Friday, June 30, 2017

Do I ever get embarrassed with being a sort of a bottom feeder? I guess it would depend on who I hang out with.

photo source"

Of course, I would never refer to myself that way. That is terribly judgmental and cruel. It is true that I have to limit myself to the low cost hobby vehicles that I discover. It's true that I have to add my labor and sweat equity to my cars to achieve my goals. It is also true that I don't want to take my cars to the shop unless it is absolutely something that I cannot do myself. So what. No one really needs a hobby car. All my neighbors do quite well without one. Cars are their necessary appliance. I'm just trying to live my automotive dream within my limited financial means.

You are always going to encounter those negative people that offer the harshest criticism and derogatory remarks. Just walk around any car show. It seems that their point in attending is just to criticize the car builder's achievements. They have nothing of value to contribute or add, but they feel that their negative input is justified and even needed. Car owners with years of experience will have lots of insight and constructive suggestions. The best course of action is when they keep their comments to themselves, unless asked. I used to keep a copy of this ad posted on my cubicle wall, no wonder I was not popular with the management.

Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

The worst offenders are those who often don't even own a vintage or collector car, "Okay Buddy, Where's yours?"

I like to think I'm just reaching for the low hanging fruit.
photo source JPH advisory group

Like those children pictured above, when I see something I want, I will try to find a way to get what is accessible to me, right now. If there wasn't that cluster of grapes hanging down within arm's reach, they would just have to do without.

photo source Indie wire
Let's face it, not only can we all not be this guy, most of us will never even get close!

We all like to imagine a scenario when money will be no object. When there would be no financial limitations on our pursuit of automotive happiness. But as we have matured into adults most of us have realized "that ain't never gonna happen." There are lots of guys that are content to confine their wishful thinking to "someday." "When I win the lottery." Or even more realistic projections such as "when my kids are grown up, or when I finally retire." Well, that is being realistic. Raising a family is expensive, in dollars and time invested. Launching a career or business takes an incredible amount of time and effort. You have to set priorities. The advice that I give to many of my much younger coworkers is; "Work hard for your wife and family, but always try to hold onto a little something for yourself."

 Just like back in the days when I was an active Harley rider, I found a way to hold onto my bike. Later on, I was able to have a car that was interesting to me. Yes, it also had to be useful to me. It was "my"car, and like my motorcycles before, I had to use it for daily transportation. Just like me, it had to work for a living.

I am at the point in life that I won't even let my imagination run wild. If I see  some far out, expensive high end car, I don't even want to imagine owning it. I'm too much of a realist.  I know that a car like that just wouldn't fit into my lifestyle. Having the car is one thing, being able to live with it is another.

Years ago, I knew a guy that owned an independent motorcycle repair shop. He was in his late forties or so, when his grandmother passed away and left him several properties in San Jose. Now real estate has always been pretty valuable here. He held onto one house and sold the other two. With part of his windfall he bought himself a Ferrari Testarossa. It was beautiful. He told me that he started attending Ferrari Owners events. Now Louie was a nice enough guy, but a kind of pudgy, blue collar fellow. I wonder how comfortable he felt at those events. Most Ferrari owners just don't own the car, they own the lifestyle. A professional career, a big house in Saratoga or Los Gatos. Weekends and dinners in fancy resorts and restaurants. Vacation trips abroad. If I was in his position, what would I have in common with those people? Now I'm making the same type of assumptions that I accuse others of making about me. Maybe I would be accepted as an equal, as a Ferrari owner and enthusiast, just on face value. Maybe. But I kind of doubt it.

Maybe that is why old Muscle and Pony cars are so popular and valuable. For that matter, why modern cars like the new Corvette, Shelby Mustang or Dodge Hell Cats are so popular with a certain affluent segment of car enthusiasts. These are expensive cars, but they can be embraced by blue collar and working class folks. Even those that are financially now quite successful. You can attend the average neighborhood car show or cruise in. You are not limited to those exclusive snooty Concours type events.

This may sound kind of bad, but at my age I have learned where my "place" is. That doesn't mean that a repressive society has finally beat me down, or that I have become ensnared by social constraints. Instead it means that I know where my comfort zone is.

I went to that Jaguar forum driver's event and I was a bit uncomfortable about the whole wine tasting episode. For one thing I don't really like wine, the other thing is that it cost me thirty bucks. But I wasn't going to be the only one not participating!

My automotive life is only one part of my story. The rest of my existence occurs outside of that venue. What ever personal accomplishments I have achieved during my life, contribute to the balance of my experiences. I don't feel a need to overcompensate through my automotive expressions. I have never bought anything as a "status symbol" meant to impress my friends, family,  or co workers. (Of course I've never had the money to throw around either!) Whatever I have, it is what I like and value. It is an expression of my identity as a car enthusiast, it is not used to establish my "status" in the car enthusiast community.

Maybe I take all this junk, and myself, way too seriously at times. Maybe they are just old cars!

No comments:

Post a Comment