If there’s anything we can learn from piss-taker extraordinaire Richard Porter,i and comedy in general, it’s that nothing is sacred and that nothing is so precious that you can’t “take the piss”ii out of it. This is a valuable lesson! The moment we take ourselves too seriously, we lose perspective. Recall, we’re not just Zôion politikòn that moonwalk, we’re the animal that laughs! So we have to laugh at not only the world around us but also ourselves. We’re really each as ridiculous as the next, at least we have the opportunity to be, so why not enjoy it ?
In this spirit, I found myself back in Montreal with a couple good friends recently. Our original plan was, in addition to taking in the nightlife and restaurant scene, for the three of us to rent Ferraris and Lambos and head up to Mont Tremblant to find some twisting driving roads. Unfortunately, the GTC4Lusso that I had my heart set on suffered a bulged 335/25/22 rear tire the day before we went to pick it up, and we all suddenly realised that we’d rather be in the same vehicle anyways so that we could share the experience together rather than merely recounting it at every pit stop, so we took the keys to Loue La Vie’siii 2012 Rolls Royce Ghost and off we went.
Since our original planiv was already out the window and we were in no way tethered to Tremblant, we elected to drive to the much closer and more familiar Knowlton area instead, at the open-ended invitation of my nearly-91-year-old Gran’pa. So, rather unexpectedly, to the Round House in the Eastern Townships we went, where I’d spent several summers growing up but that hardly anyone outside of my immediate family has even heard of, much less been.
Gliding like pressed silk through the medium-strength rains, with Tarek behind the wheel and me in the passenger seat, we left Montreal for the bluer skies of the countryside, taking turns marvelling at the fine condition of the 75`000 km, 8-year-old boat. Everything seemed to work perfectly, quite in spite of the poor reputation for reliability carried by most German and certainly British cars. Only the steering pump seemed to be groaning a bit, but this was a small concession to perfection for the finest riding motorcar any of us had every been in. The pock-marked roads typical of socialist (if booming) Quebec were no match for the magic carpet ride of this entry-level Roller. Barely an hour from Montreal, we floated into Knowlton.
After saucisse du canard for lunch,v fresh from the famous Lac-Brome just five hundred meters away, we carved our way up to the Round House to surprise my Gran’pa with a quick hello. And boy was he surprised! With vişinată flowing, he gave us a full tour of the place, proudly showing off his award-winning Tiffany-style stained glass lamps,vi various ceramics,vii tilework, tapestries,viii carpentry, handmade furniture, plumbing, and more that he, his dearly departed wife, son, and daughter had built with their bare hands over the last 45 years. This was the kind of tour that scarcely ever happened because people outside our immediate family were hardly ever invited, such was the distance to get there. Even if we invited them, who would come ? In exchange for his generous tour, our trio helped Gran’pa set-up his new flat-screen TV, because what are young people for ?
Though apparently being young doesn’t make you invincible to the fatigue of lifting six-pound televisions for minutes and minutes at a time. At least not when you also have sleep apnea/narcolepsy, as was the case for one of our trio, who conked out the instant we hit the road back to Montreal. Not the least expensive nap Brian’s ever had!ix Don’t worry, we took the piss out of him for the next two days for his laughable lethargy.
Back on the highway and behind the wheel, since I’m well acquainted with luxobarge sedans, the Ghost didn’t feel all that unwieldy to steer, as it did for my travel partners, nor did it feel all that fast either, as I’m a little better adjusted to cars other than Macans and half-working MkV GTIs, the respective rides of my two friends. But that’s relativity for you! In terms of size and speed, for the purposes of my own garage, it’d probably opt to go one size bigger and take the Phantom,x but for an impromptu, piss-filled road trip with friends, this Ghost was a dream. Thankfully a pretty dry one. (The sunroof didn’t leak, we checked.)
In closing, although les grenouilles aren’t known for their sense of humour, in the immortal words of Kermit, always be yourself, never take yourself too seriously, and beware of advice from experts, pigs, and Members of Parliament. Oh, and take the piss at every opportunity! Enjoy the ride!xi
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- Richard is the man behind the legendary Sniff Petrol and his recent interview with The Monkey Harris on the Collecting Cars podcast is well worth a listen if you’re into that “Top Gear style” of humour, as I most certainly am. ↩
- Or “take the mickey…” if you’e into dat cockney ‘ting. ↩
- “Loue La Vie” is literally “Rent Your Life.” I seriously couldn’t think of a more hilariously fitting name for a poseur-enabling exotic rental car company. For what it’s worth, the company was incredibly easy to deal with. Instead of the nickel-and-diming we’d expected, they were at the exact opposite end of the spectrum in terms of fussiness. They didn’t bother with inspections or explanations at drop-off or pick-up and they even comped the extra mileage we put on. Sweet! ↩
- Thankfully we all went into the adventure with an open mind and open wallet so none of us the least bit bothered that we set out to do one thing and ended up doing something else entirely different. Improv yo! ↩
- The acorn that is my bladder also relieved itself with a quick piss in the bush alongside the town’s main parking lot. Hey, what’s the point of dressing flamboyantly (and taking a little flak for it) not to mention driving cars costing as much as houses if you can’t take a few liberties here and there ? The port-a-potty a few metres away was just too expected, too normal. P’shaw! Also, I didn’t see the port-a-potty.
- Turns out that being a teenage geometry enthusiast in Romania in the 1930s paid dividends for Gran’pa’s artistic hobbies in Canada in the 1990s. That’s time well wasted! ↩
- Despite sleeping-in the latest out of all of us that morning, Brian tried unsuccessfully to fall asleep in the back seat before calling “shotgun” so that he could fully recline in the front passenger seat. For some reason the rear seats in the Ghost don’t recline. Or at least we couldn’t figure out how to make them work. Anyways, the front passenger seat was first class comfort! Though I found the driver’s seat fairly unergonomic – it needed more thigh support on the chair and more padding on the centre console where my knee rested. Also, the adaptive cruise was either not working or not optioned. It’s the little things! ↩
- Even a Hoovie-esque “beater” Phantom would do the trick nicely. ↩
- I know it kinda looks like an AP RO 14790 on my wrist but I swear it’s but a humble Casio A500WGA-9! ↩