The hands on the wheel begin to tighten as the blood drains from the knuckles. The muted hum of cruise has
become the rising pitch of power. He’s edgy in his seat. Telephone poles and mile markers whip past the side-glass, then multiply and diminish in the rearview mirror. A solitary, oncoming car appears on the horizon, looms, blurs, and becomes a part of the rapidly disappearing past.
The tachometer reads 5000 rpm. The driver does a mental calculation and figures they’re traveling at ten past a ton on a public highway, miles away from anything or anyone. The driver’s knuckles are white but her face is calm, no betrayal of velocity. A slip here and they are likely to eat enough sagebrush and dust to die.
Speed is objective and subjective at the same time. One person’s thrill ride is another person’s beer run. Adrenaline keeps us coming back for higher highs and faster speeds while technology enables the addiction. We keep building these machines because speed will always keep us humans enthralled. Hot rods, dragsters, motorcycles, muscle cars, and carnival rides are all machines built to flow adrenaline. And in some cases to satisfy other desires, creative, sexual, or competitive. The common denominator is this question: “how fast is that thing?”