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Death Race 2000!

March 3, 2012

To any Skytrain employees whose job is to Google inappropriate Skytrain-related phrases and contact their authors in a stern manner, let me first say hi and secondly assure you that what I am about to describe is not, in fact, a “death race.” It’s just a regular race, the legs type.

In January and February I was working in a city rather ridiculously far away from downtown Vancouver, and no sooner did I begin to celebrate the end of my forced feast of transit earlier this week than I was asked to take on a short-term gig in a city slightly less ridiculously far away. There are some good things about this. One is, of course, ca$h money dollarz. Another is that I won’t have to give up my daily death race, in which I single out some unsuspecting business person (I know, but I like it as two words) and promise myself and the universe that I will beat him to the train station.

On the day of my first race, it was January Something. As usual, it was 7:15 a.m., it was dark, it was raining in that drizzly half-assed way like it does here pretty much every day, and as I made my way up Burrard Street I was looking for any distraction from the anxious thoughts that have the run of my brain 97% of the time. (For the mathematicians out there, I spend the remaining 3% drinking rum.) That’s when I saw some guy a half-block or so ahead of me, walking all confidently past Le Chateau like he thought he was faster than me or something.

He had to be on his way to the train station because where else would anyone be walking at that hour on a weekday? Thanks to his exemplary posture it was plain to see that he was six foot whatever, and he was wearing suit pants and carrying a black leather briefcase. I could just tell that his entire life was made of money. He probably had a three-zone monthly pass even though he owned four cars and only ever took the train to Waterfront occasionally to check on his downtown properties and make sure his investments had earned him at least “half a mill” (i.e., $500,000) since the last time he’d met with his bank guy. Immediately all of the chaos vanished from my brain as I became focused on one objective: to get to Burrard Station before he did.

It was fun to have a race against someone who didn’t realize he was in one. Fun to let him step into the crosswalk first when the light turned green, then slowly pull up ahead of him and pass him for the second or third time. “It’s over,” I told him silently, flipping him the bird in my mind. “Eat my dust.”

Needless to say, he lost. It wouldn’t even have been close if I hadn’t let it be. From that day on I raced a different guy to the station every morning. No one expects to be challenged to a race by a stranger on his way to work. No one expects to be noticed at all. Only one businessgentleman appeared to realize what was happening, and it made no difference; he lost like the rest of them.

Looking to inject some life into your commute? A train station death race is an easy and cost-effective way to learn how Fate feels when she randomly chooses one of us for some alternative destiny, using us in some crazy game of hers, usually without our even knowing it. Have fun out there!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joaquin permalink
    March 4, 2012 9:46 pm

    Great runner, four times victor at the Games,
    But for a war you would have known no fame.
    Though exiled from the bubbling springs of home,
    Your swift pace made a new land’s fields your own.

    Pindar, Olympian Ode 12, 460BC

  2. March 6, 2012 3:32 am

    It’s very relieving to know that I’m not the only person who has these ‘death races’.

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