Your eyes glaze over. Your hands get clammy. You shift your weight uncomfortably. Yes, someone is explaining how their car works and you have no idea what they're talking about.
I am often in the position where someone is talking about a part of a car that I don't understand for two reasons.
1) Friends refer to me as a "car guy," causing people to decide that they should tell me about how they got their 1978 Toyota Celica to pass CA smog testing.
2) I know absolutely nothing about how cars work.
Right now you're probably saying to yourself, "Raphael - you write for Jalopnik, surely you know how cars work!" Well, not really, which is why I get antsy when people point at some totally-normal looking tube in an engine bay and say something like,
Ha! The idiot who built this never properly flanged the inlet casing! Rookie mistake!
I love cars. But I don't know enough about the mechanical aspects for this article to mean anything to me :-(
Xenocyclus offered helpful advice.
Do what I do: nod, look pissed, and grunt.
Muttering under your breath about shoddy craftsmanship and how you don't understand how someone would do this certainly helps. Gesticulating with a cigarette or a half-drank can of Pabst adds credibility.
Of course, dozens of other readers chimed in to give wonderful, truly excellent explanations of what exactly was wrong with these poorly-tuned cars. But that's Jalopnik, and all you readers are good people who help make a great commenting community.
What do you do when you're at a friend's shop and people start discussing variable cam profiles? What's the best way to maintain your friendships in these situations? I sure could use the advice.
Photo Credit: Honda via Velarossa22