January 15, 2008

She's Baaaaaaaack

Ever been to an auto show? Where it's wall to wall people who all of a sudden stop in front of you for no apparent reason? And hit you with their oversized bags, and talk incessantly on their cell phones really, really loudly?

Okay, picture crowds almost that dense, but most of them are wearing grey suits with runners. What a madhouse. I've heard counts that up to 7,000 journalists descend on the Detroit show, which opens to the public this coming weekend. Actually, I was told that 7,000 is a rather flexible interpretation of the word 'journalist'. You have to wear a large pass around your neck the whole time which identifies your media outlet. I swear, some of the outlets listed are 'Cars In My Driveway', or other similar trumped up ways to get into the show.

I of course, am being quite snotty about that. With 'Toronto Star' swinging from my neck, I get all the respect my colleagues and editor have earned, having done little for it. I did learn a great deal, though, and one day plan to lord that knowledge over the next newbie that comes along.

I saw little of Detroit; we stayed in Windsor, just over the border. You take a shuttle from the hotel, which pulls up to a little immigration check point. You dutifully hop out of the bus, route through a counter and show your passport, then hop on the bus which has pulled forward twenty feet. The last shuttle back at night is 8pm. Apparently, you don't want to be in Detroit past 8pm. I've never seen so many cops in my life; the only 'action' we saw was a car accident right in front of the Cobo Centre - a cop had an accident with another car. Nice.

Several of us ended up in a ratty little bar on Saturday night. When we got in there just past nine, there were a couple of guys who were apparently the band, three guys holding up the bar, and us. Within two hours, the place was packed with, I swear, kids who looked about 18. Line up round the block. We held our own, in spite of all the stares, wondering who invited the old folks. The music was all 'old' stuff, meaning we knew every word. If they'd wanted us to leave so badly, they should have played lousier music. Of course, they considered it retro, while we were stuck in a time warp.

We finally decamped about 12 or so, and I tapped a young girl on the shoulder to let her know she could have our table.

"Here ya go," I told her. "The old folks are finally leaving."
"Oh, no, really, it's fine!" She reassured me, all young and cutelike. "I party with my mother all the time!"

We slunk out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A learning experience Lorraine and best of all, you had some fun...I was there a few years back, invite from one of the manufacturers, had a ball BUT was so tiring...I walked miles and never ran out of vehicles...I swear I never wanted to see a car again BUT it gets in your blood...bring them on...

January 15, 2008 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been there, done that. I remember the sea of cars in Cobo hall area with their car alarms going off and men running between rows with stereos. The burglary at Holiday Inn at night with guys going from patio to patio was fun too. Hotel staff just told us to leave the room, go to the lobby and let the police handle them. After 45 minutes the police arrived, made a list of items taken and vandalized and that was it. That was in 1988...such fun!I skip car shows in Detroit. The Woodward cruise is another story altogether.

January 15, 2008 7:32 PM  
Blogger DJW said...

If you ever get assigned to cover Barret-Jackson, Alice and I volunteer to be your Personal Chef and Driver.


January 16, 2008 9:24 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Ha! Probably not gonna happen, but the next stop is Sweden and Norway with Volvo.

Herring, anyone?

January 16, 2008 9:37 PM  
Blogger DJW said...

Ohhhh Darn!

I swiss I could go, but I can a-fjord it!

hehehe I crack me up!


January 18, 2008 9:19 PM  

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