How to Survive a Car Meet

Illustration for article titled How to Survive a Car Meet

While you're safe at home, steaming hot cocoa in hand and wrapped in a Snuggie (or Slanket, if you prefer a denser, larger and higher quality blanket cocoon), rogue tribes brave the wild elements with a single passion.

America is all about freedom; Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom fries and the freedom of assembly. The latter allows groups of all natures to gather and discuss common interests. It is this freedom conjoined with an enthusiasm for all things automotive that spawned "The Car Meet".

To normal people, cars are simply a means to an end; A complicated contraption for commuting that all too often depreciates into a money pit of maintenance before shuffling off it's mortal ignition coils. However, mixed into civilization there exist unkempt, socially out-casted, nomadic herds of enthusiasts to whom the automobile is more golden calf than molded chaff.


Similar to traveling circuses, these automotive gypsies camp out in savanna-like parking lots and share street war stories, proudly show off scars and display trophies. A shared automotive passion sprouts a sense of camaraderie often envied by spectators.

While predominantly a male congregation, women do grace car meets with an often disinterested presence. Often, they act in a supporting role to their mates sharing in the occasional "oohs" and "aahs" and pointing and laughing at the uninitiated. Knowledgeable, self-empowered females are both feared and coveted.

If you find that you are the only female in the pack and that the males are gawking and gesturing in your direction. Do not be alarmed. These men are used to attending automotive events where parading scantily clad women feign interest in them. Rest assured, they are just as frightened of you as you are of them.

Years of studying their society, living with the locals and interacting with the indigenous have amalgamated into this concise safety publication. If you, or someone you know, plan to venture into the wilderness out of curiosity, or heaven forbid, you find yourself kidnapped and thrust into the jungle by a loved one; Read and be equipped to survive.


In the wilderness of society, the proper camouflage may determine life or death. These tips will help you blend into your surroundings.

Behavioral Rules:

1. No Drive-Thru Lane
A car meet isn't your favorite fast food joint; There is no drive-thru lane. If you only want a peek at the goods, keep a safe distance and keep rolling. Walking through a group of people deep in conversation may garnish a rude gesture, but slowly driving down the main aisle and nearly running over attendees is a precursor to banishment.


2. First Impressions
As an "uninitiated", the pack will not appreciate you blasting the latest (and dare I say, greatest) track from Justin Bieber with the windows down and neon lights pulsing in rhythm as you find a spot to display your wares. Leave the showmanship and grand entrances to the elders. Only the proudest and most respected baboon is allowed to make loud gestures. You would just be another red-assed monkey.

3. Park It
Speaking of rear ends, be sure yours is properly situated. When you decide on a good spot, be sure to follow the parking trend around you - When in Rome, front-face. At the very minimum, take a moment to eyeball the spacing and do the same. They may be timid, but a photographer with a single car out of place exhibits a ferocity witnesses rarely survive to tell about.


Conversational Rules:

1. Steer clear of wheel-talk.
Most people don't seem to know the difference between tires, wheels, rims and hubcaps. Many a noobsauce are discovered through uninformed observational comments such as, "Those tires are super wide! Are they 22's?". There are so many things wrong with that statement - primarily, that you are enamored by what the automotive vernacular endearingly terms "Dubs". Add to this the veritable dictionary of terminology related to wheels from their materials, craftsmanship, attributes, methods of measurements and variety and you are likely to be exposed as the spring chicken you are - you'd much rather sound like a cock.


2. Determine the Alpha.
Automotive enthusiasts are tolerant, kind folk willing to espouse wisdom from a visitor. Quite the opposite; You will find that in each circle is an Alpha gearhead, support them with nods and smiles. Do not mistake the loquacious for Alphas! Similar to dogs, Alphas are often of a calm, dominant demeanor ignoring the chatterboxes altogether. A keen eye can discern the subtle gesture of indifference and if not will undoubtedly notice how the packs will abandon the uninitiated alone to fend for themselves. It is a savage world.

3. Words of Wisdom.
If you have managed to remain in the herd, ignorance un-divulged and the conversation with a silent pause turns to beg your opinion, offer these words of wisdom verbatim:"I am positively pleased at the upcoming of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines not merely for the substantial gains in fuel efficiency but also for the opportunity to optimize performance gains at a minimal dollar to horsepower ratio." Be sure to end this statement with a resolute nod.


Follow these steps and your safari may be a safe one!

Photo Credit: TBLRacing

This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"


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GuardDuck_Quick draw anger management

I find informal, casual, and "low budget" car meets to be fun, informative, and generally entertaining.

"Serious" car meets are for those already well-schooled and I have found them to be little more than a mutual admiration society.

The two most often heard responses to a car compliment at a "serious" car meet:

1) "Nice car" — "I know"

2) "Nice car" — "Don't touch it"

If you already know everything there is to know about a car, you don't have to ask. If you *don't* already know everything there is to know about a car, you're not worth the time, don't ask.

I'll take a Drive-In or strip-mall car meet any day.