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  #1  
Old 06-15-2004, 10:58 AM
Coming back from burnout
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: in the Pacific Northwest
Posts: 2,274
Face it, its Dumb to love a Car..

Or is it?
A car is just another consumer appliance, a box with 5 chairs and four round things, a distant cousin to other things we urgently need in everyday life, like a water heater, washing machine, lawnmower, television or microwave oven. Try going through life without a gas furnace or a coffee machine. I would rather take a warm shower and I need my Java and use public transportation or a taxi (uhh, just kidding.... )
There are billions of these things called cars out there on the highways, all doing the same boring things, going to the supermarket, sitting in a traffic jam at rush hour, (Ever see a Corvette sitting in a traffic jam? Donít you love it?) or waiting in the drive-through at McDonalds. At the end of its lifespan, a car ends up just as ingloriously as a refrigeratorósitting at the curb with its parts stripped.
Wait a minute! Its not Dumb to Love a Car.This is the truth!
I. The Car as our Horse. Last autumn I took a two-week trip from New Jersey to Canada in my trusty 240D with the engine and transmission I rebuilt. The 240D faithfully carried me through windstorm and hailstorm and even snowstorm, its toasty heater filling my heart with warm cheer and the feeling of safety in the freezing Canadian autumn. I slept in the Car at rest stops, keeping the motor running for heat, and charged my cell phone, electric shaver and Laptop from its power supply. The radio sent me everything from the news, to adrenaline pounding rock and roll, to spirit lifting pop when I felt lonely. It kept my coffee warm. The Diesel never missed a tick, its every revolution as vital to my Life as my heart. At the end of that trip I knew why a Cowboy loved his Horse. I felt closer to my Car than a lot of my coworkers, and I certainly trust it a lot more (which is understandable).
II. Mercedes Craftsmanship. A Mercedes isnít a car. Itís Grand Piano with an engine, a terrific piece of engineering that has the share the roads with bean shaped econo-boxes and vulgar Lexii. Itís a Rolex, or a Hoover Dam, a true engineering symphony that happens to share the asphalt with common cars. One month I sheepishly calculated I spent more hours on my car, tweaking this, adjusting that, than I spent with my daughter. I washed it twice a week and waxed it. Every time I look at that Diesel, I think more in terms of a Spitfire airplane than a common car engine. My Mercedes makes me fee like Phineas Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or Doctor Porsche, not the guy who sits in one of the billion cubicles of the world..
III. Fantasy Machine. My Mercedes has taken me (albeit slowly) from Times Square to San Francisco. Most likely it will take me to the supermarket or Walmart, but nevertheless, the possibility exists that on the next trip to Home Depot, the mood will strike and I will take a different exit on the turnpike and head straight to Alaska, take the ferry across the Bering Straits, and head from Russia to China to Paris. Or perhaps to Mexico right down to Argentina. And only my Mercedes Diesel could survive such a trip. I know where every bolt and wire and rubber line leads and what its doing on a particular engine revolution.
IV. Sentimental memories: This was the car my 10 year daughter old snuck out and drove five nights in a row, parking it 180 degrees about face each time, before I caught on. This is the car I met my wife in. Its the car I drove when I landed my present job..The list goes on and on..

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  #2  
Old 06-15-2004, 11:40 AM
Jim B+
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"Living machinery" vs "Dead machinery"

Objects which demand a certain "involvement" or "relationship" with owners are "living". The things that are meant to be used without thought, expended, disposed of, and replaced are "dead".

We can also have "affection" for "living machinery". Steam locomotives, streetcars, sailboats (and ocean liners) and certain cars draw our wonder, respect, admiration, and involve other higher human attributes.

Televisions, quartz watches, most modern cars, computers...all are "dead" machinery. Wondered how I could stare at a TV set for hours every night for years, and yet not think twice when the worn-out set was plunked out with the trash.
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  #3  
Old 06-15-2004, 09:25 PM
Hatterasguy's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,313
I see this sometimes with boats. I was talking to a sailor who had just spent years taking his boat around the world. He had been threw everything on it, they had taken everything mother nature could throw at them. You would have thought he was talking about his wife the way he talked about his boat, "she isn't happy our trip is over" etc. The boat was a trusted friend. I guess we can develope the same feeling's towards our cars. I'm beggining to like "the money pit" it grows on you
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  #4  
Old 06-15-2004, 11:15 PM
The Warden's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pacifica (SF Bay Area), CA
Posts: 2,946
Yep!!

If it's dumb to love a car, I'm one of the stupidest people out there.

My car is like a horse...reliable, hard-working, and IMHO deserving of some loyalty in return. The fact that, through working on her, I've been able to bond with the car really helps with this.

I feel the same way about my truck (compounded in that I'm getting real intimate with the engine right about now)...but there's something added there. My truck is the last real link I have to one of my favorite people in the world. This person was taken suddenly and without warning, and no one had a chance to say goodbye. I inherited the truck, and given the memories surrounding both him and the truck, I feel like I always have a part of him in addition to his memory within my heart.

