By Bruce Farrow on March 19, 2015
Life is a road trip.
He sat on the veranda of the exclusive Almalfi coast hotel, sipping a glass of ice cold Frascati and contemplating the stunning view of the Gulf of Salerno.
There was no wind and the water sparkled like a million diamonds in the evening sunshine. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was a warm, balmy, Italian evening. It was quite perfect.
“Un altro bicchiere di vino per favore” he said to the waiter as he drained his glass.
His eyes wandered to the road between the hotel and the sea and came to rest on the 1965 Alfa Romeo Spyder that rested by the kerbside. Everyone had told him he was mad to sell his new BMW and buy that car. “Are you kidding,” they said “it will just break down!” They didn’t understand. Life now was not about doing the ‘right thing’ or doing what was acceptable, life was now about passion and that car had passion in spades! It was beautiful, sleek and elegant and he remembered who and what had inspired him to buy it.
There was no class in today’s world, he pondered. Life these days was all about boxes. The society wanted to put you in a box, the company wanted to label you and put you in another box, you paid your mortgage to live in a big box and then you paid your car loan to buy a modern mobile box designed by accountants. Class and style had disappeared from this world for the most part leaving a sensible world behind it. One without excitement, or passion or adventure. Oh yes, adventure was off limits too!
He considered how he had begun to be a rebel, and laughed at the thought!
He had told his company that he was taking 3 months off and they didn’t like it, so he told them where to put their job! He had sold the BMW and bought the Alfa and set off on his road trip, on his adventure. No planning, and no real destination, just wherever the road took him and the road had finally led him to Italy.
Having driven into Italy past the stunning Lake Como he had headed south and, more by luck than judgement had found Parma. He had been captured by its beautiful, oh so Italian, architecture and the real pride of the locals who never missed an opportunity to tell him about how Parma had given the world the best cheese (Parmesan), the best prosciutto and the best local wines. Such pride and passion. Always with a ready smile, they adored being from Parma. It wasn’t like that back home!
Florence had given him a new problem. How to see everything it had to offer. The magnificent buildings, bridges and museums. The art! Oh the art! He wasn’t an art connoisseur, yet he knew he had to see what Florence had to offer. He really could have used a guide, an artist, who could have explained it all to him. He did his best and appreciated what he could!
Rome was fabulous. The energy of that city was quite something. He had never been there before and had stood in the famous places and pictured the scenes from two thousand years ago. It had given him goose bumps.
He had taken the coast road south and the car had finally done what old Italian cars are famous for. It had broken down in a place called Formia and he had sat for a day by the sea watching the Italian mechanic try and mend the problem. The man had been a total joy to listen to. He had spoken no English but as he worked on the car, his passionate Italian mutterings were just perfect for the situation! “Che bella macchina”,”è come una donna” and “Sembra bello, ha la passione e ha bisogno di un sacco di cura” as he raved about the beauty of his car.
Eventually, the mechanic had said, with much gesticulation, “la vettura è morto”.The end of the trip. Quitting time. Time to go back to the humdrum of his existence.
NO! He knew he had to continue his journey. He had his reasons.
He had established, with even more gesticulation, that it needed a new gearbox, and gearboxes for 1965 Alfas were just not available from the normal sources. He had found a car enthusiast in Formia, who spoke some English, and between them and two laptops and a thousand searches, had managed to locate the said item and had it couriered overnight to the mechanic who was positively overjoyed that he would be able to return the magnificent machine to normality.
He had paid the mechanic and amongst many hugs and smiles, he had regained the driving seat of the Alfa and continued south.
His life had been like the trip. Full of great opportunities, some he had taken and some he had missed. Full of ups and downs with some major events that almost stopped him. But he had kept going. Always with the goal in mind.
Now he sat on the veranda of this beautiful hotel, sipping his wine and enjoying the sunset. Almost a perfect evening. He had made it.
He looked at the two glasses of wine on the table . . . and smiled.