Not a song, I assure you. Though I did write one at work last week.
I’ve always kind of admired Little E. But never more than this week, when he told his doctor he wasn’t feeling right, knowing that he’d probably be taken out of the car. Yes I realize he stayed in the vehicle after the more serious of the two wrecks, but I still believe he showed great judgment this week by admitting his mortality and getting out of the limelight, knowing it could make people question his toughness.
Which brings me, as things usually do, to me.
As you may know, I work with a lot of folks who are young enough to be my friends. Or my children’s friends, practically. Which is my way of saying I work with a bunch of young people.
While I don’t try to be hip and act young (I don’t try to ACT anyway, I just aim to be me), neither do I like to call attention to my age.
So when my cluster (don’t ask) at work scheduled an outing for yesterday at a local go-cart track, I happily signed up. (Fact update: That was in part so I could attend the Happy Hour afterwards.)
Anyway, I registered online for the track, picked my racing name – Arturo – and was ready to go. Thursday, some of the people who had been before mentioned that you’re supposed to wear long-sleeved shirts to race.
When I got up yesterday, it was too hot to wear a long-sleeved shirt all day – I don’t like to be hot (Spoiler alert: You might want to remember this fact).
Anyway, we got to the track and I found out the long-sleeved thing wasn’t true. To a point.
You didn’t have to wear long sleeves because you DID have to wear a firesuit. And a pretty damn tightly fitting helmet. At least for my big old gourd of a head.
Anyway I suited up, put on the head sock (don’t ask), the helmet and got ready to ride. Our first ride was an eight-minute practice round, then we’d form teams for a real racing session.
Only I’m getting queasier by the minute as I approach my kart. Just getting in is a problem, but I get in the car, adjust the seat and get buckled up. Then they start the engines. (Did I mention that the track was in a giant warehouse?) The fumes were pretty awful – and I’m getting even queasier.
So we start on the way. It’s kinda fun, kinda scary as I pretty timidly make my way through the winding turns of the course. I don’t think I passed anybody except for the people who spun out. I got bumped a couple of times, and even that wasn’t so bad. But I’m getting hotter and queasier by the second.
Then it hit. Earlier this year, I had a brief bout of vertigo. Unspeakable dizziness would strike and I would get so nauseous I couldn’t stand it. Literally, if you know what I mean. (Letting that sink in.)
Anyway, I revved down even more and made it through the practice.
I got out of the kart, went to the lobby where we were to meet and split up into teams for the second portion of the event. I took off my helmet, head sock and firesuit and threw them on a table.
The folks at the track handed out “score sheets” for the practice. I had by far the slowest speed for the session, which meant I finished last. Only in my mind, I finished first, because I avoided vomiting. (Although this still wasn’t a sure thing at this point.)
The head guy at the track is getting ready to put the teams together when he notices I’m not wearing my firesuit. “That’s because I’m done,” I said. “I’m really dizzy, I’m sorry.”
The words were barely out of my mouth when another co-worker started unvelcroing his suit. This is a 30ish, tough looking guy. “I’m out too,” he said.
I think there was at least one other guy who was looking kind of green, but he stayed in, giving our crowd six teams of two racers each. They had a great time; I did, too, just watching. And sipping water. And taking deep breaths. And feeling better.
I’d done what I thought was right, even though I could have shamed myself in front of my co-workers and boss.
I think that’s what Little E did, too.
And I bet he’d agreed with me that the beer tasted pretty good afterward.
“Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.” _ Tallulah Bankhead