Memorable Experiences

“They say that experiences make you happier than things.” my husband stated.TheRacers

“Oh?” I asked suspiciously.

“That’s why…” he continued, happily “I’ve decided that for my 60th birthday, I’m going to treat everyone to a session of F1 racing cars.”

“Oh.” I answered, thinking furiously. “Maybe…umm…umm….maybe I could babysit!”

A close friend had treated us, and others to a race car session for his 50th birthday celebration and we had vivid memories of it.

“It was a blast! Remember?”

“Oh yes.” I replied. “I remember.”

“C’mon. You said it was fun. And, I’m taking all the kids. You have to go. It won’t be the same without you!”


I was tense the day of his birthday. That morning, I’d realized that the three grandkids kids were being babysat at our house, and that I should clean to remove any floor food. My husband was busy cooking for his party so he couldn’t do it.

Am I scared I asked myself? Last time hadn’t really been that bad.

The F1 pre-racing process was a bit intimidating. I remembered that. You sit in a conference room like you are back at work or something, and sign a lot of papers. Then you get the briefing.

Yellow Flag! Green Flag! Blue and Red Flag! Penalty Box! Brake 3 clicks before the brick wall of death. Red Flag. Warning Flag. Visor Warning. White Flag. Black and White Flag. Spinout procedure. Got all that?

“I’m feeling a bit intimidated…” my daughter murmured.

“Oh no. It will be fine. I did it before, and survived.” I lied.

My husband’s birthday was on a really hot day. Fortunately the viewing room and the conference room were air-conditioned. The track was not.

I vividly remembered the suit from last time. It was a red padded mechanics suit. It was very heavy. Then, after you put the suit on, you added a head sock, a helmet, and a neck brace.

I hadn’t remembered the neck brace. A neck brace? And last time it wasn’t hot. Suited up, with the helmet on, I wondered if I had inherited my mother’s claustrophobia.

I also had not remembered how low the race cars were. The seat must have been just 3 inches above the ground.

“How in the world am I ever going to get into that without totally disgracing myself? How will I get out of it?!” I whispered silently to any gods that might be listening.

F1 personnel explained more procedures. There would be 4 races.

Four races I thought! Really? I’ve to get in and out of that car 4 times? In front of my friends and family? Will there be pictures?

Last time, I remembered happily, right after the first race session, my inner child had really perked up. I imaged myself as a racer. I made race sounds. I took curves heedlessly! I pressed that accelerator right down to the floor! I still lost abysmally, but I had fun.

Apparently 7 years later, my inner child had aged. I am not proud of this. When I got out there, I thought. ‘I just want to stay alive.’

I had a strategy. Stay to the far side of the track. Brake often. Avoid the brick wall of death. Let everyone pass. Stay far away from all the other cars.

But, let me digress. When my daughter was young, she had a nightmare. She dreamed that everyone she knew looked the same, and everything was the same, only, everyone had been replaced by aliens.

This happened to me on the track. I mean, normally my children are nice! They don’t hit, or shove, or make fun…well, they do make fun of me, but I am all right with that. They’re normally not overtly competitive.

But on the track, my loving children and husband and friends, all tried to run me down. They passed on the right. And the left! They repeatedly came within 5 inches of my car. I got hit at least twice. I was trapped with a lot of really crazy people.

Later, my daughter-in-law, looking abashed, confessed to one hit and apologized.

“I got hit twice.” I replied looking meaningfully at the rest of my family.

They all chipped in to say cheerily that they had hit so many people they lost count. My daughter added a bit bitterly that she had kept passing people and thought she was doing great, only to now realize that she had just passed me, multiple times.

My youngest son won all 4 races. I had no idea that a music minister could be so reckless.

“Wasn’t that just great?!” my husband declared.

Everyone else seems to agree. The car ride home was really loud. My whole family traded race statistics and trash-talked. They were ecstatic.

And I admit, so was I. After all, I was still alive. And, at least, no one commented on my difficulties in getting in and out of that horrible low race-car. As far as I know there are no pictures of that so it could have been worse.

“Oh. Yes, lov.” I murmured, congratulating him on a very successful 60th birthday. “Oh. Yes. It was a memorable experience.”

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