To pretend this place is anything less than ridiculous would understate it. To say this vehicle should be on the roads is too, ridiculous. Yet I found myself being lent one for a few hours.
Galicia is not a place to mess with, its rich in regional culture and its very own fat saturated cuisine a point that I would like to stretch to Steven Colbert and his Catalonia video. Despite the obvious merits of Galicia, I only visit in the summers, I don’t know the customs, the people, or the struggles, I only know Caldo a Galega and a few swear words.
It’s funny because I’m from this mysterious land, which in its deep valleys and never-ending beaches displays the beauty of this planet. Yet I find myself foreign to this place, despite it birthing me. I’m not Galician, I’m Mexican.
It’s an experience that overcomes me every time I go visit my family. My summers are mostly nihilistic interpretations of existentialism, locals know who I’m supposed to be, but not who I am. A point that to me felt extrapolated by the cherry red Ferrari, as I gripped with my left hand its leather steering wheel, its aluminum paddle shifter with my right hand.
Nothing is quite as captivating as listening to the v8 murder fuel, its resonance amplified by the hills of this land, this road, the Ou-212: A road as vast as it is empty, in a nation known for smooth roads, only transmitting occasionally the odd tire slippage.
I stop. the carbon brakes squeaking until the speedometer reaches zero.
I reach, on command of the owner, for the Manettino switch and switch it to race mode. I pull on the left paddle to confirm the car is in gear, but before any of this she steps out, confirming her trust of me for her vehicle. The door shuts and I let go of all reason and logic. I’m transformed into the Ferrari Man.
I change down a gear.
The valley road curves left, right, up, and down, I see a corner and storm into it, unknowing my real speed, but the car doesn’t let go, the vibrations only seem to yearn for the end of the corner as a vast straight comes into my line of sight.
I change up a gear
The tach racing up and down, looking for the magic number “9000" but I never let it. Its still my beast, I still control it. But its asking too nicely “Give me power, give me freedom, I will provide” It seems to ask, and I let it go, digits go only up as the straight approaches a sweeper. I change down and see the tach hit 7500, “Perfect” I say to myself as I prepare to break the traction and powerslide through the sweeper. But there’s a village there.
I change up gears
I shush the beast, put it in wet mode.
The silence masks me for a moment, but everyone knows who I am, I’m Ferrari Man. I receive, on equals, dirty looks and praise. I grow worried about my past actions, I stop. This isn’t the Ou-212 anymore, but it’s fine. I set the car parked against the curve and make my way to Pan de Soutelo, a great pizza place, to catch a break.
A crowd forms, a rumor beings “Who is this person, what does this person do?” they ask as they snap pictures of the vehicle. I clench my fist around the key inside my pocket. But I finally realize, I’m not Ferrari Man. I’m not the man of wealth and taste, neither am I the lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold. I don’t take pride in clenching the key anymore, I just focus on the pizza and hope the crowd dies down. But, as I approached the car again and tried to keep it quite I realized it had given me a glorious gift: I wasn’t Ferrari Man, I was The Ferrari’s man, after what felt like endless days of people thinking they know who I am, the Ferrari hid me, I was anonymous for a moment, as the people focused on the brightly painted bodywork and not the face hidden behind the windows. I felt free to be myself, the same way that Mexico City procures me anonymity, an anonymity I missed.
I reached a stop sign on the outskirts of the village, still in wet mode, as a group of children and their parents approach their balcony in pure joy, waving their hands in an upwards motion, asking the car to sing to the tune of flat plane v8. It was then that I realized why the owner trusted me, perhaps she realized that it gave me the anonymity I craved, perhaps she realized its okay to share it and that we both were shadowed by the object, it was larger than us.
I select race mode, push launch control and give the kids and their parents the sound they wanted most as I return back into the hills and valleys to return the Ferrari back to its righteous owner feeling relieved that the only name starting with “F” that anyone in Soutelo will remember is Ferrari.