A Theory of the Convertible Driving

so the car manufacturers call the ceiling covering inside the vehicle. This semantics opens up access to the symbolic space of the open skies: anyone who drives the convertible leaves the roof over his head, enjoys a unique space contact, a technologically feasible homelessness that is privileged against all tufted car drivers.

The car is subject to a strong adjustment pressure. In addition to the usual parameters of rationalization, the idea of autonomous control adds another dimension. Thus, the car becomes a living and working room. To control the traffic and to compete space is increasingly automated. In the light of such developments, the convertible has always been avant-garde. It transcends driving to traveling. With the roof over the head one wants to reach its goal still – the convertible is almost already there: The picnic blanket is already spread.

Cabrio drivers are already in the present, in which the other passengers want to arrive. The convertible revises the intrinsic value of on-road travel and undermines the functionality of the automobile – designed dialectic.

Convertible Driving – A walk through the road

One can recommend the convertible as a vehicle type of a refined participation in road traffic to all those who want to begin deceleration in their own life, the normative commandment of the life of modern man. This is not a matter of rigorous asphalt criticism, antithetical refusal or even rebellion against modernity, but the demonstrative articulation of an alternative of use: convertible drivers strolling motorized, in the midst of the turmoil of those who want from A to B.

The car was long before the latest scandals around exhaust gas values and cartel agreements on the way to lose its status as a “test piece of self-ranking” (David Riesman). In the shape of the convertible, on the other hand, it enjoys an almost eternal reputation, which is more complex in its affective dimensions than the cheap reference to people with an insatiable sun-star. For this feeling, convertible owners like to reach deep into the bag. After all, this type of vehicle has to be minimally equipped for the worst of all cases that nobody can imagine: roll-over protection has long been obligatory, a naively designed “top without” like the legendary Karmann Ghia or the big sled from the beginnings of American automobile construction today unthinkable.

The car manufacturers react to the wishes of the convertible lovers with a differentiation of model options. The convertible is inserted into the periodicity of the nature, which has done for the normal driver with the change of the tires. With the convertible you switch to the summer clothes. This is how you can trace the cultural change in vehicle use. One of the design ideas of the convertible is the promise to dissolve perspectives and the shrinkage of the closed body. The convertible opens up the whole panorama, opens the possibility of sensory participation in light conditions, airflow and odors of the environment. One is surrounded in this car by the pathos of freedom of movement.

When driving, people meet in an agreed foreignity. Their communication relations, which are inevitably dominated by competition, and therefore, with all the functionality of traffic rules, make fairness the most important moderator of the successful exchange, called traffic flow, are endangered by deviant eccentricity in the performance. Vagabonds, adventurers and provocrators as typical signs of decay are familiar in road traffic. Convertible riders demonstrate self-assured self-sufficiency, demonstrative carelessness, harmless workmanship – with rare extreme forms of driving, like dangerous maneuvers, which result from the feeling that they already feel in places beyond the traffic.

The complex symbolic function of the convertible, on the other hand, only becomes apparent in terms of the spatial dimension as well as the constellation of road traffic. The convertible contrasts the archetypic car use that over half a century ago captured David Riesman when he pointed out that “the driver is completely surrounded by an extra-social object, physical contact with others and yet completely dependent on them “traffic is a stream into which it dips, to be sure, without getting wet.” The convertible already shakes the plausibility of Riesman’s metaphor in a trivial sense.

What is more, the traffic awareness of the convertible is irritating, unlike the passage of a new car model or an oldtimer, ie when looking at technical history or imposing engineering services. The convertible is surrounded on the highway by lush space. Cabrios run like solitaires and avoid the pack as if they were creating their own backdrop, a context that goes beyond advertising. Their appearance resembles the logic of Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense, not because in the early days of his legendary film “The Birds” Tippi Hedren is riding in the open car, two birds move into the curve parallel to the movement of the convertible one is confronted with the mystery of a tension in which nothing happens, but which exerts a complex affective attraction.

An air jump on the asphalt

Something disreputable surrounds the convertible, a touch of Guy de Maupassant’s “Landpartie”, the communicated indiscretion, just as one looks while walking in a house in which the curtains are not yet suspended. With the convertible, the protected space of intimacy is broken through, and you are tied up by unknown shamelessness. This dimension is, as it were, ex-negative, in the traffic jam or before the traffic light. Such enforced caesura in anticipation annoy everyone who goes into the controlled anarchy of the road traffic. But the Cabrio is especially incompatible with the crowds, because of the sense structure of its use. In the traffic jam it becomes clear: If no traveling car surrounds the inmates with the phantasy of the swing, the exposed interior shifts into the curiosity. The demonstrative ease of on-the-goness gets to the brink of ridicule: hats with dangling earcups, sunglasses in the shadow of the truck in front, the casual gesture of the arm or the thickly applied booming sound. Cabrio drivers, a bitter look à la Roland Barthes would report on this context-inappropriate situation, something is going on.

But they also transcend the driving into traveling, they are already in the future in which the others want to arrive. In the future, the question arises whether someone is traveling with a toy in the risky area of road traffic. And a daydream is already pushing into the strained attention of driving: the image of the fairy-tale, when one could turn round in the roundabout, beside splendid swans, a bright fire brigade and festively bridle horses in the foaming gallop in a car, as the car into the air and float above all others. Even the parents who waved in the distance were far away. The playful appearance gave the unconscious mind a free rein. In the toy one drives off, ready for an air jump on asphalt.

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