Objects of Desire, July 2013

The Vanishing Point

By Emily Atkins, Provinz Editor

Where does your Porsche take you? Mine is more than a car; it’s a magic carpet, an escape hatch and a tranquility tank all in one.

I don’t even have to start the engine for the therapeutic effects to begin. Simply dropping into the racing seat is enough to peel away the first layers of stress. Click in the seat belt, depress the clutch, fire the ignition and the intrusions of the world fade away.

Life is simple again and the direction is clear. The fog of everyday confusion lifts, revealing a private runway that stretches off into an oh-so tantalizing vanishing point.

That runway takes me real (perhaps ‘concrete’ is a better term) places I never thought I’d go. Three years ago, had you suggested I’d be at a driving event or race track practically every weekend from May 1st to October 31st I’d have looked at you and snorted. And yet, that’s where my Porsche has taken—and takes—me.

But the act of driving it, no matter the destination, is the real trip. I am transported to a different plane. This is especially true at the track, when concentration is everything and there is nothing else on earth but you, the pavement and the car. It’s transcendent. Others may find their bliss in nature or religion or study, who knows. But mine is behind the wheel, in the temple of the sticky pavement.

I absolutely love how the act of driving completely obliterates any other thoughts. There’s no worrying about work or whether your partner is annoyed with you for being in the very car that’s making you so blissful.

Money, sex and power are all irrelevant on the track. It’s a great equalizer, the common experience of driving. Doesn’t matter if you have a GT2 or a 924. Like drug addicts or religious pilgrims, we are all the same in our need for speed. While our means of getting there vary wildly, once we attain it we are subjugated to the higher wer, acolytes of asphalt every one. Nothing else matters, driving is everything.

There’s another dimension to the car’s transformative abilities. My car takes me to a time when cars—and life— are simpler. Traffic is light, so driving stick is no problem. Global warming hasn’t been invented yet, so being AC-free is not an issue. Smart phones are science fiction, so not having Bluetooth in the car is irrelevant. No navi? That’s ok too, since there are only half as many roads to get lost on.

This feeling is generated not only in an old car. A new– Porsche transporter drops you off in another part of the space-time continuum, this one consisting entirely of speed-limit-free autobahns, populated only by other drivers who magically clear a path for you to infinity.

The concepts may be fanciful, but I bet everyone who gets behind the wheel of their special car feels at least some of what I’m describing. There’s an otherworldliness about the experience, whether you are cocooned in a climate controlled Panamera or letting it all hang out in an early 911 Cabriolet. It’s got to be part of the secret to success for the maker of these cars. Sure, they’re special, but the extra mystique they carry is a balm on the soul.

Porsche dealers should post warnings about the addictive nature of their products, or perhaps they should commission double-blind clinical trials to prove that the Porsche has verifiable medicinal properties. I can see the ad campaign now: “Nine out of 10 doctors recommend Porsche therapy for stressed-out patients.

It works for me. When we roll down the road, I’m sometimes surprised you can even see me and the 944, since we are really somewhere else entirely. Off in a blissful state of hyper-consciousness, thinking of nothing but the sweet sounds, smells and sensations of being at the wheel of this magical, therapeutic machine.

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