You know instinctively when it happens. You hear a sound or music that evokes a memory, makes you feel good, gets your heart racing or transports your mind to another place. These are Boom Moments.
A classic example referenced by Joel Beckerman in his book The Sonic Boom is the Chili’s Sizzling Fajita. As Joel describes the scene, the first one comes out of the kitchen and makes its way across the dining room to someone’s table, everyone’s senses are awakened. The smell and the sound of the sizzle create a mouthwatering gotta-have-it sensation. Despite every other option you were considering, your desires were just taken over by the sizzling fajita. A Boom Moment has occurred.
My personal favorite Boom Moment experience goes way back to the mid-80s and Risky Business. Joel (Tom Cruise) is driving and Barry (Bronson Pinchot) is in the passenger seat of the Porsche 928, cruising around town late at night. They stop at a red light. Another car pulls along side. The taunting from the second car begins “A couple of boys in daddy’s car… you wanna race…?” The music is pulsing throughout. The light turns green. The second car takes off. You can barely hear the engine sputter forward and there’s not enough power to make the spinning tires sound anything but weak. The 928 doesn’t move. Barry slowly turns his head toward Joel and says “Hit it.” Immediately you hear that sound. The 928 takes off, wheels spin, the engine roars, and they easily pass the other car, despite its head start. Cut to the 928 doing backwards donuts in an empty parking lot, making the engine-revving sound that I’ve been in love with ever since.
Truth is, I’d never actually driven a Porsche, but the desire to hear and control that sound was still on my mind nearly 20 years later. So, it was time. My options and budget had me exploring a new Honda or an old Porsche. The choice was clear, and this time there would be no substitute. Cut to a dark February evening. I’m at a dealership after hours, alone in the repair bay in the back of the building. Standing. Waiting. Hoping that when the sales guy and my auto mechanic friend get back from a test drive of the 1986 911, that the car checks out so I can finalize the deal.
After a few moments, not even expecting my anxiousness to turn into exhilaration, I start to hear it. Woooon, wont woooon, wont wooooo. That visceral Porsche sound coming down the road, around the bend, toward the back of the dealership and into the garage. The Boom Moment has returned and this time I’m driving it home!
Risky Business is known for Tom Cruise dancing to “Old Time Rock & Roll,” revitalizing Ray-Ban’s and, I’m sure, selling Porsches. All I know is that it emblazed my passion and desire for a car, an experience and a sound that keeps my heart racing to this day.
Porsche has managed to use sound to score the driving experience and forges a deep emotional connection with aficionados and wannabes.
You can check out more Porsche sounds on their website. Just beware, because it just may change how you want to drive forever.
That’s my favorite Boom Moment. What’s yours?