Though it was only 6 pm, it was already dark out. The fall sent shivers to the Southern Hemisphere, and I ventured out to procure bread for my family. I got to the bakery shop, facing a small dilemma. All the parking on the bakery´s side of the street was taken. I drove around the block and parked on the other side. It’s a narrow two-way street and buses pass all the time, making it difficult for two cars passing at once. I worried about somebody hitting my car or smashing my side mirror. So I thought about it a minute and left the lights on when I exited the car, hoping that would be enough to alert our modern-day semi-comatose drivers. And that my friends is what makes me an enthusiast.
In an era of ubiquitous radars, crushing insurance for anything slightly sporting and obnoxious rice racers and ultimate car douche-bags, enthusiasm is not what it once was. I believe that enthusiasm nowadays is evidenced by thinking of your car. Granting it half a second of our overstretched attention. When I go to the mall, I inevitably bore my wife by driving around for a while looking for that “safe” space. One that affords my car some room to escape dings and scratches. Parking as close as possible to a column is part of my strategy. The other is avoiding mommy mobiles as the fairer sex is not known for respecting the doors of the cars parked next to them.
I also wash my car from time to time. I like to keep it neat and never leave anything in the trunk. I firmly believe a trunk is for the temporary transportation of objects and not an extra closet to store your excess junk ad infinitum. You wouldn’t believe my brother’s cars for example. Not only do they go dirty for weeks at a time, but pop his trunk and you’ll find old socks, tennis balls and rackets, stethoscopes, two-liter plastic soda bottles. The car of course has no feelings and is not offended, but such behavior is proof that he is not an enthusiast. It shows he doesn’t spare a thought to his cars.
I could go on (I get out of the car to watch over the gas attendant’s indifferent work instead of lazily sitting in the car), but my point is made. Modern enthusiasm is not about zero to 60 times, top speed or even engine size. It’s more about how the car fits into your life. How it makes you feel. Whether or not it gives you what you want from it. From sublime handling to icy perfection and boring, eternal reliability, whatever idiosyncratically rocks your boat.
In this vein, modern enthusiasm encompasses anything from the poster child of bland, the Toyota Corolla, to the epitome of cool, the Citroën 2CV. If you spare your car a half of second of thought throughout the situations you face going about your business, then my friend you are an enthusiast.