I’ve really got to get a handle on this blogging thing. Seems like two seconds pass and another week’s gone by. I was going to post something this weekend, but I was madly trying to finish up Dead Heat (one and a half chapters to go) and then on Sunday my friend Josh had a birthday celebration that involved Red Robin and indoor go-karts. A word of advice: do not gorge yourself on a Burnin’ Love Burger and bottomless fries before strapping yourself into a device that will sling you through a series of hairpin turns with an exhaust-belching lawn mower engine just inches from your head.
Other than the fact I wanted to puke for the last two laps, it was a lot of fun. I had no idea what I was doing (okay, duh, go fast, turn left–and in this case, right as well) but after a couple of laps I realized that the guys in charge were correct when they said having your back tires slide does not make you faster. In a car, drifting is totally cool. In a go-kart, not so much. What really slows you down is that even after you stop sliding, you can’t get the power to the ground smoothly. The wheels just sort of chatter until they catch. Once I got this figured out I passed a few people, lapped one guy, and basically concentrated on figuring out the fastest way around the track. Since most of the time I was pretty much by my lonesome, I figured I was way down in the lineup. It surprised me when I pulled in and found out “Raging Duck” (the nickname Josh’s son, Bert, picked out for me) had come in fourth. They rank you by your lap times, not your position on the track. It would have been fun to go out for another session to see what I could do now that I knew what was what, but 1) it’s expensive, 2) my throat was on fire from huffing all that exhaust, and 3) my arms felt like they were going to fall off.
Now if I’d done this in July, when I had four months of slinging compost behind me, I probably wouldn’t have felt it much at all. But since November the most I’ve done with my arms is lift them high enough to get my fingers to the keyboard. It didn’t help that the steering wheel was so far away that my arms were practically straight. It’s called leverage, folks. Or rather, a lack of it. Instead of being able to use my shoulders, I had to do all the turning with the muscles in my forearms and biceps. And that damn cart wasn’t exactly rigged with power steering. It was like being in a forced ten-minute workout with no breaks between reps. A good way to get some exercise without being bored, that’s for sure.
I came home thinking I needed to get back to work on Dead Heat, but my throat was still sore, and I hadn’t stopped feeling pukey, and my head was aching, so I took a nap. When I woke up I still felt like crap, and I didn’t have the energy or brainpower to work on plotting or even scrape together a blog post. Hmmmm. That exhaust was nasty, right down there at face-level, but surely I couldn’t have gassed myself? I mean, if carbon monoxide was a problem, other people would’ve felt it, too, and they’d have shut the place down long ago, right? And it’s not like I had irrefutable evidence. Sure, nausea, headache and fatigue are symptoms of CO2 poisoning, but the definitive factor is your blood oxygen level, and it’s not like I keep a pulse oximeter in my desk drawer alongside my Sharpie collection, Post-it notes, and chocolate stash. Certainly this must all be in my imagination. Either that, or I’m the biggest wimp in western Oregon, possibly the entire Pacific Northwest.
I still felt loopy Monday morning, but since it wasn’t raining torrents I had to go do some landscaping. You know, so I could build up my arm muscles for the next time I want to blow $15 on a ten-minute speed rush. For the first hour I was just spacey. After that I felt like crap. If given a choice between spacey and crappy, most people will pick the former. Just one more reason Vicodin is a controlled substance. Fortunately, inertia is my friend, and once I get going I’m usually okay unless I stop. I got through the day, washed the grass off my lawn mower with only one hose explosion mishap, and came upstairs to take care of some of the social networking stuff I’d ignored Sunday. Not. Even reading email was way more than my brain wanted to do. I flopped down on the couch with my Oregon Ducks Snuggie, a warm cat, and an easy-to-follow book. And stayed there all night.
Today I’m pretty much back to normal, except my brain still seems to be missing on a couple cylinders, which isn’t that far from typical. I’m already thinking about taking a drive out to that track to see just how fast I can make one of those karts go. Maybe in summer, when they’ve got the doors and windows open. You all must think I’m crazy, but let’s face it—it probably wasn’t the exhaust, anyway. No doubt it was that damn Burnin’ Love burger.