Monday, March 23, 2009

Where you will find me on a Monday night

My husband has long been a car fan. Not actually an air-moving device in a car, but a devotee of all things auto--an automobiliac, if you will. When he was younger, he spent time with his older brother tinkering with different cars and talking car talk. I on the other hand have always been the furthest thing from a gearhead--the Antigearhead, you could call me. So when we were younger and dating and in the first blush of wedded bliss, I listened to his talk of cars much the way a friend might indulge a new parent that can only speak of the baby. I indulged him. I nodded and yessed and uh-huhed my way through his talk of horsepower and cams and pistons with only a vague notion of what he was saying.

This is not to say that I don't enjoy cars. I am thankful everyday for the miracle that is the automobile. I love that it can convey me and my offspring without also dropping a load of fertilizer. I can appreciate the outer beauty of an exotic car. I can see the practicality of a minivan and enjoy it for its stalwartness. I can applaud the engineering of a sedan and the safety features it offers. What I'm saying is, I'm all about the airbags and cupholders and such. And call me shallow but I can enjoy a car for its curves and sexiness. But when you get past the gas tank and ignition key, I've just about exhausted my technical knowledge. I'm no Mr. Goodwrench, is all I'm saying.

So color me nine kinds of surprised that I find myself a loyal watcher of Top Gear! This show has quickly become one of my favorites. Now, I don't watch a lot of television. I am a big fan of exactly three programs. Of those, there's only one that I need to see. (I'm talking LOST, here, and if you watch it, you know that if you miss it, well forget it.) If I channel surf, my remote tends to blip towards HGTV. So finding my tushie parked in front of the telly at 9 pm on Monday nights--religiously--was a rather big surprise.

So, what is it that is so appealing? First, the hosts are three middle aged Brits that act more like the boys I knew in high school that were always coming up with ridiculous ideas and then trying them out, just for fun. And the humor? British!! SCORE! I mean, come can you not enjoy watching three grown men race city buses around a track? Who wouldn't crack up at the idea of a minivan convertible? Who wouldn't cackle as the hosts built said minivan and then had to run various tests on it--like putting it through an automatic car wash? A person with absolutely no sense of fun, that's who.

Also, there are the pretty, pretty cars. I'm shallow, remember? Now I might not remember all of the names and the letters and numbers that come after, but I know a sexaaay machine when I see one and there are all kinds to be seen on this show. My current favorites are the Koeniggsegg CCX, the Zonda roadster and the Ford GT. Look 'em up and see if you don't agree.

I'm also enamored with the celebrity racing segment. Different stars, most from the U.K., but some Americans take a spin on the track and vie to be the fastest. The dashboard camera gives an "up close and personal" view and I find myself alternating between cracking up and cringing as the celebrity drivers careen around the curves. Then I find myself thanking the stars above that I'm not subjected to a dashcam. On my best days my driving is um...distracted, to say the least. If I had a camera recording me?Around a racetrack? Fugeddaboudit!

Finally, I get to watch it with my husband. It's fun to be able to share something that he enjoys so much and actually derive enjoyment from it myself. Now, I still get the "deer in the headlights" stare when they start spouting the technical jargon, but I'm usually a laughing deer. Plus, he kind of gets his fill of car talk, so I'm not subjected--um, actively listening to all of the terribly interesting details of what's under the hood. Also? I get to brush up on Proper English and say things like "boot" and "tyre" and "full stop" and "garage" (accent on the first syllable)! So now, I'm not the Antigearhead anymore. You may call me Pseudogearhead, thank you very much!

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