My way to Mazda led via Citroën. The only car my parents tolerated was the Duck. It was not tailored to my father’s rough driving style. After an afternoon of cultivation at acquaintances and a generous pot of thank you beer, he drove it to the height of hairdresser Piet in the Dorpsstraat in the creases. There he informed my mother by telephone. She strode furiously to the scene of the disaster, holding my brother and I as key witnesses to his stupidity, for a public beating that would remain with the village and us for a long time. Never have I seen someone so devastating asshole hear screeching. My father endured her vengeance enraptured-smitten. “It was a wonderful show,” he would later say. “Every second word started with god.” That’s what love sounds like.
We boys, on the other hand, were transfixed. It was embarrassing and confusing. The pride of the fire was for later. A child also wants to rest sometimes. Why did everything always have to be different with us? Why did my germs drive such an embarrassing board paper hippie cage?
The stain on my soul gave birth to a childhood obsession with bourgeois values, a passionate longing for the lives of normal people. Other fathers wore a tie, neither argued nor clashed, made a career in a representative company car, an Opel or a Mazda. The Mazda 626, popular in my adolescence, became my ideal of custom order. Little did I know that life is yin and yang? As I looked after that car, so friends imprisoned in squeezing TROS decency with their Mazda fathers longed for our free-spirited anarchy, and never the twain would meet. The updated Mazda 6, today’s 626, is salt in the never-healed wound that has struck my sociological awareness. With every Mazda I think: look, it could have been, never accidents and never worries. He remains The Other World.
In the meantime, let’s not forget that Mazda has developed very maladaptive traits. It does not do hybrid and for the time being not electric. Because, the brand says, “since two-thirds of global electricity production currently comes from fossil fuels, Mazda believes that regulations stating that an EV does not cause emissions is incorrect.” Mazda is defying the downsizing trend with oversized petrol engines that, thanks to SkyActiv technology – something with high compression, ask no further – can do without a turbo, all meet the strictest Euro 6d Temp emissions standard and which usually meet Mazda’s fuel consumption figures. My test sedan with 2.5 liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic drives 1 to 14, remarkable for such a big thing with almost 200 hp. Mazda is therefore not ready to leave the fossil route. The SkyActiv-X is under development, an extremely economical petrol engine with the technical properties of a diesel. The brand announces it with great certainty as a ‘full-fledged alternative’ to the electric car.
He’s back: big, fast, orderly
The 6 neutralizes its contrariness with the follower technology of the current safety and infotainment systems. He’s back: big, stylish, fast and orderly. I take it sideways. I see that eternally neat sedan, updated childhood memory. I take a royal time journey to the 1970s, back to the decisive moment when my world split. God, this could have been my life, a corporate ascension under a bell jar of silence. I would like to page my house bank for a business loan. But I don’t have a business, I’m a reporter; I measure the gap between the Duck and Mazda people, between resistance and surrender. I call my father to reminisce about the madness scene in the Dorpsstraat. He appreciates it. That stirs me. boheme, home sweet home.
Weeks later I see a Mazda 6 in a parking lot. At the wheel a thirty-something with a patent office face, urban professional. I, 53, never learned to tie a tie so inexorably correct. Man and steed harmonize jealously; no excess fat, healthy color, discreet dynamic. I see a timeline of seminars, conference calls, gym and football club, crèche and daddy days. You will just see that the boy is the director of a meditation center, but let me think that there is the perfect Mazda father who was not mine, and whom I would never become due to genetic defects. Again I feel that lifelong discomfort stabbing over my chronic maladjustment. And I get into my old Volvo with one certainty: everything is predetermined.