The Jalopyrama – Part II
A few months ago, I got an email from Jay Fitzhugh about the Jalopyrama. Representing the show, he offered to fly me to Maryland and put me up in a hotel room so that I could attend the show. I declined. I had always wanted to go to the show, but not as a Jalopy Journal attraction. I wanted to go as a car guy. I wanted to have fun, take pictures, and enjoy a vacation. I told Jay to forget about setting me up with a booth or hosting me.
“I’m coming for fun and can’t wait!”
Jay thanked me and mentioned that he understood that I liked to go “incognito” and offered up the room anyway. I took it. As much as I appreciate the hospitality, I wish I hadn’t.
Most of you guys probably read my feature of the show. It was a sort of quasi-gonzo writeup filled with half-truths of our escapades and dramatizations that are typical of my past show coverage articles (see here and here). It elaborated on a world full of booze and oatmeal. It painted a picture of a crazy man hell bent on living hard and secured by knowing he had his attorney at his side.
I’m sure a lot of you realize that this story was just that – a painting. I enjoy writing. I enjoy making an absurd voice from a far out point of view and then publishing it with the irony that you might only get if you know me. See, I don’t actually drink much. In fact, this past friday was the first time I had had more than a beer or two since the beginning of the year or so. I’m a family guy and a hermit. I don’t get out much and I certainly don’t “party.”
The truth of the matter is, my trip to Maryland was full of uneventful, laid-back fun. We didn’t actually drink down an airplane or coerce a rental car agent to hand over the keys to a Tahoe. He gave us one because they were plum out of economy class cars. Blake and I did hit the bar pretty hard on Friday night, but I’m not ashamed of that. I really enjoyed slamming back a few while I met so many guys that I had known of for so long over the internet, but had never really met. It was a great night and those experiences alone were worth the trip to me.
The show was great too. My idea for the gonzo article was to portray this crazy weekend that was eventually grounded by this really cerebral, well thought-out car show. That’s exactly what it was – a show built out of passion in support of a charity. It really was a golden event and I enjoyed every minute of it.
As for Saturday night, Blake and I went to a great old steak house (thanks for the rec Mike!), enjoyed our dinner, and then retired early to our hotel room so that I could watch the Oklahoma football game and Blake could get some ice creme. Blake isn’t into college football – he was asleep by 10pm. There were no shennanigans to speak of and certainly none to write about.
Even so, the fellas that run the show were very disappointed with me. From what I can gather, this was due to two reasons:
1. Blake and I arrived at the armory between 1 and 1:30pm according to my phone. We missed the cars loading and we missed the H.A.M.B. meet and greet. I felt like this was our loss – not a loss to the show. We both slept in. I have two small kids, so it’s a rare opportunity for me to do so and we had been up pretty late the night prior. I wasn’t in a rush because I was on vacation. I didn’t feel like there were any expectations of me from the show to do anything because I had made it clear from the beginning that I just wanted to relax and enjoy my time in Annapolis.
Even so, I obviously disappointed some folks. I regret that. I feel badly for doing so. Had I known then what I know now, I most definitely would have gotten my ass out of bed and to the show at an early hour. I’m sorry fellas.
2. My article. This one is tough for me to swallow. As mentioned, I really enjoy writing and I like creating stories that ultimately hit a little harder and with more meaning than your traditional magazine article. I have a hard time accepting that some folks might actually take them at face value. Even so, some have. I won’t apologize for my story as I am proud of it, I will however apologize to anyone that took it literally and was offended by it. That wasn’t at all my intention.
At the end of the day, I made the folks that organized a very good car show angry. My old man always taught me that one of the most important attributes for anyone to gather in life was one of compassion – the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see life and events from their eyes. I’ve done that and now it’s time to make things right. So, this post is my public apology to Jalopyrama Mike and all of the guys that helped him with the show. I certainly didn’t mean to disappoint you.
I’ve thought about how I can go a little ways to right the wrongs that have inadvertently been handed out. The one thing I can come up with is supporting The Providence Center – the charity that is supported by the Jalopyrama. So, we’ve decided to donate the cost of our hotel room to the charity. It’s a start, right Rube?