Drifting Queen

(sing the title of this post to the tune of Abba’s Dancing Queen, and you’ll be right in sync with me!)

Perhaps it’s the firstborn thing, but my husband and I are slightly competitive. Before we were married, we had a contest to see who could keep their thermostat lower (weird, I know). He won, with a low of 48 degrees – in all fairness, he was only at his house 3-4 days a week; the others he spent at his parents so we could be together. (We don’t have to compete on this one anymore – we both are happy with the thermostat on about 66-68 degrees.)

When we got married, he was constantly harping on my driving skills. I considered myself a fairly good driver (except for the few trips down one way streets – the wrong way) but Mike introduced me to the concept of drifting. His philosophy, and it makes sense to me now, is simple – drift all you can. Early on, he was always pointing out that I either braked too much or hit the gas too much. He, on the other hand, drifted as much as he could. Well, I just can’t resist an opportunity to one-up him, so I set out to master the fine art of drifting.

It’s pretty simple. You let the momentum of the car carry you as much as possible, instead of constantly accelerating. For instance, if you’re coming to the crest of a hill, you can let off the gas and let the momentum take the car over the hill. Depending on how the road lies, at least in hilly western PA, you’ll probably be able to avoid hitting the gas for a bit while maintaining the speed limit. Likewise, it’s possible to take your foot off the gas a ways before you come to a stop, and let the deceleration slow the car, rather than jamming on the brakes (obviously this is much easier with a stick shift, but it’s totally possible with an automatic transmission).

We still argue over who wins the drifting wars! But when it comes to life benefits, I’m clearly the winner, in that I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how this has carried over to my daily life (not to mention Mike agreeing that I’m pretty good when it comes to brake wear-and-tear on my car).

I’m finally learning to leave myself some space to drift a little, instead of rushing from one thing to the next, and to move ahead on momentum I’ve already gained, rather than expend unnecessary energy. (I’m pretty laid back, so I’m all about minimizing energy output!) This idea is probably akin to the margin philosophy, but the analogy to driving really works for me. For example, I can push full speed ahead on a project much better if I plan ahead for some down time afterward. I’m finding if one day goes well (and everyday brings a different set of unknowns for me at this stage of my life), it pays to look back at the end of the day and figure out what worked and what didn’t work.

My husband still claims to be the world’s best driver and I’m happy to concede that title to him, in thanks for a valuable life lesson. Life, whether on the road or off, is just a a whole lot easier when it’s not punctuated with constant accelerations and screeching halts!

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2 thoughts on “Drifting Queen

  1. Great thot! I would have to totally agree. I try to use this in my driving, too, although I have never really thought about it much.

    But I do try to give myself “margin” in my life. I don’t always succeed, but I think I’ve made a more conscious effort on this in the last few years.

  2. Love this post! All of it — the glimpse into your relationship w/ Mike and the application of drifting to the rest of life. I like to play drifting games with myself while driving, but I’m not always so good at drifting in my day-to-day, non-driving experiences. 🙂 Something to think about and work on!

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