Car/Owner Look-alikes

The other day on my way to work, I noticed something strange. This isn’t new, as I notice something strange nearly every day on the road. The reason for this is that I am super observant… about cars.

As my wife will certainly attest to, I rarely notice anything off the road (when driving). Every now-and-then I’ll point out a brand new store, shopping mall, or skyscraper to her. She promptly retrieves her “are you serious?” face and stares for a moment. I immediately realize what I’ve done. Whatever it is I pointed out has been there for weeks or months. OK, OK… it’s been there forever. But to me it’s brand-new! I’ve never seen it before! Sometimes I’ll pretend like I knew that, but she knows it isn’t true. However when it comes to cars, I notice everything.

For years I’ve been known for pointing out things like underinflated tires, a nail in the tread, blown light bulbs, etc. to owners of other cars. One time I noticed that my neighbor, having just performed the spring ritual of swapping his snow tires for summer ones, had put the rear tires on the wrong sides. His tires were directional and he had swapped them. It wasn’t until a friend told me, just after I pointed out a nail in his not-yet-flat right-rear tire, that this is weird. That had never occurred to me, but I’m OK with it.

So, back to this thing I noticed. It was a Chevrolet Beretta. But it wasn’t just any Beretta; this was a pristine, red, 1994 Z26 Beretta. This car looked as if it had just driven off the new car lot in ’94. Then I noticed a second thing; the driver, a woman in her 50s, looked as if she had gotten ready that morning in 1994. I’m pretty sure she bought some new clothes, bought the car, drove home to her garage in ’94, went to sleep, and woke up to head to work the next day, only the next day was in 2012. She matched the car.

Then I started looking around at other drivers, myself included, and noticed a trend. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, I noticed that many people match their cars much in the same way people sometimes match their pets. In my case, I was wearing nice shoes, nice pants, and a nice shirt and tie, all while driving a nice BMW. Next to me was an old pickup work truck that had clearly spent its entire life outside working very hard, as did its driver. Again I see another one. This time it’s a new(ish) hopped-up Mitsubishi Evo that is loud an obnoxious.
And this goes on.

It’s a curious thing. You are what you eat, but are you what you drive? Being a car-guy, I certainly have to say yes. I know it isn’t true for everyone, but it is for many close to me. My wife is an adventurous, fun person and she drives an often-dirty Jeep Grand Cherokee (dirty because of off-roading, not neglect). My best friend, nicknamed “Sir Francis Silkybottom,” drives a top-of-the-line, loaded, brand-new VW Toureg. My artsy-neighbor just bought a Scion xB. Think of the craziest person in your past and think about what they drove. See? Although, unless you’re a car-nut like I am, you probably have no idea what they drove.

The next time you’re driving around, take a look around. What do you see? Do you see shopping malls and landscaping, or do you see cars matching their drivers?

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