Monday, February 26, 2007

The Return of the Panzerfürhen

This morning there was another inch or so of wet inconvenience snow. A little more than the last lot, just enough in fact to trigger the appearance of another Long Island phenomenon, the elusive winter Panzerfüher.

This beast can be identified by its signature habit of setting out onto the roads of Long Island with all its car windows covered in a thick layer of snow, with just the minimum scraped off the windshield and (sometimes) the rear window to actually move the car without resorting to The Force or the help of The Great Kreskin. In extreme cases this can be a simple palm-wide slot in the driver's side of the windshield at eye level, producing an effect evocative of a WWII German tank with the lid closed. Hence the name "Panzerfürhen".

It is not unusual for these idiots to be driving at speed on icy roads and they almost never turn on their headlights either. Not surprisingly, the Suburban Panzerfuhrer typically drives a needlessly large vehicle too, either a bowling alley on wheels like a Caddy Sedan De Ville or a humungous Osamamobile like the Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition.

The Suburban Panzerfürher is so clueless that they often end up in unintended ironic performance art productions. While walking across Wyandanch station car park this morning I saw a brand new, jet black Jaguar parked in it. Out of stall, and with the rear window showing the perfunctory slot carved out by its oblivious owner.

I had to smile. The Jaguar is a high-performance car whose name goes back to the dawn of the British car industry. The Marque has a high cachet even though it is now just a name bolted onto a car made by Ford. One purchases (or, more likely in this case, leases) such a car to tell the world something about onesself. One doesn't buy (or lease) a Jaguar to simply get from A to B. It is a statement that one makes any time one takes it out on the road.

In this case the statement was "I have money my I.Q. doesn't know what to do with".

Honestly. To run a car because everyone knows the name, yet to drive it in a manner more worthy of someone with a rusty truck has to be one of the all-time dumbest things you can do. I guess that in today's "luxury for the sake of it" society the irony of the situation is lost.

Apart from those of us with the magic decoder ring, that is.

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