Is its shape a perfect painting?
Is its rumble reminiscent of an orchestra?
Does the steering wheel heft in your hand like a perfectly crafted tool?
Wait, what? Yes, I am in fact talking about a car. Or cars in general. I came across this quote in the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe:
And it reminded me how a car can make you feel. Looking at it, listening to it, or driving it, a car can make you smile in multiple ways. Which make them quite unusual, compared to any other tool. Perhaps calling a car a tool is doing them a disservice. After all, when did a painting treat your ears as well as your eyes, or an orchestra delight you with its sweeping lines. So they are multifaceted.
What’s your poison?
But there is more. Does your car bark, rumble or purr? Is it boxy, sleek or razor-sharp? Does it announce your presence to the whole street, or slip by unnoticed, raw power concealed until you require it? You could chose the top down to embrace the outside, or stick a snorkel and chunky tires on it and clamber straight over the top of it. Frankly, whatever your jam, there is a car for it. Spend a bit of time (and yes, money), and you can have something that fits your personality like a glove.
So a bespoke, multifaceted tool, perhaps even a piece of art? What’s not to like? But its just not the done thing to eulogise about cars in this way. In the grand scheme of arty things, stuff like sculpture, music, poetry and painting are way up there, and cars are way down low, knocking about with a freshly caught and perfectly BBQ’d mackerel, or an exquisite cover drive. Surely not worthy of more esteemed attention. Let the oiks drive their lumps of metal around, there are higher things we need to be concerning ourselves with. Sport is often dismissed in this way, as though the grunting, straining effort on display makes the whole thing unacademic somehow and so not worthy of proper consideration. The car suffers from being common, and loud, and smelly, and perhaps too easily accessible. Frankly, grubby.
I would like to propose that this need not be the case. A car allows you to express yourself visually in a way quite hard to achieve through any other medium save your clothing, but simultaneously can provide a winning soundtrack or an exhilarating experience. As Floyd Montoya found, it can be quite hard to really express how a car makes you feel, but you know it when hits you.