“Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,” exclaimed Anne. “You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.”
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables~
It was in March of last year that the males of our family headed south en-masse to attend the Formula One race at Albert Park and forsook the women of the household who remained at home to view the race on TV. In reality, I was the only one who watched it. My sister and our five daughters baked muffins and painted pictures, while I watched the race in peaceful solitude. I perched anxiously on the edge of the couch and cheered Kimi to his fairy-tale win of the opening race of the season.
By the end of the 2013 season it became obvious that the “boy’s weekend” was at risk. For the last two races my husband, fatalistic at Vettel’s winning streak, deigned to stay slumbering in bed instead of rising in the wee hours of the morning to watch, yet again, another Red Bull domination of the field. Despite this I could not resist the allure of the unknown and dragged myself out of bed at 3 am if only to see if Heikki could contrive to score even a solitary point in Kimi’s car. There was no conceivable way that I was going to be watching the Australian Grand Prix of 2014 on television.
In fairness to our three daughters we offered them what seemed like an un-resistible proposal. Four nights in a 4 star apartment in the centre of Melbourne, water views, dinner at the world famous Neil Perry’s Rockpool restaurant, and four days of watching spectacular machinery blast past in a blur of noise and colour. We even promised them undercover grand-stand seats so as to better withstand the vagaries of Melbourne’s weather which can range from blistering heat to thundering rain all over the course of a single day.
Much to our surprise, they all refused! Even the Rockpool Restaurant couldn’t make up for hours of boredom ensconced in a grandstand with only the surrounding crowds as entertainment. The people held greater attraction to them than the cars. I obviously have been remiss in educating them on the finer points of Formula One strategy and tactics and it was too late to start now. Our oldest daughter did offer to spend all day writing in the apartment as an alternative but this option was turned down. We were after all paying her university fees and she was better off attending classes and completing assignments than wasting her time (and our money) travelling to Melbourne purely to sit in a hotel room and write. She could be just as productive at home.
And so, on Thursday morning, I will be boarding a plane for Melbourne with my husband, our son and my brother-in-law, exhilarated at the thought of seeing and hearing the vehicles for the very first time. I have watched each race of the 2013 season and discussed in detail every strategy point with my ever forbearing husband who is fortunately well versed in all Formula One lore since 1983 and who is able to answer my every question. He has even tolerantly put up with watching every race of the 2001 season so I could observe Kimi’s prospective potential in his minor successes during his rookie year.
Needless to say, I have great expectations. The cars will be blindingly fast (hopefully some of them will actually make it around the track). The noise will be deafening (I’ve never heard the V8’s except on TV so I have no pre-conceived ideas). Melbourne will be amazing, the food delectable, the weather unpredictable, the experience exhilarating…
Will the Mercedes dominate the field and leave everyone else stumbling at their heels? Is Ferrari keeping their speed obscured, ready to stunningly reveal it during qualifying? Will Red Bull even be able to achieve a qualifying lap? Will Kevin Magnussen score points in his very first race, causing him to emerge instantaneously as future championship material? Could Williams possibly attain a podium? Most important of all, will Kimi contrive to prevail against Alonso? What do you think? It won’t be long before we find out!