Top down, windows up — no, no, no


By Al Vinikour 

It has long been my contention that people driving a convertible with the top down and the windows up are crying out for help and nobody is listening. (Similar to people driving a Mercedes or BMW with whitewalls). By definition a convertible is a vehicle whose top can be lowered to create an open-air environment.

It illustrates a carefree lifestyle and exemplifies all that’s neat in personal transportation. Convertibles are the body style that midlife crises are created for – and I’m speaking from personal experience.  I thought I was “Chief Thunderstud”…even though I weighed about 300 pounds. Only once were the windows raised while the top was lowered and that’s because my best friend – Richard Lazarus – said he was cold.

I’ll explain:

About 3 p.m. we left Washington DC, for a golf vacation in Myrtle Beach. The temperature was about 90-degrees. Being a couple of neat guys who had recently turned 40 we vowed to leave the top down until we crossed the Virginia-North Carolina state line. As we drove South through Virginia the sun started going down and it got a little cool.

The darker it got the cooler it got until it started getting cold. The next thing I noticed, Richard’s window was up. I asked him what in hell he thought he was doing and he said he was cold. I reminded him of our vow and asked him if he’d like a shawl or perhaps a winter dress because no window was going up until we saw the “Welcome to North Carolina” sign. He suggested we put the top up and I suggested we find a Greyhound station where he could buy a bus ticket…because THAT TOP WAS NOT COMING UP AND THE WINDOWS WEREN’T EITHER FOR 100 MORE MILES!!!

As a gesture of goodwill I turned the heater on full blast. (Truth be told, I was freezing but was NOT going to turn sissy and raise the top. About 1 ½ hours later we finally crossed the border and I hit the brakes and practically flat-spotted the tires to stop and hit the up switch for the top and windows. We were a couple of frozen popsicles by then…but by God we weren’t sissies!

What this walk down memory lane illustrates is if you’re buying a convertible so you can lower the top on nice days…do it. If it’s winter time or even inclement weather and you have the windows up while you have the top up…fine. But if you’re weak enough that you need to have some glass barriers raised while your roof has disappeared…get a sedan, Gwendolyn and resist your temptations.

There’s an infinite number of ways to scream for help but none as ridiculous as a lone driver who has his window up…and the other three down. This person doesn’t need help…he (or she) needs to be euthanized. How sick does one have to be to create that scenario?!! A rabid armadillo isn’t that nuts.

Just like rain-sensing windshield wipers there should be some sensor on convertibles that detects precipitation and/or cold temperatures and automatically raises the windows…after the top has been elevated and locked in place. Anyone who tries to by-pass this mechanism because someone in the car is cold should not only lose their driving privileges until they’re too old to legally drive…or be forced to endure training with Navy SEALs, in which case they’ll never be affected by temperatures again. 

Or better yet…don’t buy a convertible because they’re obviously not for you, Sally.