Love Life: Find Your Joy

Last week I had been piecing together a blog post about how I initially became interested in the world of cars. More specifically the introduction of the DSM into my life, and how that brought about a fascination with tweaking motors. But with all the craziness that has transpired over the last week I didn’t seem right.

For those of you who have been living under a rock my home state of Colorado experienced massive floods. My town of Boulder getting a large brunt of it. This freak event has left many without homes for the foreseeable future, as well as many without in a temporary state such as myself. My basement flooded with 2-3ft of raw sewage during the second night of the mighty storm.

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As the basement (where a roommate and myself live) filled up with our and our neighbors excrement we loaded up the cars with overnight bags and drove off to find dry shelter for the night. Now I had been working on a few cars during the week preceding the floods, my own 96 Eclipse GSX included. My purple beast was up on all four corners on stands as I painted the wheels and was overhauling the brake system. That meant Thursday night all I had to drive was a borrowed WRX. Now this particular WRX has an aftermarket intake that sits at the lowest point of the engine bay for the coldest air intake. Practically this means it is as high as the middle of the 16” alloy rims. Literally a giant vacuum at the front of the car.

I drove myself and a roommate who has no family in the state around the town looking for roads out. But most were blocked off by anywhere from 1-3ft of rushing flood water. Not ideal for a moving, low riding vacuum. We eventually found our way to safety for the night after over an hour of terrified driving (what should have been a 10 minute commute). I was clutching the wheel, leaning forward in my seat just waiting to hear the sound of water combusting in the engine.

The next day (Friday) we all reconvened at our sewage filled home to gather more expensive belongings, not knowing how long we would be displaced. I found a small window in between the rain falls to complete the fastest brake job I’ve ever done on any car. Tossed on my freshly painted wheels, loaded up the GSX and escaped the town again for more shelter.

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Now in the midst of the chaos one finds themselves in a fight or flight pure survival mode. I was in flight mode. My home, my business and my life seemed to have been up-heaved. Friends scattered at different houses unreachable due to the storm. Unsure about future living. Where was the peace? Where was the joy?

I found it in two places. The next day after (Saturday) I found myself back in Boulder to assist a friend with car troubles on his Toyota Pickup. But that drive into town. There just aren’t words. For the 20 minute trek I found escape for once from the tumult of the storm. Poised in my leather seat, three toes at my feet and a 5-speed shift knob at my right hand it all came back why I love cars so much. 220hp roaring through all four tires, with 14lbs of boost spooling up and down through the combustion process. There was my joy. There was my grounding.

I found myself going in and out of town many more times for flood assistance of others and the GSX was perfect. The intake well hidden and free from water. Fresh Continental DWS’s on the 16” rims gripped to the road. It was my joy that took me to the ones I loved, and the ones who loved me. Friends offered shelter, food, and company to combat the depression and anxiety the weather blew in.

I have never felt closer to the people who really matter to me than in this time of extreme trouble. Phone calls, texts, emails and Facebook messages flying to make sure everyone was taken care of and safe. If there is one thing I love on this Earth more than cars, it’s the people that my cars bring me to.

Many are still apart from their loved ones, displaced from the normal life. While the rest of the town slowly picks up the pieces. Businesses are opening again, the University is buzzing about. But I challenge you to bring love this week. If only this week. Show some compassion in line at the grocery store. While on the bus. Hell, even walking down the street. Be joyous that you’re alive, and there is a community around you whether you like it or not. Find the nearest person to you and just hug them. SHOW them love.

On a final note (yes I know this is long) bring extra love to our men (and women) in blue. Many police officers, firefighters, and general first responders left vacations, their own flooding homes and even their families for days to make sure that you and I would be safe in a town torn apart. Give them a break, they’re people as well. And they need the same love that the rest of us do.

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