Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Because it made me feel young.

Sunday afternoon, Clay and I drove out toward Grand Lake for an afternoon at The Diecast Drags. Tables, tablecloths, and good food in crockpots set up in a bodyshop with the cars moved out -- at a first glance, it kinda reminded me of Christmas with Grandma way back in the day.

My Grandma never had a fully detailed-to-scale Hotwheels dragstrip though...


I'd read about this whole diecast racin' thing before, it sounded like fun -- so, in the weeks leading up to this particular race, I took to keeping an eye out for likely racers, both in my present collection and on the pegs in the stores. I rounded up a few that seemed like they'd be good for the "open package" class; the double-decker bus had to be a sure bet, and I couldn't resist that little blue '65 VW Fastback that felt heavy even in it's little cardboard package.

I'd also did a little drilling and prying and stuck some lead into a few cars too. I cut up weights from the wheel balancer, and I also used lots of split-shot sinkers. Along the way, I learned (the hard way, and not for the first time) that Super Glue is evil, nail polish remover melts Matchbox Car wheels, and the hot glue gun isn't always the best bet. I stuffed lead into a Hearse, a fertilizer truck, a new Dodge Charger, and a old-style VW Beetle. That Beetle just had a real crummy feel to it, so I didn't even waste time puttin' it on the track. The Charger wasn't much better -- one front wheel was stuck up in the inner fender and wouldn't move, but after a discussion of friction and three wheels being less friction than four, I tossed 'er in.

I didn't take very many cars with me; I thought I'd really gathered up a fleet, but once I managed to round 'em all up, there weren't that many. I ended up with one of those plastic baskets that's about as big as the bottom of a paper grocery sack and about eight inches tall -- a miniature laundry basket, full, but not crammed full. I tossed in my sinkers, glue, and paint pens just for good measure. I had the only basket in the bunch. One plastic tote, one shoebox, one Hotwheels carrying case, and several of those huge tackle boxes, the big, serious, hard-core tackle boxes. I'm talkin' about makin' Jimmy Houston proud, big, biiiiig tackle boxes.

Maybe it's part of OCD, but I'm a sucker for anything that comes in it's own "handy carrying case." The tackle box with a car in every slot and tools & glue in the bottom along with a bag of racin' quarters, oh my my, how freakin' cool is that... Heyyyyy, I think I still have a huge peach Caboodle buried way back in the very far corner of the bathroom cabinet... I could bring the "only-girl-factor" into another form of racing!

My favorite, I'd say my best of the day was the '65 VW Fastback -- built like a dragster to begin with, it had a fully detailed rollcage and a meaty little motor sittin' on it's metal frame under a metal body. The weight made it do a great job, it won several rounds, as did the double-decker bus. Impressed by the "open package" performance, I stuffed it full with as many sinkers as I could to race it again in the leaded class, where it beat out a lead-filled fertilizer truck even bigger than the one I'd brought -- mine wouldn't track straight enough.

And oh, the fun of being the only girl in the bunch... My Mom worries about it, but there was no hostility here, just good fun. I often worry about not being quick enough to think on my feet, and I often think of just the right thing to say about five minutes past the opportunity to say it. Being asked one of the most odd questions I've ever been asked as an adult was a real shocker, but I think I did alright with it.

I know I'm different, I know I often don't fit the mold, I've grown accustomed to a certain number of odd questions. I can enjoy the ones like "How did you end up in the parts business?" or "How the hell do you drive so many different cars all the time?" I grin when people see my nine earrings and ask if any of 'em hurt, and I always love the racing-related questions like "How do you get that hair into a helmet?"

Standing there between Clay and our buddy Donald, I hear a voice behind me. He's got a beer in his hand and several more in his belly, and sure enough, he's tryin' to get my attention.

"Hey... Do you need to go to the bathroom?"

Holy shit. Do I have something on my pants? Or my shirt? Am I standing funny? Am I squirming? I don't feel any need at the moment, but is there something I'm doing that makes me look like I'm in need???

I couldn't think of what else to say, so that's just about the list of questions that I asked in response.

His answers, amongst stifled laughter from the guys on either side of me, were just as odd as the original question. There was something about offering to let me take his truck (and his two kids) "around the corner" to his house to use the can, and while I was there, I could ask his wife to find his other glasses so I could bring 'em back for him. Apparently there was some drunken thought put into that which made it look like a win-win situation, he'd get his glasses, I'd get a chance to use the can -- drunken thought apparently makes it okay to ask a relative stranger if they need to go to the bathroom, and drunken thought also must've made it seem okay to turn the two kids and the truck keys over to somebody he'd just met an hour or so before.

After he finally figured out that what he'd said was quite odd, he tried to justify it with "Well hell, ya try to use somebody, and..." Gee, drunk thought makes logical conclusions? Wow... Then he tried again and asked me if I'd "watch the kids" while he was gone around the corner to get his glasses. Really?? Oh come on, it's not like he was payin' attention to 'em at all, what's the damn difference?

I never saw him leave, but I did see him stumble around with the sunglasses on well into the evening.

Along with the youthful feeling of playin' with Hotwheels, I also got the five-and-under feeling of being asked about needin' to go to the potty.

Ain't life grand?

Oh, and we're all gettin' miles and miles outta that "hey, do you need to go to the bathroom?"

I gotta remember to pick up some new drill bits so I can crack open a few more cars & get 'em ready for lead.

More later... _\,,/

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