I think . . . what I want isn’t to go fast, not really. It’s just to go fast enough that I don’t have to think anymore. Just cruise on, mellow, untouchable. You know how it is when you watch a boulder or something fall off a cliff? Or even smaller, more ordinary—a glass falling off a table, or anything like that. At first you’re worrying, you’re concerned, you want to know if there’s something you can do or something you can change or at the very least an appropriate emotion you should be feeling. But there’s not. If there was, you’d be doing it, but there isn’t, so after a bit you reach this moment where you just relax, and you stop thinking. What’s going to happen goes ahead and happens, and maybe you expected it and maybe you didn’t, and maybe it’s what you wanted and maybe it isn’t, but what the hell, the rock’s falling and you can’t touch it now, the momentum’s there, the path is set.
Of course, maybe that’s stupid. And maybe I just like going fast. But I don’t, not really. Fast is just like slow, only more of it. When I pop the clutch and press on the gas and do the little squinty-eyes thing that the best drivers always do when they’re about to make a big push, I’m not hoping that I’ll break a record, or earn my pay, or even just go fast. All I’m hoping is that I’ll be able to Stop thinking as I Go forward, find my momentum, and finally be able to sit back. Relax. Let go.
I’m not a psychologist, not even an armchair one, but if I were I’d probably have no problem sussing out my motivations, what’s making me tick. “Just looking to shed the reins after being in control for so long,” I’d say. “Too aggressive at the helm, now experiencing a submissive backlash.” That kind of thing. And probably that’s right. And it only makes sense, to be fair—I’ve got the whole clichéd boxcar of past issues for fuel. Domineering parents. A controlling ex-wife. Too many forced decisions, I guess, too fixed a path for so much of my life. Then the release, the escape, the divorce and the move and the finding a new life where I’m in control. Blah blah. It was the only thing, the obvious thing, but even I feel like my life’s been molded around some kind of sub-par Hollywood plot or assignment for a creative writing class. What kind of person actually has a midlife crisis and becomes a racecar driver?
And I guess I’ve had a little too much fun, or what you’d call it satisfaction (a little smug, I suppose), at being special like that. Sort of like those kid athletes who break all kinds of records and blow away everyone’s expectations. Holy cow, they say, thirteen years old and already being considered for the Olympics? Damn! And the kid smiles awkwardly and says something humble but he’s pleased as hell and his whole life is pretty much focused around being special like that. I don’t need to be special, or I’d have thought not, but I think I did like being the guy who actually did it, the one people mention to their friends as, “Hey, I know this guy who . . . ”
And I am hot shit, more or less. Been hotter or cooler shit for all these years, more than a decade now I guess, but always a big enough deal that it seemed to justify it all. Faster and faster.
The shrink would be right, as far is that goes. He’d be right that I want to stop pushing so hard, stop shooting so high, settle my crazy a little. Which is natural; it’s human. Nobody can stay on the edge forever.
But it’s not all of it. It’s not that I want to stop. No real driver ever wants to stop. I want—I want to keep doing but I don’t want to have to do, I want to keep going and not be the one who has to make it happen anymore. I want to find that place where the threshold is tipped and the boulder’s falling, where the table is laid and the game is begun, fuse is lit, ball is rolling, and there’s nothing more to do but see it through. I want to be a solid streak along invisible rails, just to keep tearing forward until I’m a long, smooth blur of light and air, untouchable, unassailable by doubt or reason, not even my own. Going, going, into infinity, and my hands can come off the wheel, and all I have to know is that I’ll get there.