I'm in Chicago for Thanksgiving break with my roommate, and it's interesting being back in a city. One thing that really stands out to me is the car culture here, which is much more vibrant than that of small-town Iowa. There's a wider variety of cars on the road, and people care more about them.
As a tourist, the aspect you see most of a city is its roads, and the cars on them. You're surrounded by hundreds of people on the freeway, but because there's no interaction with them, you know them as their cars. There's the jerkface Audi that cut you off a mile back. There's a mint, classic Volvo wagon– what a beauty! There's a lumbering Bonneville in the left lane with one tire half-flat, followed too closely by a big work truck. Losers.
I'm a relatively new car owner, so I'm still processing how it becomes a huge part of one's identity. I'd love to be able to claim it hasn't been that way for me, but honestly I'm far too proud of that beater in the parking lot. Today a friend and I went to a nearby Ford dealer to check out the new Fiesta, discovered that we knew more about the car than the salesman did, and had a lot of fun pretending to be impressed by the wheel options and seven airbags. We're going back tomorrow to see if we can get a test drive. I don't want a $15k Ford – if you gave me one I'd sell it – but it sure is fun playing these war games with the salesman.
Is this who I've become?