Not Shaken, Not Stirred

A doughnut or donut is a maneuver performed while driving a vehicle. Performing this maneuver entails rotating the rear or front of the vehicle around the opposite set of wheels in a continuous motion, creating (ideally) a circular skid-mark pattern of rubber on a carriageway and possibly even causing the tires to emit smoke from friction.- Wikipedia

An important disclaimer about doing donuts

You shouldn’t. Driving in an aggressive manner in public is almost definitely illegal where you live. Doing donuts is dangerous. […] Other than it being totally rad, there’s no good reason to do donuts at all. What are you trying to prove man? What are you rebelling against anyway? – Stephen Johnson in, “How to Do a Flawless Donut,” on Lifehacker

It’s midday on a sun-licked Sunday. We’re sitting on their front porch, his parents on one end, us on the other. The car explodes out of nowhere, into our awareness. The sound it makes is part shriek, part rumble, and it does not stop. It sounds to me like the sound of impending doom. 

I’ve never seen someone doing doughnuts live before. The experience is simultaneously fascinating and vaguely terrifying. Very Second Coming. Turning and turning in the widening gyre, he comes heart-stoppingly close to hitting a parked car (ours.) This falcon and his falconer are definitely incommunicado.The center cannot hold— yet somehow it does. Such simultaneous precision, and profound carelessness on display. The tires screech, sparks fly, the air fills with the discomfiting scent of burnt rubber. A series of concentric circles streak the blacktop.

We are the only visible audience to this daredevil act of -? Audacity? Artistry? Virtuosity? Vandalism? Dexterity? Delinquency? How much of a threat is this young man? Should we stay for the whole risky show or exit the scene? Do we say something, do something? Or will any move dangerously disorient him? Where exactly is the line again, between extreme sport and hooliganism? But this is not the time for fine distinctions. Now he is spinning himself out of the intersection and down the narrowed street, swiveling so close to the curb that every cell in my body is sympathetically braced for impact. Then this tornado on tires, this cyclone of cacophony, this menacing maelstrom disappears, as abruptly as he arrived. 

A pause. Even the silence in the air is jangled. After a few beats…

“He’s driving a Mazda,” observes my father-in-law.


4 responses to “Not Shaken, Not Stirred

  • Richard Whittaker

    Well… yes indeed. And “He was driving a Mazda.” LOL.. 🙂 Ricardo

  • mondayswithgrandma

    My goodness, what is going on with close calls? Is it connected to the recent Strawberry moon, I wonder? I remember doing (slow) donuts in an empty parking in the snow, in my teens. It really is quite fun but should not be done with others around. I don’t think I have it in me to do it these days – too sensible now. I am imagining that the driver is wanting to feel more alive and yet, the contradiction is that they are alone in a car and reckless with their life.Or perhaps motivated by someone or something that has made them think that their life is not worth much. It could be many things. The juxtapose of the donut “excitement” with your father-in-love’s simple statement made me laugh out loud. And, also miss spending time with your family. Thank you for sharing.

    • Pavithra K. Mehta

      Wish I could have seen you making powdered donuts in the snow! And as for the moon–“Don’t blame your madness on me,” she says, “I’ve played scapegoat for humanity’s werewolf, vampire and PMS nonsense down the millennia and now I have seriously had it. Own your own mess people.” 🙂

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