Saturday, July 23, 2005

150mph Couch Potato

I was vegging in front of the TV recently when I realized something peculiar. I was watching a show called Top Gear, a British automotive show, on the discovery channel. This was after watching another show called Overhaulin’ which was on after yet another show called Classic Car Rebuild. This is when the revelation struck; however to fully explain this I have to take you back a few years.


Ever since I could remember my father would read, watch, and live cars. Some might call him obsessed but that might not give due credit to how far his hobby goes. He is the type of guy every mechanically challenged man wants as a neighbor and every used car salesman dreads. My father to this day has stacks of old Road & Track, Car & Driver, and almost every other car magazine from the 1950’s ‘till now. He has ordered entire volumes of magazines spanning decades from other auto enthusiasts just so he could re-read old articles he remembered and then tuck them away in his closet. When ever one of his kids crossed a state line on a road trip away from home they were required to bring back an Auto-Trader from the states visited for my father’s perusal.

The man has had three sports cars in his garage at one time, that don’t function outside of gathering dust, purely because he likes having them. He also has three motorcycles. He commissioned me four or five years ago to paint him a mural in our basement of, what else, a car in a garage. Once he told me that he could identify any car simply from the silhouette or hubcap, and then he could give a complete breakdown, by the numbers, of every aspect of that automobile. I’ve tested him and he can do it.

When I was young I can remember getting up on Sundays to get ready for church. My dad would already be up in his house robe watching a race. When we got back from church he would be recording one race and watching another. If I wanted to spend any time with him on these days I had to sit down, be quiet, and watch the races with him. After years of this I guess I started building up an appreciation for cars. Not that I am any good as a mechanic. Hell, I have a hard time doing anything with my car. However, I can remember little tidbits of automotive trivia (such as Roles Royce built the engines for the WWII fighter planes, the Corsairs) and I can tell stories that revolve entirely around cars (Link). Also, as I have already stated, I have some deep desire to watch shows about cars. I can’t get enough. Yeah, the shows are good enough on their own, but I wonder if it is somehow attached in my psyche that television shows about cars relates to quality time with my pops.

While some men make time for football games or going fishing, I seem to make an inordinate amount of time for automotive television shows and car talk. Don’t get me wrong, again I couldn’t tell you anything about cars really, but I love talking about them and watching stuff about them. The thing that is really baffling is that cars are in no way associated with any of my hobbies. I’m an outdoorsman. When I do something for myself I tend to get as far away from roads as possible. On that same note, I hate having to work on my car. I absolutely loathe it. But, I will watch shows about cars endlessly. I guess what I am getting at is that our parents do rub off on us, though that may scare many of us somewhat. In some ways I’m glad I can sit in front of a TV and feel close to my dad. Yet sometimes I also wonder why he couldn’t have instilled some of his mechanical know-how too, damn it.


Mad Mike said...

I used to do the same thing with my pops but it usually involved some sports activity mainly boxing. I still flip on a few fights every now and then and can't seem to turn away. I still remember the stories he used to tell me about Muhammed Ali (sp?).

Your New Sleeping Aid said...

Nope. Dude, the truth is, you are desperate for a relationship with your father and are subconsciously grasping at cars in an effort to connect with him.
Yes, I'm awesome!

mommyjolle said...

You neglected to mention his endearing habit of leaning over during a movie or t.v. show and whispering the make, model and year of any car that shows up on the screen...even though I'm trying to concentrate on the plot and characters! You know, of course, that in his mind the stars of "The Italian Job" (BOTH versions) are the three cars!

Nothing Like It said...

Ohoo, I love watching Top Gear! Freud would have fun analysing your car fixation ;)