Archangel Michael was the Chief of the angels and archangels. He commanded a heavenly army, fought against Satan, and protected Israel in The Book of Daniel. That is the origin of my name, Michael. Archangel Michael resided among the heavens, and if he lacked one thing, it was an angelic stallion to bring him down to Earth. Angela, “angel” or “messenger of God”, is the name I gave to my first stallion.
The CLA 35 AMG is the entry point to Mercedes-Benz’s revered sports lineup. Holding an AMG key is a symbol of having “made it”, but to me, it brings an ambivalent feeling. The angel on my right shoulder is affirmative, but the devil on my left shoulder sows doubts. “Do you deserve this? Have you accomplished enough to deserve this?” I did buy her with my collected blood, sweat, and tears using that shakily-signed, account-emptying personal check, so technically yes?
Ever since I was young, I had doubts about my “worth”. I tried my best to make myself worthy, both in objective “status” and personal approval. I have never found a middle ground between my pursuit of goals and my sense of self. Angela filled that ground.
I realize Angela is not just a separate entity from me, but a reflection of me. Angela is the entry point to the “crown royal” category of cars — premium luxury sports cars — frequented by the kings and queens of our society. She may not be competitive in terms of power with her ferocious brothers and scintillating sisters who don the same AMG badge, but she orients herself in their direction. She boasts only the 2L 4-cylinder (the world’s most standard engine), but her M260 squeezes everything it can out of its aggressive 7-speed shifts and fastidious twin turbos for her to be the best version of herself. The result? Over 300 powerful horses and almost the title for the world’s most powerful 4-cylinder (her immediate sibling, the 45, holds that distinction). During the first time I did a race start with her, I felt her aggressive shifts like knocks from the great beyond reminding me of carpe diem.
Sitting behind Angela gives me a personal connection I have never felt with any other car. I think forming a personal connection requires not only the partner to align with me on the strengths but (more importantly) the weaknesses.
For example, one inherent limitation of Angela’s engine is that the turbo power kicks in a split second after the throttle. If Angela was human, one could say she would be a bit unresponsive. Guess what? I am also known to be a bit unresponsive. However, once the motivation kicks in, I can do some of my best work in a very short period of time and make others regret having doubted me.
As another example, Angela has two split personalities, a smooth-riding “comfort” mode one expects from her CLA base class, and the high-revving “sports-plus” mode.
The former personality also rides just like her domestic base car. One may even confuse her humble double-striped front grill to be that of an ordinary CLA when viewed far away (see pic). However, get too cocky (e.g. attempt to overtake), and sports-plus Angela will switch in and make you know you barked up the wrong tree. Of course, you’ll only realize after being left in the dust.
The vicarious experience of putting down Angela’s throttle makes her problems mine, and my problems hers. Thus, Angela is not a trophy car. I view her not as a possession, but as a reflection of my aspiring self. When we unite again after death, I will buy her all over again no matter what her heavenly price tag is, since any progress to better understanding myself is priceless.
Above: Beautiful sunset from Highway 1
Above 2 pics: Sightseeing along Panoramic Highway
Above 3 pics: Grazing the beaches of Half Moon Bay
(last updated: 4/10/23)