It’s sad, but true. One day we won’t have this. The fuel will all burn up. The population of the world will increase to the point that we’ll all be living on top of each other, with roads so congested that they’ll make a Tokyo traffic jam look like a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Eventually, the sun will burn out and life on this planet will cease. And one day, they tell me, I won’t like driving anymore.
It’s a hard sell, that last one. Insurance companies seem to think that when you turn 25, a switch flips in your brain and you just don’t want to drive fast anymore. Well, I passed that landmark a few years ago and if anything I’m driving faster than ever. My one friend said that I’d slow down once I have a family, since I’ll have a better reason to get home than just a neat whiskey and some quality time with the latest version of Fifa on my Playstation. I don’t know if that’s true, but I have my doctor on speed dial--and if he won’t give me a vasectomy, I know a guy who will do it in the back of a van and he’ll even drop me off at work when he’s done. Someone else said it’ll happen when I realize how vulnerable I am when driving a car, especially one as small as mine. Once that self awareness, once that notion of “If I’m careful, I can make it to 30” creeps into your mind, you’ll slow down.
But no. I know I’m not invincible. If anything, I’m more aware of how fragile life is than you really should be. All that’s changed is circumstance. When I was a teenager, the mantra was to drive as fast as possible, no matter the conditions--rain, shine, snow, hail--whether I was sick or well, or whatever life may be throwing at me at the time. Now it’s a much more tactical approach. Drive fast always, but know when it’s safe really give it a go. I check the weather, I check my tires, I know when they’re going to let go. Study, learn, approach each corner, each bump, each place a cop might be hiding with a critical eye. So I push it. I push myself to the absolute limit. But only when it’s not completely idiotic to do so.
Still, I wonder and I worry one day I’ll stop enjoying driving the way I do. I’ll let the constantly shitty traffic and my commute get to me. I’ll stop enjoying the pain my clutch causes my bad knee in traffic jams. I’ll stop watching reruns of Top Gear just to fill the time, or to take a nap, or while I sleep at night (yes, I do this). I won’t have another afternoon of hanging out with my best friend from high school just watching Barrett-Jackson while his girlfriend gets increasingly frustrated with how boring we are trying to guess how much the cars will go for. I worry that one day I won’t enjoy my Z4 as much as I do because it won’t feel special anymore. After all, it is the car I drive to work in everyday. It’s the car I drive to go grocery shopping. I carpool with it (I don’t take many passengers and I promise you they are cold and uncomfortable). I mean, it’s not like the car is reserved for perfect days and weekend trips that look like they came out of a commercial. I’ve never once hopped in the car and took my tie off, letting the wind blow it to oblivion--I like my ties. My life doesn’t become a smiley-faced montage just because I have a convertible. Surely, one day, I’ll grow tired of the stiff ride and inability to take anything or anyone anywhere. I must, right?
Then there’s a day like today. A day like today comes around. The temperature just kissed 60F, and the sun was out. Traffic existed, but it wasn’t so bad I wanted to pull my hair out. Rather, I wanted to mess it up. I merged on to the highway with the engine screaming towards 7000RPM, the wind whipping at my ears, and a grin that couldn’t be stopped. I tore through countryside and past the airport and into my urban jungle. I changed lanes, cutting through traffic ever so deftly. I never once considered setting the cruise control to a sensible speed and listening to smooth jazz. I shifted down and blipped the throttle like I was in a green Mustang chasing a black Challenger and I shifted up with authority. I stuck my hand over the windshield just to feel the wind through my fingers. And I smiled all the way. So the fear, the wonder, and the worry have all been quelled for now.
Maybe one day. But not today. And certainly not tomorrow.
Or the day after.
Or the day after that.