At what point does your car become you?
When you say it’s you? When you do something to it? When someone else begins to deem it that way?
Would you even want it to?
It’s just some random, crazy question that made it’s way across my mind… Until I decided, well, it’d actually be kinda interesting to explore it a bit further. So here’s my attempt, no matter how awful it turns out to be!
Scenario #1 — When you say it’s you
I can see this as applying to mostly people buying a brand new car. “That car is so me,” would be you assigning yourself to a choice of style, color, make, model, number of cup holders, etc. You would then feel compelled to tell everyone about your car that’s so you that you either just bought or are going to buy or are planning on robbing a bank to buy.
I think people tend to do this a lot, whether they mean it or not. Otherwise there wouldn’t be stereotypes out there, right? Trucks for “manly” men (hardly!!) and SUV’s for women (gag me, ‘kay?). They may buy something because of the vibe it puts off in an effort to adopt something they see in a car… Like that old, geeky guy with the Ferrari keys. Trying to be sporty and impressive? The car is, sure, but you…. Probably won’t ever be.
If that’s the case, then we treat cars the same way we treat mates — we’re with them because they represent something good that we like and want to emulate ourselves. Whether it works or not, well, that’s another story.
Scenario #2 — When you do something to it
I’d almost want to say that this is more of a case than the first scenario. While people like to talk about their new cars, people are happy to talk about what they’ve done to make their car theirs. Dorky seat covers or performance exhaust doesn’t really matter, both seem to produce equal feelings of self-expression as long as the person assigns value to the item.
This is evident in two horrible trends: One being the “balls” guys put on their trucks, effectively reducing themselves in my eyes quite a bit (I believe the opposite of what they were going for, coincidentally) and the girls with those god-awful leis on the rear view mirrors. Both are horrible, generic trends repeated way too many times for it to be any sort of individual or clever statement.
I myself have had two things hanging from the rear view mirror of the Miata: First, a Cross Punisher necklace, something you’d only get if you ever watched the anime Trigun (one of the best shows ever!!!! Wolfwood rocks <3) and the second being a Coach scarf & our special award button from our trip to Myrtle Beach. Chances of seeing another car with the same stuff: Like zero. Then again, I sometimes forget to put the stuff back on, so there may be nothing at all. It has to come off for racing.
But for the serious modifications, it definitely adds a personal touch to the car. Unless you’re being a loser and directly copying what someone else did, it’s going to be different. (For some cars, you may have the misfortune of ending up exactly like someone else if the aftermarket support isn’t widely varied.) Unless you’re making some super cool reproduction of a tuning company’s car, I’d make sure to add some personal touches that are uniquely you. That’s the beauty of cars, remember?
Scenario #3 — When society deems it that way
Besides me doing scenarios #1 & 2, #3 has definitely happened to the Miata and me. People know the car, and then know me because of the car. She’s a tad bit infamous in our area, though not as infamous as our S2000. But people still love our wheels, and the car as a whole attracts quite a bit of positive attention.
Then again, not all attention is positive. Ricers are definitely judged by their cars… Some pass and some fail – some truly are ignorant when it comes to cars and some are stuck in a weird stage, or driving a riced car that they want to fix up. (I’ve been there, okay? No lie. I swear. I feel like people don’t believe me though….)
I wish society as a whole would f-off with the negativity. So what? Honestly, so what? Deep down, I do not care about ricer so-and-so and what they do and waste money on. That car has absolutely nothing to do with me or my car. It does not reflect badly on me or my car. And, if someone is going to assume that all Honda’s are crappy because of a bunch of ill-modded Civics… Let them. If they’re open-minded and not stupid, they’ll learn that it’s just as easy to put together a clean Civic as it is to f one up.
Sadly, that doesn’t happen. So we get some good attention and some bad attention. (Bad attention isn’t good from cops, btw. We’ve been disrespected many a time now because cops are too dim and lump everyone together in one group.) I like the good attention, duh, and I tune out the bad stuff. Constructive criticism I take when I get it, and use it or not depending on the source.
As I’ve been told, the only one that needs to be happy with my car is me. Said by many wise people, and, funny enough, people with very nice cars.
Is it worth it?
So, the big question is do you want your car to reflect you. I’m going to guess those who say yes are into cars or feel they have nice ones. Those in the no group don’t really care and more likely than not drive old and/or super practical cars.
Honestly, you get judged for your car whether you like it or not, by car people and non-car people alike.
What it means depends on both you and the person doing the judging…. If it’s a good ice-breaker, go for it. I’ve met a lot of cool people by using my car as a topic of conversation. But I’ve also had to field some nasty things from the close-minded population… About having a small car, having an import, being a girl, in a Miata, etc.
In the end, my car makes me giddy. I am a much better person because she’s in my life; she gives me direction and purpose and something to dote on that really isn’t me. (The cat can only have so many toys, and fish don’t ask for anything. I can’t afford my husband.) There’s no separation of self and car here, I gladly am with her as a partner and “other half.”
So what’s it for you? Do you agree with the scenarios? Fit in one? Would you rather have people not pay attention to your car? Please, share some thoughts, even if it’s just to tell me I think too much.