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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Boys and fast toys

While sailing back across Lake Lanier, our pathway was crossed by some amazingly fast and loud power boats. We, on the other hand, were sailing at a glacial pace of 4.5 knots, with nearly no sound.

While slowly sailing along, my mind began to wonder about why there is such a push for speed. It seemed senseless to me at first: sit at one end of the lake, punch the throttle, race to the other side, stop, turn around, and race back to your starting position. This behavior isn’t unique to boats as it is true with cars, motorcycles, snow skis, roller blades, and so on. Boys like to go fast. But why? I’ve had rice rocket motorcycles, taken out (and wrecked!) a 2009 Z06 Corvette, and done some serious downhill skateboarding. It is fun. As a man, I also cannot deny the thrill of my body being propelled at absurd rates of speed. Physiologically the rush is undeniable, almost of the same scale as kissing, for the first time, a beautiful woman you’ve only dreamed of. But why?

The easy answer is tied to wanting to be the loudest, fastest, and fittest gorilla. After more thought, I believe that there is something a bit more.

When you go fast, you must focus on 1 thing, keeping from killing yourself. It is a forced meditation. If you lapse, you could kill yourself. Could it be that these speed demons racing across the lake are not only getting their jollies from the rush but also the mental break they so sorely crave, but cannot identify? Are they just unaware that their minds need a break to hyper focus and this outlet is giving them what they need? I believe so.

Obtaining mental focus is achievable in low stress conditions, but it takes practice and patience. Neither of these requires any financial commitment. Sit in a quiet place and focus.

Ahhh, but that isn’t as thrilling as propelling 75 MPH across the lake! Very true. For now, though, I’ll take the slow, notice all the details, pace of 6 MPH. Too much of life is lost in the blur of speed.

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