Old Men Drag Racing

by Marc Friedlander

 

Sunny

Li'l Red

 

I think of Li'l Red as a watermelon seed. Red and black, flat and low, near impossible to turn over, slippery as hell, and if you press on it - ever so slightly, it shoots off and zooms out of sight in an instant.

I got her washed today. I have the unlimited wash plan. I could get her washed every day. Today, I even went for the extra wax and polish, though I don't usually.

Incidentally, this isn't just ANY car wash. It's THE car wash - from Breaking Bad. If you're unfamiliar with BB, it's of no consequence, as far as the incident that will unfold below. But you should check it out because it's a truly fantastic series - best ever in my opinion.

 

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Li'l Red sparkled as I drove off. I zipped over to Best Buy to look at some new headphones. Just ahead me, pulling into the parking lot, was a Porsche Boxster.

I followed the Porsche down the row until we came to two empty slots, side by side. The Porsche pulled into one and I pulled into the next.

The Porsche driver got out.

 

Sunny

 

The Boxster is a pretty nice car, though this one had not been washed in awhile.

Meanwhile, Li'l Red just gleamed - having been primped and prissied up, moments before.

 

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Porsche driver is about my age (that is, a youngish oldish guy). That's where the similarity ended, though. Silver hair, wiry frame, glinty eyes. Stood about 6'2''. Something like that. He towered over his car.

Now, getting out of a sports car is a little tricky. There's more to it than you might think, especially when you're in a Corvette and the owner of a Porsche is towering over you, waiting for you to get out. You have to put effort into it, but not LOOK like you're putting effort into it. That's the main thing. If your abs seize up and you wind up on the ground beside your car, you lost. No matter what you're driving, you lost. You're lucky not to get laughed at.

But the fact is, I'm pretty spry and I popped up out of Li'l Red like I was springing up from a mat in the gym. I emerged and rose up to my full height of 5'3".

 

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Porsche driver looks at me.

I look at him.

He smiles.

I smile.

 

Porsche: Nice car.

Me: Thanks. Same to you.

Porsche: Thanks.

 

I looked at the two cars, side by side, and frankly, there was simply no comparison. Li'l Red was just looking super sharp. The black Boxster is nice, but it's a little understated. It's not that cool in the way that a Corvette is. It just looks like a sporty VW, which in fact, is exactly what it is. It's a fast car. And very cool. No debate. But next to Li'l Red, the Boxster looked very ordinary. Li'l Red stands out next to anything, wherever she goes.

The black Boxster had dust on it. The wheels were dull. Albuquerque is a dusty desert town. The Boxster looked as dusty as a stagecoach that had just crossed the Mojave.

We both looked at the cars for a second.

Then we both walked towards the store.

 

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Me: Yeah, thanks again. Just got it. Like a month ago.

Porsche: Yeah? Me too.

I figure the guy recently retired - like me. It was Thursday at noon and we both had nothing better to do but drive our sports cars around.

Me: Is that a Boxster S?

Porsche: No, just a regular Boxster. Everyone told me get the S version as it's much more powerful - but believe me, it's plenty powerful enough for me as it is.

Me: Well, same here. I didn't go for the Z06 version of my car. The regular Vette is plenty strong enough.

Porsche (wistfully): Thought about getting a Corvette. But I just got the Porsche instead.

His expression looked to me like we were dating two sisters and he got the ugly one.

Me: Well, getting a Corvette was all I thought about. I've always wanted one. And now that I have it, I'm very happy with it.

 

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By now we had reached the store, and we wished each other some form of "see you around". I knew I was going to look up the specs as soon as I had a chance. I was wondering whose car was boss, to be perfectly honest. I had an inkling, but I didn't know for sure.

Well, I just looked up the specs on his car, and the fact is, the Porsche Boxster doesn't touch the Vette in terms of power or speed.

The Vette is the KING in my book, and in a lot of books.

 

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This is the way old retired guys drag race - without killing anyone or even risking a ticket. You park next to each other, you look the cars over, and without even moving, one of them wins - as long as the driver can get out without falling down.

And we both know who won this one.

Li'l Red.