It struck me that the perfect customer is one who literally wears blinders that are emblazoned with the brand. In this case they're supposed to be Virtual Reality glasses, but the idea still works. We can't see what's really there, choosing to see some idealized world that the marketing department crafted for us. Whether it's an exhortation to consume, or checking out an "Eco-Friendly" car with a coffee cup that will be used for a hour before starting its eternal life in landfill, we are falling for the sales pitch.

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I have no idea what this car is, but people certainly liked it. I doubt any of them will ever drive it, let alone own one, but that's true for all of the vehicles on display. It had some nice lines, and provided lots of opportunity for cell phone photos taken at jaunty angles.

It's happening slowly, but colour is coming back to cars. Reds, blues, and even yellow and orange are permitted again.  This gives me hope.

I also have to acknowledge skill where I see it: the presenters at the car shows are amazing. The ability to keep a straight face at some of the phrases that the marketing people write down for them blows my mind, let alone that they do it with conviction and assurance. Whether it's a family-friendly minivan or an overpowered truck with a kid-killing front grille they handle them with enthusiasm and energy.

Being at the auto show always heightens my sense of the ridiculous. I'm not a "car guy" – I'm not even a driver. So advertising slogans like "edgy hatchback design" or "military grade aluminum" make me laugh. But being attuned to the absurdity helps me see it in other places, too. And that's perhaps the biggest personal benefit of going to the shows.

If it's not an exit, and we can't enter, then what's even the point of it being a door?