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Sunday, February 20, 2005

My daughter the road hog

I was at the local amusements and video arcade with Mrs. Fando and the littlest Fando this evening. We began by taking in the cacophony of bells, gunblasts, and screeching tires that is common to these places, and that was just the car park. Seriously, we did browse the video games and skeeball for a few moments. I noted to Mrs. Fando the number of young women taking their turns on the newest attraction at the place, a mechanical bull. As these young ladies rode, I imagined their boyfriends standing around watching them, all visualizing their ladies with a large Hardees burger in one hand. Sad, the Paris Effect, isn't it?

However, the littlest Fando was game for go-kart racing, and as Mrs. Fando refuses these days to ride in anything more jarring than a London doubledecker bus (when we're there, of course), I was elected to serve as the competition for this particular drive. With our sweet urchin in the vehicle in front of me, her hands firmly gripped to the steering wheel and her foot prepared to slam the accelerator pedal of her kart like a stomp box at a U2 concert, we began our race.

Given that our youngster has only driven go-karts a few times I figured I'd sit back and watch how she handled the car, and make a few mental notes for the inevitable driving lessons to come in a few years. I took the corners a bit wide and manuevered back and forth behind her vehicle to occupy myself whilst creating the impression that "Da" was putting up a good race. Our little one did fairly well, running a good line through the s-curves and only struggling a bit with the hairpin curve at the back. (Note to self: steering in parking lots - extra work.)

It was fairly late, so were the only ones on the track and the young men operating the particular track we were on seemed preoccupied, first with a picture cellphone, and then with a young lady they knew who stopped by to see them (soon she was posing for cellphone pictures - good thing it was a kid's place or things could have got out of hand). So we got to drive for ages, Mrs. Fando patiently, if nervously, watching from the sidelines.

Finally, I decided we were going to be out here a good long time and so I'd raise the stakes a little. I came out wide going just before the hairpin curve and cut back inside, taking an aggressive line. The littlest Fando had gone into the curve tightly and came out a bit wide, giving Daddy the opportunity to move in front. I floored the accelerator, lurching up beside her and caught her glancing at me out as she sped forward. I was about zip by her car when suddenly, something happened that I shall remember for the rest of my life.

She cut me off. Just like that, a swerve to the right, Dad slams on the brakes and veers wide and she's off again, leaving me in her wake, silently cursing the "no bumping" rule. After we finished, she exulted in her victory and at least five times she referred to me as "old man".

Our little girl is not only growing up, she's getting way too serious about a nice drive at the go-kart track with Dad.

I did, however, seriously thump her in Skeeball. I have some pride you know.


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