Gentlemen, start your engines

I took a train to the auto show. It felt wrong. It felt too responsible. If anything, the Chicago Auto Show–the largest in the nation–is about an absence of responsibility. It’s about six-digit prices and one-digit fuel economies. The auto show is everything wrong with America, and everything that makes it so awesome. Thankfully, the nice people at BP had scattered half-off ticket vouchers outside McCormick Place, the only box in town big enough to house this behemoth of an event. The crowd making its way through the entrance could have been on a poster celebrating diversity. The commotion soared to a crescendo as we climbed the flights of stairs to the entrance.

And there it was–an amusement park. Lights shone and blinked. Screens flashed. Tall women in race car uniforms spun on platforms. It was big and beautiful. I was torn. I’m the public transit-type, you see–I hope to never own a car. And yet there I was, my hand gliding up the smooth backside of a Porsche. The curves were luxurious. The paint seemed moist. Did I dare go further? I pulled the handle, but alas, this one was locked. Running to and fro, I eventually made my way to a modest Mercedes. The door gently opened, offering me its leather interior.

Entering, I realized what I had been missing. The car’s form seemed tailor-made for me. The seat was sublime, the steering wheel worthy of the Met, and the dashboard looked like it could run a nuclear missile program. Stepping out, the price tag broke the spell. It was nice while it lasted.

The thing about love, though, is that you can’t possibly be right the first time. As I broke away from the Mercedes, a voice caught my ear. “This car is a celebration.” I turned and gasped, my breath mixing with a thousand different interior car scents. She was an Infiniti. Her paint was layered on with silver in between every coat. Her interior had old-fashioned trumpet horns for speakers. The clear plastic fence separating the two of us signified the ultimate futility of my heart’s yearning. Looking around, my jaw was not the only one to have dropped. I quietly wandered around, making my way to the more demure Hyundai section. Sometimes, it’s OK to settle.