So, while the truck may look old and beat-up, it's no wonder why I laugh when people offer to buy it from me...
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Last edited by The Warden; 06-15-2004 at 11:21 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2004, 11:19 AM
Jim B+
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You can also take the stance that it's "dumb" to love anybody, or any thing

...there's no guarantee that we'll be loved in return by human, animal, plant, or machine. But that's what makes us human.

For a very moving yet unsentimental description of love, see Carson McCullers' novel "Ballad of The Sad Cafe" (link).

http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~sparks/lit209/ballad.html
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2004, 11:32 AM
TX76513's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Brandon, Mississippi
Posts: 5,206
Words and music by Roger Taylor

The machine of a dream
Such a clean machine
With the pistons a pumpin'
And the hub caps all gleam

When I'm holdin' your wheel
All I hear is your gear
When my hand's on your grease gun
Oh it's like a disease son

I'm in love with my car
Gotta feel for my automobile
Get a grip on my boy racer rollbar
Such a thrill when your radials squeal

Told my girl I'll have to forget her
Rather buy me a new carburetor
So she made tracks sayin'
This is the end now
Cars don't talk back
They're just four wheeled friends now

When I'm holdin your wheel
All I hear is your gear
When I'm cruisin' in overdrive
Don't have to listen to no run of the mill talk jive

I'm in love with my car
Gotta feel for my automobile
I'm in love with my car
String back gloves in my automolove

Queen -
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  #7  
Old 06-18-2004, 12:12 PM
Coming back from burnout
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: in the Pacific Northwest
Posts: 2,274
On a dark rainy night in NYC, I knew it was Love..

I'm 44 now, a sleep abuser and a power napper, and I take a lot of naps in my "comfortable and worn" car, more often than not my 240D. I commute an hour a Day each way, and more often than once, I have pulled over and left the 240D's motor running for Heat or Air Conditioning and have caught 30 winks to be safe..
The car has kept me warm or cool and more important dry..its like a neat cubbyhole or shelter from the ravages of this world..

But the best nap I had was the one time I dropped my family off in NYC to do some shopping. It was dark, raining pretty hard and windy and i stayed in my car to take a nap on a side street. I was starting to doze off whan I saw a couple of suspicious looking people. A gang was coming down the street yanking on doors at random, fumbling for valuables or whatever..Before I knew it they had gotten to my car..but one flick of my vacuum power locks denied them entrance in a millisecond..good thing i had replaced them the summer before..there was some yelling and cussing..but the kids wandered off leaving my car and me unscathed..and I returned peacefully to my nap in my 240D, my Castle away from home...not rain, not cold, or dark or evil men could overcome my trusty 240D
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2004, 04:14 PM
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA
Posts: 98
I know I love my Fairlane. There's a sense that we've been through a lot together even though I've only put 24,000 miles on it so far. But I think part of it is that I needed it for the learning experience and for something to grow with; I bought the car 4-1/2 years ago at the age of 16 and more or less cut my teeth on it. My family is about the only physical thing I consider more important. Friends come and go, people promise things, but my car is something that's there for me, that is truly mine. But it needs me too, and I think maybe that's part of it. Without me, it might have been stripped for parts, sent to the crusher, who knows. But with me, it can become something greater than the humble sedan that rolled off a Kansas City assembly line back in '64. With me, it will survive and thrive, and I maintain that I will keep it forever. Yeah, it's let me down a couple times, but that's been over two years ago; I was just re-braking it in. It's something I can grow with, and if you could marry a car, well...
But I do get attached to other cars. Probably my first love was my Dad's 300D, which is why I'm looking into fixing it up, even though I would probably be better off finding one in better condition. Then there's the F100, which will probably come down to me, that was my great-Grandfather's last farm truck (he bought it used in '68). Even the van I hope we hold onto. So many people are too willing to lock themselves into the trade-in cycle, which takes a regular stream of money and results in the vehicle being treated as an appliance. Worse than that, perhaps, are the people who buy sports cars and flog them to death, wreck them, or just unload them when they get bored with them. You could say they use the car in about the same way as a person might use cocaine.
I say if you can love how a car looks, and if it satisfies your needs without being too demanding, then why would you even think of selling it? People sometimes say they "needed sometime different" when they get rid of a perfectly good car for a new one. I think sometimes I need sometime the same, there's already enough that's going to change whether I like it or not.

I really believe that people like us are a different class of owners, and if our cars could talk, they would be thanking us. Just think about it, we understand them, we know how to fix their problems, and for the most part they give us just what we need without complaint. Somehow though, I don't think "honey, I wish you were more like my Mercedes" would fly though, and "you're just like my Mercedes" probably wouldn't be taken as a compliment. Oh, and "you're just like my Fairlane," well... I'll stay away from that one at least until I've got it looking good. Women, if you've got one that understands, you're lucky, if you've got one who tolerates, you're probably ok; otherwise, keep looking.

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Family vehicles that I lay some claim to:
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