I had very strong views on convertible sports cars in Los Angeles. I mean, you can never run those things hard anywhere, you can’t fit anything in them, they are basically just big penis extensions.
So a friend of mine has a BMW Z4 and it’s about the biggest strap on you can imagine. Now I have to say, it’s beautiful, let there be no doubt. It’s German and if it’s one thing they know, it’s how to build a car. And yes, it’s nice to be a passenger in it, but it’s like a carnival ride; thanks that was fun but I don’t need to ride you for another year.
And my friend to his credit, took all my ribbing very well. Then with a smile on his face, he single-handedly ruined my life.
He was going out of town for a couple of weeks on business and casually one day over a drink asks me if I’d like to mind it while he’s away. I think about it for a moment. Then consider that this might be a bit of a hassle. Then I thought, ah, why not, I’ll take it for a ride up the 1 late one night.
So I dropped him at the airport, I slide into the driver’s seat, slam it into 1st and thus begins my slide down the slippery slope.
Now remember, I’m driving KITT around still; 93 Honda Civic, with not much more than the engine working. It’s beaten up, it’s dinged, it’s usually parked far from the party.
Now I’m rocking a dick magnet. Someone should have prepped me on what to expect.
Firstly, people love a convertible, everyone wants one. So suddenly I notice that people notice me. Everywhere I drive people look at you from the pavement, point you out, watch you go by. This is weird. I’m used to blending into the bitumen.
Then you park it. People watch you park, then watch you as you walk somewhere, then look back at your car again and wonder what it is that you do. I do nothing people. I’m a freeloader. I don’t even have a job.
In a de-powered Honda there’s not a lot you can do at a traffic light. In this baby, I was screaming off from the greens, cutting around old people in Volvos, slicin’, dicin’ and generally owning the streets. I drove at night with my sunglasses on.
Then you really find out the awesome power of the Z4, when you go for a cruise down Santa Monica Blvd on a summer Saturday night. The bars are full, the streets heaving and you can do nothing else but glide by at 10 mph in the traffic. And be watched by a thousand eyes.
But it gets worse. My friend works in the music biz so he always has the newest latest shit I’ve never heard before plus a booming sound system. Who am I not to educate the masses? That’s right bitches, you don’t know who this artist is, and you don’t know who I am, and you don’t know what I do.
So I became “that guy”, the guy that drives a convertible, top down, music pumping.
And I loved it. The whole entire alpha-male peacockery of my behavior thrilled me. I became the kind of guy I despise and it happened so effortlessly and even seamlessly. It turns out that you can march in as many gay rights parades as you like, and preach peace love and mung beans, but you are never more than one set of car keys away from being a total douchebag.
But wait, it gets worse. There is a gay film-maker guy that I met at LA Film Fest a couple of years before. He seemed super cool, we hit it off and went out on a couple of lunches. It was nice to meet another gay guy who wasn’t interested in making gay films. Just films. His name’s Scott, so we go out on a couple of times, then in true LA style he falls off the face of the earth.
I would bump into him once a year after that, we’d talk, he’d say call me, I would, he’d never reply. The second time, I even pointed out that it was his actually turn to call me. He laughed. Then said, call me.
So I get home from my laps of Weho and lo and behold, there is a message from him on my cell, that I’d left at home.
Scott: “Hey, Karl, it’s Scott here. How you doing? Listen, I was on my way to the Abbey and I thought I saw you driving up Santa Monica in a Z4. Was that you? Wow, things must be great here for you in LA, your stuff must be taking off. Congratulations. So listen, we really must catch up. Um, ok, talk to you soon. Great car. Bye.”
What a tool. Me, I mean. Because I actually called him. And he never called me back. Again. But the universe did send me a message, loud and clear.
So I handed back the keys to the Z4, said a few words of apology to the neglected KITT and sputtered off into the sunset, windows down, music squeaking.