Big man. Small car.

  • Sunday, April 13, 2014

I am a big man.

I stand 6 feet, 2 inches and some change. I weigh, give or take, depending on Meat Loaf Thursdays at Mamaís, a touch more than 270 pounds.

There are some cars out there I canít drive.

One of them was my Dadís Mazda Miata, but oh boy did I want to try. My Dad used to own a Mazda Miata M Edition ragtop and somehow the gods of cars decreed I could drive it around for a few days.

Iím 56 and a marginally competent man. While most days itís hit or miss whether I leave the house with or without the fly option implemented, or if I put on matching socks, or even socks at all, I can drive a car.

Whatís so hard about driving a Miata?

Absolutely nothing. Driving it is not the hard part. Getting in and out of the Miata... now, thatís the hard part.

I need a shoehorn and a tub of Crisco. Legs are wedged tight.The steering wheel digs into my gut. My head pokes about six inches above the windshield.

I donít need seatbelts. Wherever this car goes Iíll be going with it. Iím good and stuck.

The first time I tried to get out of Dadís Miata I noticed that my shoes were untied.

So I reached up and untied them.

I hadnít seen my feet in quite some time. So as I squatted there half in and half out of my Dadís Miata, I got reacquainted with them. I also introduced them to my ears because thatís where my feet were, right up there next to my ears. My knees were contorted in a yoga-like position that I hadnít been able to attain since I slipped on the banana peel in seventh grade.

Successfully removing oneself from my Dadís Mazda Miata involved the maneuver, ďdrop, tuck and roll.Ē

I realized a guy my size doesnít drive a Miata. He wears it.

This 1998 ragtop with saddle leather tan interior and what I like to call ďVaroom MaroonĒ exterior shoots down the highway like a flat stone skipping across a shallow pond.

When you hit the pedal, she goes.

My ginormous head made a great target for flying objects like beetles, hornets, bumblebees, and cigarette butts thrown from the car up ahead.

I am too tall to drive this car.

Still, this thing was sweet to drive. She purred like a kitten on Ritalin. The first time I wedged behind the wheel I wore my official Tom Cruise Maverick Top Gun reflecto-shades, Kenny Loggins and Danger Zone cranked on the radio, and I felt the need for speed. I revved her up to about 65 mph give or take and a June bug smacked me in the forehead.

That left a serious red mark.

When you sit behind the wheel of a Mazda Miata ragtop with leather seats and Varoom Maroon interior, people look at you. You also spend as much time looking at yourself looking cool driving your Miata ragtop as watching the road.

Such coolness should not go unnoticedÖ and it didnít.

Sadly, the Mazda Miata has gone to that great big parking lot in the sky. I havenít been that sad since I broke my brotherís Big Wheel.

Itís tough being a big man driving a little car.

Ever try to squeeze into that Size 6 when you know you havenít shopped in the single digit clothes section since eighth grade? Thatís me getting into a Mazda Miata.

Does this Miata make me look fat?

Donít answer that.

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