For my friend Zack’s birthday a bunch of us met up at an indoor racetrack in the Bay Area to celebrate his continued survival by wearing costumes and racing small, dangerous cars around a track. I was hesitant to sign up to race because it all seemed very official. The sign said this place was go cart racing for adults. You had to wear their racing suits and purchase something called a “head sock.” You had to take their safety class and understand what all the little flags mean.
And this place was filled with serious racers. Of which I was most certainly not. I’d never even driven a bumper car and my day to day ride (when door handles are not exploding in my face)? Is a Buick.
I can’t even drive a MarioKart properly.
But Angela was down and I figured if I was going to try it, I should try it with her.
After we registered we were asked to enter nick names that would list our positions and times for those following the race. I chose my twitter name, exlibris, but realized my mistake after it was too late to change it.
If I could do it over again, I thought, I would have named myself “head sock.”
And then I actually drove the course.
When I was all done I thought to myself, I have finally realized my true racing name:
Basically driving a go cart is not unlike sitting on a self-propelled lawnmower that is two inches away from the ground. It coughs and sputters and apparently has no power steering so two days later and my armpits are still so sore from the experience it can feel the strained muscles as I type.
The track marshals could tell I was a total newb. I knew this because before they even started my car one carefully leaned down to me and said, “Your neck brace is on backwards.” The giant helmet blocked my view so entirely that they had to put it on me correctly. Thank god I was at least able to buckle myself on my own. Adjusting the straps is no problem for someone who knows how to operate a car seat.
Being around other carts made me nervous so, being the courteous go cart-racer that I am, I let everyone go ahead of me. I had fun once I was by myself and could take the turns as fast as I wanted. I found it to be a bit like ice-skating: it’s easier when you are going fast and more challenging if you try to do it slowly. The trick with going fast, of course, is that loosing control is frowned upon and crashing into other drivers will get you pulled into the penalty box.
Speaking of crashes, I bumped into the tires twice and made it through the race incident-free until some agro racer guy slammed into me at the end. We were going around a corner when he lost control and I was in the middle of the turn so I couldn’t do anything but just watch him slam into me. Oh well. Once they pulled me free of the track the race was over any way. I hope I messed up your time, sucker! Making you lose is a victory in itself.
I’m glad we got to keep the head socks, though, because 1. ew, the idea of sharing head socks makes me barf deep in my soul, and 2. now Isobel has two ninja-masks for her thrifted dress up chest. Sweet!
Isobel had a great time running around the arcade area and pushing all the buttons on the rides. The best part was when Heidi let her play with one of Zack’s giant balloons and she thought she’d take it dancing.
Happy Birthday, Zack!