The chain and sprocket were broken. My detour through quiet residential streets, seemingly clever at the time, was now a serious detriment to my mission. The gazillions of cabs that had been trying to run me down were now nowhere to be seen, they logically patrolling only the major thoroughfares. It was 4:25 PM, tonight’s event would begin straight up at 8 o’clock.
It’s 186 miles to Santiago. I got a full tank of gas, half a pack of Oreo’s, it’s dawn, and I’m wearing sunglasses.
I hit it.
Admittedly, I was not on a mission from God, nor even a pilgrimage to a holy land. Spirituality was loosely defined in the household of my youth, meaning that everyone was free to find their own righteous path with no strong-armed influence from the parental units. Mom and Dad hammered home those core values that are near-universal to mankind, but on matters religious they left us kids to our own devices, let us ask our own questions, let us individually define spirituality. It was one of the finest gifts they ever gave us.
I am on the floor of my father’s home office, quietly racing my Hot Wheels on a track scratched into the thick carpet. He is sitting in the chair at his desk, doing paperwork. I dare to interrupt him.
“How did I get my name?”
He looks up, puts down his pen, and swivels to face me. “You…” he begins slowly, a faint smile appearing, “You are named for my all-time favorite motorcycle racer. He was the best of the 1950s, an Englishman who rode a Norton.”