Buying into costly car obsession goes too far for some, eludes others

Danny Andrews

Danny Andrews

I don’t understand cars.

It seems that everyone invests so much time in caring for them, talking about them and showing them off. Cars are like some twisted form of child-rearing, except that when cars get old, you junk them. When children get old, they just resent you.

And the amount of detail that people go into describing their cars makes me physically ill. Some of my friends are like that. They can, and will, talk about some random, possibly imaginary, engine component. Whenever I have the displeasure of this happening to me, I adopt a policy of smiling stupidly and nodding. That is all it really takes to make people believe you know what they’re talking about, and I find myself doing it more and more.

I often have to do this with several of my high-school friends. One of them branded his body with the Corvette logo, another spent a majority of his paycheck on items like air intakes and microchips that force an extra four or five horsepower out of the engine. When Corvette Boy bought his first car, he spent the next three years and thousands of dollars getting it ready for the road. He drove it for a month or so until some arbitrary piece of equipment, whose only job is to break and cost a small fortune, broke. Now he drives a minivan. I hear the other friend, Microchip, travels mostly by skateboard, seeing as how his money goes to parts for his car instead of gas.

It’s not just that people love their vehicles; they are almost physically attached to them. I have to go to class after class where I listen to people complain about the lack of parking spots around campus. Most of these people have no problem with walking across town to get to the bars safely, but when their education is on the line, holy hell, we have to start a freaking convoy. Do you want to know the hardest part of getting to class for me? I spend half of my time on campus staring at my bike lock trying to remember the combination.

I’m sure that those that know me, seeing as how I am a pizza delivery boy, will call me a hypocrite. I do drive near campus and walk the rest of the way now that winter decided to show up, but I don’t like to.

I figure that if I just hit myself in the face with a piece of ice and drive to school, I can save the time I would have lost trying to cross the glacial floe in front of my house on two, slightly flat, tires.

I suppose I can understand their passion. Where some people animatedly discuss make and model, I gleefully point out the nuanced differences in fighting styles between Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker. While some may enjoy lecturing on automotive history, I prefer giving a complete and unabridged history of the Legend of Zelda. But just because I understand doesn’t mean I care. Take it this way – unless that ride of yours has a flux capacitor, I’m not buying.

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