Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible is dodgy. Quite the contrary, in fact – it’s a lovely little car. Disconcertingly quick, with impressive handling and superb cornering ability, it’s the kind of car that gives “vigorous driving” a whole new meaning. After just one day behind the wheel, I’ve rediscovered the urban cowboy in me.
In keeping with the Bloggers Code, I will now go off at a complete tangent.
My inaugural test drive also resulted in a close encounter with a breed of cowboy that exhibits utter contempt for other people’s property. More specifically, the driver who abuses rental cars in much the same way that a toddler abuses a toy (the analogy is more apt than you might think). I was driving the JCW – we insiders use acronyms quite a lot because it makes us appear clever – past a rental car firm when I spotted a man driving away in a prosaic mid-range sedan. Nothing strange about that, if you ignore the fact that he was talking on his cellphone as he headed off into rush-hour traffic.
Aside from the cellphone thing, he behaved quite normally until the traffic light changed, at which point he floored the gas and lit off down the road with a screech of tyres and a puff of smoke. He repeated the performance at the next light. Once out of town, he drove like an absolute lunatic, weaving from lane to lane until he finally disappeared from sight. What the hell goes through the mind of a man like that? Does he really think other motorists will mistake him for a famous Formula One driver (in a Corolla, for heaven’s sake)?
What really gets my goat is the fact that he thought it was okay to hammer someone else’s car, smoking the tyres and possibly damaging the transmission just because he felt like it.
It’s a mindset problem, and you see it everywhere. Take the Christmas lunch, for example. You put a bunch of apparently normal people in a large room and tell them the drinks are free. Do they opt for their regular tipple? Nope. At home, they drink castle Lager; at the office party, they order triple Chivas and cola. Hey, let’s screw the company! Why? Have they been badly treated? Probably not. If they don’t like their jobs, why the hell don’t they leave? No class, that’s why.
Still with less-than-classy mindsets, how about the Sick Leave Imperative? An employee knows he’s entitled to 7 days of sick leave in a calendar year, and he makes damn sure he takes his full entitlement, whether he’s ill or not. Compassionate leave? Hey, he can always rustle up an old uncle somewhere
Okay, that’s it. I feel much better now.
* Back to the JCW. The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible is equipped with a 1,6-litre four-cylinder engine producing all of 155 kW at 6 000 r/min (thanks largely to its twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection). Torque is a formidable 260 N.m. It goes from standstill to 100 km/h in 6,9 seconds. Want one? It will cost you R378 850.