The Need for Speed

After passing a lazy Malibu, a short stretch of interstate opens up. A teasing token from the Gods of Gridlock and Crowded Highways.

I switch open the active exhaust. The beast takes the cue and growls dauntingly. A deep monstrous rumble, she’s impatient. It’s been too slow for too long. For her. For me.

My skin crawls with trepid elation, like the high-octane snake running through her veins.

At 70 MPH, I drop into third gear, increasing RPM to match her speed.

In appreciation of anticipation, I hesitate before punching it; a moment to relish the roar and reverberations of 526 horses snarling menacingly and ready to bust all-ass loose.

Then…

It’s game on.

Like a cat on the prowl, she hunkers down and blasts off with an explosive roar—all teeth and claws.

The creature’s alive with punishing Gs as she forces me firmly against the seat. My upper lip curls into a devious grin, 100 MPH and accelerating like the proverbial bat.

Vision narrows with a predator’s instinct.

Heart pounding to the pulse of her eight pistons spinning a flat-plane crank, and I’m giddy as all fucking hell.

A daring glance at the speedometer shows 120 MPH and climbing, swiftly.

8,250 RPM sees a quick stab into fourth gear.

Up ahead, the span closes rapidly.

Too rapidly.

But she’s hungry: 130, 135, 140 MPH (225 KPH), twice the legal speed limit, and still the rate of acceleration seems yet to diminish.

But, just that quick, in less time than it takes to read this post, she’s devoured the road. It’s over. I have to back her off.

Until another day.

Another day and maybe the Gods will shower their gratuity once more—but with a slightly longer stretch of the open road, and like this day, one without the highway patrol.

One can only pray.

Driving

Driving

Remember when you got your driver’s license? The excitement. I live that. I’m an automotive enthusiast, love to drive, love to tinker, and polish. I’m one with the vehicle, a cyborg.

Driving is recreational, if not medicinal, a chance to get out and see the countryside or cityscape. Whether it’s a quiet morning commute or rocking out to the Rolling Stones on the way to grab some vegan fare. Or perhaps a little Esteban on a slow Sunday cruise with the wife in her Beetle—top down, sun shining. The Beetle’s top-down, dude, not the wife. Get your mind out of the gutter. Although we do occasionally… well, here ain’t the place.

I enjoy the hours driving cross-country, seeing new places, RV in tow, which can sometimes prove challenging on back roads and crowded gas stations designed for little more than a Fiat 500 (cool little car, BTW). It all made for some entertaining tales, those experiences. But as the old saying goes, smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors. Ditto for drivers on the open road.

What I like best—on a summer-like day when the heat of the blacktop gets blistering hot and the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires get gummy like glue and adhere to the road like proverbial stink on shit—is a spirited sprint in the GT350. I call her GT Vudo (as in Voodoo, Mustang owners get the allusion)—the ripping, roaring thunder of 526 naturally aspirated horses unleashed. The exhilaration of acceleration. It’s damn near orgasmic. No forced induction required. Although I consider the mod. Shh, mum’s the word.

No matter what or where or how I drive, courtesy and safety are important. I might punch the gas and burn a little rubber now and then, but I’m rarely over the speed limit. Unless there’s a begging stretch of lonesome interstate. Then all bets are off.

Most drivers, at least a significant number, are cautious and courteous. Others are rude if not downright dangerous or dangerously distracted. It seems most everyone’s in a damn hurry. A hurry to go where? To do what? Get to a job they don’t like. A hot-foot home to watch boob-tube propaganda, YouTube maybe.

Slow down, be in the moment.

I’ve seen people get all giddy shopping for a car, buying new air-conditioned, comfortable, sleek-looking mechanical marvels that set their hearts on fire, then when at last they’re behind the wheel, seems they can’t wait to get out.

We’ve all seen the impatient driver while we idle away in a traffic jam. They’re going nowhere fast, but still, they try, riding your bumper, swapping lanes, cutting you off, and all-out general rudeness. Relax, spin the tunes, count your blessings. Better stuck in a traffic jam, than the one caused a traffic jam. Stay calm and you’ll reach your destination. That person up ahead might not be so lucky.

Drive safe. Be courteous.