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Secret to Happiness: My Car Bubble

The world is a crazy place these days. It seems that, as in the old 1966 film King of Hearts, the inmates have truly taken over the asylum. The news on a daily basis is filled with angst, drama, anger, pain, and lots of negativity. There’s a lot of shouting and little to no listening; regardless of what side you are on for any given issue. Look out! Nuclear war with North Korea is imminent! Oops, never mind, peace on the Korean peninsula is about to break out, yay! Oops again, the summit talks may be off, back to worrying about nuclear war. Ad infinitum.


The Internet, social media and smart phones aren’t helping the problem. Everywhere I look, everyone is on their phone ignoring the world around them and living part-time in a virtual world. As an amateur historian and a motor journalist, I actually revel in research. I’m starting to feel like I’m part of group that is going extinct. My Twitter and Facebook feeds are filled everyday with hoaxes and falsehoods that even a 15-second Google search will provide all the evidence you need to write them off as BS. But, wrapped in their online cocoon of people who feel just as they do (for or against [fill-in the blank]), it seems that no one wants to spare the effort of even a 15-second search. Much easier to just hit the re-tweet or share button and add more noise to the cyber sphere.


You don’t have to read the studies and polls to know that we’re feeling a lot more stressed and depressed than ever before. You can see the evidence in the growing opioid problems in working and middle-class America. People turn to drugs to escape, and millions upon millions of us are apparently trying to escape now with more joining them every day.


As William Horman codified in his book, The Vulgaria, published in 1519 in England, “Manners maketh man.” Simple respect and courtesy seem to be evaporating from society. Instead of exchanges of viewpoints or debating with the understanding that people that think differently than you are still people with their own struggles and dignity, we yell and curse and name call. Man, how do I get off this ride?


Actually, I know how. I do it all the time, about three out of four weekends during the summer in fact. I too long for escape by the end of the work week, but my escape route is a lot healthier than popping pills. You see, I escape as often as I can into my “car world” bubble. This bubble is amazing. In the car world bubble, people are friendly to each other, courteous even to people who may own the “wrong” car (in their opinion) or have done their build “wrong.” But yet, at car shows around the country every day of the week car people talk, exchange stories, and work from what they have in common far more than attack what they don’t have in common.


The bubble is also great at motorsports events. As at car shows, at the drag strip, circle track, autocross, etc., car people with completely different tastes in cars and approaches to their sport shake hands, share food and drink in their pits, learn about each other’s families and even congratulate their competitors when they have a better day. In the car show/race bubble, people are living in the real world, checking their phones much less frequently than you’ll see just about anywhere else. For me, in the bubble there is no outside world news. No politics, no weather disasters (unless the event gets rained out), no mass murders or other horrible things that add to our general disorders and malaise. In the bubble, there are only cars, competition, and people who treat each other as equals, regardless of color, creed or social economic status.


My favorite bubble occurs during race weekends. These usually engulf me for three days solid, from setup and tech on Friday through going home on Sunday evening. I actually completely missed Hurricane Sandy because I was in my race bubble that weekend. I don’t watch TV or listen to the news while in the bubble; I don’t have the time or energy. Of course, once I found out what happened, like the rest of America my heart went out to people who suffered in that storm and I donated what I could to the Red Cross. But that was after my bubble popped for the weekend.


When I’m in the car world bubble, I’m happy. Things that worry me the rest of time seem to disappear, to go into suspension for the duration of the car show, race or industry event. I’ve never had time or space for the outside world during the week of the SEMA show. When I’m in the bubble, I’m not worried about my family’s budget, my cousin’s surgery (OK, maybe I do check-in on my phone if a friend or family member is having a health issue, but not as much as I would outside of the bubble), or how my 401(k) is doing. I’m just living in the moment, enjoying what I do and the people and cars around me.


So, here’s my prescription for you and maybe for the whole world. Spend a lot more time at car shows and the race track. Get into your own car world bubble as often as you can and enjoy the benefits of disconnecting from the virtual and connecting with the real. Can you imagine what could happen if Kim Jung Un discovered the joys of car restoration and spent every weekend happily sharing the hobby with others at car shows? Maybe that’s the path to world peace.  

MoparMax covers all automotive things Mopar. A new issue of MoparMax.com is published on or around the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.



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