Friday, April 2, 2010

Of women and cars: A competition in elegance.

Recently, I managed to acquire a rusty 1978 Mini Morris Minor.

 For those of you that have as much clue about vintage automobiles as I do about the effect of algorithmic disambiguation on octanomial algebraic equations truncated at the third significant figure, a 1978 Mini Morris Minor is the type of car you don't just acquire anyhow unless you've got some serious cash, electric power connections and a time machine.

Obviously, my purchase of the car wasn't inspired by a pertinent need to address my transportation problems. Introducing such a gem into the atrocious Nairobi traffic scene is irrefutable evidence of a glaring lack of common sense, and besides, I have a perfectly serviced Suzuki motorbike for that purpose. The reason I bought the Morris, actually, was in anticipation of the Concours d' Elegance.

The Concours d' Elegance, again for those as uninformed about it as I am on all things mathematics, is Kenya's premier jamboree for glamour, class and, as its name modestly suggests, Elegance. Basically a vintage car and motorbike pageant and auto fair for new and used vehicles, the show has over its chequered history grown from strength to strength since the Alfa Romeo Owners' Club started this event in 1969, and last year's event at the Ngong Racecourse saw a record 70 cars and over 35 motorbikes competing in the various categories on offer. I bought the Morris, which I have affectionately named Maureen, because I plan to refurbish her and display her in this year's Concours d' Elegance event.

Cue trouble.

But first, a prologue to the events leading to my insistence on participating in this year's Concours d' Elegance, and the very dark clouds that now hang over my decision and my chances of winning the Ksh. 1.5million on offer.

Before last year, my take on "that KenCell junkyard show" as I used to term the Concours d' Elegance, was that it was nothing more than a forum for white expats and loaded Asians to show off vehicles their parents used to drive around in during the colonial times. Naturally, I considered such an event about as exciting as the breeding habits of pre-historic crustaceans, and I would gladly have endured a 3-hour VoK documentary on soil erosion at my ex girlfriend's house rather than attend one.

But that was before my friend, Ogolla Jangsta, convinced me that there was more to the Concours than vehicles which belong in a Museum.

The girls who attend the Concours, Jangsta reliably informed me, would make Jesus, Elton John and Ricky Martin re-consider their sexual orientation. According to him, the most money attracts the best females, and since wheels equals owners who can afford wheels and anyone who can afford a vintage car must have deep pockets, even the thickest blonde can tell that such a high concentration of wheels in one place means an equally high concentration of moneyed males. In short, the girls would be there in droves, and they would be there to impress the moneyed guys, which meant that they would look good.

 I listened to Jangsta's logic, and it was was impeccable. So on 27th October last year, I attended the Concours, not to see the cars, but to see the ladies who had come to see the loaded expats and rich Asians who had come to see the cars.

And I wasn't disappointed, because those ladies were something and then some. Oozing style and grace, It was as if God chose the moments he was feeling most creative to work on each female that was there, and then the ladies themselves emphatically complemented the almighty work by accentuating their curvaceous anatomies. A dizzying array of elegantly stitched designs, arresting accessories and the most pleasant scents to match their bewitching smiles permeated the grounds, numbed the senses and induced a feeling of perfect bliss. I was in heaven.

And what they couldn't accentuate, these girls exposed. From cleavage-exposing blouses to ass-lifting pencil jeans to outrageously low-cut minis from which a thong would discreetly but suggestively peep from time to time, they were clearly out to get me. If I were ever to be a suicide bomber with dreams of the standard seventy virgins of my choice, I thought at some point, I wouldn't mind choosing my virgins from these [assuming, of course, that seventy bona-fide virgins could be obtained from this crowd. But I digress.]

As the day wore on, however, I got bored with chasing after the pencil jeans, and started to nonchalantly look at the cars. To my surprise, I found the exercise quite captivating and before long, I started to actually enjoy watching the cars. Their big, round, perfectly symmetrical headlights, their sleek, streamlined bodies, their dark wheels with shiny reams, their cosy interiors and upholstery, and the way rows upon rows of them were parked along the ground as the judges and revellers walked around viewing them. suddenly, I realised I was in the presence of glamour, class and...Elegance.

 Elegance. Class. Sophistication. The very things I would want from a woman, these cars had and then some.

I looked at a passing female donning a pair of dark stunners to ward of the bright sunlight, and what registered in my mind was a the perfectly symmetrical headlights of a Rolls Royce.

 I saw lovely young lady whose cleavage left absolutely nothing to the imagination, and all I remembered was an open bonnet displaying the perfectly maintained engine of a 1934 Napier-Railton.

Another lady walked by in high-heels that accentuated her very shapely calves, and my mind immediately raced to the raised wheels of a 1928 Ford Model A.

And as she walked away, her behind rhythmically undulating, I couldn't help but think of the streamlined rear bumper of a 1978 Morris Mini.

I looked at the glossy shine of all the vehicles on display and marvelled at the dedication of the owners, had obviously put in a lot of time and energy to make them shine like that. As the engines were being analysed, I further marvelled at the financial strain it must have taken to lovingly restore these vehicles to mint condition. Surely, they hadn't put all that in for the sake of it. what I was witnessing here was rows and rows of individual labors of love.

Labor of love. Love.

Suddenly, it struck me. This men loved their cars. Any given day, I realised, any of these cars could be the perfect and much better substitution for women. Even when well maintained, women nag. women whine. Women are stubborn. Women are never on time. Women sulk for no apparent reason. Women don't understand when you just need your space. But most importantly, women are impossible to understand. And none of these endearing qualities could be said of a well-serviced, well-maintained car.

Right there and then, I decided that I was going to get me a vintage car and work on her so that I would enter her in the next edition of Concours d' Elegance. I would give her all the love and affection I could give a woman [except the obvious ones that can only be done with a fellow human, of course] in the hope that I would win the next edition of the Concours d' Elegance.

And after a long search, now I have Maureen. Problem is, the woman currently in my life is jealous of all the attention I give to Maureen. She claims that I am neglecting her, and this has been the cause of many an argument between us. Yet Maureen never complains when I leave her out in the cold, fail to attend to her or call her bad names when I'm in a foul mood. See what I mean?

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