We met friends in the Poconos last weekend. Their seven-year-old daughter is a blast and abnormally easy going for a human being. But I saw a whole new side of her when we rode Go-Carts, an activity I haven’t done in years, but highly recommend. It’s so much fun. Evelyn had to ride with an adult, so for the first ride she picked Uncle Matt. We drove the course. Matt and Evelyn did well. On our second ride, she opted to go with me. I told her that if she wanted to win she should join Uncle Matt or her father. After a brief consideration she opted to stay with me.

Picture this one in hot pursuit of every single go-cart that zoomed passed us.

Picture this one in hot pursuit of every single go-cart that zoomed passed us.

We get in the car. Keep in mind I’m changing from the single passenger to a double. Before the race starts they have you drive out of the shed and stop. I pull out behind the other doubles, but when I need to break, the pedal is so much farther away on the doublewide I can’t reach it. I manage to slide across the car from under my seatbelt and slam on the break just before crashing into the go-cart in front.

Evelyn looks at me: “Do you even know how to drive this thing?” A fair question. And as any responsible adult who is thinking, apparently I have no clue what I’m doing, I say, “Yes, yes, of course. Nothing to worry about here.”  I shouldn’t need the break during the race anyway.

And we’re off, but the double is big and slow, so I can’t manage to pass anyone. Note: I barely passed anyone in the single go-cart, but now I have a solid excuse. I learn pretty early on that sweet, adorable, little Eveyln has quite a competitive streak, which I totally appreciate. The run last six minutes, and I don’t think she stopped ranting, which kept me in hysterics, decreasing whatever driving skills I started with:

“Turn, turn, come on turn.”

I think I was turning every time she said this.

“Did you just see that guy pass us?”

Um, yes

“Come on! Come one! Is the pedal to the medal?”

It was.

“That’s Uncle Matt. Oh, now we’re in second.”

She had an actual sense of hope every time Matt passed and we, therefore, regained second place.

“Go, Go, Go!”

“Lady, what are you doing?”

The tone of the word lady made me pee a little.

“Hey, that’s Daddy! You let him pass!”

Picture an utterly exasperated and deflated 7-yr-old.

“I should have ridden with Uncle Matt. Don’t you see he’s winning!?”

Nope. Can’t see that far.

Maybe I should have ridden with Uncle Matt. Evelyn could have done better on her own. In the end Uncle Matt and Daddy passed us three times. Each time she took it a little harder. She wasn’t being mean. It was hysterical. I’d ride with her again any time. As we pulled in, I asked her, “Am I really that bad a driver.” She just looked at me.   Our loss now settling in—her competitive spirit conflicting with her kindness. “Well, you’re at least a little bad.” At which point, laughing again, I didn’t time the turn into the shed and crashed us into the wall.