A Racing Dream

A group of us — all men of various ages, builds, condition, etc. — were gathered. A tense but excited current ran through us. We were being given an opportunity to race a Formula 1 car. These were not the current cars but vintage vehicles from the eighties. All of us could attempt to qualify but only twenty-three could race. My father was encouraging me to participate. I asked if he was, too, and he said, “No. Too old,” with a laugh.

I was in my early twenties and eager for the opportunity. An overcast sky murmured, it might rain, and a cool breeze kept us shivering. The track could barely be described as one. A run-down, overgrown place, we would-be racers walked about, attempting to clean off the track a bit, kicking off gravel, twigs, and leaves, removing old, rain-sodden black branches. Several drivers seemed much larger than me. Most were older. We chatted in knots as we impatiently awaited our chance. I was more knowledgeable about F1 than others there so I asked more questions and pondered things. One older, larger care took note and started asking me for advice to help him. Each time he asked a question, I asked, making a suggestion. When he thought the suggestion didn’t help, he wanted to take it out on me. I told him, “Look, I made the suggestions but you made the decisions. Own your decisions.” That seemed to take him back.

Meanwhile, I was becoming annoyed with the organizers. I understood that we were to be given cars randomly. Okay. Then we would practice, qualify, and if we were fast enough, we’d race. Okay. But the organizers were also issuing us old racing coveralls to wear, and helmets. Shouldn’t we have a chance to pick those out ahead of time and get used to them some? Why not? In my mind, the uniforms could be important because they could be too tight and hamper our movement, you know, like shifting gears and turning the steering wheel.

I was mentioning these things to other participants. None of them could answer it, of course, so I went in search of the organizers. The dream ended.

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