Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What You Know Is What You're Exposed To

One of the cars I am driving this week is a 2011 Nissan 370Z convertible. I know: My life sucks. Unfortunately, I don't measure my life solely by what I'm driving; so, in spite of having a hot convertible to motor around in, my life does pretty much suck at the moment.

But I digress.

I have this wonderful convertible to tour around in and have been taking every opportunity to cruise Main Street in Greenville. What's the point of having a hot convertible if you aren't going to show off a little bit? Or in my case, a lot.

If you are one of the folks unfamiliar with Greenville's Main Street, its traffic usually flows with the speed of the driver's-license-renewal line at the DMV. Sometimes seasons change before your very eyes while traversing the eight blocks or so Between the Hyatt and Smoke on the Water.

Traffic would move with a tad more alacrity on Main if the city would prohibit left-hand turns. It is only one lane in each direction. I've sat for two red-light cycles waiting for some fool to make a left turn. It's a PIA.

But if you are going to cruise in Greenville, Main Street is the appointed avenue.

During one of today's stop-and-go drive's many pregnant pauses, a gawker shouted to me from the curb, "Hey, what is that?"

Because these cars have been around for years, the question caught me a little off guard.

I replied that it was a Nissan 370Z.

"Wow, nice," was his response.

I guess, thinking about it, I don't see a lot of these convertibles on the road. I saw a lot more of them in Florida. Maybe it's just that there aren't nearly as many convertibles running around South Carolina as South Florida.

It just got me thinking about things people probably take for granted based on where they live.

The episode, for some reason, caused me to remember an encounter I had in Lubbock, Texas in the early 1990s. I can't remember the exact year, but I had flown into Dallas to pick up the gal I was dating long distance from Florida on my way to my sister's for Christmas in Albuquerque.

Chevy had a spanking-new Tahoe waiting for me at DFW to make the drive. Whatever year it was, Chevy was making major changes to the Tahoe and this was one of the next-generation vehicles. They were still weeks away from landing in showrooms.

Believe me, it would have gone completely unnoticed in South Florida; but in Texas, it caused quite a stir.

I was at a gas station filling the tank in Lubbock when a car came screeching to a stop in front of me. Jumping out of it, an NFL linebacker-looking guy came running toward me.

"Man alive, that's the new Tahoe, right?"

I told him it was.

"I'm a salesman at such-and-such Chevy dealer around the corner and we haven't seen one of these in person yet," he offered. "Can you wait here a minute? I'll be right back."

I finished filling the tank, hopped back up into the cab and gave this guy a couple of minutes to return.

Within two or three minutes he was back with two other salesmen and the sales manager. They crawled all over that Tahoe.

Ten minutes later we were back on the road, and avoided getting gas inside any Texas city limits from that point forward.

I guess what you know and what gets you excited can have a lot to do with where you are from.

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