How to answer car non-enthusiasts
6 silly dismissals, dismissed.
A big part of being a car enthusiast involves dealing with people who would rather talk about how the Geelong Kittens thrashed the Baby Magpies, or whatever Meghan Markle’s brother’s friend’s wife has said to the tabloids now.
And to be honest, I’m with the Playgroup mediator on this. Not everyone likes what you like. I also have to agree that if they did, the world would be a devastatingly boring place. You’d throw yourself into the comments on DriveTribe and find that, in fact, everyone completely agrees that the Eagle Speedster is an E-Type with oedema. Which would kind of remove the whole point of saying it.
But just because non car people don’t share the passion, doesn’t mean they have the logical high ground.
1) "What's the point of a car that's fast when we've got speed limits?"
Okay, so let's pretend for a moment that fast and sporty cars are only enjoyable after you hit the magic 130km/h, which transforms the car from a Toyota Camry.
Having great, desirable things often involves a bit of unfulfilled capacity. You'll find watches that can resist Antarctic temperatures and Mariana Trench water pressures, attached to arms feeding Ali Baba into mouths at the mall.
I suppose it's like owning a gun. Of course, you're only allowed to go out into designated bushland and fire it, unless you're using it to put drainage holes in tin pots, but I doubt that would dampen the satisfaction of having a gun of your very own.
Furthermore, there’s a thing called tracks. And when I’m Climate Change Minister, we’re building more.
2) "Look, I'm never going to afford a Lamborghini. So why get excited by them?"
Perhaps because they’re nice things. You don’t have to experience something every day to be very glad it’s in the world.
I’m never going to have a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird in my backyard hangar. Yet not once have I finished watching a documentary about it, sighed, and said, “Well, it’s all right for some Cold War pilots.”
3) "All cars look the same"
Sit down and do this Spot-The-Difference then.
4) "A car is only a thing to get you from A to B"
What you’re saying is that you don’t care if it’s enjoyable to drive, or looks stylish.
Presumably you only ever wear track pants and a faded T-shirt, and eat boiled rice. Because clothes are only to cover nakedness and food is only to sustain one's practically-expended existence.
Don’t pretend that you can’t fulfil a purpose with style, or that you don’t want to.
5) "Cars are bad for the environment"
Planned obsolesce, Communist China, and pesticide litterers are far, far worse for the environment. Yet for some reason you don't see vegan eco-warriors in Tienanmen Square. You see them like ants at a picnic in VW's yards.
6) "A car is just a hunk of metal, like a dishwasher. What's to love?"
Actually, given how much time you’ll spend seated in them, they’re more like lounge suites.
Cars are the ultimate vessel of freedom, but more than that, they're the most complex pieces of machinery and applied science most of us will ever own. If that doesn't strike you, just a bit, then you're clinically dead.
And one final point. It's true, not everyone will be into cars. I'm not into gardens and flowers. I don't watch the TopGear for plants, where the hosts talk patiently about nourishing the soil and getting those stems trimmed right back. I don't follow Rosalie's Garden on Facebook - not least because Rosalie isn't on Facebook.
But I won't say to someone who's passionate about their beautiful garden, "Oh, so you know those flowers will be dead this time next week. And I don't know why you're not growing vegetables, which are far more useful."
No, I'll smell the roses. Or whatever they are.