Last day of the Detroit auto show and I needed to pop in one more time to shoot a standup for a story for Automotive News. Being a Sunday morning I wanted to get in and out quickly and go on with my day. I was accompanied by my wife who’s not only great company, but very helpful in carrying a light gear bag and hit the “record” button while I did my thing in front of the camera. Yes..one man band, with the help of one very good woman.
From where we entered the show floor, it was a long, diagonal walk to the location I needed in the upper right-hand corner, deep in the FCA stand near one of their concept vehicles. I’d seen all the cars before during my four other trips covering the show and the adult show-goers all looked like one amorphous ski jacket. What caught my attention was what I saw and heard from kids only old enough to be passengers. One kid breathlessly told his parents, “this stuff is unbelievable!” Another exclaimed, “So, so beautiful!”
In one very expensive car a little girl got cozy behind the steering wheel, touching it lightly, lest the stationary sedan suddenly veered off into the hot roasted almond stand. Perched high in the driver’s seat of a full-size pickup truck a young man whose voice has yet to change affected a confident lean as if, at age 10, he was ready to cruise for chicks in his manly beast.
At one point I could only hear joyful screams and shouts without seeing the sources of the oral wonder, but there was no doubt the children were imagining what it would be like to actually pilot the mechanical and artistic creations that would provide them with individual mobility and freedom, perhaps a little one-upsmanship among their pals, and yes, horsepower.
While the adults were there considering purchases based on need, budget and perhaps requiting a mid-life crisis, for the kids not yet able to reach the pedals or adequately see over the steering wheel and certainly not old enough to earn a license to drive, it’s all about simple dreams. Oh sure, they have their toys and smartphones and electronic time wasters, but there is no other toy that can provide the sheer joy of getting behind the wheel, firing up the engine, placing your hands on the steering wheel, grabbing the shifter, placing the vehicle in gear… and going wherever the hell you want to go. In time, sweet children, in time.
Photo credit: The Detroit News