Monday, February 14, 2011
A few weeks ago my good friend Ken Ingersoll sent me this video via Facebook. It's coverage of the German Reisbrennen, a gathering of imports that is very similar to Import Alliance from what I can tell and it looks like an amazing experience. Format67 has brought itself to the forefront of automotive motion media and the attention they've received is entirely justified.
This latest artistic venture from Format67 intervened in my already desolate sleep schedule with a flood of thought and observation that inspired the laziest of Burg bloggers, your's truly, to such a ridiculous extent I had to write about it.
Community. Webster defines it as "a unified body of individuals." It's a term that gets thrown around often, however not as much as is probably necessary. Take a moment and let that sink in. Community. What does that mean to you?
This community is a daily fixture in my life, and I'm sure it is the same for many of you. Every single waking day of my life you people are a part of it. I live with this community. I live in this community. Hell, I LIVE this community. WE live this lifestyle, this sector of human society that is so so monstrous in proportion, yet so misunderstood by the status quo.
Ponder this. How many times has your timing belt jumped a tooth, and someone you only know as "That Guy With the Boosted CRX" pulled over on the interstate in the middle of the night to help you out? How many times have you desperately needed that STUPID relay, for whatever reason, at 3:30 in the morning and you found someone that had it and was willing to meet you to get it to you? Or that time you just couldn't quite figure out how to wire that thing __________ (insert said thing here... like B18C1 butterfly valves) and you called up so and so to help you out? Or that time Steven stayed late at Elite because he knew how bad you wanted your tires mounted so you could rock your new wheels?
Community. Friends. Family.
Yet it goes deeper. Moving past helping out with cars, past hooking you up with a deal on parts and evolving to true friendship. How many people do you know simply because they had a modified car too? How many of those became your closest friends? I'm sure the number is startlingly high. I can think of countless examples..
This is what drives our community, what drives us. It is why when you pass me on the interstate, and I don't know you, and you wave -- I wave back. It's what gets us into as much trouble as it keeps us out of. It's what makes a casual gathering of friends for a bite to eat look like a car show.
Not even pro football players look that cool when they meet up at Zaxby's for lunch.
This phenomenon is not limited to simply local community. Not limited to towns, or cities, or states. This way of life is global. It's McDonalds global. An epic magnitude of car enthusiasm. It's the reason Import Alliance is so amazing, why the Eibach Meet gives away a "Farthest Distance Traveled" award, why drag racing associations hold East Coast vs. West Coast showdowns, and why the SCCA Solo2 Nationals are held. We are connected by what we love. This video brought forth emotions in me that are so true to my soul, yet it was contrived on another continent.
It's why Ken, who moved to New York, sent it to me. He understands this love.. passion.. whatever nomenclature you want to use.
Not everyone understands. People outside of this lifestyle are confused by why we do what we do. A car is just a car to them. From A to B. It doesn't compute for them, and that's fine.. because we understand each other and that's all that matters.
Our community creates micro-communities within itself. The stance guys. The drag racers. The autocrossers. Those annoying drifters...
After we create those divisions we then break them into even smaller communities. Front-Drive drag racers. All motor. Turbo. Import. DSM. Honda. Domestic. Ford. Chevy... and so on.
In the end we are all part of one community. It is why I go to Import Shootout, to shows of all types, to autocrosses, to Cobra Club track days... we are a unified body of individuals.
Community is what makes this all worth it.. the waking up at 5am to head out to an event, the lack of sleep, the lack of food, the expensive parts, the expensive trips, the grease stains that you cannot get out of your hands... and we just can't get enough of it. We wouldn't have it any other way.
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to those that introduced me to this scene, helped me along the way, asked me to help them along the way, came to the events, held the events, showed up on weekend nights, sold me parts, bought parts from me, supported me, competed against me, and became my friends.. Thank you to all of those who are part of this community with me.
This is my lifestyle. When I die I can do so knowing that I experienced something amazing, that spanned the globe and did so with such incredible impact, elegance, creativity, passion, and skill that only those involved could ever understand or appreciate it.
I look forward to the 2011 season and am anxious to see what we'll pull of this time around.