Although the sun is still out and twilight is some thirty-minutes from now, it’s quite late in the day, nearly 8pm. The long summer days are in full swing, but so are social distancing measures and other weird norms of the past 2.5 months.
I took Penny to the Houston Camera Exchange hoping that I could talk to an expert and browse some camera bodies, but when we arrived to the store they said it was appointment only and turned us away. So I did what any sane person would do, which was go to Best Buy and browse their inventory and pick the brain of their camera expert. I had every intention of buying something from Best Buy, but when they didn’t have what I wanted in stock, I called back to the Houston Camera Exchange, who had exactly what I wanted, and I bought from them. I wonder how much longer the big box stores can take this kind of customer behavior.
This weekend I started getting caught up on Formula 1 racing. Steve had made a few comments about how much he had enjoyed the Netflix series, Formula 1: Drive to Survive. I’m sheepish to say that there was a time in which I might not have noticed that comment, but since I’ve been wanting to take an interest in what Steve’s into these days, I heard him say Formula 1 and started binge watching. After all, if you want to do fun things with your spouse, do things that you both think are fun. You know, like pizza and beer fun. So, if he thinks Formula 1 is fun, maybe I can get behind it too.
Formula 1 is pretty cool. It’s single-seater auto racing at the elite level. Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari have teams, along with McLaren, Haas, Renault, Williams and a few others who are lesser known to the Formula 1 lay person. There are ten teams total, two drivers per team. It’s easy to learn and follow because there are only a few players. What’s interesting about Formula 1 is the pureness of the sport. In a very broad sense, the variables boil down to the car and the driver. The game becomes engineering a car that is optimized to do this very specific type of driving, and cultivating a driver who is Alpha Alpha Alpha.
In Formula 1, there is no team in the philosophical sense. Drivers are fiercely competitive, especially with the driver counterpart on their team because, well, they are driving the same exact car. They are in pure competition with one another over who is the best driver.
In some ways. Formula 1 reminds me of elite climbers, like Free Solo guy Alex Honnold. In each sport the athletes risk life and limb to perform feats of athleticism for no other reason than the pursuit of excellence. There is no greater calling or sense of purpose. From what I’ve seen in Formula 1 interviews so far, there is little credit afforded to the engineers or the pit crew. Elite climbing is the same. There is no team. It’s the pursuit of excellence for the sake of it. And while Formula 1 drivers appear to have luxurious lifestyles as a result of their success, they’re not prima donnas. They care about being the best, like driver monks or something. And I think anything with that kind of dedication is pretty cool to watch.