turned out to have something of a morning grumpiness that coincides with my character. Getting her to start requires pulling on two handles and turning a key that reminds me of those silly little keys that locked genuine leather suitcases in the heydays. I drowned the motor with gasoline several times before it finally hit me that you need to turn the key FIRST and THEN pull the two handles. Did I mention that it took me years and five attempts before I got my driver’s license at age 28?
I wasn’t particularly confident when Marc left with the regular car for the Netherlands leaving me with a car I was afraid might topple over on our extremely bumpy dirt roads. I had a sense that Bianca sort of knew that I was a bit weary of driving her. The motor died on me the very first trip, with five hens defecating in the back seat. No wonder then that when a Cinquecento-enthousiast friend of mine informed how Bianca was doing, I answered ‘Who the fuck is Bianca ?!?!!”
From that moment on we rented a car when Marc went on a trip with the Tesla. Until Covid-19 hit. We had known for a long time that we should have changed the Dutch targets on the car but of course we never really bothered to do that until the car of a good friend got confiscated by the Financial Police just because of that. I had to make peace with Bianca.
During the first months of the lock-down we were only allowed trips to the supermarket and the pharmacy. Trips within 3 miles of our house which I felt I could survive as long as Marc was sitting next to me as my portable car mechanic. Then I really hurt my back and was in dire need of a fysio therapist. Although we were under a severe lockdown my fysio agreed to help me. I was so happy to be able to get some relief, I didn’t even fuss about driving and just rode up alone to get my treatment. When my fysio welcomed me she looked at the Cinquecento and said appreciatively: ‘That is not an easy car to drive. Good for you!’
Little by little I got to understand Bianca a better. I figured that she, like me, might be going through some changes and that I had to try to figure out how we could best work together. I started to enjoy being inside that small vintage interior that fits me like a glove, opening all four little windows and the rooftop to let the cool wind whirl inside, listening to the purring sounds of the engine.
July came and Marc was finally allowed to travel to the Netherlands to visit his 84 year old mother. I took the opportunity to hook up with a good friend and have dinner in Perugia. As I drove home over the back roads late that night, I saw a giant orange moon rise over the Tiber Valley.