It is one of the most intense dreams I have ever had, with a PG rating that is. I was behind a Formula One car. The roaring of a V8 engine was deafening. I was charging up a hill. It could be Eau Rouge in Belgium or “S” Curves of Suzuka. It could well be the opening sequence of the new Austin. Fighting off the G-force, I was holding onto the imaginary racing line like a receding lifeline out of a sinking Titanic.
I woke up, feeling the sweat on my forehead. Outside, the road was quiet. I dared not look at the clock. The night could well be young. I was trying very hard to go back to sleep. But I couldn’t. It could be the coffee I drank the day before, in the afternoon. It could be the new stress at work that is affecting my sleep. It could be the excitement of my upcoming winter vocation. It could be the non-drowsy cough mixture I took. Do they put caffeine into cough mixture? I had Thai food for lunch. I did not know how, but I ate a whole pile of dried chili flakes, with the fried noodle. Some dried chili flakes got stuck at the back of my throat and I could not stop coughing since then.
Or maybe, I was playing F1 the video game till late last night, learning the Korean circuit without the assist features. Perhaps my brain muscle was strained as I went round in round in circle trying to better myself, which I did, after one hour of racing.
After I woke up from my dream, I was unable to go back to sleep. Slowly, and not unexpectedly so, the Korean track crept back to my mind. I could visualize turn 11 and the new trick I have learned the evening before. Accelerate into the turn, tap the brake to drop two gears down, bite into the apex, accelerate off the apex, and then immediately tap the brake again to again drop two gears down, hold the racing line, accelerate into turn 12, remember to brake at the apex so as not to run wide at the chicane. I could see a smile on my face. A perfect execution. Time to do it again.
I have no idea how it happened. As I closed my eyes, helplessly and mentally running the circuit like Vettel did every time before the race, I shifted back into my dreamland. I was again racing behind a Formula One car. The roaring of a V8 engine was deafening.
After an unknown number of laps – time is not linear in a dream so it is hard to tell – I woke up again. My bedroom was still in a near pitch black darkness, except for the faint street light that was flooded through the curtains. The sound of the V8 engine died down and was replaced by the engine noise of an ordinary road vehicle outside the window. One car went pass our condominium. The street went quiet for a few good seconds before another one passed by. The train was not in operation. The night must still be young. I tried willing myself to sleep, but I failed. Frustration started to seep in. What should I do? Must I think of racing in order to fall asleep?
I started to trace the Korean track turn by turn. It seems so easy when you can anticipate each maneuver. 18 turns in total. DRS here, KERS there. The second signboard and apply brake. The first signboard and brake hard. The last signboard and brake very hard. Accelerate gently. Release brake gradually. Don’t lock the front wheels. Don’t spin the rear wheels. Soon I drifted back to my sleep, behind a Formula One car. I was in a no man’s land. In my dream, the track was empty. Where have the rest of the cars gone? Does it matter?
This cycle went on and on for a few times throughout the night. By the time the alarm clock rang, I was already wide awake, exhausted by seven good hours of mental racing.