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Car show anarchy, Jan. 9, 2006

I made it to the Virginian-Pilot-sponsored car show at the Virginia Beach Convention Center over the weekend.

What a zoo!

We arrived about 2:30 p.m. Saturday and had to drive around for at least 20 minutes before finding a parking place more than a quarter-of-a-mile from the entrance. The human congestion inside the center was as bad as the automobile congestion outside. There were areas – particularly around Toyota and Honda displays – where you could not get through the crowd. You had to go around.

I was interested in the Toyota Prius. I wasn’t so much interested in it as was my wife. She said that if I drove a hybrid Prius that got 60 miles per gallon then she could justify to herself, God and environmentalists, I suppose, her driving a gas-guzzling SUV.

There was quite a crowd around the Prius. An older gentlemen slid himself behind the wheel and stayed there at least 20 minutes. My wife finally got fed up with him and ushered our kids into the back seat of the car, figuring that he would get the hint that he’d been there too long. I waited about a foot from him with the driver’s door open. An elderly lady sidled up the car as the man was finally getting out and he ushered her into the seat that I’d been waiting on.

I can’t stand people who are oblivious to the world around them, people who seem to be in their own world.

Tuning out the little voices in my head that were telling me to do something particularly obnoxious, I thought the better of it and waited my turn.

I don’t think the Prius was made with tall people in mind. With the seat all the way back, you could barely pass a sheet of paper between the top of my head and the roof and my legs were bent like pretzels. So I think I’ll be passing on the Prius.

The best looking new car at the show, I thought, was the Honda Civic sedan. It’s sharp. It comes in a hybrid model as well but I did not see it on display.

While it was cool seeing all the new cars, we barely stayed an hour. It was just way too crowded. Nonetheless it was obviously wildly successful and I’m sure the Pilot and the participants were well pleased.