Walking around an auto show can be therapeutic. Especially these days, with the throbbing rhetoric of the presidential campaign's home stretch pounding at you from every direction, not to mention everything else that's going on in the world.
It doesn't matter where the show is, there is something familiar and inviting about seeing a display of shiny cars and trucks.
I've walked around auto shows from Beijing to Milwaukee. And I've toured them with executives, designers, colleagues, dealers, friends and my family. Sometimes, I've gone to a show for work, sometimes for pleasure.
I went to auto shows with my dad when I was a kid and I've taken my own sons from the time when they were barely old enough to walk.
Thursday, the Tampa Bay International Auto Show opened for its annual four-day run and it all came rushing back.
Tampa isn't the biggest show, but like so many others, it keeps growing. The displays now spill out of the halls and rooms on both floors of the Tampa Convention Center and into the corridors and lobbies. The space is all gone.
The Greater Tampa Bay Automobile Dealers Association owns the show, and officials were happy with the early turnout. Kelly Rogers, general manager of Reeves Import Motorcars, is vice chairman of this year's show and he was pleased that there was a line outside the convention center, waiting for the doors to open at noon.
Most of the early visitors wore shorts and other summer attire because the temperature was in the 80s. The early demographics were, well, older. After all, it is Florida and the show opened in the middle of a workday.
Organizers won't say how many visitors the show draws. But local dealers said they expected celebrity visits from wrestler Hulk Hogan, actor R. Lee Ermey and pro football player Shelton Quarles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to attract a diverse crowd over the weekend.
And don't forget the shiny cars and trucks.