The guys scheduled a private session at a nearby go-kart track (Kart Arena Moenchengladbach).
When Kay told me about it, my initial response was, “What makes you think you’ll be able to attend?… Why not me?”
With a new baby and toddler at home, I don’t get out much. Germans don’t seem to do the restaurant thing often and we certainly aren’t out bar hopping. Movies are typically off limits because of the language and when nursing a baby… he’s always in tow.
Being the gentleman that Kay is, or perhaps just afraid of me throwing a temper tantrum (we can assume the latter since we know I have never referred to Kay as a gentleman before. Ever!) his immediate reaction was, “You can drive.”
The day of the race (yes, it was the day of that I learned we weren’t just putzing around [in the English sense], this was a race) I was starting to chicken out.
Kay reassured me other women would be racing, but that wasn’t even a question in my mind. I used to ride quads with all men. No fears about gender issues; it was the language causing me fear. How stupid is that? Like a brake pedal, steering wheel and gas pedal require language skills.
Kay: Sarah, you always complain you don’t get to do anything!…
Me: (After a moment of shameful silence because I was realizing how much I was acting like a pansy, not to mention a confusing biotch, who has been complaining about being home all the time and now has the opportunity to have some fun, but about to throw it away)… You’re right. You’re right.
I shouldn’t let the fear of something potentially happening stop me from trying.
When we met up with all the neighbors to caravan to the track, I saw two guys carrying their own helmets.
Me: What the…? Are they seriously bringing their own helmets? (To Kay, privately in the car.)
I rolled down my window just in time to hear another neighbor ask about gloves.
Me: Do we need our own gloves?
Kay: I don’t know.
Me: ‘Cause I have my own. (I quickly debated and decided against it.) Nah, that’s a bit overboard.
We arrived at the track and were standing outside when a neighbor asked Kay a question. I have no clue what he asked because while keeping my eyes on two kids, I wasn’t even trying to comprehend the German. Plus, I didn’t want the potential of hearing something that might psyche me out. (I usually translate things incorrectly anyway.)
Kay: No, Sarah is driving.
Neighbor: Oh, Sarah is driving?! Ok.
Gotta love the element of surprise.
Previously, the guys were joking that since Kay is so much lighter than these big, tall German men, they might need to weigh down his car with extra kilos to make it a fair race.
Kay wanted to make the joke that they wouldn’t need to weigh down the car now.
Ha. Ha. Real funny, little man.
I know I still have pregnancy weight, but I do weigh less than Kay. Yes, we checked a few days before.
Meanwhile, I was having visions of spinning out on a banana peel while playing Mario Kart as big, burly Bowser.
We entered the facility and almost immediately the anxious men went out to view the track.
I laughed as I pointed out to Kay that things were getting competitive now with the guys surveying the situation and planning their tactics, no doubt.
Kay also found it amusing and jokingly held his arms out steering a ghost car with eyes closed.
“They memorize the track.”
I can’t contain my laughter when Kay says things in his German-English leaving out the, “are.” They are memorizing the track. I know, so wrong of me to find this funny. It’s part of our secret language though.
Next I learned there would be a training session.
“Crap! Is this so complicated they require a training session?”
I sat through the training, had no clue as to a single word that man said (some Germans are harder to understand than others [like my husband]) and luckily, even after I had translation help, I realized… Nope, not that complicated, just the German way to inundate us with a bunch of information and rules.
Next thing I knew, we were putting on helmets and climbing in our assigned cars.
And for the next, I don’t know how many minutes, we twisted and turned around the track. 10 practice laps, 5 qualifying, and 50 for the actual race. Yes, 50!
I put the pedal to the metal, slid, skidded, spun out, passed people, got passed, and drove my heart out.
By the end, I stumbled out of the car feeling like a tired, pee-wee, Formula 1 driver needing Redbull to fly my dizzy butt off the suddenly non-vibrating ground.
I actually took satisfaction out of seeing my neighbors’ remove their helmets to reveal sweat-dripping foreheads. That. Was. Awesome! And so much fun!
I didn’t even know who won the race at that point only that I was thankful to not be lapped by the two men who brought their own helmets. They took 2nd and 3rd, by the way.
We were all beaten by a 17-year-old who had just gotten his driver’s license pretty much the week prior.
For a mom of two, this was the most personal “me-time” excitement I’ve had since delivering a neighbor a carton of lactose-free milk. (Hey, I got to walk OUTSIDE… ALONE!)
This race meant participating in a group activity without having to use verbal language; I felt a part of something without fear of having to speak.
Newest update: Race 2 is in the works. Things just might be getting a bit too competitive for my crappy driving. Anyone have Sebastian Vettel’s digits?
I know you can speak English, Sebastian!
I need help real quick. I’ll even take Mark Webber’s contact info. Rumor has it that he might be leaving Formula 1 anyway… maybe he has some time before our next Go-Kart race?!
Vettel… Webber… Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…