My friend is driving a freezing-cold Porsche – and the schadenfreude is delicious
Schadenfreude is a dark and powerful force, although, upon looking it up, it’s not quite what I thought it was. Malicious pleasure in the misfortunes of others, says Chambers. Mine’s not exactly like that – it’s better, and worse. Better in the sense that my pleasure isn’t malicious; it’s less about malice than amusement. But it’s worse in that it’s not all “others” I apply it to. Just my friends.
One of my closest friends has a Porsche Taycan, a reassuringly expensive electric sports car. To his distress, the heating has gone kaput. Now, I thought the whole point of spending six figures on a motor was that a) it would never break down and b) if it did, a quick phone call to a special number would be enough to get a helicopter full of German engineers dispatched to your home address to put things right. Maybe they’d abseil on to the drive if they can’t land in the garden.
Not so. He was told that he’d have to take it to a dealer where they’d need five days to triage it. Triage! Yes, really. Do they dress up as nurses to do it?
Anyway, it will probably take several weeks to fix because, as Porsche has acknowledged, there is a known issue with the Taycan’s “heater matrix” (me neither) and supply chain issues mean no new matrixes will be falling from the sky in a hurry.
In the meantime, until a temporary car of some kind is issued, the poor bloke is effectively driving around in the world’s most expensive fridge. He’s been out and bought a new hat, gloves and scarf for his daily commute. I’m sorry, but the schadenfreude – appropriately, I suppose, for a German car – is overwhelming. I love nothing more than calling him on his way in to work and listening to his teeth a-chattering as he tries in vain to form words. It seems likely that other Taycan drivers around the country, and elsewhere for that matter, are in the same freezing boat. Even if you’re the kind of motorist who considers Porsche owners to be on the flash side of acceptable, do try to have a heart and keep an eye out for them on the road, blue with cold as they forlornly scrape the ice from the inside of their windscreens.
Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster, writer and Guardian columnist