Saturday, November 12, 2005

My midlife crisis will involve a Ferrari

Cars salesman and Italians in suits, ordinarily, are two species low on my credibility scale. I say ordinarily. This weekend Xtina and I traded in the ol' Fiat Lancia -- una macchina piccola that gets Zamboni-like car mileage -- for an economical, dependable, used, VW diesel. In ridding myself of the dreaded Lancia, I pray, I have forever severed all ties with the Agnelli automotive dynasty. We went to the Perugia dealership where wink, wink Xtina's family has some pull. For me, I still have to hang my head a bit low there for introducing the phrase "Fix it again, Tony" to this ancient hilltown community.

Today, with check in hand, all was forgiven. While papers were being shuffled and keys located, I peeked my head around the showroom floor. Maseratis, Ferraris, a vintage Vespa were all on display. I was, to the say least, a bit distracted when it was time to meet the capo of the dealership. "American? What are we buying today?" he inquired by way of introduction. "Ferrari? Maserati?"

Very coolly I told him prossima volta, io pense che, sara un Maserati. "Next time, I think, a Maserati". I was kidding, of course. I can't even afford the used VW Polo I drove out of the lot today. The capo, fancy suit and all, looked me up and down, and shook his head. No. Hai una faccia da Ferrari, he said with genuine sincerity. "You have a Ferrari face." Suddenly, I'm seeing Italian car dealers in a different light. Perhaps I had it all wrong. Perhaps Italian car dealerships are the final bastion for honesty, dignity and professionalism in Italy.

Moments later, I was looking back at my reflection in the driver's side window of a candy apple red Ferrari. Why hadn't I noticed it before? Una faccia da Ferrari. Of course! Sadly, when I look in the window of the VW, I see almost the exact same reflection.

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