Six to go…


It’s six days to go. Six days. I am getting excited. Six days until I will open spring season.

Today I open the traditional ceremony by watching my all-time favorite movie again: The Graduate. Young Dustin Hoffman’s debut from 1967. I have watched this movie a hundred times in the meantime, but I can always enjoy it again: The dialogs are hilarious, the whole visual appeal of the movie is timeless and the cuts are just brilliant! Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross and Dustin Hoffman are awesome… The soundtrack from Simon and Garfunkel is a classic!

I first watched the movie back then when I was still in school and later when I went to university. They played it regularly in a cult movie theater in Heidelberg. That’s when I fell in love with something else in this movie: Dustin Hoffman’s little red Italian car: An Alfa Romeo “Duetto” Spider! Funny how Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) is following his true love Elaine throughout California in the movie, riding through beautiful Californian scenery, crossing Bay Bridge in San Francisco, making his way from Los Angeles to San Francisco, to Berkeley, trying to gain her love…

While being at university in Karlsruhe, I had a night-time freelancer programming job at a startup company in the middle of nowhere, Germany: A company called SAP, located in Max-Planck-Straße, Walldorf, that at the time had an already impressive number of employees: around 500. While most of my colleagues at the time were still working on a mainframe system called R/2 and there were just first steps made towards a client/server-based solution called R/3, I was the “PC guru” who was programming frontend applications to visualize and provide drag&drop modification of org charts in the R/2 and later R/3-based HR application. As you can see, the company was already back then visionary enough to identify the constant need for a tool to help companies to flexibly reorganize 😉

2013-03-26_21-32-40Anyhow, it happened that a colleague of mine at the time was driving one of the successor models of this Alfa Romeo Duetto Spiders: A black one, with some fashionable 80’s plastic spoiler that Pinin Farina must have designed onto his otherwise perfect design in a moment of total derangement. But in the end, it was the car I needed to get and when the colleague decided to sell it, I become the lucky owner of an Alfa Romeo Spider! Who cared about this plastic spoiler… That’s how it happened that in the following 12 months, you could see happy me and a friend of mine, both Computer Science students at University Karlsruhe at the time, ride with a big smile hammered into their face, wind blowing around their head with the top opened, to Karlsruhe every morning to follow some lectures at University, and back to Walldorf in the afternoon to start their second life as freelance programmers at a company called SAP over night… We had a great time back then…

2013-03-18_13-55-05The fun lasted 18 months roughly, until a strange and seriously concerning rumble from the rear axle convinced me that Italian convertables are perhaps not something that a Computer Science student with just a nighttime job should really invest into. So I sold the car before it became an expensive investment ruin.

But the dream about an Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider, the original from the 1967-69 period, the one with the round tail, nicknamed “Osso Di Sepia”, remained with me for years. Like the tradition to watch The Graduate over and over again whenever it was played in the movie theater in Heidelberg…

Finally, in 2002 I decided to go get a Duetto. I started to browse various oldtimer forums, online used car sites and travelled Germany in search for my Alfa Romeo Spider. After quite a number of disappointments and learnings, I made the one out. My Duetto. A 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider. Born 1969. White. Reasonable condition. Some minor things to fix, but otherwise original and in good shape. A re-important from the US. It seemed we had been in search for each other. And there we finally got together… Lol!

IMG_1695And now, every year since then, there is this tradition of me watching “The Graduate” again a few days prior to April 1st, when my Alfa Romeo Duetto gets out of its garage after winter. She gets hibernated in October every year, covered with a blanket and on April 1st, no matter what weather the day happens to bring, I carefully lift the blanket covering her, send a prayer towards heaven that oxidation has had shown empathy with us again this winter and there’s not just a small pile of rust on the ground left of her, and after some de-hibernation and cosmetics, we go for our first rendezvous of the year… The top open, the sun above us — keep your fingers crossed –, the wind around us and attitude clearly being that this will be our year again… Get out of our way, ’cause here we come… The only living boy in

Six days to go. Six days…

lol 🙂

4 Comments

  1. Very nice story! “The Graduate” is such a classic – even for me!
    So your Duetto is white? Did you think of painting it red? I assume you can only drive in it with the top opened? ;-))

    1. Yes, she’s white. No, I wouldn’t recolor her: one shouldn’t try to change her into something she’s not 😉
      And yes, I only drive with the top opened. Before we leave the garage, I have always checked the 5 days weather forecast and made sure there’s only perfect sun predicted… Yes, we are a bit special. I have to admit. 😉

  2. I know that feeling. Sometimes it is like five or six months since the last time I drove my Spider. When winter’s done I get behind the wheel, start the engine (without any hassle), warm it up for a minute or five and drive away. There’ll be a smile on my face but on the other hand I’m not overexcited. Simply because it feels like only yesterday I parked it in the garage. I make more kilometers in other cars, but my Spider is the only one I really feel at home in.

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