The sight of all those headlights lined up, the blanks-slate smell of new cars, the murmurs of voices as people discuss the engineering triumph in front of them… Whether for new cars or group meetups, a car show always makes car enthusiasts giddy. 

I was giddy.

The Honda exhibit featured your favorites from pro sports and around town sedans. Photo Credit: Robert Isaacs, AON Media (Note: This photograph is a composite HDR made from multiple photos. We do this because we don't have wide angle lenses.)
The Honda exhibit featured your favorites from pro sports and around town sedans. Photo Credit: Robert Isaacs, AON Media (Note: This photograph is a composite HDR made from multiple photos. We do this because we don’t have wide angle lenses.)

Yes, I’m a girl, but I was as giddy as a little girl in front of Disneyland as she pranced around in a princess costume given to her by Mickey Mouse. Yeah, I was that giddy, and the giddiness had started the night before.

It was the first time I’d be working an event as an official representative of my own company, AON Media – yes, I went as a Gearbox rep, too, but this was the first outing as AON Media. (I’m sure Brian can remember the first event he went to as the official GBXM representative.)

The last two years I’ve gone to the Seattle Auto Show, I’d been working it as a booth representative for the UW Formula Motorsports team. I would schmooze with locals, help little kids (and big kid adults) in and out of the teeny tiny formula car, and I’d answer questions.

I used to be a face among many reps.

But Wednesday, I was the face the reps wanted to know.

It made me nervous, I could barely sleep a wink the night before because I was worried. Stupid, I know… but I worried about whether my inner sailor would rear its cuss-worthy head in excitement (this happens sometimes, I can’t f*****g help it), about whether or not my pitches would be rejected, and about other stupid, stupid things.

I finally fell asleep thinking of headlights, taillights, and the sound of tailpipes (that I knew I wouldn’t hear except for when I drove into the garage in the Mazdarati).

First things first… Breakfast courtesy of General Motors in the suites of CenturyLink Field (home of the Super Bowl winning Seahawks… Boy, is that area spiffy and the eggs more fluffy than anything I can muster at home).

I recognized a few people – hopefully they weren’t pissed when I couldn’t remember their names after over a year of not seeing them! – and started pleasant conversation with new ones. Some were from auto outlets while others were from local news outlets, just there for a tour and something new.

It felt good – natural – to be among fellow journos, again. (Recovering sucks… just saying.)

I… I was there with a purpose. I had 45 business cards burning a hole in my camera bag. Network, network, network. On went the smile, out came a steady handshake (totally wasn’t steady in my head), and off I went – nothing to worry about.

Why was I worrying the night before?

I went around to many people, schmoozing and chit-chatting with fellow reporters, introducing myself and my new outlet to representatives with a few pitches of my own version of new car reviews – with a twist! – and was met by people who agreed that my idea rocks (FYI, I’m keeping the idea reveal under wraps until it’s more concrete! Mwahahahahah!). Of course, they want me to try out their cars – that’s the only way to get news out!

And the time flew by.

From one manufacturer preview to the next, we listened, some (not me) asked questions, and many took photos and video.

For my part, I watched when I wasn’t taking notes. I watched the reps and who they looked to in the crowd, who they made eye contact with the longest. I watched the videographers, some stationary while others zipped in and out of view around the presentations. I watched my fellow journalists furiously scratching pen to pad, or tick-tapping on their cell phones.

I did my first live tweeting – which is much harder than it may seem. In my right hand was my Mitsubishi pen, in the left some random pad I grabbed on the way out this morning (carefully slid over your cell phone). In my lap, the recorder – seconds ticking onward. Around my neck is my camera. Then comes the quote I want to live tweet… Pen between lips, pad between the left knee and the chair, and….

Snap Snap A quick pic or two for Twitter. And….. Post.

Back to note taking.

You are whisked from one presentation to the next – from Jeep to Cadillac to Honda to an auto museum and more… So many speakers! It’s still a whir of faces a day later. Including the ones I almost barreled over while live tweeting and walking between presentations.

By the end of the day I was beat – partially because I’m still recovering from a ped-auto accident, but also because it was one hell of a day.

In the end, I’ll be getting several articles out for AON and a few articles out for GBXM – not bad for a few hours of work in one day.

The worst part though? Days like that can’t be every day. I’m already looking forward to next year’s show, but also hoping I can get some test mules to preview in the coming months – both for AON And GBXM.

I came back with 3 business cards (and hopefully none of the ones I gave out went in the trash) and a sense of arrival – even though I’d just left the show. I’d arrived at what my heart yearns to do (besides get dined by wealthy auto manufacturers) – I want to share stories about cars.

Today I got to do that with new cars, tomorrow it may be a custom build, and next summer I’ll be invading track days, car meets, and more. But, today…

Today, I arrived as an auto journalist.

(And… Gratuitous Car Photos!)

Created with flickr slideshow.