July 17, 2002

Zookimelt - The Big Picture

How can you explain a phenomenon like Zookimelt?

Individual people from all over the world, people who have never even met each other, who have nothing in common except for their choice of vehicle, getting together in a global show of solidarity. It's not like we are trying to change the world or anything. We simply all went for a drive. Just got in the car, and went for a drive.

But there was something special about the fact that we all got in cars that had something in common. All over the world. Different languages, different timezones, different continents. Same spirit. Quite remarkable when you think about it really.

You see, while we were trundling along through the Gardens of Stone National Park in Lithgow, there were other people doing the same in their little corner of the world. Some likeminded Americans were doing the zook thing over in the Badlands Offroad Vehicle Park in Attica, Indiana. On the other side of the globe, the members of the Samurai Club of Portugal were doing their thing too. So were fellow zooksters in Thailand, England and New Zealand. The Ba'Zuki group in Sweden were doing it Swedish style and of course the Jimny Club of Japan were doing it in the land of the rising sun.

So what? What's so special about the fact that a bunch of people all went for a drive on the same day? I guess it's pretty trivial really, I mean we just went for a drive and had a bit of fun in our cars, right?

Maybe, but maybe it's bigger than that. I really enjoyed the day, even though Lithgow has never really been one of my favourite places. (though it is growing on me!) But I had a real sense that we weren't just going for a drive… that we were part of something much bigger. That we were a part of a global family who shared something in common even if it was just something as silly and insignificant as all driving a particular make of 4WD.

I remember a few years back we invited some members of the Jimny Club of Japan out to Australia, and the most remarkable thing about the week or so that we spent travelling together was the fact that despite our lack of common language, we actually had a lot of other stuff in common. We would look under the bonnets, point and gesture at things and we knew what each other meant. We camped together, sat around campfire and spoke with our hands. The 4WDing experience became like a common language that held us together… it was quite remarkable. And another time I recall going to Bali and having all these conversations with other Suzuki owners who didn't speak a whole lot of English but who gladly let me poke around their cars, checking out stuff that was different to what I'd seen in Australia. I owned a Suzuki - I was a friend.

And over the next few weeks, we'll start to see stories emerging over the Internet of how the world's Suzuki clubs celebrated Zookimelt. And you'll hear stories and see pictures of how someone else in some other part of the world just went for a drive too, but don't lose sight of the bigger picture.

Most of the world's governments can't get people to cooperate globally like the world's Suzuki Clubs did on July 13/14, 2002. There are places in the world where they blow each other up simply because the other guy's a bit different. You can watch countries bitch and fight about all sorts of stupid issues just because they can't seem to agree on how things should work or who should be in charge or what colour the other guy's skin is.

So when you think about Zookimelt, think about what it stands for. On a single weekend in July, a bunch of people from all over the world, who were separated by oceans but not by passions, just got in their cars and went for a drive.

And that's how the world should be.

Chris Betcher
July 2002

No comments:

Post a Comment