I’m sure many of you out there have seen the old commercials for Intel entitled “Our people are not like your people”. I have sad news for the pitchmen over at Intel; we in the car community have known this probably before the personal computer was ever born.
With the holiday season now fully upon us, I cannot help but be reminded of how the car-guy’s holidays will differ greatly from mainstream America. Its not that we don’t want to participate in “everybody’s holidays”, but the fact remains that if we try and celebrate the “normal holidays” it tends to make things pretty busy when we try and include ours as well.
Most holidays find us simply taking some time out from our fervent hobby to spend time with our loved ones. This is handled in most cases with little complaint since we know our real priorities down inside. Some of us may go kicking and screaming mind you, but that can be traced to the boy that remains inside of us despite our advancing years. Those of us who have been so blessed with a significant other that willingly gives us room to play in our little world, deserves to get our time and attention when they do ask (and even when they don’t, and we just know better) At the end of the day we don’t want to spoil a good thing so we get on board.
The calendar holidays come almost once a month, and depending on your particular car-guy flavor, ours can roll around just about as often. The North American International Auto Show rolls out the red carpet in January, followed shortly thereafter by the Autorama. The Daytona 500 heralds the opening of the NASCAR season every February, and the list grows ever longer from there. The 12 hours of Sebring, Opening Day at Watkins Glen, The Drags at Raceway Park in historic Englishtown, NJ, The Indy 500, The Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, The Hot Rod Power Tour, any Good Guys event, The brand loyal weekend of choice at Carlisle, PA, Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Hot August Nights in Reno NV, SEMA in Las Vegas, and that barely scratches the surface. There will be literally hundreds of other local and nationally sanctioned events all over the country.
Unlike the calendar holidays, where each carries a certain theme, the car-guy days have one common thread. We always like to get together and show off, be it looks or speed or cheering for our favorite car and driver, each event can be quite unique but the core of our enjoyment always remains.
Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, the car-guy faces a time of transition. The cool, crisp fall days have given way to colder temperatures in most cases, and the play-toys have been carefully sheltered away in their garages or lovingly wrapped in their covers. Some will now begin upgrades and renovations in preparation for next spring, while others are strictly in hibernation.
This time of year also brings another holiday to perplex the car-guy, easily the most daunting of all the others, Christmas Day. This is the time of year when the car-guy is constantly asked; “What do you want for Christmas?”
As we all well know, the list of things we would love to find wrapped (or unwrapped for that matter) under the tree would easily stretch around the house. However we have learned through hard experience that these are things you just don’t ask for, as it’s about the rough equivalent of requesting your very own military fighter jet. Oh you can ask mind you, but be brutally prepared to be greeted with either a head scratching facsimile of your dream part or tool, or simply the next in a long line of various shaving products.
Let’s not be too hard on the poor unsuspecting family members though, since most of them would have an easier time understanding what we were talking about if we just spoke Greek to begin with. Here is another area where I thank my lucky stars for my beloved wife. She is a photographer, and as such is as picky about her equipment as I am about my automotive items. I learned pretty early on in our relationship that I was expressly forbidden to purchase anything camera related without her prior stamp of approval. Now this may seem like an undramatic way to shop for Christmas presents, but I can tell you the itch of waiting for your gift when you know it’s exactly what you wanted can be nerve racking all the same. Any poor schmuck who has ever waited to have a custom car built can tell you all about this level of agony.
Luckily over time I have discovered a list of things that are always worth getting. Jugs of Meguiar’s car wash, bottles of Hot Shine, shop rags and wax applicator pads never go out of style. Occasionally I run across an item that I point out with giddy boyhood glee, and my wife will oblige in the same fashion as her own camera equipment, by snapping it up for me and whisking it away until Christmas morning. This must be how Santa feels when Mrs. Claus picks his gift out.
None of this is put forth as any kind of complaint, but more as an acknowledgement the car-guy orbits in a different path from most. We as a group are okay with that because we are very glad to participate in both our holidays and yours. We are thankful we have a wonderful place where we can pursue this passionate hobby, and even more thankful we have family and friends who help us do so.
For these things alone we will happily accept all the after shave you give us by default. Especially since when we get finished working on our toys, we need to clean up before we can fix yours.
God Bless America…and the wives of car-guys.
– T. August Green