I believe in the gas pedal. I believe in the exhilaration of being the backup singer for Great Big Sea or Billy Joel, with my voice and speakers growing to drown out the increasing roar of the wheels on the highway. As the volume is lifted, so too am I from the worries and concerns that often characterize the day. It is in these concert-esque conditions that I allow the speedometer to roll over on its side and give my car the freedom to race past SUV’s and minivans trapping a more mellow and contained personality behind the wheel.
I drive fast not out of road rage or frustration over different issues, but because it allows a representation of my free spirit, youthful invincibility and innate competitive drive. I pride myself on miles of driving without being passed, yet I understand that doesn’t necessarily put me miles ahead of anyone else on the road. I enjoy the unique association between me and my fellow travelers, a social bond is shared without any social interaction, each vehicle with untold stories and undetermined destinations, sharing in the weaving and bobbing in all directions along any of many open roads. Yet beyond that, my enjoyment of a trip always gravitates back towards the free and open personality portrayed through the workmanship of a six cylinder engine.
My appreciation for speed can be represented much in the same way as America came to adore Evel Knievel as he performed his stunts throughout the sixties and seventies, tuning in to such seemingly idiotic acts as jumping the Snake River Canyon. It seems easy to concede that Americans tracking Knievel’s exploits realized the inherent dangers associated with them, yet they gravitated towards these same exploits because it allowed them to briefly live through Knievel’s free spirit, youthful invincibility, and innate competitive drive. As Kneivel made headlines for feats performed throughout the nation, the nation was momentarily released from the worries and concerns that often characterized the days of the era.
I like to think that my carefree attitude towards driving runs parallel to my perspective on how life should be taken. That is without concern for relatively minor issues, boundless energy, and a spirit hell-bent on enjoying as much of the experience as I can get my hands on. Tom Cochrane was on the right track with his forward thinking lyrics to “Life is A Highway,” and it is in that mindset that on days that I get behind the wheel I too hope to “turn my back to the wind,” and travel to “where the brave are free and the lovers soar.”
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