This Is Why I Drive Fast
“I love the way you drive.”
This line was delivered by a bewitching female and spoken in a French accent. It was uttered even as she was being tossed roughly against the passenger door as I whipped through rush-hour traffic in Manhattan. It was the fall of 1996, and I was young, impressionable, and perhaps a little besotted…and yet these words remain the best compliment my driving has ever received.
I never heard them spoken again.
Over the years I’ve discovered most people don’t drive their cars, “with pace”, and those who do tend to do it quite poorly, engendering evil looks and blaring horns in their wake. It is the rare driver who can drive quickly without drawing unwanted negative attention. To find a passenger who appreciates driving fast (especially one who is pretty and French) is about as common as a Porsche RS, which is to say: extremely rare.
But that hasn’t changed the way I drive.
I learned to drive a manual transmission in the hills of Seattle as a teenager. It was a sweaty nightmare carefully narrated by my patient father. It remains a day that lives in infamy rather than in pleasure. However, I discovered it was a skill, and like any skill, there is improvement with practice. Speed came later, but as I got better at driving, my speed increased—I haven’t slowed down since.
The reason I continue to motor “with pace” is indefensible. I like it. I crave the rush of going faster than drivers around me. I love the mechanical symphony of engine speeds, drivetrain whine and tires at the edge of adhesion all working together to create a unique sensation: speed.
It’s a sensation that isn’t universally loved. Just ask my wife, along with every other passenger of mine since that lovely French girl. Driving fast means braking late, accelerating hard, and driving the car like you mean it. It means understanding the flow of traffic, judging gaps, relative speeds, and plain old risk taking.
It’s an understanding that the point of conveyance is not simply to get from point A to point B… Driving fast means infusing a mundane alphabetical journey with a small jolt of adrenaline and arriving at point B a little faster than I did last time.
I drive fast because I love it. Besides, at least I’m not texting.
Why do you drive fast?
Photography by Afshin Behnia and Josh Clason