Car Nuts

Posted March 2011

I hate emails like this:  "Check out this YouTube video!  Turn the sound way up!"  Otherwise, just the link, no other information.  Came from the email address of a work friend.

After a moment or two of paranoid musing (Has he been infected with a worm?  Is is Phishing? It is going to install malware?) I decided it was, at least, going to a YouTube video as advertised.  Might be an ad, or, at worst, porn.

I clicked, and it was even worse than I feared.

Car nut.

I sat stone-faced for 60 seconds, watching a set of race cars (sound turned down, thankyewverymuch) drive around tracks and streets. 

Cars. Jeeze.

Now, I'm not going to make a sweeping statement about "real pilots and cars don't mix."  Car-love is a characteristic of a lot of good pilots.  You can tell what year a military pilot graduated from Colorado Springs, Annapolis, or West Point by the year of Corvette or Porsche or Z-car he drives.

But I don't share it.  To me, a car exists for one thing:  To fit under my derriere and haul it to the airport.  Or to work so I can afford my airplane.

I keep my cars a long time...ten years or more.  My wife and I usually own three cars, and at one time, all three had more than 100,000 miles.  I'm old enough and cranky enough that I don't enjoy car maintenance anymore.  I pay the shop $25 for an oil change, let the guy at the parts store install the windshield wipers, and, if a car starts acting up, sell it and get something new.

I sold my previous car when a litany of little things started to arise (~140,000 miles).  I could have afforded something nice...even a BMW like my car-video-linking friend drove.  Instead, I bought a $15,000 red econobox. 

And you know, it does just fine at fitting under my tushie and hauling it to the airport.  It's got a nice radio for playing flying songs along the way.  It even carries a set of gas cans in its dinky little trunk, for getting autofuel for the Fly Baby.

And so there was the video, of the race cars rumbling around.  It was obvious that they were going at speeds at which any decent machine would break ground and take to flight.  Yet they remained ground-bound.  What was the point?

At one point, one DID go airborne.  It was going over a hill.  The suspension relaxed, and a teeny-tiny bit of daylight appeared under a couple of wheels.  The video even stopped and showed it in slow motion.

Big whoop.

Me, I'll take 85 snarling Continental horses, the caress of the slipstream, and the sight of a red econobox in front of the hangar, dropping away below.

Car nuts.  Jeeze.

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