I’m a wheel
I’m gonna turn
— the prophet jeff tweedy
I’m driving home at a little before 2 a.m. This is the time many folks call it a night at the bar (it’s Wednesday night, after all, no need to get carried away.) So the drive home can be an adventure.
But not tonight. I’m sitting at a red light on Ocean Drive. I have the road to myself. It’s a quiet night. I’m tired.
Longtime readers know I have a 1988 Honda Civic. It’s an old friend, but like old friends, it has some quirks. Yes, it drools and forgets where it put the keys.
In addition, the idle doesn’t work. This means the car is always running at 30 mph. It’s like cruise control before cruise control became cool. It works great, except when I’m parked at a red light. Which I am.
I work around it by pushing in the clutch and barely holding down the gas, which brings the idle down a bit. Then I periodically let off the clutch, causing the engine to race. Rev, idle, rev, idle. This is my life. At work, at run, at red lights.
I’m perfectly content sitting at the light with the engine alternately roaring and idling. And then.
I look to my right. There’s another Honda. It’s a few years newer than mine, but built to race. Old Hondas are a favorite of the race crowd. I have no idea why.
He’s a 20-something guy. I’m guessing somewhere in the story that will come from this will be the sentence “alcohol was suspected to be a factor.”
He’s revving his engine as well, in that hell no i don’t have a muffler sort of way. Apparently I have just challenged him to a race.
Well, screw him. I’m tired. It hasn’t been a great night at work. I’m tired of being pushed around. You want to race? All right, Sonny, let’s race.
Seconds later, the light changes. He hits the gas. Tires spin, exhausts wafts toward the bay, his Honda takes off at about 320 mph. How did he do that? Has to be a flux capacitor.
Undeterred, I smash the gas pedal to the floor. My Honda instantly roars to about 20 miles per hour, the fastest it will go. I turn right, which leads to the convenience store on the corner. I buy an ice cream sandwich. Wayyyyy before he does. Apparently we were having different races.
It’s 2 a.m. I’m driving home on the side road at a leisurely pace, no need to keep my foot on the gas. The car’s got my back. I’m eating ice cream. Life is good.