Friday, July 11, 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I recently spent an afternoon on the porch at our beach house reading The Art of Racing in the Rain.

I admit that I wasn't sure I was going to like the book because it's told through the voice of a dog, and I tend not to like fantasy and other unrealistic types of stories.

But once I started, I couldn't put it down, and I ended up reading the 300-page book in about 4 hours.

The dog's voice is very convincing, and the message of the book is timeless and ageless.  Racing (cars) in the rain is an extended metaphor for life itself--it requires adjustments and compromises and different equipment, and to be successful, you have to make decisions about all of these things at the right time.

 But the one message that really struck me was the simplest of all: The car goes where you look.

The car goes where you look, and so for the most part do our lives.

And once again, I thought of our little beach place.

I had no reason to think that I would find anything we could afford when I looked at the realtor's website, but that didn't stop me from looking.

And once we bought the place, I kept on looking where I wanted to go, and the house came along with me.

Last weekend, we spent a wonderful July 4th weekend there.  I was feeling a little down before we went--our friends were all away for the weekend, so we knew it would just be the two of us. We were expecting a hurricane, so the weather didn't look promising. But by the morning of the 4th, the storm had moved on, leaving in its wake cool, sunny weather with low humidity. We packed up the pets and by noon, we were watching World Cup soccer in our living room with all the windows open and a breeze blowing through.

Our little place was decked out for the holiday:

In between games, we walked on the beach, and in the evening we went to Dover for concerts and a fireworks display.  We didn't know anyone, but we had a great time watching people, listening to music, and admiring a great fireworks display. Legislative Hall was decked out for the party:

And later, it was lit up with alternating red, white, and blue lights:

Doug took this selfie of us while we were waiting for the music to start:

The beautiful weather continued all weekend, and the next night we saw a beautiful sunset over the marsh:

We also hung a new stained glass window that we bought at our favorite antique store--I apologize for the terrible picture, but it really does look good in the pass-through between the living room and the kitchen:

A few days after the 4th, Doug and I left for what was supposed to be a two-night stay at a B&B on Chincoteague.

But unlike our glorious Independence Day weekend, the getaway didn't turn out so great.  The inn looked better online than it did in person, the beautiful post-hurricane weather gave way to unrelenting heat and humidity, and a planned sunset boat cruise was cancelled because of thunderstorms. We ate lunch in a pizza place with a kid video blaring through the entire dining room, and the breakfast at the inn was so bad that I raided our cooler for string cheese and cherries to stave off my hunger until lunchtime.

Although we had already paid for the second night, we decided to just pack up and come home. Staying because you've paid for the night when you're not having fun is a little like continuing to put money into a slot machine because you've already put a lot in. Our time and peace of mind are worth something, and staying under less than ideal conditions offers no further returns.

So we're home and planning a local outing to Strasburg, one of our favorite towns in nearby Pennsylvania.

The car goes where you look.


  1. I'm not sure I really understand or agree with the metaphor. I think the cars just go where they go, and our choice is about whether or not to chase them (with our eyes and/or the rest of our bodies). Like I said, I'm not sure. But I appreciate the opportunity for thought this morning.

  2. Hi Rita, I'm glad I at least got you thinking! I think what the author meant was that if the race car driver looks at the wall, especially because he (or she) is afraid of hitting it, then he is more likely to actually hit it than if he focuses on navigating the road ahead.