Just Ask Me
Playing with childhood toy cars in the dirt is only the beginning for many people who become life-long car enthusiasts. These children looked forward to the “rite of passage” when they got their driver’s license, and hopefully a car.
I didn’t get my license until I was 19, so the closest I came to enjoying cruising was hanging out with my friend who had a car that worked, sometimes. In 1983, I was one of the many teenagers who traveled from the bowling alley to Tasty Freeze for hours in Brazil.
I can remember being yelled at to “go home” by some of the adults in town. But, we weren’t hurting anyone, so we didn’t.
We NEVER parked in the parking lot at McDs and just sat there for hours on the car hoods. Those kids usually ended up talking to law enforcement at some point in the night. But we did stop long enough for French fries and a Coke, and then back out to “the strip” to wave at people you knew.
Why was it fun? At 54 years old now, I honestly don’t have an answer, but it was to the teenager I was all those years ago. I never acquired the love of a car, but I can appreciate the artistry and precision it takes to create one.
But I know many people who do.
They are enthusiasts.
A vehicle means much more to an enthusiast than just a means of getting from one place to another. For them, something is comforting and familiar that happens after spending time “babying” their pride and joy.
It’s more than a car, it’s the memories from the past attached to it and the ability to share new ones with others.
An enthusiast isn’t what you would call a “Sunday driver” out for a quaint tour around town.
Car lovers enjoy the excitement that comes from plopping down in the driver’s seat after a long work week, the thrill of turning the key over to hear the engine come to life, and looking toward the freedom that comes from driving to no particular place.
Speed signs, at times, can be optional for an enthusiast.
A car show is like Christmas for an enthusiast. A social gathering of like-minded people who enjoy a relationship with cars and an opportunity to possibly show off their “baby.”
However, high gas prices and environmental concerns, new traffic laws/ordinances and the objections in some communities about a parade of vehicles driving up and down “the strip” in town has changed the favorite pastime that dates back to the 1940s.
In the year 2019, the closest a person may come to seeing muscle cars, street rods, rat rods and custom, collector, and special-interest vehicles in action “cruising’” slowly up and down the roadway would be to rent George Lucas’s classic movie “American Graffiti.”
While “taking it to the streets” and “cruising” isn’t as popular today, the love of the automobile and the automotive industry is booming. There are countless television shows and even video games involving automobiles. Countless websites are out there to learn how to customize almost any car out there.
Even my little Kia Soul is on the list. I admit to wanting the black gun-metal rims for my tires and maybe, just maybe, a new sound system. But that’s only wishful thinking on my part.
Wait. Does that mean, after all these years, I am an enthusiast for my Soul?
I guess so.