Love is in the Air


Fate has always had a strange sense of humor, and it appears to be no exception for 2010.

After a blanket of snow fell on us here in central Virginia, we swing into the month of February with winter still fully upon us. This has come as no real surprise to me for one recurring reason. Being the gearhead that I am, I attend the yearly Rods and Customs Car Show held at the Showplace just east of Richmond. The dates for the show always fall somewhere in early February, and more often than not there has been snow on the ground for the event.

Back to fate and its sense of humor. Obviously this year fate has decided to tempt the desires of the gearheads and see what mayhem will ensue. On a national scale, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th, which this year happens to fall on a Sunday. This particular date also happens to be the culmination of Daytona Speed Week, with the much-anticipated Daytona 500 waving the green flag on that very same day.

For those couples and families who are avid NASCAR fans, this was probably seen as a godsend. They can pack their campers and motor homes with all manner of tailgating supplies, or simply kick back in one of the many hotels located near the legendary track. Even for the ones who cannot make the trek to Florida, they can break out the hot wings and the premium beer, and have a cozy afternoon on the sofa in front of the big screen.

I’m sure there might even be some flowers and chocolates, possibly embossed with a favorite driver’s number, exchanged at the end of the race along with the gentle words, “I love ya baby.”

However, outside of the realm of NASCAR couples bliss, there is a “No-woman’s land” where every effort will be made by gearhead fans to fit in watching the race. This will be attempted against all efforts by the opposite sex to create a “pay attention to me” kind of day. While I am sure many may pull this feat off with a level of aplomb, there will be others who will fail, and hot wings and chocolates may become projectiles before the day is over.

In my little corner of the country, fate has thrown a trifecta at the gearhead community, landing the Rods and Customs Car Show on this very day as well. While there is a Friday night opening, and all day Saturday to get your glossy paint and chrome fix, but if your work schedule prohibits making those dates, welcome to the merry-go-round.

Luckily for me, I’m not a dyed in the wool NASCAR fan, which drops one corner of this wicked triangle right away. On the other hand, there have been few years that I have missed the Car Show. So now I must give thanks, and this year show how much I love my mother, since she obviously contributed to my gearhead DNA.

At 76 years young, she might not be as mobile as she used to be, but her desire and love of cool looking hot rods is still going strong. For the past few years now, we have taken in the various car shows together and it has been great fun for us both.

On an even more fortunate note, my lovely bride is possessed with the heavenly quality of flexibility. If we don’t celebrate on a specific date it’s no biggie since we can easily make up for it before or after. For a gearhead like myself, this is a gift that has come on angel’s wings, and another reason I make a concentrated effort to fit everything in and not forget how lucky I really am to have her.

One cannot help but be struck at how deep our gearhead affliction goes, especially since we are so blind to it ourselves. I see this in myself when my wife and I travel, while she puts down the window to snap a picture of flowers or birds, I put down the window to hear the exhaust note of a musclecar pulling away from a stop.

While her thoughts for Valentine’s probably lean towards flowers and chocolate (she always loves chocolate) I would probably be thinking about a box of braided stainless hoses for the engine bay of my car (they do make those in anodized red) or possibly even a bouquet of polished aluminum wheels.

I suppose if some genius candy maker ever figures out how to coat chocolate with some kind of edible, shiny, reflective surface, then the gearheads will be in real trouble. I can see countless men showing up with boxes of the new “Chocolate Chrome” only to be met with raised eyebrows and bizarre looks. This would be immediately followed with the look of disbelief by said gearhead while he utters the phrase;

“Aw c’mon, what’s wrong? Those are cool!”

Heaven help us if they ever make chrome plated roses. Then again, they probably already do somewhere, machined from billet aluminum no doubt, polished to high reflective sheen, with a frightening price tag.

But every gearhead knows he will never shell out so much money for something so cool looking unless it fits on the car somewhere.

Gearheads everywhere, we are without a doubt an afflicted bunch, so take stock this day in this sport and hobby we love so much. Slide off your chrome plated mirror shades and take note of those who love you best. They are vital parts of our lives and they can’t be fixed with wrenches (as much you might like to on occasion.)

This is the day when you give your significant other the kind of attention like you do that four-wheeled work of art when you detail it for a show. Attention to detail makes all the difference, and it goes farther than the garage door.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

-T. August Green


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