bumper 2 bumper.

it’s always exciting when, after over twenty years of living in the southern united states, i discover a new manifestation of that area’s culture. this past weekend i learned that adults race matchbox cars for cash prizes. i was not able to find anything about this league, even though it was founded some ten years ago, on the internet. this fact boggles my mind, though maybe it’s due to another aspect of southern culture: for example, no room for cable modems inside the trailer park. anyway, i’m again charged with the duty of explaining our entertainment choices to the rest of the world.

the event begins with participants throwing dice in order to get their car’s position in qualifying. then the cars are moved to a track painted on plywood and take turns throwing the dice again, one when they are in pit row (you were forced to make a pit stop once a race) and two at other times. after four laps, they write down the top five finishers because points are awarded throughout the season. there are races at least four times a week: fridays and mondays at bars, wednesdays and sundays at people’s houses. cars can blow up if their driver rolls snake eyes and then rolls a six or an eight (i saw it happen twice).

you may be inclined to think that the game is all luck but there is strategy involved as sometimes people have to decide if they want to simply follow another’s lead and draft behind them or roll the dice themselves and hope for a better result. at other times, you have to choose in which of the three lanes to place your car. this seemed like a really important decision to the veteran drivers, much less for us rookies, who nodded our heads saying, yeah, there, there, okay, there then, that’s fine, whatever, whenever the choice was ours.

still, it was really amusing when a woman straight out of winter’s bone pushed by me, looked for her husband, then stopped, muttering, i’m not going to bother him when he’s racing, as if the man with tattooed script across his neck was behind the wheel of a vehicle nearing two hundred miles per hour while jimmie johnson tailgated.

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