|An Occasional Column from the Antipodes||by Rory Gordon, Australia|
One of my favourite feelings is to wake up in my bed in my house, gradually letting a little of the world seep into my consciousness, and then ever so slowly ease the bedclothes down a little, just so one of my eyes can see out, creak open gently that eye, observe not only that it is daylight, but also that it looks cold, it is raining, and there is a gale blowing (whatever the weather is actually doing)... and then to let the eye close - without too much difficulty, I might add - and go back to sleep.
An old friend once said to me that F1 was the best fun you could have with your clothes on. I asked her what she thought was the best fun you could have with your clothes off. She just looked at me.
Now, I know that she meant sleeping. And, perhaps, that glorious feeling of going back to sleep, warm and snug and tucked up in bed, with the weather whistling and howling past the window.
Most mornings, sad to tell, it's not like that. I do wake up in my own bed in my own house, I do gradually let a little of the world seep into my consciousness, and I do then ever so slowly ease the bedclothes down a little, just so one of my eyes can see out, creak open gently that eye, observe not only that it is daylight, but also that it looks cold, it is raining, and there is a gale blowing ... I let the eye close - with out too much difficulty, again - only to have both eyes whip open, stare with horror at the alarm clock, register what it says, and then for my body to be galvanised into convulsive and ghastly action.
Of course, it's another day, another normal day, and I should be at work in 15 minutes. I've slept in again (which is a more usual situation than it is an unusual situation).
I fall out of bed, fly into the kitchen, turn the kettle on, toss some bread in the toaster, and then dive into the shower and turn the water on. And dive straight out of the shower because the water is cold. I wait a few seconds and then get back into the shower and get scalded, as the hot water is now coming through.
Shower, dry, dress, put butter and something onto the toast, try and remember to grab something for lunch, think briefly about coffee and regretfully decide not to, rush around locking up the house, throw the dog out (NOT an easy task with a 38 kilo dog, let me tell you), out the front door, locking it behind me, and then into the car for the drive to work.
And that's where the fun really starts.
I might be dressed, but the shoelaces aren't done, my tie is in my shirt pocket, and my belt is in my jacket pocket.
Along a couple of backstreets, and onto a main road with all those other cars out there as well. Weave in and out, down through the first couple of sets of lights, onto the next and a brief lull so that I can do up my shoes and tie my tie.
Then it's onto the main straight, and up to full speed, trying to get through the traffic. Up to the left-handed, down through the gears, and away again. Finally, through some twisty streets, into the park ferme, and shut down.
And that's just the start of my day.
F1 drivers have it easy.
By the time they get into their car, it's a decent time of day, so that they have plenty of time to wake up, shower, break their fast, and dress.
When they take their car out onto the track, they don't have to worry about traffic lights too much (however, there are the flags), they don't have to worry about cars coming in the opposite direction (but they do have to worry about their "traffic", slower cars), they don't have to worry about speed limits (even if they do have to worry about rev limits), and they certainly don't have to worry about shoes and ties (but what about the tear-aways on their visors?).
No, F1 drivers have it easy compared to us commuters, don't they? Why can't I get paid millions just to drive to work? Or just to spend one day a fortnight continuously driving from home to work all day?
It's not quite the same thing, is it?
But when you look at it in a certain light, there are a great number of similarities between what an F1 driver, or any other professional racing driver, does and what commuters do every day.
That first and last few metres could be seen as the exit from and the entry to the pits. On the road, as I've said, us commuters don't have flags but we do have traffic lights. And there is a tactical quality to our driving - if we get caught behind a large, slow truck, we're in trouble.
It seems to me that, although we may think otherwise, regular road-users - especially commuters - are in our own way, participating in our own GP, sometimes on a daily basis.
I'm NOT suggesting that you try and drive along the road as if you were actually participating in a GP. Or am I?
F1 drivers put a lot of thought and planning into their drives, and even then adapt their plans to the changing situation. How many times have you seen other drivers (not that you'd do such a thing yourself, of course!) actually speed up when it's raining? Surely a sensible driver would slow down?
Just like an F1 driver adapting to meet the changing circumstances, most of us adapt - or should do - to meet the circumstances we find on the roads ... in our everyday GPs.
But that's just me.
|Rory Gordon||© 1999 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.|
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