Saturday’s Movie Date Night: “The Art Of Racing In The Rain”

Saturday night was date night. The plan was to snuggle in bed, eat fun food, and watch a movie together. Mrs. Lion let me pick the film. I selected “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” This is a movie based on a book of the same name. The story is narrated by a golden retriever. Mrs. Lion has never been anxious to see this, or for that matter read the book, because she doesn’t like stories in which dogs die. Spoiler alert: the dog dies of old age in this movie and it made me cry. Anyway, I asked her if she was sure that she wanted to see this film, and she was.

This movie has special meaning for me. Years ago, after we had been on the West Coast for about five years, Mrs. Lion found out that there was a program where you could drive on a real racetrack. She knows that one of the things that was on top of my bucket list was to be able to drive on the racetrack. I never wanted to race. I just wanted to experience driving a car racetrack.

I’ve always loved and owned sports cars. One of my first was a Nissan 240 Z. God, I loved that car! It was a nice little 2-seater. I drove it from New York across the plains through the Rockies back down through the Southwest and home for a six week vacation. On that trip I got to drive it to the top of Pike’s Peak. Typical of Z’s, it was prone to overheating. I didn’t care. It was worth pulling over to the side of the road to let it cool down when needed.

Anyway, I had just bought a brand-new Nissan 370 Z Sport. When I bought it, I had fantasies of taking it on a track. The sport model had a suspension suitable for racing. There were some other technical problems in that department. Like my first, it was prone to overheat. This time, instead of the water overheating, the oil would under severe driving conditions. I knew that when I bought it but I didn’t care because I never expected to drive it that hard. I used it to go to and from work every day.

When we were at the dealer and I bought the car, I told Mrs. Lion that I always dreamed of going on a racetrack. I also told her that I had absolutely no expectation I would be able to do it. It was a fun fantasy. Being the amazing wish-granting lioness that she is, somehow she found out that it was possible to drive on the Pacific Raceways track. Without telling me, she looked into it and discovered that the cost of getting the necessary training to simply take your car on the track was very expensive. She couldn’t afford it. However, she told me about it. I looked into it and figured I could manage to get the money together to do it. Mrs. Lion was very happy.

Before you could take a car on the track, you had to have a special license. To just simply drive on the track you needed a “sport driving license” that was issued by the Proformance Racing School. With Mrs. Lion’s encouragement, I signed up for the two day sport license program. A helmet is required on the course, so I ordered one online. The lessons were about a month away. While waiting, I spent a lot of time “trying on” my shiny black helmet.

The course itself was interesting and challenging. The first day, we spent several hours in the racing school’s classroom learning about the art of racing. There is a lot to know. We learned about stopping distances, turn strategies, etc. Then, we spent the afternoon doing exercises in our cars where we learned how to cope with understeer, weave through tightly spaced traffic cones, and make instantaneous decisions when an instructor first waved a flag to make us go either left or right at a specific point. We didn’t get on the track that day.

The next day, we drove with an instructor with us. First, the instructor drove my car while I listened to him narrate the trip around the track. It was thrilling. Finally, my dream was coming true. Mrs. Lion came along in her truck and sat in the stands and watched exercises. After a lap or two with the instructor driving, I was allowed to take over. He sat in the passenger seat and gave me instructions as I traveled around the track. It was amazing! I was really driving on an honest-to-God racing track. I was in heaven. The next day, I got to solo. There was one more step to getting my license. I had to go onto the track next week on a regular track day where other drivers who weren’t in the class would be driving, and while an instructor road with me observing, I would have to navigate my way around in traffic.

Without wasting any more time, let me say that I didn’t and had a great time. I was given my license and was able to go out on track days with my car and experience the thrill and terror of driving as fast as I can around the sports racetrack. The reason this has a lot to do with the movie is that the author, like me, was trained at the same track by the same people. In fact, he visited the track and the racing school one day that I was there and I was introduced to him. I got the book and loved it.

The movie is about a dog who loves racing. That makes sense. It’s also about a lot more. But the dog that the book was based on actually belonged to the owner of the racing school. This wonderful golden retriever would snooze in front of the school building while we buzzed in and out for our sessions on the track. At lunchtime he would visit each of us and see what he could mooch in the way of food. I had a female golden retriever at home. This track dog made me feel much more comfortable about the scary world of high-speed driving.

It was this personal connection that made me want to see this film. In fairness, the movie doesn’t have a lot to do with actual track driving. In fact, it’s a very nice love story narrated by a very nice golden retriever. Both Mrs. Lion and I shed real tears during this film. It got a lot of publicity before it premiered and then, probably due to poor box office performance, got no more advertising. This is a movie well deserving of a shot. I absolutely love that. The script was tender, funny, and very interesting.

Well if you got this far down in the post you deserve a little bit of an update on the other stuff. As you probably know, I had an orgasm on Friday night. We didn’t do anything sexual on Saturday. Mrs. Lion assumes I needed it as a part of my refractory period. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But, the truth is that I wasn’t really thinking much about sex on Saturday. I had told Mrs. Lion that I was healed from my fall and she could resume the spankings that I am owed. Later in the day on Saturday, I changed my mind. It was still hurting deep inside when I sat down. She agreed to wait another day. Sunday, I didn’t feel any pain from the injury. Sunday night, the spanking resumes and I will feel pain, this time from Mrs. Lion’s paddle.


  1. Hey! My first sports car was a Datsun (not yet Nissan) 240Z, also! Yes, it had its issues, but it was pretty indestructible, and simple enough that a shade-tree mechanic could easily understand the whole car. And I didn’t go the whole “racing school” route – I just took the Bod Bondurant high-performance driving class (which didn’t involve any real track time). Fun times!

    I’m hesitant to see if “The Art of Racing…” is available here on demand. It sounds like a wonderful movie, and one of our “couple things” is for me to come up with a nice movie (often bordering on “chick flick”, but I’m way OK with that – think “Time Traveler’s Wife” or “The Notebook”). Then, we’ll snuggle up on the couch, or I’ll tie her up a little and put her at my feet, then stroke her hair throughout the movie.

    But “The Art…” might be a bit rough for both of us, Like you folks evidently, we’re both serious dog lovers, and that movie sounds – er – challenging. Or perhaps it would be like the beginning of “Big”, which was really quite edgy for ostensibly a kids’ movie. How did date night end up playing out? I hope it was very nice…

    1. Author

      Yup, It Was a Datsun 240Z. I called it a Nissan because my dictation software has no idea what the other name is. Just for you, I typed it by hand. The movie has its moments. It’s not about cruelty in any sense. It’s just a really sweet, sometimes-sad film. I suspect you both will like it. I can say that both Mrs. Lion and I shed more than a few tears at various times. It held special meaning for me because it’s based on the same school that taught me how to drive on the track. I had an instructor very much like the hero in this film. It looks like some of the movie was even shot at Pacific raceways, though neither of us could see a credit for it at the end. Anyway, we both felt that we had a very nice date night and we liked the movie. Our golden retriever, however, slept through it from beginning to end.

  2. I know of Datsun’s too. I guess I’m showing my age. lol. Never owned one though. Drove a Nissan 300Z once. Had power to spare.

    1. Author

      I have always had a love of sports cars. I’ve been lucky enough to own several really good ones. It’s ironic that since I’ve been having trouble with my eyes, I’ve been reluctant to drive at all. This weekend, I’m going to give it a try under Mrs. Lion’s careful supervision.

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