Saturday, March 30, 2013

Zero to Sixty, Chapter 6. 50 Years of Reading Motor Trend

One of the good things about getting older is that you’ve had time to do some things for a long time — or a lot of times. For example, I started reading Motor Trend magazine at the age of 10 — that means fifty years of monthly issues. I’ve followed the annual model changes since the 1964s — and visited the showrooms too. With early 2014s already on the road (I’ve tested a couple already), that’s quite a spread.

I’ve been driving since 1968 — and got my license in 1969. That means I’ve got 45 years of experience. That puts me in the middle between the “maniacs” and the “geezers” out on the highway. The former, normally but not exclusively young, typically drive old Honda Civics or Mustangs and dart from lane to lane as they hurry along. I explain this by assuming that they learned to drive from playing Grand Theft Auto on their PlayStations.

The “geezers” are the old folks who occupy the left lane in their Camry or Buick, going 55. Or, they betray their weakened eyesight and degenerated nerve synapses by starting up slowly when traffic begins to move. I’m not sure whether it’s better to be in back of them or in front.

I learned to drive in Driver’s Education in high school, a program that is apparently no longer offered in these times of school budget cuts, How shortsighted!  Today, most certainly, I am not vision or nerve-ending impaired (as far as I can tell). I am not looking forward to moving toward geezerdom in the future. My (younger) wife promises to take away my license gently when and if it’s necessary for everyone’s protection.

When you’ve been around a while you may have been performing a task for a long time. I am about to test my 1,000th car for my auto review column (now a blog, too). It took me 21 years to do that. When you’re 21 years old, you can claim to have eaten breakfast for that long but not much else.

I’d like to think that doing something for a long time makes you better at it. I know that I can write an 800-word auto column first draft in an hour and a half—including research time. I then return and edit it before shipping it off.

I’ve played the guitar since 1967. I would say that I am not much better at it now, since I’ve not worked at it much since the 1970’s. However, starting the bass ten years ago, I’ve now accumulated six years of band gigs and orchestra rehearsals and chamber music workshops, so yes, I’m a whole lot better at that.

No comments: