I can. Its one of my talents, I suppose. Some people are athletic, others good at math. I can keep my mouth shut. It may not come in handy as much as math (= Nobel Prize, or at least being able to calculate tip) or athleticism (= $$, endorsements), but it has its moments.
The second week of October is big in our house – BG’s birthday is the 10th, our anniversary is the 11th. This year, it wasn’t just any ol’ anniversary – it was our 10th. (We’ve been sharing the same space for thirteen years, actually, but you don’t get credit for the pre-marriage years. Maybe because they were probationary.) Since the tenth is the Tin Anniversary (or the modern equivalent, aluminum), the obsessive gift giver in me really needed it to be both a)Memorable and b) Keeping with the metal theme. I came up with a doozy, if I do say so myself: Race car driving lessons.
Those of you who know my husband know this is potentially a dangerous idea – not because he would hurt himself – he’s actually an excellent driver – but because it would be like giving heroin to a former cocaine addict. BG was very into cars and hot rods growing up – he has many fond memories of various male family members driving him and his cousins on country roads, very fast. This was in the days before shoulder belts, or even seat belts, in some cars, as well as, he feels obliged to point out, without strict DUI laws. He fondly recalls the six-pack rattling as he and his cousins butts’ rose off the seat over a particularly fast hill.
My next problem was how to pay for it. Being a race car driver, for even just a few hours, is not cheap (I’m sure a good portion of this fee goes to their liability insurance). So as relatives began asking what to get BG for his birthday, I mentioned my idea, and viola – donations to the BG-Racer fund began to come in. After some quick math, (with calculator of course), the tickets were bought. I’ve never taken longer to hit “Submit” in my entire life – I think I sat there for at least an hour.
The day of our anniversary arrived – though I was empty handed, I told BG that he needed to be ready and caffeinated for a significant amount of driving the following Thursday night. It was an Oscar-worthy test of my mettle – I told him nothing more than he needed to pack for two nights and put a full tank of gas in the car. My fabulous mother-in-law (who contributed significantly to the BGRacer scholarship) was coming that afternoon to hang out with LG while we were away.
He quizzed me and asked me and tried to be sly, but I was having none of it. As scheduled, we left right after my lecture on Thursday night.
I gave him turn by turn directions (for FOUR HOURS), hoping that his spatial superpower would fail with a lack of visual stimuli – I wouldn’t let him look at the map, and it was pitch black out. Sure enough, these factors short circuited his internal mapping ability, and he had no other clue where we were other than the “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign.
The mystery remained as we got up bright and early the next morning – we needed to be there by 7:45 am, and I wasn’t taking any chances. So we were out of the motel by 7. I won’t comment on how attractive we were, but I did manage a shower and a cup of tea for me, coffee and danish for him.
It was pretty foggy out, but out of the mist emerged the giant “POCONO RACEWAY” sign, and BG muttered “No WAY.”
From then on, he was smiling so much I think his lips stuck to his teeth.
We went through a half-hour of orientation – me, BG, and three other couples and a single guy. We sat through the informational DVD, which, in all honesty, I tuned out as they were talking about the geometry of turn 1. It was more fun to surreptitiously watch BG as he soaked up every word, every moment.
“THIS makes it go very fast… “
The other significant others and I settled in to watch as the boys got suited up for their ride (in addition to the drive, they got a three-lap ride as well). I am proud to say that BG was the only one that didn’t struggle to get in through the window – must have been all that “Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid. For some odd reason, I kept hearing theme music in my head, which ranged from the Rocky theme (when he was getting suited up, helmet in hand) to “Sweet Home Alabama” (when they were pulling out), to AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. Not ordinarily on my internal playlist, but there was an awful lot of testosterone floating around.
Happy BG. VERY Happy.
At this point, it was becoming mistier and mistier – not raining, precisely, but the air was becoming more and more sauna-like; only without the heat. Sitting on the metal chairs under our pop-canopy, we (the other ladies and I) began to seriously chatter, teeth wise. And turn 1 was becoming a mystery – as we watched, the cars disappeared into the fog. This didn’t bode well – after all, those headlights are only painted on.
BG arrived back a few minutes later – turns out, three laps go pretty quickly at 160 MPH – with the report that they may not get to drive today. But he seemed not bothered at all by this info – he was positively giddy. I scanned my brain quickly for any withheld information that would upset him ordinarily – “They were on sale…I know its a lot for yarn, but they’ll be GIFTS…I forgot to take your T-shirts out of the dryer”, because now would be a GREAT time. He was impervious to disappointment, bad news, even shoe shopping. But I came up empty.
He didn’t get to take his drive that day, but we got a rain check for the following spring. As it turns out, I think this was a perfect way to go, because now he will have the benefit of anticipation, too.
Later that day, we went to an outlet mall, where I went, you guessed it – shoe shopping. On our way home, we took a “detour” so that I could go to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.
Still smiling…….. and note the race car hat hasn’t come off, even for a nap.
Meanwhile, I’m manhandling all kinds of pretty yarn…
All natural dyes – can you stand it?
I probably could have garnered all kinds of sweet deals for myself at that point, like lifetime exemption from cleaning the bathroom, weekly pedicures, or no diaper changes for a month. He was feeling, literally, no pain – not from shopping, or from walking around looking at people looking at yarn. He did eventually retire back to the car for a nap, but even for that he held out an awfully long time. Just IMAGINE if he had access to a race car all the time – what a happy boy he would be. But for now, I think him getting to sit in one and take a ride is pretty darn good.
I’ll keep you posted on when he actually DRIVES it this spring. We may not be able to get him out.