Cars are a big part of our lives, that's undeniable. There are approximately 250 million cars in the United States – that means that on average 8 out of 10 people have a car. Every car owner's relationship with their vehicle is different. Most people look to their automobile as a means of transportation, and little more.
Some will drive too close to a curb and scratch their wheels. Some will dent and ding their cars with shopping carts in department store parking lots. Others never change their oil, rotate their tires, clean their interiors, or even drive through a car wash. They pick up their car keys and stab absent-mindedly at the ignition, thinking of the never-ending 'to do' list. For them, getting from A to B is a chore – just something they have to waste time on, and put up with.
There are others, though. Those who get a little jolt of happiness when there is a prospect of a trip. The jingle of their car keys is like music. Those who read every word, religiously, in their car magazines. Their cars are immaculate, and tuned to perfection. They park in the furthest spots from the doors of a mall. They post on Internet forums, join car clubs, and seek out the like-minded individuals, to discuss the minute details of their automobiles. Those are enthusiasts.
When I was a little kid, I would walk with my arms stretched out in front of me, pretending that I was grasping a steering wheel. I would turn with it, and make the 'click-clack' noise of the blinker. That's probably when it started. By the time I was 8 I could identify the make and model of most cars that I saw on the road. At 16 I got my permit, and that year I spent more time driving than walking. When I got my license I was 18, and had already purchased a vehicle, months in advance. I went through six tanks of gas in the first week.
Over the next few years I've had the opportunity to drive around 50 different cars. The hardest part of 15 months in Iraq was that I didn't have my own car. Still, I'd managed to rack up nearly 1100 miles, driving any military vehicle that I could get my hands on. When I got back to the states, my first stop was a local car dealership, that I left in a 2003 C240. It ended up being a little too soft, and too big for my taste, and two weeks later I was the proud owner of an automatic 328i. It was that car that began my relationship with BMW that lasts to this day.
After the 328i, I moved into a 325i that was a bit newer and a manual. I had that car for three years, and each time I drove it, I'd fall a little more in love. I started thinking about starting a family a while ago, and realized that it was time for something a little bigger. I drove at least twenty different automobiles in the last twelve months, as I went around to each dealership in the area, asking to test-drive every mid- and full-size sedan I could lay my eyes on. I'd even tried a Porsche, just to satisfy my curiosity.
There were cars that had more features, some that were faster, some that sounded better, and a few that were more comfortable, but none could come close to the 5-series in combining all of the things that make a car great. I test-drove three different E60s, and each time my decision became a little easier to make. When it was finally time to buy my next car, I scoured the Internet in search of the right car, with the right options list, at the right price.
Four hundred miles away, someone had traded out of their 2006 530xi, and it went up on the dealership website. I made an appointment to come check it out, and as soon as I saw it I knew that this would be the car I come home in. It took a while to get all the paperwork sorted out, but at 7 o'clock that night, the salesman handed me my key, and shook my hand. There are few people out there that can say that they get to drive their dream car every day – and I am now one of them.
Some mornings I look out my window and see that my parking spot is filled with everything I ever wanted in a car. Every time I put my hands on the steering wheel, push the start button, and shift into drive, my problems slip away. I am in a world of silence, comfort, and warmth. Some people buy BMW cars because they are a status symbol. Some buy them for the speed. It is unlikely that I will ever buy a car that doesn't have the blue-and-white roundel, simply because of what it makes me feel – joy.