The problem with being skinny
Trust me, it's more problematic than you'd think!
I am a fairly trim kinda lad. It helps that I'm tall as it rather hides my love for pork pies and beer. But I'm not here to humble brag about my fine form. More winge about the girth of the modern motorcar.
As anyone who's seen my guff before will know, I'm a fan of the Suzuki Jimny. A Kei car that does a good job of being a pukka off-roader. And it's those Kei car origins that mean it is incredibly small. Shorn of its jutting bumpers, external spare wheel, and flared arches the Jimny fits within the Kei class of car in Japan. In its homeland, it came with the 658cc K6A inline-three, which is perfectly ample for a car that is 3395mm long and a diminutive 1475mm wide. It is an incredibly narrow car. And it is this skinny nature that spoils me rather. No parking space is off-limits, no gap too small, merging in traffic is a doddle when you have the footprint of a toddler.
A pinched waist is practical but has consequences.
This shrunken nature comes really into its own in the wilds of Bedfordshire where narrow country roads criss-cross the rolling terrain. Roads filled with horses, tractors, entire pelotons of MAMILs and absolute reprobates who simply cannot gauge the width of their Range Rover. In the Jimny, these are simply not issues that phase me. I'm so skinny I can sidle past most obstacles with room to spare, scratching the Space Grey paintwork isn't a fear of mine as yet another moron barrels towards me in a preposterously large BMW X7. However, this narrowness is a moot point.
Typical roads in rural Britain. Skinny, hemmed in by hedges and finished with a veneer of mud.
Just up the road from my home is the Georgian market town of Ampthill. Lovely place, good pubs, a Waitrose, all good stuff. Apart from the pinch point right in the centre of it.
This is that pinch point. Look at how much room is left next to that Ferrari! Nada!
Slap bang in the middle of this beautiful little town is a narrow point where the ancient buildings sit just too close to one another for a normal width of road to run between them. To make matters worse this narrow gauge section is fed on one side by the Peugeot driver's worst nightmare, a double mini-roundabout. And the bus route goes through the pinch point. So funnelling into this tiny little gap that isn't wide enough for a bus and another car to move through at the same time, you also have articulated lorries and coaches, plus the semi-regular bus network, learner drivers, the elderly, the unintelligent, and the automotive obese; Range Rovers, BMWs, SUVs of all dimensions including the fantastically hideous Disco 5, all being driven by people who's attention is on Arabella and Tarquin who are arguing about who gets the last almond croissant from Waitrose. No one thinks to let the bus or lorry through, so the queues form and tailback over the double roundabout snarling up the rest of the town. It's a recipe for disaster and endlessly infuriating for me because I stare at the gap knowing that if half of these people had a conventionally sized car then traffic could flow through the town with ease.
Skinny and trim, the perfect car for both the open country and narrow streets.
If everyone owned a Jimny the world would be a better place. Traffic jams would be considerably shorter, car parks could be smaller or filled with more cars, and you can't be in a foul mood driving a Jimny so we'd all be happier. And I'd be able to get to Waitrose without having to sit in a traffic jam as Aramintha tries to squeeze her Bentayga past the number 47 to Bedford. Having a slender car has spoiled me in this regard, it's made me impatient towards the wide. Still, if you buy a BWM X7 you deserve my vitriolic ramblings for making me stare at the chintzy nose on your preposterously sized carbuncle as you struggle to comprehend the width of it and the gap in the traffic.