Stop, Speedracer, Stop!
February 27, 2008


I am not what you would call a "girly girl", but you probably knew that. It's not that I don't like girl things, I just, I dunno. I've always been a tomboy, and I guess I can't let it die. I'm not that into pink, I never wear make-up (and can count the times I have on one hand), I almost always carry a messenger bag instead of a purse, and of all the shoes I own the ones with the heels are permanently buried at the bottom of the closet.

So you would think that an opportunity to drive a Go Kart might float my boat. However, you would be wrong. Utterly and completely wrong.

This little endeavor was a work related team-building event. We all left at lunch time and headed to the Go Kart place for the rest of the day. I felt nauseous the whole way there. I didn't even want to try driving one of the infernal things, but decided I'd give it a go at least once. And that was all I needed to assure me that Go Karts? So NOT my thing.

First off, an ill fitting jumpsuit is required (so very attractive). This was enough to put me off entirely. But wait. THERE'S MORE. You also get your own "burglar mask" to wear under your helmet (which has been previously worn by hundreds of sweaty people). I know! Can you believe I wasn't excited?

Next, was the safety video, which was more complicated than I thought it would be. There's a special way to get in the go kart, there's a complicated seat belt thing to put on, there's a neck guard, there will be guys waving flags (4 different ones) and possibly pointing at me, don't use the gas and the brake pedal at the same time, and finally, no running into other karts. Now go out there and have FUN!

I was TERRIFIED before I was even able to get in the kart. I couldn't find the special place to put my feet to get in it. Then I put the neck guard on, and I've got a big 'ol helmet on, and now I can't look down to see, let alone find, my seatbelt. I had to have someone buckle me in. I felt like I was being strapped into the baby car seat of DOOM. Except I was going to be driving. And then, they motion us to go. Around and around on a track full of hairpin turns in a go kart with a steering wheel the size of small frisbee (and no power steering). I was miserable the entire time. Every lap, the guy with the "someone is going to pass you" flag was waving and pointing at me. There were little bits of rubber constantly flying off my car and gas fumes everywhere. I was too afraid to speed up, and yet afraid to go too slow because someone would hit me. I gripped the sorry excuse for a steering wheel as though my life depended on it and practically hyper ventilated through my team's entire time on the track.

To say I was happy when it was over with is a MAJOR understatement.

I'm a little bit disappointed with myself, because I like cars. I like driving fast (but not too fast). I used to love to play Pole Position on the Atari 2600. I thought there might have been a slim possibility that go karts would have been fun. And it definitely was for some folks, but for me, it was terror on four rubbery wheels.

I am giving myself credit for at least trying it though. Otherwise, I might have always wondered if it was any fun. HA! Also, it made me realize that perhaps, I shouldn't totally shun any girly tendencies. So today, I wore a dress. TO WORK. And it's not BLACK.

I'd say this is progress, people.

Just in case you're wondering, I ended up winning the "slow-poke" award for the marketing department. Go me! Or not...



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.