Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When you're racing, it's life

We took our aspiring race car driver to his first go-kart race this past weekend. Seeing Caden's face light up as the cars sped down the track was watching pure delight unfold. The sound of the engines revving, the karts screaming past as they hugged each turn-- even the smell of gasoline was intoxicating.

It's one thing to watch these cars in action. I can only imagine what it must feel like to actually drive one of them. No wonder my son is drawn to it like a tractor beam. Caden's always had an affinity for all things fast. Even as an infant, if he wasn't moving, he'd let his displeasure be known.

When I toted him around in the baby carrier, he'd cry the moment I stopped walking. When we were in the car, his cries escalated every time we'd approach a stop sign (the wailing got louder and louder as the car would decelerate). From the moment he could grab things, it was all about cars, trains, airplanes. Anything with velocity. Which is why for the first three years of his life, Caden was obsessed with the Disney/Pixar Cars movie.

Now, as a whirling dervish of a 4-year-old, my son is fixated on race car driving. His favorite movies are Le Mans and Grand Prix (both made in 1971 and 1966, respectively). Caden knows that movie perhaps as well as the directors who made them. He can quote the film as if he were reading the script, as well as tell you what happens next after every scene.

There's a line Steve McQueen's character, Michael Delaney, says in Le Mans that sums up how Caden looks at the world:

"When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting..."