I went to the first meeting I’ve attended in many years tonight.
My wife accompanied me – to my great satisfaction, as I prefer her company to almost anyone’s, she meeting me at my shop after work so we can go directly into the city.
We greet a couple of familiar faces at the restaurant bar, acknowledge a few more, but share no discourse with them.
Everyone collects in the designated room and is seated (nice space, although I thought an Italian restaurant an odd choice for a German marque,) the meeting organizer stands and asks the group if I am in attendance. I am, and signify so. Once identified, I’m asked when I last attended a meeting and am then given two 5 dollar bills, the organizer announcing that he would like to buy me a drink for coming to a meeting after 7 years. (I’m not sure if it has been that long, but I was unprepared for the question and couldn’t think of any I’d attended since 2005 or so.)
There is a raffle, some announcements, a presenter associated with a magazine that has recently been resurrected after some hiatus. I’m amused as the fellow name-drops Bill, the longtime historian – but calls him ‘Billy’ with some familiarity. It’s amusing to me because I’ve known Bill for years and he’s never struck me as a Billy, and I don’t get the impression that the rest of the room recognizes the name, regardless.
There is wine, sporadic dining, several enthusiastic members telling me how great my competitors are (after first asking my opinion of them, of course.) and a bizarre conversation wherein I am informed of a shop that I happen to be an owner of.
This is more or less what I remember.
Driving home, the car smells like old sandwich – it was and has been raining, the car obviously developing leaks which dampen carpet/upholstery in serious need of cleaning.
In addition I have one, possibly two lifters in need of replacement – their clatter audible over the wind noise.
It’s almost 10 PM, my window’s fully down with my elbow out into the night (the other window fully closed, the passenger switch has failed again,) my wife laying across the car into my lap after her long day – my other arm draped over her so I can shift.
We’re listening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D (- I didn’t know it was her favorite piece of music) as loud as old door speakers will allow, over the wind and the slight smell of funk, bouncing as much as driving down back roads to home on suspension more suited to track use than commuting.
It’s the extended moment of driving that justifies the meeting, and the evening.