Traditionally, high-adrenaline activities come in two flavors: jumping off of really high things, and going really fast. These are related, of course, because jumping off of really high things normally results in going really fast, but for now we'll go with those as separate categories. As it happens, I have a serious fear of heights, which is actually not a fear of being up high (I'm not afraid of airplanes, for example, or of being in really tall buildings) but rather a fear of falling. It's not about how high up I am, but about how secure I feel. For example, I'm perfectly happy to go as far as you please in a glass elevator, but an escalator of any height gives me pause. So the thrill-seeking pursuits such as skydiving and bungee jumping and hang gliding and so forth hold no appeal whatsoever. None, zip, nada. Don't even ask, because the answer will be no.
Therefore, we turn to the second category: going really fast. Which I love. Roller coasters, yes. Spinning carnival rides, yes. Fast driving, yes, as a passenger but especially if I'm behind the wheel. Small planes, yes, and although I've never been in a helicopter, I bet I'd like that, too. As long as I feel like someone is in control, I find the sensation of speed really appealing.
Which leads me to my answer to the above question: the adrenaline-pumping activity I'd love to try is driving on the Autobahn.
I enjoy driving, but I especially enjoy driving German-engineered cars. I grew up with Volkswagens, and the first car I ever drove was my dad's VW Vanagon camper. It was tall, it was creaky, it burned oil like nobody's business, but for all that, it handled really nicely. The second car I ever purchased for myself was also a VW, a 1987 Jetta, and although it was a lemon in many respects, there was nothing quite like driving it on a windy road. The '95 Civic I replaced it with is clearly a far better car (witness the fact that I'm still driving it), but it's never been quite the same. Then, a couple of months ago, T was car shopping, and he let me get behind the wheel of a BMW. All I got to do was tool around an office park near the dealership, but it was still like coming home. When he finally decided to buy it, I did not argue, on the condition that I get to drive it sometimes. (It hasn't arrived yet, sadly; hopefully it will join us soon.)
But much as I'm looking forward to driving T's new Beamer around California, land of mountains and twisty coastal roads and open freeways, I can only imagine how much awesome it would be to take such a car out on the highway on which it was meant to be driven, surrounded by drivers who know what they're doing at high speeds. Like driving in Los Angeles, but (in my imagination) a thousand times better. I don't know that it's a dream I'm ever likely to realize, but I still think fondly of it.
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