Monday, August 15, 2011

Rohan's World of Racing: A Brief Encyclopedia and Vent.

Life at the Das/Gage house is currently incomprehensible without a short guide to Rohan's realm of car racing. Since roughly December 2010 (when "Santa" put 10 small Hot Wheels cars in Rohan's stocking by entering the house through the window where this stocking had been hung), Rohan's obsession, formerly focused on basketball, turned to car racing. Disney-Pixar's heavy-handed marketing of the Cars movies has not helped.
  • Nasty cars: NASCARs
  • Vertible: Convertible
  • Formula One car: any car with exposed wheels and a single driver's seat with no roof
  • Tinna-tinna-tinna: sound supposedly made by cars during a race
  • Dirt-and-Sand: surface used for off-road racing
  • Bean driver: a small, dry red mung bean taken from the kitchen and placed inside a toy car as if it were the driver.
  • Nose cone: part of a Formula One car, also Rohan's diaper
  • "Door flew out!" "Window flew out!" "Parts flew off!": Common events during a race
  • Bonk-honk-honk: sound of a crashing car during a race.
  • "Hoaxen-hoaxen", "Hoaxity," "Marcity," "Hoke-hoke", "Caboose," "Roll Cage," "Noisy white car," "Regular green car", "Very green car": Some of the names of Rohan's toy Hot Wheels cars.
  • Gray gari: Our own Honda civic
  • Other Driver: Anyone sitting shotgun
  • Knobby tires: Tires required for Dirt-and-Sand racing (see above)
  • Studebaker: large passenger car or van
  • Monaco race: Rohan's favorite formula 1 track, featuring a tunnel and a hairpin.
  • Mika Hakkinen: One of Rohan's favorite formula 1 racers
  • "Canic": mechanic
  • Gear shifter: the thing he is not allowed to touch until he is bigger.
For the last 8 months, our TV has been tuned to the Speed channel, a cable station seemingly designed for little boys who love motorsports -- NASCAR, formula 1, motocross, supercross, off-road racing, monster truck jam every morning at 7 AM, drag racing, etc.

I did not know what most of these things were before this year. I never thought my brain, once teeming with signaling pathway sequences, RNA-protein binding motifs, and developmental patterning genes in chick and mouse, would suddenly be straining to remember what is a monocoque, what does the yellow flag mean, and which driver (Button? Alonso? Vettell? Michael Schumacher?) won the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.

I never thought I'd be trying to get Rohan to brush his teeth by saying, "Your teeth need to be clean, like Mika Hakkinen's teeth! Mika Hakkinen has super clean teeth!"

As with any topic, Arlington's libraries have helped educate parents and son alike. Still, there's only so many times I can read racing books (glossing awkwardly over the part where Ayrton Senna dies in a horrible crash) at bedtime, longing for the classics I remember from my childhood. Last bunch going back to the library tomorrow!