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Ochlophobia at The Greenwood Car Show

Seattle’s Greenwood Car Show packs close to one thousand beautiful vehicles, live music and food vendors along a mile stretch of Greenwood Avenue already bustling with restaurants, bars, shops and pedestrians. I attended the popular event to cover the cars, but found myself more absorbed, quite literally, by the crowd. 

A lady friend and I, we’ll call her Claire, figured we'd make a lovely summer outing out of it and brought along a friend’s dog. Dogs love cars. 

It was sunny. We were happy, young and foolish. Walking up towards the show we caught our first glimpse of the nightmare soon to come. The sleepy Greenwood streets were choked on either side with spectators’ parked cars. Most were Subaru wagons with opinionated bumper stickers. 

In the distance the faint roar of a crowd rose above the low-slung buildings, only people weren’t yelling or cheering. The noise we heard was being created by the sheer number of people flowing through the narrow corridor of Greenwood Avenue from 67th all the way up to 90th. 

As we approached the humid current of humanity sucked us onto the Ave due north. 

People, everywhere, walking, weaving, talking, laughing, loud music, barbeque, babies, dogs, gray facial hair, beer bellies, madness. 

And.. Mustangs! Oh, thank Iacocca! They were everywhere: 289’s, GT 350’s, Boss 302’s, shined to perfection on either side of the street. 

Vintage cars continued down the Ave as far as the eye could see… which was about fifteen feet. Desperately I drew Spumoni to my leg and threw my right arm around Claire’s petit waist, pulling her just as close. 

Both ladies had gone cold to the touch. It was critical I get them to a car I could recite factoids about until the shock of the crowd wore off. 

The warm green glow of a 1948 CJ2A Willy’s Jeep caught the corner of my eye, less than ten yards away. Fifteen minutes later we were standing next to it, temporarily safe from the riptide of people. 

One of my shoes was gone. Claire’s makeup was running, either from perspiration or from tears, possibly a combination. 

I forced a reassuring smile and began to tell her how my family used to have a red Jeep of the same year. 

“Really?” She asked, sincerely interested. 

“Yeah,” I said, “”This was only the second year Jeep made a civilian model. You can tell that this one isn’t military because of the headlights-”

“RARRRAAAHHHHRARRRRFFFFFF!!! RAAARRRRFFFF!!!”

A man with a gray mustache sitting in a lawn chair behind the Jeep was puking up his last six beers. His friend sat next to him, patting him on the back, trying to coax the remaining three beers out. 

“If you wrap this Jeep in burlap it floats,” I said, trying to keep the attention on the vehicle, “It isn’t very stable but you could still forge a calm-”

“RAAAARRRRFFF!!!”

The old man was shaking his head in disgust between purges. Claire was having trouble focusing on the Jeep as Spumoni began to sniff at the slow trickle of Raineer and peanuts creeping towards us. I pulled the ladies tight again and we dove back into the current of people. 

In the scrum I shouted into Claire’s ear to ask if she thought an approaching line of 1960’s Jaguars were sexy. She liked a purple one. We paddled hard right and escaped into the spectator area next to the plum colored Jag. 

“This year range of Jaguar is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful car designs ever,” I offered. “Those curves-” 

“Oh! What kind of dog is that?!” A woman with a leashed poodle interrupted. 

Several terrible minutes later we managed to lose her in the crowd. Only now every person with a dog traveling in the opposite direction was stopping or chasing up on us from behind, expecting our dogs to make friends while we made small talk, about dogs. 

Dogs love cars. 

I spotted a charity raffle and swung us towards it. Next to the ticket sales table was the prize: A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, cherry red. I pulled five dollars from my pocket, got in line and- 

“Oh! What kind of dog is that? Did you get him from the pound?” A woman asked excitedly. Her husband had grey facial stubble, the classic car kind. 

“My cousin used to have a dog that looked like that. The three of you would look great in this car! Is there any Pit Bull in her? Does she want some water?”

We swung back into the portion of the crowd due south and let it flush us out the bottom of the show into the mercy of the surrounding Greenwood area. Spumoni was cross-eyed. Claire was dehydrated, either from perspiration or tears, possibly a combination.




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