Being a car enthusiast in Lockdown
There is no doubt that 2020 is going in a way no one expected it to be. Covid-19, Australian bush-fires, protests erupting nationwide, another financial recession in progress, this year has not been too kind.
But no one has felt the effects of 2020 as much as car enthusiasts. Normally around Springtime, many would be looking forward to attending shows, local meets, before the end of the week, or monthly Cars and Coffee events. The various auto shows from New York to Geneva will have passed by now, where the latest models manufacturers have been developing over the past few years, would have been showcased to the world and press. Fans of Formula 1, NASCAR, and other motorsports will have traveled to racetracks en mass, to watch the latest season of racing and competition. By summer, more people would have been planning out road-trips, shows between June and August, and if given the opportunity, take the annual pilgrimage to Monterey Car Week.
At least, that is how everyone thought their year would be like. Then, as a certain animated show that everyone is binge-watching on Netflix again said, ‘the Coronavirus attacked.’
For those that were lucky enough, I included, we were able to attend the last few events and car meets that happened right before various states and the world went into lockdown, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. For myself, I was able to attend Wekfest Hawaii 2020, two Cars and Coffees in California during my Spring Break, then one more meet on Oahu before things wind down.
It was disappointing that my last few months on Oahu would not turn out as I envisioned: I was hoping to attend Hot Import Nights and Spocom Hawaii, along with Kawaii Kon with my itasha team as a graduation present to myself, but in the interest of health and safety, these events were pushed back until later in the year.
Which leaves many enthusiasts like me, as we stayed at home to do our part, wondering what to do to fill the void? We can only share so many car memes on social media, attend ‘virtual’ car shows online, and rewatch Top Gear multiple times until we are bored. We could wash our cars for the umpteenth time, but what is the point if we aren’t going anywhere (and its a lot of wasted water too). We could finally get around to making our builds perfect with plenty of time in the garage available, but as with everything, shipping services are backlogged and not everything can arrive in twenty-four hours.
Despite these interesting times, I have found a few ways we car enthusiasts can still get our fix and not be too bored out of our minds, but at the same time, ensure we respect social distancing and not risk getting a citation for being out on ‘non-essential’ business.
Making the most out of a grocery store run
When was the last time you took the scenic route? The long way around to your destination? Made a fifteen-minute drive out of what is normally a five-minute drive? We are still permitted to be out to do essential business: namely, go to the grocery store to stock up on supplies, pick up takeout from restaurants, or stop by the post office. However, rather than take the direct route, why not take the route that still will get you there, but twice as long? Intentionally take the route that is full of stops or turns, rather than straight onto the main street for a few minutes?
You’d be surprised at what you can discover when you take a long way around to your destination: from a potential photo spot to a new coffee shop, maybe even a potential venue for a meet once everything comes out of lockdown.
Provided you are not carrying anything perishable or needs refrigeration in half an hour that is. No one likes spoiled meat or melted ice cream, all because you wanted to enjoy your car for a little longer.
Finding time to take photos in places that are not normally deserted
It is a no brainer, but if you live somewhere where the non-essential traffic has not returned entirely, now is your best opportunity to get a few photos of your car undisturbed. Provided you are not trespassing or possibly being a nuisance, now is your best chance to get a few photos in front of that interesting art wall that is usually filled with tourists posing in front of it, the historical building that normally has a delivery truck in front of it daily, or the side street that is now guaranteed to not have any traffic come by anytime soon.
Example: I just did a shoot with a Honda NSX in front of a local shave ice store, that usually is packed with traffic in front. It was on my list of things to do before I left the island, happy to say I did it.
Supporting local businesses with a drive
I have seen this with a few friends and their drive clubs: what they will do is meet up somewhere, then drive to a local business (a cafe, restaurant, etc.), support it through purchasing items, and then break off after a brief meet.
More than ever, small businesses need as much support as they can get. Especially mom and pop stores or recently opened restaurants/drink stores as if they were not already struggling enough. Social media is the norm for all businesses attempting to stay afloat until dine-in or regular business can be resumed: many rely on their Instagram pages to help promote themselves, their menus, or special offers.
If you can, try and support a local business, especially if you discover a new one whilst out on an extended essential drive! Take a few photos of them in the background with your car, and give them a shoutout on social media: you’ll be surprised how a simple mention can go a long way in spreading awareness.
Listening to automotive podcasts whilst wrenching, working or cleaning the house
At times I have tried my usual Spotify playlist, I usually put on a podcast to change things up: car themed of course. My go-to has been Joey Lee’s (aka Stickydiljoe of Wekfest fame) ‘Chronicles on Tape’: Cars & Life & Food & Bullsh*t. I find it amusing and interesting to hear him and a few notable personalities of the show scene talk story, whilst en-route to pick up whatever my dinner will be that night. Take the time now to explore the ever-expanding list of podcasts on Spotify to keep yourself entertained whilst working at home or out on the road.
Being nostalgic for forgotten video games and hobbies
If there is one positive thing to come out of lockdown for me, it is exploring some forgotten hobbies and parts of my life. Namely, my interest back then in gadgets, Vocaloid music, and old video games that I had forgotten about. When was the last time you booted up an old racing game for nostalgia? Went to a secondhand store to buy an old game, at discount, that you previously forgot about? I am seriously tempted to make a trip to Eco Town or Book Off to find a used Playstation 2 to try and play Gran Turismo 4 if it ever gets to that.
Those are just some of my ideas to help entertain any car enthusiasts out there whilst we wait for the scene to open up again. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear your mask, and keep five feet apart!
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