(Or, you might be a gearhead if...)
By Tara Hurlin
Nothing builds character like time in the garage, and if you have an automotive addiction there is more than one way to make the symptoms subside. Symptoms include (but are not limited to): fidgety hands while couch-surfing and watching the races, feeling a rush of excitement when the UPS van slows down by your house, and envisioning the “Christmas tree” lights from the dragstrip as you anxiously wait for the traffic light to turn green.
The cures? Wrenching in the garage, looking for your next project, breathing in the smells of spent race gas at the track and burning rubber. How bad do you have the bug? Well, that depends on how many of the observations listed below relate to you, and how many you can come up with on your own! The fact that you are even reading this gives clues towards your gearheadism, so lets get down to the details...
You know you are a gearhead if...
1. You have many homes: your garage, the junkyard and your favorite local parts store.
2. You get a sentimental feeling after drawing first blood on a new project.
3. You have so much grease under your fingernails, you could grease a wheel bearing. And your idea of a manicure is trimming nails as far back as they can go to get rid of the grime (especially you, ladies).
4. You go out to your garage regularly just to switch on the lights and make sure everyone is ok, especially during the winter.
5. You don’t get sunburned thanks to the layers of oil and grease permanently absorbed into your skin.
6. You rarely — if ever — take your vehicle to a shop, whether it be because you don’t want to hand off your problems to the mechanic, or due to the supreme sense of pride achieved only by completing a repair yourself.
7. Ham and cheese sandwiches with a side of grease finger prints is a normal lunch.
8. Your biggest challenge inside of your home is figuring out where to store all of those car magazines.
9. Conversations are frequently paused to catch a glimpse of what made that sensational rumbling noise, and then you continue to talk as if nothing happened.
10. You never notice when other gearheads quit talking to see what passed by.
11. Home décor consists of automobilia on the walls, camshafts for towel holders, old headlights for wall lamps and a tailgate as a fold-out bench.
12. Only the garage walls know the extent of your full vocabulary.
13. Your fingers lack the consistent fingerprint patterns, and it isn’t due to criminal intentions.
14. You own multiple floor jacks and four of each size of jackstand.
15. The feeling of fresh cash in your hand still doesn’t beat the feeling of sitting in your new baby and going for the first drive.
16. Your neighbor’s alarm clock is your car’s engine starting in the morning, and their bed time is when the garage door closes.
17. After seeing your buddy’s huge, immaculate shop, you feel a bit inadequate, but couldn’t help but notice all his extra space...
18. Your daily routine begins with checking local ads for cars and parts, even if you technically don’t have the cash.
19. Your kitchen oven doubles as a paint curer.
20. You spend Sunday watching Motortrend or other related videos, and when you go to work on Monday morning, you get confused when your coworker says, “How about those Wildcats?” Buicks? What?
21. Not having enough space to store all your parts is a deal-breaker while house-hunting. Those upscale neighborhoods with strict zoning laws are made to ward off people like us.
22. Several torched and bent wrenches modified to reach “that one bolt” are found in your tool chest, and you keep them all just in case you encounter “that one bolt” again.
23. Your engine stands and hoists are decorated with multiple colors of overspray.
24. The pattern throughout driveway makes it look like a transmission and oil pan slaughterhouse, and the old lady across the street complained about something called “curb appeal value”.
25. You have chosen four wheels over a relationship, because let’s face it, if they don’t understand your love of cars they will never understand you.
26. There are jars upon jars of old rusted spare nuts and bolts that you keep around to “use someday,” yet you go to the store to buy new instead of spending an hour searching for the right thread.
27. You identify people by the vehicles they drive instead of their names.
28. There is a mound of yellow Jegs hats collecting dust on your shelves.
29. Even if you don’t have the means to work on your own car (or even own one), you still snap your head around to see the source of that burbling exhaust, go to car shows to immerse yourself in the culture, or spend your weekends watching races, you just might be a gearhead.
30. If you brainstorm a list of 30 ways to distinguish gearheads from the rest of the population by reciting them out loud (and laughing accordingly) during an early-morning shower, you clearly are a gearhead.