Hold on to that memory

The real essence of motoring is not about the car

4y ago

If you are a true gearhead, you know it's not the car. It's that bond, that special relationship that you have with a machine. You know that you have it when you start ignoring the cold, hard facts. You do so because if you didn't, you'd lose the very essence of true motoring, and through that, the true meaning of feeling and being alive. You laugh at those silly, ignorant, grey little men who tell you that what you see in front of you, what you're dreaming of and hold so close to your heart is just another product of some big corporation, with the sole purpose of making a dime.

You ignore the fact that the reward for those hours of wear and tear, the non-stop grind of your daytime job, your salary is to be put to sensible use. Always. No exceptions. You laugh at the naysayers, because they don't understand. They will never truly be able to feel what you feel: that you are not trying to buy just another heap of junk, a one ton mix of metal, bolts and upholstery. You are not trying to buy anything, really, because it'd not be a purchase for you. You simply exchange the hours put in your job into memories and dreams.

You understand that the beauty of life is cherishing the memories of everyday little wonders that were and forever will be yours and yours only. Like the time when your father bought the family's first car and took you to school with it the next day. At that moment, no matter how young you were, you knew that your life would never be the same and great things, wonderful experiences and adventures were ahead. The door to all of those was opened by your father's car.

You think back to those times when you were sitting in the backseat with your brother, counting the red cars passing by, while your mother put her hand on your father's knee and smiled at him. She did so because at that moment, she understood the change the car brought to her family. She had spent evening after evening trying to talk your father out of buying a useless, expensive piece of machinery that they don’t need, because they could always take the train or the bus for the family vacation. At that moment though, she understood that the freedom, the independence and the seclusion from fellow travellers that the car brought made the journey itself a part of the destination.

You remember the pride you felt, that sense of importance and purpose, when your father made you Tool Manager of the family garage. You stood there beside him, with that serious look on your face that always made your grandma smile, alert and ready for when your father asks for the 13mm wrench. You rushed to the toolbox, picked it up and put it in his oily, worn and wrinkled hand that you loved to hold so much. Then you went to sleep with that satisfactory feeling of accomplishment, because you were an integral part in making the next day's family trip possible.

You remember the first time you picked up your date with your dad's car, and that first kiss you two had while parked at the end of that winding mountain road. You remember how heartbroken you were when at one time she told you to take her home, and in front of her door she told you she had found someone else. You think back at how you shot out from her driveway and drove back to that mountain road, hardly seeing anything from the tears in your eyes. You still feel the anger and disappointment that made you push the car to the limit. Once again you experience the fear you felt when the car started going sideways in one of the corners, that sense of surprise and excitement you felt when you realized you managed to hold it like that, and the intoxicating feeling of triumph when you shot out at the end of that corner faster than when you went in.

You swallow your tears when you think back of the next day, when they rushed your father to the hospital and you picked up your mother from work to go to visit him. You remember how quiet and determined your mother was the whole way, and how you thanked whatever higher power you believe in that you could hear your father's voice for one last time before he closed his eyes for all eternity that night. You think of that warm, sunny day when you drove the family to the funeral, and the painful feeling of closure the sale of your father's car meant just a week later.

And all of this, all these sweet and sorrow memories rush through your mind in a blink of an eye, and like freight train, they hit you in the head while warming your heart like nothing else could. The tidal wave of memories and emotions wash over you because you find a classified of a car like the one your father used to own. So you ignore all those critics with all their sense of superiority and ignorance, because they don't understand...and you buy the car.

You start working on it, go hunting for parts, chat on forums and go to club meetings. You make a ton of new friends and a couple enemies. Your buddies come over on Fridays to help you with the works, so that you can finish quicker and then the whole gang can go out for a drink at last. The next morning you go down to the garage, and you sit by the car with your back against the wall, thinking about your father and his car, thinking about how different yours will be, and about the night before with your friends and that slight hangover it resulted in. But before you realize it, those Friday nights spent tinkering will become the social event, while the car becomes the campfire, keeping those friendships warm.

Then, after months spent in the garage, you take the car out for the first time. You are cautious at first. You listen to the noises it makes. You try to be as gentle as possible at the first couple of corners. You notice how different it is from your father's, yet his spirit is there with you all the way. And then, when you get back to the garage, you realize how true it is that it has soul. All those modifications that you've made, all those worn, used parts that you had to use, all those compromises that you had to make, all the hours you spent with it gave it a personality. For you understand that all these little things made your car unique, since it will not drive, sound, handle or look like any other. You feel that serenity that you can only get when the hours put in blossom. You see your father in it and you see yourself as you take on his mantle with something that is your own. That is what gives your car soul.

You understand that all those little things, those everyday experiences that many don't even notice are all little wonders in themselves, and are all moments to cherish, look back to, re-live and build upon, and you understand, that this is the true essence of motoring.

Balázs Rézmányi

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