I have argued with myself over this one for years, but the mountain of evidence is now way too vast to warrant any other conclusion: BMW drivers are aliens who simply do not understand our earthly behaviour.
I know, I know, it is madness to think in such terms. It is hideously unfair; surely there can be no truth in it? Surely I am just prejudiced against BMW drivers? Obviously I have a problem with them because I cannot afford a BMW or I was once kicked out of the BMW Club (they have a club!) for not being able to handle my single malt?
But no. On the first count, I am only prejudiced against BMW drivers insofar as they are a bunch of arrogant, headlight-flashing, rear-bumper-caressing road hoggers who believe they own the road and that all other cars should stand aside to make way for them at any time of day or night. Other than this, I have nothing at all against them.
On the second count, in all conscience I have to admit that I really, really do not want a BMW and that if you gave me one I would sell it and buy two or three smaller cars. I just do not enjoy driving big cars, so neither would I buy a Mercedes Kompressor, a Hummer or any number of those four-square off-road vehicles so astonishingly beloved of way too many city-bound people who should have more sense. I am a man of simple motoring tastes. (Mine’s a Renault Scenic, by the way. Why do I hear the rasping throttle of a thousand lizard-eating Beamer-aliens scoffing?)
As for the third count, I enjoy single-malt whisky as much as I don’t enjoy being pushed off the road, and I am prepared to attempt to drink BMW drivers under the counter any day, just as long as it is on their tab. Having said that, obviously I would be ineligible to drink in the hallowed portals of a Beamer Lodge.
Here is a question for earthlings (if BMW drivers wouldn’t mind standing aside for a moment — a novel experience, no doubt, and evidently one not practised on the planet Zog):
If you are on a national road, the kind on which you are allowed to drive at 120km/h, and a car swiftly hoves into view in your rearview mirror, seemingly from nowhere (beam me down, Scotty?), all but touches your rear bumper and starts flashing his lights madly, and the driver scowls at you from behind his or her designer shades, what kind of car will it be?
Will it be (a) a BMW, or (b) any other car?
You know the answer. I sense you sitting there nodding and frothing at the mouth. And it is simply true. In almost all cases, it will be a BMW, and probably a white or silver one. I have no idea why. Do you? But I have seen it so many thousands and thousands of times that the ghastly conclusion is inescapable.
I am always muttering darkly behind the wheel: “Christ, another fucking BMW,” then desperately trying to shift into the left lane in time while my wife checks her seatbelt and takes a swig of voddy.
And yes, this is the point of the blog that provides any BMW driver reading this with the perfect opportunity to post a rant in the comments field below about how obviously I hog the fast lane when I should really be trundling along in the slow lane with all the other earthlings. (BMW drivers have priority in the fast lane, didn’t they tell you at driving school?)
But here’s the thing: I am not a slow driver. Without wishing to incriminate myself, let’s just say that my speeds on the open road are such that I really should be in the fast lane for a fair amount of the time. But I do not hog people’s bumpers, flash my lights or generally behave like the kid in the sandpit whose mission is to make all the other kids’ playtime a misery.
And I wonder: If I were to own one, would I drive like that? Is there something about a BMW that makes its driver behave like a fiend on wheels with a death wish for other car types?
Do people who drive BMWs go to a different driving school than the ordinary ones the rest of us have to go to, a school that teaches them that the rules of polite, civilised driving are of no consequence, contemptible and to be ignored? Do they get Beamered up to the planet Zog for a celestial course in how to dominate Earth roads? Is this merely the precursor to a Zoggian invasion? Are we all to be eaten alive in our beds?
I am not saying that I am not capable of being a friend of a BMW driver. I am, in fact, a friend of one. I had better not name her because she is a very dear friend of long standing and I would hate to offend her, although I am having difficulty coming to terms with the knowledge that she is actually a phone-obsessed Zoggian princess who can’t handle her beer.
Years ago, when we lived nearby one another, she would occasionally give me a lift in her car, a modest affair. And I would put my seatbelt on very tightly and sit tensely in the passenger seat until we reached our destination, for she was a terror behind the wheel.
She had various little cars through the years, but no matter which brand she owned, she always drove in that frightening way (for a passenger). Very competent, mind you, just butt-clenchingly fast with lots of overtaking and frequently appearing to wish to mate her car with the exhaust of the one in front of her.
Then, a year ago, she came to visit us after we had not seen her for many years. She was driving a shiny new BMW, a silver one, having done very nicely for herself thank you very much. I remarked that I was surprised to see her in a BMW.
“Really?” she replied. “But I’ve always wanted one. Just couldn’t afford one until now.”
And then it struck me: of course, she had been a BMW driver all along; all she needed was the car. There is a kind of driver who is meant to drive one, as if pre-ordained by some celestial deity, and so when you see somebody in a Mini, a Golf or a Beetle behaving on the roads as if they were driving BMWs, they’re just saving up to get one.
As for the average BMW’s rear-bumper obsession, if cars are male, BMWs are gay.