The sensation of driving fast is about the physical connection between you, the car, and the road. Maybe some people instead describe “driving fast” as a sensation of smoothness or soaring. I don’t know. But for me, it is one of friction. It is sinking claws into the asphalt and then tearing it towards you and underneath.
For this reason, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
When you drive a mediocre car hard, there’s a violence to it. And there’s a thrill to that violence. You can drive the car to the edge of its limitations, can feel the machinery being thrown up against a wall, and then hold it there, pressed, as you floor it. And part of the excitement is in that tension, the line of energy between you and machine, and the things you can do with it through that direct, tightly wound connection.
With a nice car, this changes. There is no wall. You floor it but the floor isn’t there – you don’t hit bottom by the time you’re already going too fast. You exhaust the limitations of your surroundings before you ever find the boundaries of the car, and the satisfaction of that connection – the thrill of that violence against the wall – is all but lost. In its place, of course, is the satisfaction of responsiveness – the ease of asking and getting, smoothly, precisely what was asked. And perhaps, beyond that, the promise of a far-off wall, should you ever find a worthy road.
From August 2014:
Let’s go driving.
It’s the bright white light of possibility out in front of us and nothing but highway underneath. I’m rushing up against the things in front of me; I’m crowding them and taking risks, but I’m confident and unconcerned, but it’s living like this that makes it all worthwhile.
I’m looking. I’m always looking. I’m scanning and rescanning for the next lane change – watching the pace and rhythm of everything around me, waiting for a slot, a window, an opportunity. You have to move like this if you are choosing to operate at this speed.
I can streamline. I can exist with simplicity. I can ride, windows down, with little more than roll bar.
I want for you to come with me. I want you should ride shotgun.
There are things I want in life. There are things we all want in life.
Some things we spend a lifetime defining, other times we spend too long holding on to the wrong things, tangled up in not seeing the way they are not right; not the things we really want.
Discipline may be choosing between what we want now and what we want most, but what’s more important than having discipline is directing it at the right things.
I run and I push it and come close to what’s in front of me – “too close,” maybe, for those who live less – but I know and trust that in the split second that demands a maneuver, I’ll be ready for it; I’ll find the window and I’ll take it when the time to do so presents itself.
You’ve got a smokestack in your hat.
And after that flash of a reaction, in the moment that follows, I’ll laugh a little and I’ll say out loud to you: