Tom Clyde: The royal expiration
For those of you who have been putting off buying a Porsche 911 because of some limitations in the practicality department, resist no more. Your problems are solved. It used to be that you would spend $120,000 for a car that was great fun to drive as long as the weather was perfect and there was nothing thicker than a hockey puck on the road to get high centered on. It would carry one or two bags of groceries, and with some practice, you could wrestle a set of golf clubs into it. It looks great, drives great, and when it comes to utility, it has absolutely none. That’s the whole point.
With such limited uses, it’s hard to justify the expense, even in the rarified and indulgent world of Summit County. Well, problem solved. The people at Porsche have come out with a roof-top camper option for the Porsche 911. For a mere $5,000, you can add a stylish pop-up tent to the roof of your aerodynamic marvel. With just a little fiddling, you can open the hard shell top and fold out a cozy bed that measures about 6 by 4 feet. They make quite a point of saying there is also an optional “shoe organizer” because, I guess, they are Germans. There is nothing more important when camping on the roof of a sports car than keeping your shoes organized.
This is not exactly the Westfalia camper version of the VW bus. There is no stove or refrigerator, no sink, and no storage. A sleeping bag alone will pretty much fill the trunk of the 911, though there might be room for a tin of caviar and the makings for s’mores. No room for firewood, though. The thing is big enough that it limits the speed of the Porsche to 80 mph, which is parking lot speed. Otherwise the tent, even in the folded position, acts as a wing and either lifts the car off the road, or the tent flies off the roof. The camper package doesn’t do anything to address the limited off-road capability of a car with 3 inches of ground clearance, so, mercifully, nobody is going Porsche camping in the backcountry.
There’s also the issue of the weight limit. The roof-top tent that fits the 911 model is limited to 280 pounds. That makes it a little tricky to get two standard-sized people in the tent without crushing the car’s roof. But when you think about it, the kind of person who would put a roof-top tent on a Porsche is going to be travelling alone.
In other news, it has come to my attention that the Queen is still dead. The coverage of the Royal Expiration has been impossible to avoid. I’ve actually found some of it kind of interesting. The whole thing is such an anachronism, all of it from a long bygone era. The whole script is lifted from 100 years ago. The use of horse-drawn equipment, the goofy hats—it all just seems completely out of place in the current world. Charles, whose baggage would disqualify him as dog catcher, is now King, not that he has any real responsibility. Then there’s the whole soap opera about the Princes and their wives and who has cooties and who doesn’t. And Diana’s ghost hovering over it all.
The whole affair dates back to 1066, continuously, with the exception of that Oliver Cromwell unpleasantness, and that deserves some respect. But I can’t help wonder if it can continue at this level of intensity. It might be that the monarchy shrinks back to something like King Harald of Norway, who gets trotted out for ceremonial duties now and then, but otherwise stays out of sight.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle about which former US Presidents would attend the funeral. The invitation was rather pointedly limited to Biden because “space is limited.” The Royal Family particularly didn’t think there was room enough for Trump. Initially Biden was told he would have to arrive at the funeral on a bus with other world leaders. The Secret Service said, “Biden doesn’t do bus,” and the Brits agreed he could bring the official limo. The other former Presidents need not apply.
Trump, of course, feels snubbed. He was going to show up and claim that the royal succession was rigged. He is the rightful heir because he and Charles were switched at birth. That kind of thing happens all the time with socialized medicine like they have in England. Rudy Giuliani is already waving around the real birth certificate, which was found in the My Pillow Guy’s sock drawer after all these years.
All of this will come as a shock to Charles when the Queen’s will is read and he learns that her whole estate goes to the Corgis, and Trump ascends to the throne. It’s a job he might actually be qualified for—it involves standing around a lot of expensive stuff he didn’t pay for and requires no actual knowledge or responsibility for anything.
This is that weekend. At least, I think it might be. The one perfect fall weekend where the aspen trees are orange and yellow against the evergreens and the maples are red, and the slant of the light tells us the days are getting shorter.
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