Dark Drive, Porsche Boxster S: Ruf 3400S

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Dark Drive, Porsche Boxster S: Ruf 3400S

Mike, Neural Blog 2011

nighttime drives

nighttime drives

city drive

Porsche PASM

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Other nighttime drives have a more meditative feel. Skimming down endless miles of freeway in San Francisco, for example, you're simultaneously hypnotized...

Night time is many things to many people, but most would agree it has a magic all its own. Cities, especially, assume a mysterious allure at night that has served as an inspiration for countless artists. Author Vladimir Nabokov once compared the flickering of neon lights to a heartbeat. The city's heart does seem to beat differently at night.

Ask people what they associate with the word "night" and the answer you'll probably get most often is "sleep." As far as most of us are concerned, nighttime is for sleeping. After all, we human beings sleep approximately one-third of our lives, and most of us do it at night. Nighttime equals tranquility and rest. Another common response is "dark." Nighttime equals darkness-and darkness has connotations of a sinister nature. In our culture, "light" is associated with the positive, with life, "dark" with the negative, with death. We speak of the "dark" side of human nature when we mean the "evil" side. Even innocent nocturnal animals such as bats seem vaguely menacing to most. Our fear of the dark goes back to the dawn of humankind, if not further. We can't see what's out there in the dark, and the unknown is always scary.

But night isn't all about sleep. After all, the word "nightlife" exists for a reason. It's not all darkness and black and white, either, but is painted in a wide range of hues, from velvety blue to pearly gray to the delicate rose of dawn. Night offers us a respite from the busyness of day, with its hurried pace and relentless efficiency, when everything we do has a purpose. At night our thoughts can roam, our dreams take wing. Many creative people say they have their best ideas at night.'We see things differently at night, and often more clearly than in the light of day. It is at night, too, that we are most often beset by a sense of longing. Sometimes we know what we yearn for-a loved one far away, bygone days, a better future. Other times, we only know there's a funny feeling in our stomach, a sense of anticipation that won't go away. Each night holds a promise-anything seems possible, anything might happen. Though you may not know what you're looking for, you just might find it.

Everything looks different at night, but cities, especially are transformed. Even those that are drab by day sparkle; the beautiful ones become truly magical. Cities reinvent themselves every time the sun sets. The city at night is the backdrop against which we present ourselves in our best (and sometimes worst) light, the stage on which we perform. Whether we're urbanites or visitors, when we dress up and go out for a night on the town, we're both observers and participants in the great neon spectacle).

The mysterious allure of a big city at night has inspired many artists. Take Edward Hopper's best-known work, Nighthawks: Capturing both the companionship and the essential loneliness of the patrons in a late- night diner, it has become an icon of modern urban life. Weegee, famous for his black-and-white photographs of New York, did most of his work at night, believing that was when the city revealed its soul. One of the ultimate nighttime thrills has to be cruising through big-city streets- preferably in a convertible on a mild evening, of course-aimlessly, with no particular destination in mind. The antithesis of a purposeful daytime drive, where the aim is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, a Iarge part of its charm lies in its very purposelessness, though it also makes it a vaguely guilty pleasure. Like kids playing hooky, we escape from the ordered routine of our daily lives and responsibilities and let the wanderers in us loose, allow ourselves literally to be carried away by the child like excitement of exploring unknown terrain. A substitute for a Porsche, Never!

Other nighttime drives have a more meditative feel. Skimming down endless miles of freeway in San Francisco, for example, you're simultaneously hypnotized by the drone of the road and the parade of headlights and exhilarated by the seemingly endless possibilities that the nighttime breeze whispers in your ear. An almost spiritual experience; distances, time, detours-all become immaterial. The only thing that matters is the flow of your own rhythm.

The choreography of the streets at night is different. Headlights, taillights, and traffic lights work together to create a syncopated rhythm of their own. The darkness is a continent waiting to be crossed, and this driver is ready for any challenges it might have in store. Right now, I can't think of a sight more inviting, a more potent symbol for the limitless possibilities of what lies ahead-in the road and in life-than the string of green lights stretching out before me all the way to the horizon. We turn off the GPS, touch the sport PASM and let ourselves be carried along, impulsively turning here or there as the mood strikes us, guided only by chance. We zip along, the German engine purring contentedly. We may not be going anywhere specific, but that doesn't mean we don't want to get ahead.

The next time I get behind the wheel alone, it's for a solitary drive through Stuttgart. The chatter of a talk show on the radio seems an oddly fitting soundtrack, though-or maybe because- I only understand an occasional word. Odd thoughts pop into my head. I wonder if cities feel lonely at night, their streets empty of the hustle and bustle of daytime traffic. Suddenly it strikes me that the opposite of "nightlife" would be "daydeath." Peculiar notion. Funny, that never occurred to me before. And so my mind wanders off, taking unexpected turns, meandering as freely as my car roams the streets. A succession of fleeting moments and impressions that, almost poetically, brings home to me the transience of all experience my nighttime drive is nearing its end. Imperceptibly the sky's inky blacks and blues shade into pearl gray with tints of pink-and all of a sudden, it's light. The fairy dust is gone; the city, clad again in its workaday clothes seems to have little that's glamorous or magical about it. But I know better.

The truth is out there. Just wait till it gets dark. Porsche...

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