Image credit: Jared Auslander

Near as I can tell, most car people go nuts for karting. Especially when you tell them that the karts are gas-powered. Their eyes light up like it’s Christmas. My response is usually a quiet, lonely “Ugh,” so that nobody will hear me.

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I should be more specific: I don’t dislike karting itself. I dislike the people I usually end up karting with. I enjoy driving the karts themselves. That’s extraordinarily fun. I like practicing and finding the quickest lines on unknown courses and checking my times to see if I’ve gotten faster or not. I like feeling the wind on my skin.

But when you introduce obstacles and variables like other people, especially people who are really really super into this shit, onto the track. Then it just becomes stressful. And shitty.

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My two most recent times out karting were with a few lovely Jalopnik readers and my wonderful co-workers right before Christmas. So, of course, nobody was obnoxiously unruly, except for David Tracy, who picked a fight with some teens in the parking lot. However, it’s rare that a whole group of friends will have a karting track to itself, so most of the time I have to make do with The Drivers That Have Something To Prove. You know who those people are. And they are better at ruining your day than a shit on the subway.

For one, these people are super aggressive. Which means that they’ll shut you out, won’t let you pass, block you or straight up crash into you. I don’t like crashing. I don’t like people crashing into me. Is that so weird?

I understand that if someone is tapping my bumper that means they want to pass and of course I’ll move over. Then I’ll watch them disappear around the next corner and I genuinely hope that from this they’ll have something exciting to tell Mom over dinner that night. (To be very clear, I’m not talking about actual, sanctioned, competitive kart racing that kids and pros alike do, I’m talking about the activity that is supposed to be fun and typically involves pizza.)

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I think it has something to do with my aversion to contact sports, which started when I was a kid. I was a very careful child and am not physically aggressive by nature. I do everything I can to avoid getting scraped up. Which was why, during gym class, I always elected to walk the track instead of participating in crap like flag football or soccer.

Gym was supposed to be fun—a chance to stretch your limbs and give you a break from the monotony of academia. A place for some good old sportsmanship. Instead, rules like, “You must pass to a girl at least once during every play” were enforced which really just made everything extra shitty.

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So, even though it was marketed as fun, it was never truly fun. Sure, it was fun for a few people (the same people who got, like, sports scholarships to universities), but they weren’t everybody in the class. Fun really depends on who you are and what you like. Nothing can truly be fun for everyone, just like nothing can truly be “fun for the whole family.”

So why don’t we just stop trying? Stop trying to make things fun. Stop trying to project what you think is fun onto other people. It won’t work. It never does. Because you’ll fail.

Don’t be that person at karting. No one cares how good you are. Just have actual fun, not forced fun.