Drifting got to me pretty late. First seen it in NFS Underground 2 where it didn’t even matter which wheels power the car. AI-driven Supras wept miserably as you reverse-entered past them in riced-out Ford Focus. Still, free roaming was more of my style, even if I slid like crazy anyway. Difference was pretty basic, the feeling, being unconstrained by track’s limits. Plentiful stories with embarrassingly serious inner dialogue got made as I tried to pretend that my delicate approach to tuning wasn’t modifying at all, but a limited edition car instead. Yeah, right, only thing left of it is uncle-esque rambling that I liked sleepers before they turned cool. Back then, I remember suffering from typical lack of driver’s license and lots of damn angst. Aimed at people, at societies real and imaginary, ideas I couldn’t comprehend yet, dumb Bayview traffic. Mobbing around in artificial city, game sounds muted, metal music playing, just felt right. All it really was, from today’s perspective, was verging on plagiarism of Linkin Park’s Nobody’s Listening.
If I were to give myself a little less hard time, I wouldn’t say a thing cause I don’t know what I was on or connected to. Things just appeared in my mind to pair the force pushing to spill publically irresponsible shit outta my mouth. Maybe preventing nervous breakdown? So the secret behind my writing is out, hell. Funny thing, right at the time of Underground 2, here am I, scared of half-intellectual truths teasing upcoming end of the world. Reasons plentiful in the right shape to fit my special kind of trauma. As far as 10-year-old me was concerned, earth’s core was bound to explode in 2015. It not only meant that I had the worst possible seat to watch the bastard go off, but also that I had exactly twice as much life to live in numbers. Should’ve been a normal kid, plan a trip to Mars or be more consistent in rebelling. No, instead, anxiety kicked in. That’s my first battle with the irreversible I had to put up with. Skateboarding times, of course, how could I ever win with Death’s polemics without drowning in ignorance. Now? Too old to pop a heel flip question mark, too tired to rebel multiple exclamation points, I could at least watch right?
SeduceD, Doriminati Drift Open, or as we proclaimed it – the last day of summer. God gave us both thumbs up and full clearance to have a sunny, t-shirt-friendly run through the day. Track was simple: main straight coming into 180 with two s-es up next. Long carousel-like left turn ending with slight curve onto the second, elevating straight ending with super-wide but short finish. Fun as hell. Not like I drove on it or anything, more like ran across it collecting sunburns. Our job was purely imaginary. No magical assignment given by a waiter while sitting in the Heights Hotel lounge. Not even a guy wearing a red, leather blazer asking what a duvet is. Our task started during our run of rum and studio apartment lifestyle escapism. A bit far up our asses we were. Suspended like that, wasting time, asking fewer questions. No time for them. Every “why” we threw in the air during high-school days got us double the amount of uncertainties back so why bother? But that was the whole point “back then” to which we try to go back to. It’s time roll out my 10 dollar word – oxymoron. All this effort we gave out for free, just to prove our square system that life’s way more than what we’re shown circled back as guilt. We strove for insider knowledge before clashing with the world head on.
Never got it. Left alone, anomalies grew out of our bodies. We gave up, just like the people we hated. Hyperbolic, cognitive fallout poured on our heads. So, standing near the apex with cars coming at me, I gambled rental gear and probably ability to walk. Screaming pipes came closer and closer feeding my bliss. Technical side of things looked pretty dumb cause I stood almost ON the track, at the point where cars would link corners so all the brave ones flicked their asses in my face. I got reprimanded pretty fast by one of the organizers. “Drivers got scared of me and complained to the headmaster instead saying it to my face” – I bragged, back at it again – “Tatted, flexing fresh dads hauling their overpriced drift machines asked for the manager as if Whole Foods went out of hummus” – this one’s true though. So, he taught me I should rather get further away. Seeing his bearded face and daring grin… guy looked like Misfits’ Crimson Ghost. No wonder I got teleported in my head to early 2000’s video. People with cameras, shooting on tape and running around or even riding with the pros. Trying to get the best possible, Oscar-worthy shot. There is something about people freshly getting into drifting that makes me re-watch utterly stupid but awesome things like CKY2K. Clips from a time when skateboarding videos had a mix of both metal, punk and 90s rap in the background. Buying Vanses wasn’t a thing yet. Men walking by, saw our busted knees, blood running down one maniac’s forehead and… Just when I thought it’s all over, good enough of a reason came to stop me from going mad – my own core disintegrated, I realized what they felt.
Explaining what’s behind the feeling requires perfume-grade top to bottom analytical skill but this one you probably understand well. Images are better here. Here he is, drilling holes to zip tie a bumper falling off. Makes it into an aesthetic “X”, not really caring about how that’s more effective. Girls laugh, obviously enjoy the adventure. They don’t really care about gender distribution around the drifting community. Geez, even the sound of that makes me angry again. Guys just like to do it and their loved ones are there with them switching seats and tires.
Nobody’s throwing any ideology or business plans in your face requiring full compliance. A part of me, that’s been closed off, stopped trying to deconstruct Richard Hammond and allowed me to let go for like 15 minutes. I’m runnin’ like a child, and this is our playground. Too broke though, so running and screaming happily at those who play is as far as I’m allowed. And it’s fine for me. Any reason to stop playing “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” is a good one. No pressure on whether or not am I going to “make it”, drinking habit takes a nap, tire residue piles up on my t-shirt. What a mistake that was, Jesus. Got so excited about the whole thing that my swagger game when through the roof with favorite David Bowie white tee.
Of course I started questioning life again. Walking down the pits it hit me. Well, I’m not sure about the “down” part on such a flat surface but goddamn some of these people are rich. Going the extra step to sustain JDM cars in such driveable condition is one, mind-boggling to estimate total scale of venture with flatbeds, van’s carrying tires and expensive tool-kits is two. Three, the most important and impressive, are skills going along it all. General proficiency in subject of dealing with what’s impossible to predict. Choice of parts is safe, if it’s a V8 it’ll be 1UZ, if it’s an inline six it’ll be a 2JZ but when you’re pushin’ high numbers even the best engine can crap itself. On the other side were people throwing around 3 series compacts, with one diesel in the mix. No second guessing in here, it’s either you or some ditch. And there it goes according to schedule, GT86, straight out of the track. No biggie, people stop to pull it out, 10 minute routine check later brave little Toyota blasts victoriously through the same corner again, does the friggin’ kick-flip and gets away with it like nothing ever happened.
Break time, pulled out my dried bagel, came back, laid my butt near the last corner and took everything in. Sun was high, burning into my skin. Non-stop fight to reverse-entry the last part. Silvia, Skyline, Miata, several BMW’s one after another, this guy’s spinning, but he’s also in tandem so shitshow starts with cars stopping like a broken carousel. Few laughs and it’s clear again, just in time for popping exhaust of more power-squeezing riders. MF Doom in my head, too much smoke in my lungs, slight headache probably. Sore lips, dehydration. Running around to shoot life I’d like to be a part of some day. One day.