Thursday, January 13, 2022

An Open Letter to BMW

Note: this is a reprint of a Facebook post I made on January 13, just as the pandemic was about to come to light. Our refrigerator broke, and I needed to pick up some breakfast for the wife and I.

During the drive home, I identified a real problem with the design of my BMW Z4. 

Me and my BMW Z4 at Painted Rocks, Fort Irwin, CA

Dear BMW,

I don’t normally complain. Perhaps it’s because of my British roots, as the English are known to be slow to disparage anyone or anything, preferring instead to just wait until a solution presents itself – as Pink Floyd noted in the song “Time” that “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.” 

But in this instance, I feel I must say something.

First off, thanks for making truly amazing automobiles. 

I proudly drive an older model Z4 convertible. The power to weight ratio makes for an exciting ride, especially in the winding roads of our local mountains. I love to put the top down and make the run up to one of our local mountain towns for lunch in the afternoon.

I reserve my sports car adventures for the weekends and days off, choosing to make my 150 mile-a-day commute to work in my boring, under-powered, yet dependable work truck.

Which makes driving the Z4 even more fun.

As much as I love the Zed, I would like to call your attention to a critical design flaw that could cause even the most experienced of drivers to lose control of their machine and end what should be a wonderful driving experience - in a fiery blaze of horror. 

Yes, I am talking about the cup holder.  Or to be a little more specific – the lack of a proper cup holder.

Yesterday morning I went out to pick up breakfast for my lovely wife and I. Our very high-Tech refrigerator had quit working and every bit of food in the house had to be thrown out. This necessitated a trip to a local restaurant to pick up our morning meal. 

Having spent a good deal of hard-earned cash on the refrigerator, as well as the food inside of it, I was feeling a bit low that morning. Because of this I decided that driving the BMW instead of my work truck might be just enough to raise my spirits.

I drove the four miles to the restaurant, enjoying the deep, smooth purring of the engine as I cruised happily along the main street of town.

Once there, I ordered breakfast - coffee and the #1 with scrambled eggs and bacon for the wife, an omelet with hash browns for me. After a short wait and a bit of conversation, I left with our meal.

As I situated myself in the driver’s seat of the Zed, I suddenly remembered the fact that the cup holders in the BMW will not actually hold a cup. 

The design has them embedded into the dash and they pop-out when needed.  However, in the four years I have driven the Z4, I have yet to get the cup holder to actually “hold” a drink cup. 

So, I sat for a minute, contemplating my options while the smell of freshly cooked bacon filled the cab of my little car. 

Hungry, and knowing my life depended on delivering the all-important morning elixir to the wife, I carefully placed the steaming cup of java in the only place it would be secure - between my legs. 

I carefully backed out of the parking space, shifted into first gear and pulled gently toward the exit. 

I signaled and made a left turn onto the roadway shifting into second gear. 

Almost immediately I felt a strange sensation in my nether regions. 

I’m not sure if the cup lid was not properly secured, or if my operation of the clutch jarred it loose, but the lid had come partially off the cup.

Time slowed as the “sensation” quickly became excruciating pain, as the dark, molten hot, 100% arabica-bean liquid soaked thru my blue jeans and scalded – how should I put this – the leading edge of my man parts.

I find it hard to describe the pain this inflicted onto one of the most sensitive parts of the male anatomy, but I imagine that somewhere in a deep dark dungeon of Medieval Europe, someone found this to be an effective tool to encourage any man to admit to any crime. Perhaps this was one of the methods of persuasion used during the Inquisition. Or maybe used by the KGB to flush out imagined spies. If not, they missed an opportunity. No man can stand up to this torture.

With no place to pull over, I continued to drive home. With tears in my eyes and holding the evil cup in my left hand, steering with my left wrist and using my right hand to steer and shift as I drove along in “quiet desperation.” 

I made it thru the multiple traffic signals and finally arrived at my house - relief finally in sight. As I pulled into the driveway, I hit a small bump, spilling more of the scalding liquid on my pants and interior of my prized automobile. 

Inside, as I explained to my family what happened, I was met with a touch of sympathy, but mostly with hysterical laughter. 

BMW BMW USA you alone hold the power to prevent this tragedy from repeating itself. You alone can prevent the pain and embarrassment caused by this design flaw from being suffered by others.

I plead with you to ensure that all future BMW automobiles have a proper way to secure beverages, for the safety and happiness of your loyal customer base. 

Or maybe we should all just stick to iced tea.