Journal: Do You Sweat The Little Things?

Do You Sweat The Little Things?

By Michael Banovsky
September 22, 2015

When I was a kid, I’d point and tell my mother where she should dock the family Aerostar in a crowded lot. When I got my first car, I played those same parking lots for myself, like a huge game of chess, using a made-up set of criteria…

…but I often find that the nicer cars seem to end up in the same places in every parking lot: in a quiet, well-lit corner or right up front; at the end of a row; avoiding all SUVs and shopping carts—backed in, of course.

Maybe I’m not the only one with criteria.

At gas stations, I keep meticulous records on fuel economy. My tire pressures are checked every other week, sooner if there’s a big temperature change. There are smaller rituals, too, like taking the car out of gear at a stop or the order in which I buckle up and get going.

I like to keep myself, passengers, and my cars safe, but for what it’s worth, I think that the small habits formed while driving, parking, or even browsing classified ads shed a bit of light on how I am as a person.

Photography by Afshin Behnia and Nate Stevens


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Malcolm Armstrong
Malcolm Armstrong(@malcolma65)
6 years ago

🙂 Nice.

6 years ago

I live in London were, to a large extent, its not up to you what happens to your car but rather the others, so proper OCD is not even an option unless thats all one wants to worry about.

Having said that, I am OCD when it comes to washing and parking. For washing, only by myself, by hand, with the proper equipment (lots of microfibre). For parking I always park away from other cars in any car park. Unfortunately parking on the road is less controllable, so I do sweat it out when I leave one of my more precious (to me) cars on the road, so we try and use the wife’s car mostly instead…

I am also OCD on “the little noises” and always drive the car with radio off and windows down when cold to “listen to it” for anything new. I have a detailed spreadsheet for each vehicle keeping track of all the work done (date, miles, location, etc) and I over service my cars (at considerable expense as its all done by third parties).

But then, on some other things, like tyre pressures, I am totally non OCD and check them every 6 months at best! (Maybe again thats because I know that most of the service stations don’t have properly calibrated their equipment.) Same with fuel consumption, never kept track of that either…

Jon Ulrich
Jon Ulrich(@jolrechhotmail)
6 years ago

Doesn’t seem OCD to me. I used to keep track of mileage and calculate mpg at every fill up but my car keeps track of that for me so why bother. I used to wash and detail my cars every weekend but now I just drive them through the car wash because I have better things to do. Like riding my motorcycles through the mountains or playing guitar with my buddies. But if little rituals add to the driving enjoyment then why not?

Stephan P
Stephan P(@alfettaracer)
6 years ago

Mechanically I’m a perfectionist but cosmetically not so much. I like my cars clean and with presentable cosmetics but don’t have the patience to detail them. I also think cars are meant to driven therefore I’d rather see a car with patina on the road than a car restored to perfection at a show. One of my favorite memories was to see a Ferrari 250TR parked at a restaurant near the Nurburgring. If you going to drive your car you can’t bee too OCD.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay(@christophergay)
6 years ago


Erik Vaughan
Erik Vaughan(@fb_10204894929321247)
6 years ago

God is in the details – Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago
Reply to  Erik Vaughan

#1 Flaubert and Aby Warburg said it first … way first actually .. with it even more likely being an axiom going all the way back to the 1st century .. the Van der Rohe credit being a part of pop culture myth that needs to go away .

#2 Alternatively ‘ The Devil is in the Details ‘ .. which loosely translated says pay too much attention to the insignificant and the unimportant and there will be hell to pay

e.g. Your Moment of Zen for the day * ; Focus on the critical – the important – that which is relevant to the moment – and the things you have a modicum of control over – then ignore the rest and move on .

Or .. to quote the very mad , eccentric and rather excessive sage Hunter S. Thompson ;

” ( bleep ) the ( bleeping ) details .. I got work to do !!! ”

* Reading suggestion ; ” The Wisdom of Insecurity ” by Alan W Watts …. and … ” FreePlay ” by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Erik Vaughan
Erik Vaughan(@fb_10204894929321247)
6 years ago

God is in the details – Edwin Mies Van Der Rohe

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago

In all honesty and with no insult intended MR Banovsky I see your overt ‘ meticulousness ‘ as a bit of OCD either in the making or well entrenched . e.g. Not a good thing from a psychological well being perspective

As to Mr Muth’s theory in a sense it does hold some water but once again can also be yet another symptom of OCD behavior . e.g. Doing things repatedly because you did them in the past and cannot/ will not break the habit despite it now being irrelevant .

Honestly … to both of you … loosen the reigns a bit … take a bit of starch outta the ole skivies [ maybe a whole lot ] .. gain a bit of ‘ Zen ‘ perspective … before it all catches up with you and starts becoming destructive . Life’s too short to be sweating the unimportant and irrelevant

As to Mr Muth’s … moment of weird … Attention IT …. the sites been slow as molasses in January for over a week now .. both in opening .. signing in and posting … many times [ especially opening a specific page ] stalling out till the Timed Out pop up shows up .. e.g. Things at least from my end aint been good when it comes to the digital gremlins here lately .

Or … is y’all just tryin ta get rid of me ? .. [ he says in jest … hopefully .. 😀 ]

Karl Muth
Karl Muth(@karlmuth)
6 years ago

Meticulousness like this is a general habit, but I have another theory that might make for a future article: I think certain habits come from specific histories of car ownership.

One of the funniest stories I can share on this was when I was selling an Aston Martin to a stranger (who would become a friend, Andy) and we took a test drive. Everything went smoothly and we pulled up to a red light and at the last possible moment before we stopped (moving e car was fully up to temperature. It didn’t matter what the revs were, whether I was accelerating hard in first or not, etc. I find that now, in any of my cars, if I’m not asking for much acceleration and I’ve just started the car recently, I shift from first to third. I didn’t ever do this before owning the GT3, and – despite my incredibly stupid decision to sell that car – I still do it, including with other Porsches that aren’t nearly as picky.

Just an observation. Maybe there’s something about “how you are as a person” but also “how you’ve been trained by what’s sitting in your garage.”

Karl Muth
Karl Muth(@karlmuth)
6 years ago
Reply to  Karl Muth

Weird, my comment got cut in the middle?