Sunday, August 22, 2010


Translation: Street Races

The night started as the group gathered. Decisions were made of which cars would be taken to the meet. It seemed set early on, but it took some time to reach a point of agreement.
The meet was to take place in the distance. The night was young and the cars were thirsty for the opportunity to exhibit their might. We made our way through the darkness of the Historic Route 101 and as we arrived the meet looked rather poor. My eyes were surprised at the small number of cars present. The few cars seemed to have found their way there after having been lost looking for a place to spend the rest of the night and then continue on their way. It was almost impossible to spot in the eyes of an outsider. 

-"We had traveled so far for this," I began to wondered. 

Despite the low numbers, I found myself taken by excitement at the prospects as I explored my memories for residuals of the last time I attended one of these events long ago. As time went by without any races been set, however, disappointment began to settled. So I took to observing the culture around me in an attempt to acquire some knowledge if I was not to take back with me the satisfaction of a race. I let myself wonder at what I was observing and what I was listening. The passion that holds the street racing underworld together despite the efforts of many to split it apart is magnificent. Every car was so obviously different to my eyes in such explicit details as models and colors, yet they were so alike in purpose. Outside appearance lacks meaning for those who lack vanity -who aren't many. The important part for all is what hides underneath the hood of the car. Confusion and wonder rose as terms were thrown back and fort to describe the contents of the present models. I was back in my first day of high school again listening to a completely different language, which I so desired to learn. It made me wonder how I have been around this culture for so many years, yet I still lack any such knowledge other than the basic functions and parts of a car. A culture is what street racing is! Language, demeanor, knowledge, abilities, clothing are all at the surface of what being a street racer is. It can be said to resemble a cult in which everyone praises their own deity -a car-, its power, its parts, its accomplishments and their involvement with said specimen. 
Alas, we were not there to discuss what made a genuine street racer, we were there to let our senses show us what makes a genuine street racer. But time was impatient and unforgiving. As it went on, there came some enthusiasts who eagerly attempted to set the night in motion, but there many others who were only interested on establishing a presence via words. Now, we all know words travel with the wind, so why talk without acting escapes my understanding. Isn't it better to say the horse is black while holding its hairs in one's hands than claiming it is black simply because when one saw it, it seemed to be so yet not holding any proof? That is what I was asking myself as many of the present self-proclaimed racers discussed the power of their cars. Words, all words. There were many who seemed to had gone fishing for excuses in the previous hours to prove with weak rhetoric why their cars could not be ran that night. They might have been speaking the truth, but then why bother to make an appearance and waste other willing racers' time . The excuses translated to weakness and fear as they crossed my ears and were processed by my brain. Words flew by at exponential speeds as excuses. There were plenty talkers and a lack of action takers. 
At some point, one rather ill dressed individual began to engage in the typical trash talking of such events. He desperately wanted another racer who had beat him on a previous meet to retract his words of triumph. He claimed if another race was set, he would now win as he went on to explain the reasons for his previous loss. Yet, when he was asked to go ahead and prove his point on the track, he refused using a deficient excuse. 
After countless minutes that became part of a raceless past, our final destination was finally settled. Basic directions were provided to the place where the races would take place. A place I would rather not disclose for security purposes, but suffice to say all the moon light allowed to see was vast prairies and the small hills beyond. We were surrounded by nothingness and lacked any form of artificial light other than that of the cars' headlights.
After years of having experienced the adrenaline first hand, runs were set and I found myself observing as a third party. It was the sound of a car as it seemed to scream to the world at the top of its lungs that it was ready to drenched its opponent in shame or be killed in the attempt that reminded me of days past when runs occurred in a very different stage though equally illegal, if not more. Whether sheltered by the night or in broad daylight, the Road Runners raced not only clandestinely in secret roads and intersections, but also in plain sight on freeways and streets. Oh, those were the days! But those days are now part of the past and I found myself observing a different group of racers who were also possessed by the adrenaline running through their veins.
Cars needed to be lined up and coerced into believing they were racing for their lives. Excitement was quick to fill the air and make it thicker. So thick, in fact, that holding one's breath seemed to be the only way to follow a run from beginning to end without falling victim of doubt. Though the winners' triumph was a result of a more powerful car and perhaps better skills on the wheel, it was also a reflection of how well versed all racers were. Deciding who won was always a close call from what my senses gathered and from what the others present expressed. Yet close calls or not, at the end, all that mattered was better said by one of the present racers and winner himself, "it does not matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning." 






©Copyrighted 2010

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