Over the past few years, my interest in cars has gone from a normal hobby to a full-blown un-treatable obsession. Obviously this has coincided with my involvement in Everyday Driver, but it has created an interesting side-effect. The vast majority of my time behind the wheel used to be a painful slog through traffic-clogged Los Angeles, but in recent years the equation has reversed. Now, the vast majority of my time behind the wheel is dedicated to fun roads and evaluation. And all of this has created a singular result –
I simply love driving. I didn’t even like it this much when I was 16.
Last month we took a family roadtrip to LA. Between the trip itself, two days on a racetrack, a half day in the Malibu canyon roads, and full days evaluating the new Cadillac CTS coupe, I logged more than 2000 miles behind the wheel in that week. And I didn’t even drive every day. In fact, I would have happily driven more.
Somewhere in the midst of this marathon of wheel-time I realized something quite odd. I’m not a sports fan, and I’ve known for quite some time that the sports which interest me (Climbing, Cycling, Skiing, etc) are all sports of individual achievement. I’ve somehow avoided the typical interest in sports with “ball” at the end of the title. However, my driving obsession closely resembles something else I’ve always blown off: Golf.
For years I’ve listened to golfers go starry-eyed while they talk about their perfect round. I shake my head because I simply don’t get it and don’t care to find it. Yet, now I must admit that the similarities are quite glaring:
Golfer’s always talk about how much they enjoy being in the outdoors and interacting with nature. While I find walking on the manicured lawns of a manmade creation to be a pretty anteceptic way to enjoy nature, I have to admit that I’m not exactly a mountain man as I race down a ribbon of asphalt cut into a mountain as the air-conditioner keeps things perfect.
Then there’s the maddening exactness, where golfers keep returning to their hobby in the hopes of achieving fractions of improvement. I know I can infuriate or mind-numb just as easily as I go in search of the perfect corner exit or a lap time two-tenths lower than my personal best. “Yes, I realize this is my thirty-fifth lap of the same two mile course, but this time I think I’ve really figured out the apex of corner five.”
See… you’re asleep already. Now start talking about your new putter or nearly getting under par, and I’ll wish for a coma.
Then there’s the social aspect of golf, where grown men stand around talking about nothing while wearing terrible clothes and looking jealously at the guy with the newest piece of gear.
Again, I’m without a leg to stand on, as car guys stand around wearing clothes with more logos and badges than the cars they own and talk about the best synthetic oil until someone pulls in with that exotic which got released last week.
Truth be told… I find this to be just as mind-numbing as the golfer’s discussion, but the concept is at least the same.
My conclusion? Well, I guess I’m just as boring as every other adult male. And I’ve finally found a common understanding with the avid golfers I know.
Except I could die in a spectacular crash next weekend… you don’t find that in golf. Maybe that’s what it needs.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ve finally figured out the perfect line for that chicane I did this morning.
Sorry… it’s like a Par 5 with a water hazard. That help?