There is nothing quite so sexy as a 4-litre British V8 at 5800 RPM.

My aunt is fortunate enough to drive a Jaguar. I am fortunate enough to have an aunt that allows her not-quite responsible twenty-three year old nephew to borrow the Jag at regular intervals. I got to take it to Vegas for New Year’s, I got to show Rachel around L.A. in it; my aunt’s basically been generous to the point of absurdity.

Lately she’s been wanting to clean and condition the leather interior. But, leather cannot be cleaned in direct sunlight or in hot weather. Which means that all Jaguars located in southern California should be driven to Seattle to have their interiors cleaned. But the miles, the miles…

This week we’ve been having a bit of June Gloom here in L.A. For people outside of coastal California, June Gloom is that weather phenomenon (guess when it’s most common) where the marine layer (fog from the ocean) sticks around until 11 AM or noon. Being generous and not self-serving in the least, I offered to take the Jag under my wing and fondle its leather in the cool and cloudy morning, since I don’t work mornings and she goes to work at 5:30 AM.

Having procured the Jaguar (I call her Mrs. Thurston Howell III), I set out this morning to McDonald’s to get breakfast before starting on my fondling and licking conditioning and polishing. I was cruising back to the house, and turned onto my street. Which was God’s cue to throw up His middle finger at me. As I rounded the corner, the orange juice mystically lifted its lid, levitated out of the cupholder, and spilled its entirety all over me, the Connolly-leather (no longer made! and exclusive to Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Ferrari and the seats in the UK Parliament!) encrusted driver’s throne seat, the dash console, the e-brake, and the wool carpeting.

For once, my rage issues worked to my advantage, because when I mashed the gas pedal to the floor to get home as quickly as possible, all 290 horsepower and 290 foot-pounds of torque ensured that the OJ spill rocketed into the backseat passenger footwell, thus mercifully saving the seat’s power motors and the A/C vent located beneath it. After cursing a hateful, vengeful God and firebombing local Churches, I ran inside the house and grabbed an entire roll of paper towels to soak up the spill. You never appreciate how inaccessible the underside of a car’s seat is until you’re trying to extricate the $0.89 worth of orange juice that is soaking into and trying to ruin a $70,000 car. I got it up, although I had to shampoo the mats twice and wash the filter in the A/C vent beneath the seat. At least I was going to be detailing the car anyway.

Since I felt horribly guilty, I bought a tube of chrome polish and polished the bejeezus out of all the “chromium” trim (the British have such cute, if obtuse, ways of referring to everyday objects/substances) inside and out. So now the carpets smell fresh, the hides are supple and lickable again, and the bonnet leaper (again with the obtuseness…it’s the leaping Jaguar on the bonnet hood) is shiny enough to make its appearance to the public once again.

And what an appearance she makes. I know, I’m spoiled, but to me, driving ’round in a Connolly leather seat, listening to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, eyes caressing walnut burl, the V8 doing an effortless 85 MPH and letting the bonnet leaper lead the way is better than a day off, better than having sexy clothes or a vapid sexy boyfriend or a cookie-cutter sexy BMW, the de rigeur status symbols in Los Angeles (RNFs Jordan, RNFs as far as the eye can see!). It’s an experience not quite replicated any other way. Granted I’m affirming global destruction by driving a beast longer than mom’s minivan that sucks down Premium at an alarming rate, and Lord knows how many cows had to be skinned and sheep sheared and walnut tree cancers cut off (didja know that? Burlwood is the result of cancerous growth on a tree) to provide me with the hedonism, but hey. Gotta get your pleasures somehow. And it’s not like I’m doing it for the ‘status’ of it. Lord knows driving an “old man’s car” isn’t going to win me friends or influence people in my age group. But then I’m an old man anyway. I like bourbon and wine more than fagtinis or beer, so I guess I’m just easing into my old age now. Mmmmm old age.


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